Lower Canadian Dollar Dampens Cross-Border Shopping
In early 2013 the Canadian dollar was trading approximately at parity with the American greenback. Then the Loonie started a gradual descent to its recent level of 81 cents US. A 20% depreciation of the Canadian dollar vis-à-vis the US currency has significantly changed the relative prices of traded goods and services. Many exports from BC shipped into the US are suddenly more competitively priced. The opposite is true for imports coming into the province from the US.
Cross-border shopping effectively amounts to individual consumers doing their own “importing.” With the devalued Canadian dollar adding an additional cost of 20% (and more after paying fees to convert currency), a large portion of the savings on items purchased stateside that existed when the Canadian dollar was at parity has now been eliminated. So the number of British Columbians venturing into the US, unsurprisingly, has diminished.
Rethinking Social Licence to Operate -- A Concept in Search of Definition and Boundaries
This edition of Environment and Energy Bulletin, guest authored by David Bursey, a partner with Bennett Jones LLP, examines the evolution of Social Licence to Operate (SLO) in the approval of resource development projects and its recent rise in popular use. It then considers how the concept relates to political governance and law. Finally, it assesses the implications of how SLO is being applied – for good and for bad, but most often without a proper context..
Economic Growth and Tighter Labour Markets in BC: Some Implications of the Demographic Shift Ahead
Most people are aware that the population in Canada and other western countries is aging, that longevity is increasing, and that the front‐end of the large baby boom generation has started to retire. Fertility rates have also fallen, which means the future supply of workers will be restricted. But how quickly will the population grow, and age, in the coming decades? Will there be a dramatic shortfall of working‐age people?
This issue of Policy Perspectives briefly reviews current population projections for BC, shining a spotlight on a few key demographic variables. The findings underscore the steady aging of the provincial as well as the national population. It is also clear that immigration plays a significant role in the changing demographic landscape – within a decade, it will be the only source of population growth for both Canada and BC. Immigration can also help temper the pace – but not reverse the reality of – population aging.
Amid an Oil Price Collapse…The Harper Government Delivers on its Balanced Budget Promise
The steep drop in the price of oil and related impact on federal finances prompted the Conservative government to delay bringing down the Budget. But despite a $6 billion hit to Ottawa’s revenues, Finance Minister Joe Oliver was determined to meet the government’s commitment to balance the operating budget by fiscal 2015-16, after seven years of red ink. Doing so required adding some modest amounts from asset sales and shrinking the contingency reserve, but in the end the government managed to erase last year’s small deficit ($2 billion) and is forecasting a razor-thin $1.4 billion surplus for 2015-16.
Resolving Strikes in Essential Services – The Supreme Court of Canada Weighs In
This edition of Human Capital Law and Policy was guest authored by Delayne Sartison, Q.C., Partner, Roper Greyell.
Growth and Greater Diversity in BC's Export Base
A primer on BC exports
As a small, open economy British Columbia has always depended on and prospered from its international connections. These linkages have been steadily enhanced and supported by improved global transportation and communications; expanding cross-border flows of goods, services, capital and technology; expanding the growth of international travel; and rising numbers of international migrants.
Forest Sector Remains a Vital Economic Engine for BC
British Columbia’s forest industry is an integral part of our economy and remains one of the most important economic engines for the province. It generates tens of thousands of jobs directly and supports many more jobs in other sectors that sell goods and services into the different elements of the forest products cluster.
Risk: Perception, Reality and the Policy Process
Risk is a socially constructed, complex concept that humans have developed to deal with the fear of unknown events that may happen in their lives.
Will Future Labour Shortages Imperil the BC Economy?
The critical role of human capital in today’s economy, the fact that many employers continue to report difficulties finding qualified personnel, and demographic forecasts pointing to a steadily aging population and slower labour force growth all raise questions about the future supply of skills.
BC Budget 2015: Few New Measures...But an Era of Surpluses Lies Ahead
The benefits of BC’s diverse and resilient economy were evident as Finance Minister Mike de Jong tabled a Budget on February 17 that calls for a modest surplus for 2015‐16, followed by slightly larger surpluses in the two subsequent years. This places BC in the position of being possibly the only province to balance its books in the coming year. Fiscal circumstances, however, remain tight, and the Budget featured few new spending or taxation initiatives. Spending increases that did make it into the Budget were concentrated in health care and to a lesser extent education, along with a few targeted measures aimed at lower income households. The government opted to advance capital spending over what it had planned last year, in line with the Business Council’s advice.
BC Poised for Decent Growth in A Turbulent World
The Business Council's first Economic Outlook and Review for 2015 projects a 2.6% increase in BC's real GDP and examines the impact on BC's economy of a number of factors including the global economic outlook, a rebounding US economy, declining oil prices and domestic factors such as housing starts and exports.
An Updated Look at BC’s Inventory of Major Capital Projects
In this issue of Policy Perspectives, we provide a summary of capital spending on “major” projects in British Columbia.
Second annual survey shows strong partnerships and $373 million in charitable contributions by British Columbia’s business community
On December 4th, the Business Council of British Columbia released the second annual study quantifying the charitable contributions made by the province’s business community, conducted by MNP LLP. The report, Prosperous Companies, Prosperous Communities found that in 2013 British Columbia businesses donated $373 million in cash donations, sponsorships and partnerships to the province’s charities with the top types of charities supported being social services, health, education and environment.
Critical Success Factors and Talent Risks for BC
The September issue of this newsletter reviewed the international, labour market and public policy contexts for talent mobility and development and briefly identified key success factors and risks for British Columbia in achieving its workforce development goals. In this month’s issue, we explore each of these areas and offer suggestions for ensuring an adequate labour supply and successful workforce development in BC.
Getting a Handle on the Environmental Goods and Services Industry
Previous editions of the Environment and Energy Bulletin were concerned with the criteria and tools that can shed light on how green jobs and other environment-related activities contribute to the economy. This paper is another piece in the exploration of that topic. Here, we adopt a somewhat narrower focus by looking at “the environmental goods and services producing sector” of the economy.
Building BC for the 21st Century:
A White Paper on Infrastructure Policy and Financing
This paper is about infrastructure in BC. It reviews what infrastructure is, the importance and benefits of infrastructure and some of the external and internal factors that are shaping the demand for infrastructure services in the province. It also reviews infrastructure that has been built in the province over the past decade. Despite BC having made substantial investments in large public assets that have served the province and its citizens well, we conclude that additional infrastructure investments are necessary to support residents’ quality of life and improve BC’s competitive position.
The State of Industry-First Nations Relations in B.C. – Part II: RECOMMENDATIONS
Through our series on the state of industry-First Nation relations in B.C., the Business Council has sought to document and take stock of the economic reconciliation process in the province. The results of this work have highlighted a number of important and mainly positive trends: 1) increased aboriginal business formations; 2) a proliferation of economic agreements between industry, government and First Nations; 3) growing own-source revenues and capacity improvements at the community level; and 4) a generally positive outlook for the future of economic reconciliation. However, the research has also identified some areas of concern that have the potential to constrain the ability of all parties to move further down a reconciliation path that maximizes collective economic opportunities.
The Underground Economy
“Underground” economic activity takes different forms and includes the production/provision of both legal and illegal goods and services. The underground economy (UE) is a concern for governments because it reduces the tax base and can weaken regulatory regimes intended to protect consumers, workers and the environment.
'Talentism,' Mobility and Migration: Implications for BC's Labour Market
This edition of Human Capital Law and Policy was guest authored by Kerry Jothen, CEO of Human Capital Strategies.
The State of Industry-First Nations Relations in BC – Part I
Over the past thirty years, and accelerating over the last decade or so, industry in British Columbia has increasingly engaged directly with First Nations to build the conditions for investment certainty in resource project development. The business case for doing so is clear – Section 35 aboriginal rights and title have proven challenging to define, and the Crown, for a variety of reasons, has been unable to comprehensively meet all of its consultation and accommodation obligations to First Nations. Nor should government necessarily have to shoulder all of the work related to post-colonial economic engagement with First Nations.