Tri-Cities Chamber Meeting with Parliamentary Secretary Jennifer O’connell And MP Ron Mckinnon Focuses on Removing Barriers to Inter-provincial Trade

Tri-cities Chamber Meeting with Parliamentary Secretary Jennifer O’connell and MP Ron Mckinnon Focuses on Removing Barriers to Inter-provincial Trade

Written by Leslie Courchesne, CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber

First published in the Tri-City News on Thursday, August 25, 2022

On August 22, nine Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce members including Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart attended a roundtable discussion focused on eliminating barriers to free trade within Canada, supply chain issues, procurement policies, and regulatory challenges. Jennifer O’Connell, Canada’s Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, and Ron McKinnon, Member of Parliament for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam heard concerns, fielded questions, and outlined the federal government’s next steps.

“Internal trade barriers cost Canada’s economy billions each year. In some cases it can be more difficult to do business with other provinces or territories than with other countries,” said Leslie Courchesne, Chief Executive Officer, Tri-Cities Chamber. “Governments need to cooperate to give local companies a clear path to innovate, to respond quickly to changing market demands, and to thrive. The free flow of goods, services, and people in Canada is long overdue, and is vital to local prosperity and a competitive national economy. Today we heard compelling cases for this from local businesses connected to construction, hospitality, transportation, and healthcare/PPE production.

“My sincere thanks to Parliamentary Secretary O’Connell and MP McKinnon for this opportunity, and to all of our members who attended this robust discussion focused on specifics and solutions.” The Tri-Cities Chamber advocates on behalf of business to all levels of government. If your business is experiencing challenges related to government policy, programs, or regulations, contact Leslie Courchesne at .

L to R: Vivien Symington, Club Aviva and Tri-Cities Chamber Board Director; Jennifer O’Connell, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities; Ron McKinnon, Member of Parliament for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam; Ben Craig, Investors Group; Isha Ruparelia, Tri-Cities Chamber; Richard Stewart, Mayor of Coquitlam; Jason Zanatta, Novo Textile Company Ltd; Leslie Courchesne, Tri-Cities Chamber; Shaun Govender, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority; Kevin Richter, Douglas College; Kathryn Millar, Indigenous Worx and Tri-Cities Chamber Board Director; Jim Allard and Daniel Allard, Allard Contractors & Coquitlam Concrete..

Joining the Chamber Is an Investment in Local Prosperity as Well as Your Own Success

Joining the Chamber Is an Investment in Local Prosperity as Well as Your Own Success

Written by Leslie Courchesne, CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber

First published in the Tri-City News on Thursday, July 28, 2022

Time does fly. I am coming up on one year as CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce. Looking back, I’ve been grateful for the excellent and candid conversations I’ve had with hundreds of our members. They are business owners of large, medium and small enterprises, or the leaders, managers, and staff that are key to making these organizations run well through thick and thin. We also have solopreneurs, government officials, and non-profit organizations as members. Our members lead, care, and give back to our communities in countless ways.

The Chamber truly is a catalyst and a convener of our community at large. We are an association where ideas are hatched, issues are discussed, problems are solved, and yes, great new connections are made. We are focused on advocating for and supporting business, as a strong local economy is the backbone of a strong community.

What I have found fascinating is the reasons why some have not joined our Chamber, or have left. “I don’t have time to go to events,” is often cited. Well, I can tell you, our events are amazing. But the Chamber isn’t only about events. Yes, you need to invest some time if you are looking to grow your business through the Chamber.

But even when you don’t have time, your annual membership goes a very long way to supporting local prosperity, enabling advocacy work, government relations, resources for your business partners, suppliers and clients, and more. It also ensures our local Tri-Cities voice is strong at the BC and Canadian Chambers of Commerce. And if that doesn’t resonate with you, at the very least, your Chamber membership can more than pay for itself through access to direct savings and benefits that help your bottom line.

I was saddened to see one of my favourite local businesses, where I have shopped for 20 years, not renew its membership. Their business boomed and thrived during COVID, as some businesses did. Times are fantastic for this business owner, so perhaps they felt they didn’t need the Chamber anymore. Contrast that with a group of business owners related to the events industry. I met with them earlier this year to listen, learning some were struggling to put food on their tables for the families. They wanted me to work with them on advocacy to re-open the events industry. They knew they needed the Chamber more than ever before. So yes, joining the Chamber is an investment in your success, but also in the success of your community, enhancing local prosperity. I encourage you to recognize the wider purpose.

Whether you are a seasoned business leader, a young professional, or new to the area, I invite you to join the Chamber to ensure our community continues to thrive. For 50 years, the Tri-Cities Chamber has served to strengthen business in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra. Our members joining together in this shared purpose has never been more essential, as we recover from the pandemic, and grapple with inflation, supply chain issues, housing challenges, and of course, climate change.

We are stronger together.

Tri-Cities Chamber Supports Vital Policies to Help Businesses Succeed: BC Chamber AGM and Conference, Prince George

Tri-Cities Chamber Supports Vital Policies to Help Businesses Succeed: BC Chamber AGM and Conference, Prince George

First published in the Tri-City News on Thursday, June 30, 2022

In June, Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce CEO Leslie Courchesne attended the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting and Conference in Prince George. Representatives from Chambers and Boards of Trade across the province met to deliberate on policies covering a broad spectrum of provincial and federal issues critical to the success of the business community. In total, 53 policy resolutions were approved, on topics including indigenous reconciliation, amending paid sick leave, support and collaboration with the wedding and events industry, and taxation.

“Strong advocacy to ensure our local businesses survive and thrive is such an important focus for the work that our Chamber does, and I was pleased to represent Tri-Cities businesses at the B.C. Chamber conference,” said Courchesne. “When Chambers and Boards of Trade work together to leverage the power of our collective voice with all levels of government, we can affect significant change that make our businesses and communities stronger. If you are involved in business and haven’t found a reason yet to join your local Chamber, this is it — we need you to be part of strengthening that voice.”

“Our goal for this year’s conference was to inspire, to challenge delegates to think outside-the-box, and to find ways to leverage B.C.’s strong foundation as a springboard to a future where businesses are successful, families thrive and communities flourish,” said Fiona Famulak, President and CEO, B.C. Chamber of Commerce.

Presented by Chamber Group Insurance Plan, the conference included sessions on a wide variety of economic issues and trends, including a virtual address from B.C. Finance Minister and Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Selina Robinson. The B.C. Chamber of Commerce appointed Dr. Greg Thomas as its 2022-23 Chair of the Board of Directors.

The full set of approved policy resolutions will be published by the B.C. Chamber in the coming weeks.

Deputy Prime Minister Outlines Government’s Affordability Plan for Canadians 

Inflation is a global phenomenon driven in large part by the lasting impacts of a once-in-a-generation pandemic, and amplified by China’s ongoing COVID-zero policies and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Today, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, highlighted the government’s Affordability Plan⁠—a suite of measures totaling $8.9 billion in new support this year to help make life more affordable for millions of Canadians.

Deputy Prime Minister Outlines Government’s Affordability Plan for Canadians 

Government of Canada | Department of Finance Canada | Thursday, June 16, 2022

Inflation is a global phenomenon driven in large part by the lasting impacts of a once-in-a-generation pandemic, and amplified by China’s ongoing COVID-zero policies and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Today, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, highlighted the government’s Affordability Plan⁠—a suite of measures totaling $8.9 billion in new support this year to help make life more affordable for millions of Canadians.

The measures in this Affordability Plan include:

1. Enhancing the Canada Workers Benefit

  • By enhancing the Canada Workers Benefit at a cost of $1.7 billion in new support for workers this year, an estimated three million Canadians will receive more support, with a couple receiving up to $2,400 more this year and single workers receiving up to $1,200 more. Most recipients are just receiving this additional support through their 2021 tax return.

2. Affordable Early Learning and Child Care

  • As a result of agreements reached with all 13 provinces and territories, child care fees for Canadian families will be cut by an average of 50 per cent by the end of this year. This Canada-wide plan means savings for families from $2,610 in Manitoba to $6,000 in British Columbia in 2022, and an average child care fee of just $10-a-day for all regulated child care spaces across Canada by 2025-26.

3. A 10 Per Cent Increase to Old Age Security (OAS)

  • Starting in July 2022, the OAS pension for seniors 75 years and older will increase by 10 per cent, which will provide more than $766 in new support to full pensioners in the first year, and increase the benefits received by more than three million seniors.

4. A Housing Affordability Payment

  • As work to make housing more affordable continues, the government will provide renters in 2022 a one-time $500 payment to nearly one million low-income Canadians struggling with the cost of housing.

5. Dental Care for Canadians

  • The government will provide dental coverage for Canadians earning less than $90,000, starting with children under 12 in 2022, so that families can afford the cost of dental care.

6. Benefits That Are Indexed to Inflation

  • Key government benefits continue to be adjusted for inflation over time, including OAS, Guaranteed Income Supplement, Canada Pension Plan, the Canada Child Benefit, and the GST Credit.

These supports build on other investments that the government has delivered since 2015 that are today helping to make life more affordable for Canadians. Budget 2022 also includes a comprehensive plan to make housing more affordable and outlines investments focused on growing a more resilient economy that will mean more good-paying jobs for Canadians.


Quotes

“We know that Canadians are worried about inflation and that they’re asking what their government is going to do about it. That’s why we have a new Affordability Plan—$8.9 billion in new support this year—that is going to put more money in the pockets of Canadians at a time when they need it most.”

– The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance


Quick Facts

  • Below are examples of how the government’s Affordability Plan will make life more affordable for Canadians:
    • A couple in Ontario with an income of $45,000 and a child in daycare could receive about an additional $7,600 above existing benefits this fiscal year.
    •  A single recent graduate living in Alberta with an entry-level job and an income of $24,000 could receive about an additional $1,600 in new and enhanced benefits.
    • For seniors, Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits are 4.9 per cent higher than they were a year ago due to the quarterly indexation of these benefits. Those 75 and older will also benefit from a 10 per cent increase in the OAS pension announced starting in July 2022, which will provide more than $766 in new support to full pensioners in the first year.
  • Canada has the strongest jobs recovery in the G7, and both the IMF and OECD predict that the Canadian economy will see the strongest growth in the G7 this year and next.
  • For people in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, Climate Action Incentive payments mean a family of four will receive $745 in Ontario, $832 in Manitoba, $1,101 in Saskatchewan, and $1,079 in Alberta in 2022-23.
  • Canada has recovered 117 per cent of the jobs that were lost during the depths of the pandemic, compared to just 96 per cent in the United States. Today, Canada’s unemployment rate is just 5.1 per cent—a record low.
  • Canada also benefits from a strong monetary policy framework, which the government and the Bank of Canada renewed for another five years last December with a 2 per cent inflation target, and a control range between 1 and 3 per cent. The Bank has begun the work of bringing inflation back within target, and has the tools, independence, and the expertise it needs to deliver low, stable, and predictable inflation in Canada.
  • Funding for the measures in this Plan was allocated in previous budgets—Canada’s fiscal framework remains as reported in Budget 2022.

Associated Links


Source: Government of Canada News

New Laws to Strengthen Canadians’ Privacy Protection and Trust in the Digital Economy

Canadians increasingly rely on digital technology to connect with loved ones, to work and to innovate. That’s why the Government of Canada is committed to making sure Canadians can benefit from the latest technologies, knowing that their personal information is safe and secure and that companies are acting responsibly.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, together with the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, introduced the Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2022, which will significantly strengthen Canada’s private sector privacy law, create new rules for the responsible development and use of artificial intelligence (AI), and continue advancing the implementation of Canada’s Digital Charter. As such, the Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2022 will include three proposed acts: the Consumer Privacy Protection Act, the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act, and the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act.

New Laws to Strengthen Canadians’ Privacy Protection and Trust in the Digital Economy

Government of Canada | Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada | Thursday, June 16, 2022

Canadians increasingly rely on digital technology to connect with loved ones, to work and to innovate. That’s why the Government of Canada is committed to making sure Canadians can benefit from the latest technologies, knowing that their personal information is safe and secure and that companies are acting responsibly.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, together with the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, introduced the Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2022, which will significantly strengthen Canada’s private sector privacy law, create new rules for the responsible development and use of artificial intelligence (AI), and continue advancing the implementation of Canada’s Digital Charter. As such, the Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2022 will include three proposed acts: the Consumer Privacy Protection Act, the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act, and the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act.

The proposed Consumer Privacy Protection Act will address the needs of Canadians who rely on digital technology and respond to feedback received on previous proposed legislation. This law will ensure that the privacy of Canadians will be protected and that innovative businesses can benefit from clear rules as technology continues to evolve. This includes:

  • increasing control and transparency when Canadians’ personal information is handled by organizations;
  • giving Canadians the freedom to move their information from one organization to another in a secure manner;
  • ensuring that Canadians can request that their information be disposed of when it is no longer needed;
  • establishing stronger protections for minors, including by limiting organizations’ right to collect or use information on minors and holding organizations to a higher standard when handling minors’ information;
  • providing the Privacy Commissioner of Canada with broad order-making powers, including the ability to order a company to stop collecting data or using personal information; and
  • establishing significant fines for non-compliant organizations—with fines of up to 5% of global revenue or $25 million, whichever is greater, for the most serious offences.

The proposed Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act will enable the creation of a new tribunal to facilitate the enforcement of the Consumer Privacy Protection Act.

The proposed Artificial Intelligence and Data Act will introduce new rules to strengthen Canadians’ trust in the development and deployment of AI systems, including:

  • protecting Canadians by ensuring high-impact AI systems are developed and deployed in a way that identifies, assesses and mitigates the risks of harm and bias;
  • establishing an AI and Data Commissioner to support the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry in fulfilling ministerial responsibilities under the Act, including by monitoring company compliance, ordering third-party audits, and sharing information with other regulators and enforcers as appropriate; and
  • outlining clear criminal prohibitions and penalties regarding the use of data obtained unlawfully for AI development or where the reckless deployment of AI poses serious harm and where there is fraudulent intent to cause substantial economic loss through its deployment.

Quotes

“In today’s economy, Canada’s competitiveness depends on our ability to use digital innovation to harness the power of data. Safety and trust must be the foundation of this new digital economy. By introducing the Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2022, we are ensuring that Canadians can trust when and how their information is being used. It will also give businesses clear rules to support their efforts to innovate with data and will introduce a new regulatory framework for the responsible development of artificial intelligence systems, while recognizing the need to protect young people and their information. This will not only promote confidence in the digital space but also ensure a safe, more inclusive and secure digital economy for the benefit of all Canadians.”

– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“We are committed to protecting the personal information of Canadians while encouraging responsible innovation for the public good. The Digital Charter seeks to bring essential online protections for individuals into the 21st century. Our government is also modernizing the Privacy Act, Canada’s federal public sector personal information protection statute, to ensure that Canada’s privacy laws keep pace with technological change and continue to reflect evolving Canadian values.”

– The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada


Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada is committed to bringing Canada’s privacy and data protection laws in line with international partners.
  • Once the Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2022 is passed, Part 1 of this act would replace the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act with the new Consumer Privacy Protection Act. Part 2 would establish a new administrative tribunal to play a role in the enforcement of the new privacy law, and Part 3 would implement the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act to regulate responsible development of AI in the Canadian marketplace.
  • The Privacy Commissioner of Canada will continue to oversee organizations’ compliance with the Consumer Privacy Protection Act and have the power to issue orders and make recommendations for administrative monetary penalties to be levied by the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal.
  • The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, supported by the AI and Data Commissioner, would be responsible for the oversight of the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act to help ensure that standards for international and interprovincial trade in AI systems are aligned with international standards, supporting international market access for Canadian businesses.

Associated Links


Source: Government of Canada News

Suspension of the Vaccine Mandates for Domestic Travellers, Transportation Workers and Federal Employees

Following a successful vaccination campaign, 32 million (or nearly 90%) of eligible Canadians have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and case counts have decreased. Canadians have stepped up to protect themselves and the people around them, and rates of hospitalization and deaths are also decreasing across the country, and Canada has one of the highest rates of vaccination in the world.

Vaccination continues to be one of the most effective tools to protect Canadians, including younger Canadians, our health care system and our economy. Everyone in Canada needs to keep up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses to get ready for the fall. The Government of Canada will continue to work with provinces and territories to help even more Canadians get the shots for which they are eligible.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government of Canada’s response has been informed by expert advice and sound science and research. As the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved, so too have public health measures and advice, which includes vaccination requirements that were always meant to be a temporary measure.

Suspension of the Vaccine Mandates for Domestic Travellers, Transportation Workers and Federal Employees

Government of Canada | Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat | Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Following a successful vaccination campaign, 32 million (or nearly 90%) of eligible Canadians have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and case counts have decreased. Canadians have stepped up to protect themselves and the people around them, and rates of hospitalization and deaths are also decreasing across the country, and Canada has one of the highest rates of vaccination in the world.

Vaccination continues to be one of the most effective tools to protect Canadians, including younger Canadians, our health care system and our economy. Everyone in Canada needs to keep up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses to get ready for the fall. The Government of Canada will continue to work with provinces and territories to help even more Canadians get the shots for which they are eligible.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government of Canada’s response has been informed by expert advice and sound science and research. As the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved, so too have public health measures and advice, which includes vaccination requirements that were always meant to be a temporary measure.

As such, the government announced today that, as of June 20, it will suspend vaccination requirements for domestic and outbound travel, federally regulated transportation sectors and federal government employees.

While the suspension of vaccine mandates reflects an improved public health situation in Canada, the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve and circulate in Canada and globally. Given this context, and because vaccination rates and virus control in other countries varies significantly, current vaccination requirements at the border will remain in effect. This will reduce the potential impact of international travel on our health care system and serve as added protection against any future variant. Other public health measures, such as wearing a mask, continue to apply and will be enforced throughout a traveller’s journey on a plane or train.

Travellers and Transportation Workers

  • As of 00:01 EDT on June 20, 2022, the vaccination requirement to board a plane or a train in Canada will be suspended.
  • In addition, federally regulated transport sector employers will no longer be required to have mandatory vaccination policies in place for employees.
  • Due to the unique nature of cruise ship travel, vaccination requirements for passengers and crew of cruise ships will continue to remain in effect.
  • Masking and other public health protection measures will continue to be in place and enforced on planes, trains, and ships.
  • Current border measures, including the existing vaccination requirement for most foreign nationals to enter Canada, and quarantine and testing requirements for Canadians who have not received their primary vaccine series, remain in effect.

Federal Public Service

  • Also on June 20, the Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration (CPA) Including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will be suspended.
  • Employees of the CPA will be strongly encouraged to remain up to date with their vaccinations; however, they will no longer be required to be vaccinated as a condition of employment.
  • As such, employees who are on administrative leave without pay for noncompliance with the Policy in force until now will be contacted by their managers to arrange their return to regular work duties.

Crown corporations and separate agencies will also be asked to suspend vaccine requirements, and the vaccination requirement for supplier personnel accessing federal government workplaces will also be suspended. With the suspension of vaccination requirements, employees placed on unpaid leave may return to work. The government and other employers will ensure that  these employees can resume their duties as seamlessly as possible.

Furthermore, the Government of Canada is no longer moving forward with proposed regulations under Part II (Occupational Health and Safety) of the Canada Labour Code to make vaccination mandatory in all federally regulated workplaces.

The Government of Canada will not hesitate to make adjustments based on the latest public health advice and science to keep Canadians safe. This could include an up-to-date vaccination mandate at the border, the reimposition of public service and transport vaccination mandates, and the introduction of vaccination mandates in federally regulated workplaces in the fall, if needed.


Quotes

“Throughout this pandemic, our government’s approach has been rooted in close collaboration with our provincial and territorial partners. We all have a role to play in keeping Canadians safe. Our government will continue to make decisions based on the best public health advice and adjust its measures accordingly.”

– The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

“The mandatory vaccination requirement successfully mitigated the full impact of COVID-19 for travellers and workers in the transportation sector and provided broader protection to our communities. Suspending this requirement is possible thanks to the tens of millions of Canadians who did the right thing: they stepped up, rolled up their sleeves, and got vaccinated. This action will support Canada’s transportation system as we recover from the pandemic.”

– The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport of Canada

“As the country’s largest employer, the Government has led by example to help protect the health and safety of the federal workforce, as well as those in the federally regulated travel sector. We are now in a much better place across Canada, and vaccination mandates helped us to get there. As we move forward, we will continue to take action to keep public servants safe, and all employees are strongly encouraged to keep their vaccinations current so they get all recommended doses.”

– The Honourable Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board

“While the suspension of vaccine mandates reflects an improved public health situation in Canada, the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve and circulate in Canada and globally. The science is also perfectly clear on one thing: vaccination remains the single most effective way to protect ourselves, our families, our communities, and our economy against COVID-19. We don’t know what we may or may not face come autumn, but we know that we must remain prudent, which is why our government continues to strongly encourage everyone in Canada to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines, which includes recommended booster doses.””

– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health


 

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Associated Links


Source: Government of Canada News

Extreme Heat Preparedness: How to Be a Heat-Healthy Business Leader

Extreme Heat Preparedness:
How to Be a Heat-Healthy Business Leader

Guest Post by Fraser Health | Monday, June 13, 2022

As we approach the heat and smoke season, Fraser Health would like to acknowledge that many businesses wanted to and took action to support their communities during last year’s heat events.

In order to support those efforts, we have created a resource for businesses that have the capacity to take some actions or provide community support.

We ask that you share this resource with others, as we know that a multifaceted, collaborative approach may help keep our communities safe.

DOWNLOAD THE RESOURCE

Rating Agencies Validate B.C.’s Financial Plan to Support People, Businesses

British Columbia’s continued stable credit ratings show that key stakeholders in the financial community validate the Province’s financial plan for investing in the services people need and building a strong, sustainable future for B.C.

Despite major global events that have increased inflationary pressures and left no province or country unaffected, all four of the main international and domestic rating agencies have reaffirmed B.C.’s strong position.

“Confirmation of B.C.’s stable credit rating is further evidence of the value of our focus on putting people first. Investing in the services people need, including through continued record levels of capital investments, has helped us maintain a strong economic position,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. “These are incredibly challenging times for people and communities, and we will continue to use this economic strength to support people and create opportunities for everyone in B.C.”

Rating Agencies Validate B.C.’s Financial Plan to Support People, Businesses

Government of BC | Ministry of Finance | Friday, June 10, 2022

British Columbia’s continued stable credit ratings show that key stakeholders in the financial community validate the Province’s financial plan for investing in the services people need and building a strong, sustainable future for B.C.

Despite major global events that have increased inflationary pressures and left no province or country unaffected, all four of the main international and domestic rating agencies have reaffirmed B.C.’s strong position.

“Confirmation of B.C.’s stable credit rating is further evidence of the value of our focus on putting people first. Investing in the services people need, including through continued record levels of capital investments, has helped us maintain a strong economic position,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. “These are incredibly challenging times for people and communities, and we will continue to use this economic strength to support people and create opportunities for everyone in B.C.”

DBRS Morningstar’s confirmation of British Columbia’s credit rating on June 8, 2022, concludes this year’s review process by the four rating agencies. The report states B.C. has a record of “outperformance”. “Despite rising debt from a pandemic-driven deficit, which was further exacerbated by the November 2021 flooding and earlier wildfires, B.C. continues to have one of the lowest debt burdens among provinces,” DBRS’s report said.

Alongside DBRS, all rating agencies cited the strength and diversity of the Province’s economy and strong fiscal management practices, combined with considerable fiscal flexibility and high levels of contingencies as key factors behind the high ratings. A recent Fitch report, which confirmed its continued strong rating for B.C., stated that, “British Columbia remains the growth leader among its Canadian peers.” The reports also bring attention to B.C.’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) profile.

“I am pleased to see the credit rating agencies recognizing the importance of looking at investments through an ESG lens as it further illustrates the strengths our province has,” Robinson said. “We are continuing to build on B.C.’s reputation as a leader in ESG standards through a continent-leading CleanBC plan; investments in the services people count on, like housing and child care; and transparent financial and governance reporting.”

B.C. continues to have the highest credit ratings among all provinces as each rating agency conducts a detailed review following the release of the provincial budget. High credit ratings allow the Province to have lower debt servicing costs, which enables government to continue to invest in British Columbians’ priorities, creating new economic opportunities, and building a strong and diverse low-carbon economy.


Quick Facts

  • S&P affirmed B.C.’s rating at AA+ with a stable outlook on April 12, 2022.
  • Fitch Ratings affirmed B.C.’s rating at AA+ with a stable outlook on April 29, 2022.
  • Moody’s affirmed B.C.’s rating at Aaa with stable outlook on May 11, 2022.
  • DBRS Morningstar confirmed B.C.’s rating at AA (high) with a stable trend on June 8, 2022.

Learn More


Source: BC Government News

Minister’s Statement on May’s Labour Force Survey Results

Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, has issued the following statement on the release of Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey for May 2022:

“As we focus on creating an economy built for everyone, B.C. continues to lead Canada’s economic recovery with the addition of 5,100 new jobs in May. B.C. saw a shift from part-time to full-time jobs with gains in the private sector.

“The unemployment rate in B.C. has dropped to a three-year low of 4.5%, which is a rate not seen since July 2019. This is a significant improvement from 5.4% in April 2022 and 7.0% from a year ago in May, 2021. There are now nearly 100,000 more people working in B.C. than prior to the pandemic.

“Our unemployment rate throughout the province shows our efforts to build a StrongerBC. Led by Victoria at 4.0%, other cities of note are Prince George at 4.4% (not seasonally adjusted), Abbotsford-Mission at 4.4% and Kelowna at 4.5%.

Minister’s Statement on May’s Labour Force Survey Results

Government of BC | Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation | Friday, June 10, 2022

Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, has issued the following statement on the release of Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey for May 2022:

“As we focus on creating an economy built for everyone, B.C. continues to lead Canada’s economic recovery with the addition of 5,100 new jobs in May. B.C. saw a shift from part-time to full-time jobs with gains in the private sector.

“The unemployment rate in B.C. has dropped to a three-year low of 4.5%, which is a rate not seen since July 2019. This is a significant improvement from 5.4% in April 2022 and 7.0% from a year ago in May, 2021. There are now nearly 100,000 more people working in B.C. than prior to the pandemic.

“Our unemployment rate throughout the province shows our efforts to build a StrongerBC. Led by Victoria at 4.0%, other cities of note are Prince George at 4.4% (not seasonally adjusted), Abbotsford-Mission at 4.4% and Kelowna at 4.5%.

“May and June mark the start of many students re-entering the workforce for part-time seasonal employment. This is welcome news for many businesses facing labour shortages, especially in the hospitality and tourism sector.

“But we know we need to do more. Right now, there are more jobs than people in the province. That’s why we need to redouble our efforts to bring people to B.C. and build on our recovery by investing in the jobs of tomorrow through our StrongerBC Economic Plan.

“With more than one million jobs forecast over the next decade, we remain laser-focused on meeting our generational commitment to close the skills gap and train more people for the jobs of the future.

“And we’re getting the word out of our skilled labour force internationally. On my recent 10-day trade mission to Europe, we signed agreements with the Netherlands and Finland to help create opportunities and jobs for British Columbians in fields such as agritech and mass timber.

“I was excited to see international leaders’ interest in our strong environmental, social and governance values and look forward to seeing our businesses continue to forge ties around the world, strengthen our supply chain and bring investment opportunities home to B.C.

“We will continue our work to tackle the challenges of today, while growing an economy that works for everyone because we know that an economy built for all is an economy is built to succeed. Our StrongerBC Economic Plan will keep delivering for people in every part of British Columbia by fighting inequality and climate change, while fostering clean and inclusive growth.”


Learn More


Source: BC Government News

More Homes for British Columbians Through Speculation and Vacancy Tax

B.C.’s speculation and vacancy tax (SVT) helped make homes more affordable in the SVT areas of the province, based on independent analysis by Tsur Somerville and Jake Wetzel.

“Homes should be homes, not safety deposit boxes,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. “Two leading researchers in housing affordability have highlighted how the SVT turned thousands of empty units into homes for people and kept prices lower than they would have been without the tax. The tax is working to keep homes available in the middle of a housing crisis instead of them being left empty by speculators.”

The first comprehensive analysis of the SVT (Review Report) since it was launched in 2018 shows that, prior to the pandemic, it was helping improve home prices for renters and owners. It also confirms that the tax, specifically the 2% tax rate for foreign owners and satellite families, encouraged the return of approximately 20,000 condo units to the long-term rental market in Metro Vancouver.

More Homes for British Columbians Through Speculation and Vacancy Tax

Government of BC | Ministry of Finance | Thursday, June 9, 2022

B.C.’s speculation and vacancy tax (SVT) helped make homes more affordable in the SVT areas of the province, based on independent analysis by Tsur Somerville and Jake Wetzel.

“Homes should be homes, not safety deposit boxes,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. “Two leading researchers in housing affordability have highlighted how the SVT turned thousands of empty units into homes for people and kept prices lower than they would have been without the tax. The tax is working to keep homes available in the middle of a housing crisis instead of them being left empty by speculators.”

The first comprehensive analysis of the SVT (Review Report) since it was launched in 2018 shows that, prior to the pandemic, it was helping improve home prices for renters and owners. It also confirms that the tax, specifically the 2% tax rate for foreign owners and satellite families, encouraged the return of approximately 20,000 condo units to the long-term rental market in Metro Vancouver.

The review report suggests areas where government could build on the benefits of the tax, including the possible expansion of taxable areas, and ways to encourage more people to get housing properties back onto the market or use them as homes.

“What is before us is a generational challenge and while some would try and eliminate the speculation tax and give a tax break to those who leave homes empty. We’re not turning back,” Robinson said. “We have a lot more work to do, and I’m pleased to see recommendations for how we can improve this tax and turn even more empty properties into homes for people.”

Those who own vacant properties in taxable areas of B.C., including out-of-province owners and foreign owners, pay the tax. More than 99% of B.C. residents do not pay the SVT.

All revenue helps fund affordable housing developments in the five taxable regions. For the 2020 calendar year, the SVT raised $81 million, bringing the three-year total of revenue generated to $231 million. During this same three-year period, the Province invested nearly $2.8 billion in housing in the five SVT regions.


Quick Facts

  • Through the Homes for B.C. plan that includes the SVT, the B.C. government is making the largest investment in housing in the province’s history, which is more than $6 billion over 10 years.
  • Since introducing the plan, the Province has funded nearly 34,000 more affordable new homes in more than 100 communities.
  • An SVT Review Report must be produced and made public every five years.
  • The B.C. government also released an annual consultation report for the 2020 SVT tax year.
  • The annual report follows each SVT tax year and consultation with mayors from areas where the tax applies.
  • Both reports are required under the Speculation and Vacancy Tax Act.

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Source: BC Government News