Understanding the downward trend in unionization 

In B.C., it's a matter of industrial change, technological innovation, and the increased role of self-employment and small businesses

Understanding the downward trend in unionization The arrival of another Labour Day provided an opportunity to reflect on the place of trade unions in our economy. The unionization rate – sometimes called union density – measures the share of employees in the workforce who belong to a union. In B.C., the rate has dropped significantly in recent decades. The trend has…

Time for a reality check about Canada’s exports

Industrial transitions don’t happen overnight. Nor do politicians generally have a decisive role in that evolution

Time for a reality check about Canada’s exportsCanada is a relatively small economy that depends heavily on international trade to underpin its prosperity. An examination of what Canada sells to other countries sheds light on the industry sectors in which we possess competitive strengths. It stands to reason that the industries that supply the bulk of our exports are also the ones…

Jobs and careers in the ‘fourth industrial revolution’

The fourth industrial revolution will have the greatest impact on routine tasks. A flexible, well-educated and suitably trained workforce will be critical

Jobs and careers in the ‘fourth industrial revolution’By Jock Finlayson and Kristine St.-Laurent Business Council of B.C. The work world is being transformed by rapidly evolving digital technologies as we march into what many are calling the “fourth industrial revolution.” With disruptive technologies pushing the frontiers of automation, some of the comparative advantages humans traditionally have enjoyed relative to technology are eroding. Computers…

Learning to adapt to the growing gig economy

The labour market is changing. creating opportunity and putting pressure on business and government to adapt

Learning to adapt to the growing gig economyThe rise of the gig or sharing economy is one of the most visible trends shaping the contemporary labour market. Most gig jobs fall into the category of contingent work. Such work can be contrasted with a traditional job, in which a person has a durable and structured employment relationship with a specific employer. Today,…

Why the workforce gender gap matters to business

Reducing barriers to adding women to the workforce in Canada could add $150 billion to $420 billion in GDP over 10 years

Why the workforce gender gap matters to businessBy Denise Mullen and Kristine St.-Laurent Business Council of British Columbia In British Columbia and Canada more broadly, the proportion of females aged 15 and over who participate in the labour force remains nine percentage points below that of males. And it has stayed this way since the early 1990s. Why does this matter? Sometimes,…

Young, educated Indigenous talent is ready

Canadians are retiring in unprecedented numbers and young couples are having fewer babies. Here's how we can fill the workforce gaps

Young, educated Indigenous talent is readyBy Jock Finlayson and Kristine St.-Laurent Business Council of B.C. The latest Canadian census revealed three major population trends: we’re having fewer babies, progressively more baby boomers are transitioning into retirement and most people are living longer. Together, these trends point towards a population that’s greying faster than at any time in Canadian history. Overall, it’s a good…

International visitors drive B.C. tourism growth

Cruising along: Airport volumes are up, cruise ship traffic strong, hotel revenues on the rise, and food and drink sales growing

International visitors drive B.C. tourism growthBy Jock Finlayson and Kristine St.-Laurent Business Council of B.C. It turns out that 2017 marked a 14-year high for annual international tourism to B.C. Some 7.9 million international travellers entered the province last year, an increase of 3.5 per cent over 2016. And the data for the first quarter of 2018 look even better, setting the…

Fossil fuels remain key to energy future, according to report

The U.S. is eager to grab new business, which underscores the urgent need for Canada to secure access to offshore markets for our oil and gas

Fossil fuels remain key to energy future, according to reportBy Jock Finlayson and Denise Mullen Business Council of British Columni The International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2017, released in early November, provides a useful update on the shift to a lower carbon global energy system. The stepped-up deployment of clean energy technologies and moves toward electrification continue in many nations. At the same…

The prohibitive cost of living in Metro Vancouver

The extraordinary run-up in real estate prices like the one experienced in the Lower Mainland raises the odds of a painful market correction

The prohibitive cost of living in Metro VancouverHow can people afford to live in Vancouver? That question came to mind as I struggled to catch up with the latest torrent of media stories on the Lower Mainland’s seemingly inexhaustible housing boom. Metro Vancouver has long been the most expensive place in the country to purchase (or rent) a home. Indeed, relative to…

Retooling NAFTA: Canada faces harsh economic truths

Canada holds a weak hand as NAFTA re-negotiations begin. More attention needs to be paid to the challenges weighing down the Canadian export economy

Retooling NAFTA: Canada faces harsh economic truthsCanada enters NAFTA renegotiations with a rather weak hand. Canada is a mid-sized economy, responsible for less than two per cent of global production of goods and services – a proportion that has fallen gently over the last decade or so. And we represent about eight per cent of all economic activity across the United…

B.C. must develop a stronger corporate head office presence

Success on growing more locally-based companies and attracting firms from elsewhere would produce sizable economic dividends for the province

B.C. must develop a stronger corporate head office presenceBusiness analysts and economic development agencies understand that the presence of corporate head offices brings many benefits to cities and regions. The Metro Vancouver region needs to improve in this area. Not only do large companies and fast-growing mid-sized firms directly support high-paying jobs, they also help to sustain employment in other local industries that…

Why NAFTA and Canada are important to the U.S. economy

An open letter to President Trump from the Business Council of British Columbia as the U.S. prepares to renegotiate NAFTA

Why NAFTA and Canada are important to the U.S. economyDear President Trump: The Senate’s recent confirmation of Robert Lighthizer as the new United States trade representative signals that the work to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will get under way soon. Against that backdrop, we hope you and your cabinet will keep in mind a number of important facts regarding the…

Canada’s investment recession drags on

The collapse of global oil prices, coupled with weak prices in other commodity markets, a key factor behind Canada’s investment slump

Canada’s investment recession drags onWhile Canada’s economy continues to grind out positive if unspectacular gains in employment and gross domestic product (GDP), below the surface the picture is less encouraging. For several years, our economy has basically been kept afloat by free-spending consumers and overheated real estate markets. Throughout this period, export growth has been meagre and investment outside…