August 18, 2014 – BC Chamber Public Affairs Update

Public Affairs Update Header
August 18, 2014
In This Issue
B.C. teachers resume negotiations with the Province
Northwest Transmission Line now operational
Online tool helps B.C. businesses capitalize on LNG opportunities
B.C. hosts digital arts and technology conference SIGGRAPH
B.C., China sign wood-frame MOU
The Public Affairs Update is your weekly insight, perspective and analysis on politics in British Columbia and Canada.  This newsletter is brought to you by the largest, and most broadly-based business organization in the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce – the Voice of Business in B.C.

B.C. teachers resume negotiations with the Province
Bargaining between the B.C. government and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation has resumed again. However, at this point, neither party has revealed information regarding what progress has been made. The B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils called an emergency meeting for this past Saturday. Without a deal before August 25, school will not resume on time.

Minister of Finance Mike de Jong announced that the Province has offered parents of public school students under the age of 13 $40 per day if the strike does not conclude by the scheduled start of classes in September.

The program is estimated to cost the government about $12 million per day, which will be provided from savings the government makes by not paying teachers during the strike. Jim Iker, president of the BCTF, has criticised the government’s plan, stating that it will prolong the dispute between the two parties.

Northwest Transmission Line now operational
B.C.’s 344-kilometre Northwest Transmission Line is now in service, carrying power from the Skeena substation near Terrace to a new substation near Bob Quinn Lake in northwestern B.C.

BC Hydro says the line will deliver affordable, reliable and clean energy that will stimulate the economy and provide renewable power to the remote region.

The completed transmission line delivers on a BC Chamber of Commerce policy, which called for the development of this key piece of northern B.C. infrastructure.

Online tool helps B.C. businesses capitalize on LNG opportunities
B.C. businesses can capitalize on the opportunities of B.C.’s developing LNG industry through a new tool: the LNG Buy BC online registry tool.

B.C.’s developing LNG industry is expected to generate $1 trillion in economic activity and as many as 100,000 jobs over the next year – and the industry will need local goods and services.

The LNG-Buy BC online registry tool is designed to help connect B.C. companies to these LNG projects.  It launches this fall, but businesses can pre-register now at:  http://LNGBuyBC.ca

Early registration ensures that when LNG-Buy BC is launched, local businesses will be front and centre as we showcase the full range of services and capabilities our province offers.  The tool will help promote B.C. businesses, generate awareness around LNG projects and assist in making the connections that B.C. businesses need to grow.

The LNG-Buy BC online tool is geared at ensuring that B.C. companies are at the front of the line when LNG proponents and their contractors are looking for goods and services.

B.C. hosts digital arts and technology conference SIGGRAPH
Last week, British Columbia took centre stage to demonstrate the province’s growing strength in technology and digital arts during SIGGRAPH 2014, the world’s foremost computer graphics and art conference held at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Vancouver first hosted SIGGRAPH in 2011 and is the only city outside of the U.S.A. that has ever been selected for the North American conference. SIGGRAPH 2011 broke previous convention attendance records for the city, generating an estimated $38.5 million in direct spending for the local economy.

SIGGRAPH attracts a mix of artists, programmers, filmmakers, computer scientists, animators, game designers and others involved in computer graphics, film making, video games and hardware who all share interest pushing the envelope of digital graphics and art. Over 15,000 attendees from 75 different countries gathered over the five-day conference to watch, discuss and learn from each other.

 

B.C., China sign wood-frame MOU
Efforts to expand export markets for B.C. lumber took a major step forward last week with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding designed to increase the use of wood-frame construction in China.

Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson and Tan Yueming, minister of housing and urban rural development in China’s Zhejiang province, took part in the official signing ceremony via videoconference.

The ceremony follows through on a commitment the two governments made last fall during Thomson’s trade mission to China. The Province of Zhejiang had expressed interest in developing wood-frame construction expertise in its growing tourism sector and other applications. In China, memoranda of understanding are the first step toward increasing commercial activity.

The MOU calls on the two governments to promote the use of environmentally friendly low-carbon, wood-frame construction, develop wood-frame construction codes and standards for application in China, and organize exchange visits for government and representatives to share technical and experience and knowledge.

B.C. will also increase co-operation with Zhejiang on wood-frame construction research, with a specific focus on local construction needs in Zhejiang province, including government-funded public building projects and home renovations.In 2013, B.C. exported a record $1.4 billion worth of lumber to China, up from $1.1 billion in 2012. Zhejiang in China’s tenth largest province (by population). The MOU will remain in effect for the next five years.

 
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This weekly report produced for the BC Chamber of Commerce by Fleishman-Hillard.  While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information included in this publication as of the date of issue, events and government policies are subject to frequent change.  Therefore, the BC Chamber of Commerce and Fleishman-Hillard cannot assume any responsibility for actions taken solely or principally on the basis on the information contained herein.

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