Public Affairs Update Header
December 12, 2013
In This Issue
New labour agreements reached under economic stability mandate
Special representative releases report on West Coast energy development
B.C. unemployment rate rises in November
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.

New labour agreements reached under economic stability mandate

Last week, the B.C. government reached three five-year tentative agreements covering approximately 51,000 public-sector workers under the new Economic Stability Mandate. The three agreements cover:

  • almost 25,000 BC Government and Service Employees’ Union members employed in the public service working in occupations that provide direct government services;
  • approximately 11,000 employees working in the community social services sector, including people working in the areas of Community Living Services, General Services and Aboriginal Services; and
  • more than 15,000 community-health employees in an agreement between the Health Employers’ Association of BC and the Community Bargaining Association; comprised of several unions including the BCGEU, UFCW, HEU, CUPE and the HSA.

The three tentative agreements cover a five-year term, from April 1, 2014, through March 31, 2019. They provide for modest fixed wage increases over the term of the agreements, plus the possibility of an economic growth-sharing dividend that would only be paid if the Province’s real gross domestic product exceeds the forecast set by the Economic Forecast Council published annually in the February Budget.


Special representative releases report on West Coast energy development
Last week, Doug Eyford, special federal representative on West Coast energy infrastructure, released his report, Forging Partnerships, Building Relationships. The report, based on consultations with First Nations groups in B.C. and Alberta, contains dozens of recommendations, many of which address the need for open dialogue about resource development in the two provinces.


Among other recommendations, Eyford advocates that:

  • the federal government should spearhead consultations with aboriginal groups, industry and non-government agencies to advance pipeline and marine safety, and strategies to mitigate potential impacts of oil spills;
  • the federal government should target funding for aboriginal education and pre-employment skills development and training to remove barriers to jobs in the resource industry; and
  • the government must follow through on the duty to consult aboriginal communities about their concerns.

B.C. unemployment rate rises in November
New numbers from Statistics Canada indicate that BC lost 8000 jobs in November, mostly full-time positions.


As a result, the province’s unemployment rate rose to 6.7 per cent last month from 6.5 per cent in October. The rate is still below the national unemployment rate of 6.9 per cent.


Nationally, there were 21,600 jobs added in November, though most were part-time positions. The national unemployment rate remained unchanged.


Regionally, only Alberta had a significant increase in job creation relative to its population, with an increase of approximately 11,000, while Newfoundland and Labrador lost about 2,600 workers. Other provinces experienced only minor changes relative to their populations.


Statistics Canada noted that even with the larger than expected gain in November, job creation in Canada has settled at an average 13,400 per month so far into 2013, compared to an average of 25,400 for the same 11-month period in 2012.


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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.