B.C. Human Rights Tribunal Changes - Will They Be Enough?
Human Capital Law and Policy v1 n1
On August 26, 2011, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal reached out to its stakeholders for feedback and recommendations with respect to any issues or concerns. A broad invitation indeed. However, the invitations is in the context of a request – it is not clear from whom – that the Tribunal "undertake a broad review of its policies, procedures and practices with a view to assessing and improving its process from a variety of perspectives". While any review designed to improve the Tribunal’s processes is welcomed, the employer community might well be concerned, given what has occurred over the last year, that hoped-for amendments to the Human Rights Code may end here, with a review of Tribunal processes.
Temporary Foreign Workers in British Columbia
Policy Perspectives v18 n3
Canada has a long tradition of attracting immigrants to become permanent residents. Immigration built the country and is the foundation for much of the growth in the post WWII era. The context for international migration, however, is changing and being reshaped. The globalization of labour markets, instant access to information from around the world, greater connectivity and reduced transportation costs, and the expansion of trade have all made international migration a possibility for a larger share of the world’s population than in the past. The result is a significant increase in the volume and types of movement between many jurisdictions. While permanent population movements still dominate migration patterns to advanced countries, there are now greater numbers of temporary movements for work and education-related reasons. While Canadian international migration policy remains focused on permanent settlement, the shifting global landscape, an aging domestic workforce, a large number of major projects in the pipeline, the growing need for highly specialized skills, and regional labour disparities all point to a greater role for temporary workers in B.C. in many sectors.
Another Quarter of Modest Growth For BC
BC Economic Index v10 n2
In the second quarter of 2011 the BC Economic Index posted a 0.8% quarterly increase. As an indicator of current economic conditions, this reading suggests the provincial economy is growing at a modest pace following similar performances in both the first quarter and the fourth quarter of 2010. Given the economic recovery is just two years old, this rate of expansion is not particularly strong. But against the backdrop of rising global uncertainty and ongoing malaise in the US, another interpretation is that BC’s economy is holding up relatively well.
The Natural Gas Story
Environment and Energy Bulletin v3 n2
Both globally and in North America, natural gas is poised to play a bigger role in meeting the energy needs of consumers, businesses and communities. Recent discoveries of large unconventional (shale) gas deposits in the United States, Canada and parts of Europe have heightened awareness that natural gas is an abundant, widely distributed and cost-effective energy source. Many analysts also see natural gas as a “foundation” fuel that can help to pave the way to a lower-carbon energy future. And with a number of countries – Japan, Germany, etc. – now looking at reducing their reliance on nuclear power, the global appetite for natural gas seems poised to increase markedly in the coming years.
Transportation Infrastructure for a Globally Conneted BC Economy
Policy Perspectives v18 n2
Infrastructure is the sometimes invisible and seldom discussed backbone of a modern economy. A region’s infrastructure affects the quality of life enjoyed by citizens, the competitive position of businesses, and the potential for long-term gains in productivity and incomes. As a small economy, BC depends heavily on trade with other countries and provinces to generate income, employment and tax revenues. Both the profit margins on exports and the costs of imported goods are linked to the efficiency of the freight transportation system. As a gateway to the Asia Pacific, BC’s transportation sector is more than a facilitator of trade. In connecting Asian countries with other North American jurisdictions, the industry generates its own export earnings, apart from the enabling economic activity more broadly. Transportation as an industry looms larger in BC than in other provinces.
Moderate Expansion Continues in 2011
BC Economic Index v10 n1
The BC Economic Index posted a 0.6% quarterly increase in the first quarter of the year, essentially matching the Q4 2010 rise. The good news is that consecutive quarterly gains in the Index of this magnitude indicate the economy is on a solid footing. But a cautionary note is that growth remains on the soft side considering the depth of the 2008/09 recession. With growth having slowed quite sharply from the early stages of the recovery, BC’s unemployment rate remains in excess of 8%. For it to move lower will require more job creation which ultimately depends on a return to more robust economic conditions.
A New World Order Takes Shape
Policy Perspectives v18 n1
How long before a surging China eclipses a struggling United States as the largest national economy? The question takes on new significance as the world continues to recover from the 2008-09 financial crisis and economic downturn.
Lessons Learned from the Prosperity Mine Decision:
Enhancing Project Certainty Through a Social Licence Strategy
Environment and Energy Bulletin v3 n1
Since the Federal Cabinet’s decision in November, 2010 to prohibit the proposed Prosperity Mine project from proceeding, questions have arisen about how this outcome came to pass, especially in circumstances where the project was previously approved through the British Columbia environmental assessment process and received strong words of support from the BC Government. One only has to consider the voluminous media coverage of this dilemma to understand the answer and to gain an appreciation of what now appears to be the most critical ingredient for success in any major resource project proposal. The critical ingredient? - “social licence” to develop and operate the project.
BC's 2009 Recession Crimps an Otherwise Strong Growth Performance in 2000s
The recently released Provincial Economic Accounts provide an opportunity to look back at BC’s economic performance. While preliminary data had already shown the province’s economy experiencing a sizable contraction in 2009, the more complete data allows for a more comprehensive review of economic well-being, export performance and other comparative metrics. The 2009 data also brings the decade to a close, affording a longer term assessment of BC’s economic performance for the entire decade.
How are Unions Faring in Today's Economy?
The month of September heralds Labour Day, making it an opportune time to review the place of trade unions in today’s increasingly complex economy. Trade unions remain an important factor in British Columbia. But their influence is waning, particularly in the private sector. This is starkly evident in the data on “union density” – the share of all workers who belong to a trade union. Falling union density is a well-established trend in British Columbia and other provinces, as well as in the United States. In 2006, 30.2 per cent of paid employees in BC were unionized. By 2009, the share had fallen to 29.1 per cent.
Small Business Growth
The role of small businesses necessarily features prominently in any discussion of the structure and performance of British Columbia’s economy. It is no exaggeration to say that an orientation toward small businesses is one of the defining characteristics of the province’s economy.
The Harmonized Sales Tax -- Through an Economic Prism
This issue of Policy Perspectives is guest authored by Jon Kesselman of Simon Fraser University. Recognized as one of Canada's leading public finance and tax policy experts, Dr. Kesselman outlines the economic benefits of the Harmonized Sales Tax which the BC government plans to introduce later this year. The Business Council is grateful to Dr. Kesselman for contributing this timely article.
Outlook 2020: Shaping BC's Economic Future
Authored by Jock Finlayson, and Ken Peacock, Business Council of British Columbia
Profile and Outlook for the BC Agri-Food Industry
Authored by Gregg Burkinshaw, Business Council of British Columbia
Vancouver as a City-Region in the Global Economy
Authored by the Vancouver Economic Development Commission
Realizing British Columbia's Second Renewable Electricity Revolution
Authored by OnPoint Consulting Inc.
Shifting Perceptions: Health Industries as a Source of Wealth Creation in British Columbia
Authored by Jock Finlayson and Ken Peacock, Business Council of British Columbia
2010 Biennial Skills and Attributes
The labour demands of the marketplace are continually changing with the general economic environment and the introduction of new technologies. Reflecting these pressures, British Columbia employers are seeking different combinations of skills and attributes in new hires in order to maintain their competitive edge. Job seekers in turn must keep pace with the necessary skills set sought by employers in today's dynamic work environment. The Business Council of BC's 2010 Biennial Survey has been designed to help entrants to the workforce do just that: identify the most important skills and attributes BC employers are seeking in new job applicants. Identifying these skills and attributes in turn helps job seekers better prepare for careers in a range of sectors and occupations.
Corporate Income Tax: Getting the Economics Right
The past decade has seen a remarkable transformation in Canada’s business tax landscape. Starting in the late 1990s, both the federal and most provincial governments began to reduce corporate income taxes – the taxes levied on business income or profits. At the national level, the general federal corporate income tax (CIT) rate stood at 28% in 1999; today it is 18%, and the current government intends to bring it to 15% by 2012. Moreover, in recent years Ottawa has eliminated the income surtaxes and capital taxes that it previously imposed on large and medium-sized businesses.