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 jobsStatistics 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 of 2017. A head office is defined as an “establishment…

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

Canada 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,…

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 Columbia 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…