Sluggish investment threatens Canada’s prosperity

The only way to raise living standards and incomes for Canadians is by building a more productive economy. Yet politicians are mum on the subject

Sluggish investment threatens Canada’s prosperityThe recent federal election campaign saw much discussion about climate change, energy policy, housing, the social safety net, and the well-being of the never-defined “middle class.” One subject that was ignored by both the media and those seeking office was productivity. That’s unfortunate and somewhat puzzling. After all, in the long term the only way…

Clean/green movement won’t transform the economy quickly

There are formidable technical and economic obstacles to replacing fossil fuels with other forms of energy

Clean/green movement won’t transform the economy quicklyWith the federal election fast approaching, we can expect to hear a lot about climate change, energy policy and how government can spur the development of a ‘low-carbon’ economy. These themes are central to the platforms of a number of the political parties contesting the election. The discussion of these topics takes place against the…

Canada well placed to meet world’s growing energy demands

Canada well placed to meet world’s growing energy demandsBy Jock Finlayson and Denise Mullen Business Council of British Columbia When an irresistible force meets an immovable object, conflict typically ensues. So it is with the world-wide effort to come to grips with the unprecedented challenges posed by climate change. While most countries – minus Donald Trump’s America – have notionally signed on to…

B.C. won’t be able to quit fossil fuels any time soon

The results of greater energy efficiency will materialize over the long term, even if politicians seek abbreviated timelines

B.C. won’t be able to quit fossil fuels any time soonJock Finlayson and Denise Mullen Business Council of B.C. Metro Vancouver residents are rightly upset over paying the highest gasoline prices ever recorded in a North American city. Cost-of-living pressures are already significant for many households in British Columbia, making the recent jump in pump prices particularly hard to stomach. The unprecedented attention being given…

Canadian governments addicted to personal income tax

We need a retooled and simplified tax system that’s suited to a 21st-century economy being reshaped by technology

Canadian governments addicted to personal income taxThe latest federal budget, delivered in March, contains a wealth of information on the activities of the government, as well as the money it raises for its endlessly expanding array of expenditure, regulatory and income support programs. This year, the federal government expects to spend $356 billion in total. Roughly $330 billion is allocated to…

The high-stakes international oil game that Canada’s losing

Canada’s energy wealth risks being stranded while the U.S. boosts its position as a global oil supplier

The high-stakes international oil game that Canada’s losingBy Jock Finlayson and Denise Mullen Business Council of B.C. Canada has long depended on a single market for its exports of energy. This over-reliance on one customer, the United States, carries significant risks. That became evident in recent years as the U.S. ramped up its production of oil, natural gas and other energy products…

Metro Vancouver has too few head offices and related jobs

Headquarters are powerful economic drivers and key factors in creating and sustaining high-wage employment

Metro Vancouver has too few head offices and related jobsBy Jock Finlayson and Kristine St.-Laurent Business Council of B.C. Statistics Canada’s latest survey of corporate headquarters provides updated counts of direct head office jobs for each province and the biggest metropolitan areas across the country. The data shows B.C., and Vancouver in particular, are falling behind. The survey covers publicly-traded and privately-owned companies as…

Are robots coming for your job?

Many employers are struggling to find workers for jobs that may soon be eliminated because of technology

Are robots coming for your job?Will robots soon be replacing humans across broad swaths of the labour market? Judging by headlines touting driverless cars, machine learning and the rapidly-growing digital economy, one is tempted to answer “Yes.” No one can doubt the sweeping effects of new technologies. Historically, tens of millions of jobs have been eliminated by successive waves of…

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…