Public Affairs Update Header
January 7, 2013
In This Issue
Businesses Can Now Register for PST
Province Continues to See Job Growth
British Columbians Would Support Federal Conservatives in Next Election
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 BC.
Businesses Can Now Register for PST
BC businesses that sell or lease taxable goods, software or services can now register to collect the Provincial Sales Tax(PST), which will be re-implemented April 1, 2013.Secretary of State for Small Business Hon. Naomi Yamamoto says 100,000 businesses will need to register, and that many will be collecting the tax for the first time.

The PST taxation rate will be seven per cent on most goods and services bought and sold in BC, but alcohol, accommodation, and the sale of some vehicles, boats and planes will be taxed at higher rates. The GST taxation rate will be five per cent, where it applies.

BC businesses need to ensure that they are informed and prepared to return to the PST as a recent poll by the BC Chamber has indicated that 63% of BC businesses are not prepared for the transition, and 62% are not aware of the changes that have been made to the PST.

The provincial government has set up to provide information to businesses.  There are many resources available such as webinars and free consultations.  Additionally, the BC Chamber has a short overview and resource page available online.

Province Continues to See Job Growth
At the close of 2012, British Columbia gained 600 new jobs in December and saw a drop in the unemployment rate to 6.5 per cent.Last month, the province gained 4,300 full-time positions. Regionally, Vancouver Island and Coast gained 3,300 positions, the Kootenays gained 800 positions, the North Coast and Nechako region gained 400 positions and the Northeast gained 300. Of BC’s main metropolitan areas, Kelowna reported a gain of 600 jobs and Victoria gained 1,500.

The construction sector continues to experience steady growth, showing strong gains of 14,800 jobs last month. Other areas of job growth include educational services (+12,000 jobs) and wholesale and retail trade (+6,900).

Since December 2011, BC has added 19,400 jobs as a result of a gain of 30,800 full-time positions combined with a loss of 11,400 part-time positions. With 19,400 job gains since December 2011, BC ranks fourth compared to other provinces, behind Quebec (+138,000 jobs), Ontario (+100,300 jobs) and Alberta (+31,800 jobs).

British Columbians Would Support Federal Conservatives in Next Election
An Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll released last week indicates that if a federal election were held tomorrow, 43 percent of British Columbians would favour the Conservative Party, compared to 30 percent who would support the NDP and 16 percent who would support the Green Party.Across Canada, 35 percent of decided voters and leaners (+1 since June) would cast a ballot for the Conservative candidate in their riding. The NDP is a close second (33%, -2 since June), followed by the Liberal Party (19%, no change since June), the Green Party (6%, +1 since June) and the Bloc Québécois (6%, no chance since June).

The online survey of 1,012 Canadian adults also found that if Justin Trudeau was leader of the federal Liberal Party, the party would garner the backing of 42 percent of decided voters.

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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.