Public Affairs Update Header
June 9, 2014
In This Issue
Province, BC Chamber launch forums to tackle competitiveness
Labour dispute continues between Province, BCTF
TransCanada announces agreement regarding $1.9b pipeline
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.

Province, BC Chamber launch forums to tackle competitiveness 
B.C.’s economy faces a serious challenge: our businesses’ global competitiveness has been sliding for some time. Since 2009, Canada has slid to 14th place from 9th in the World Economic Forum’s annual list of the world’s most competitive countries. Additionally, a recent Conference Board of Canada report found that B.C. is lagging many of its peer Canadian jurisdictions, ranking 7th for productivity compared to other provinces.


To find solutions to this challenge, the BC Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the B.C. government to launch Competitiveness BC Forums. Through these forums, the BC Chamber is canvassing businesses’ ideas about what problems they’re facing, and any solutions that can help businesses can better compete.


These forums will hone in on barriers to B.C.’s competitiveness and productivity. It is important to understand that improving these metrics is not about getting employees to work harder.  Productivity is actually about finding innovative ways to meet customer needs.  It’s about creating an atmosphere in the workplace that makes work more satisfying for all.  It’s about being more efficient – learning to use less effort, space, equipment and time to produce goods and deliver services.


The first of the forums, generously funded by the B.C. government, was held Thursday, June 5 in West Kelowna.


“Business leaders from Kelowna and the Central Okanagan region kicked off this consultation process with strong engagement and great ideas,” said John Winter, president and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, who was in Kelowna for the forum. “As always, B.C.’s businesses bring critical insights to policy challenges, and the Kelowna forum demonstrated that. We look forward to hearing more great ideas from more business communities as we continue our cross-B.C. forums.”

Upcoming forums are scheduled for:

  • June 18: Vancouver
  • June 19: Terrace
  • June 25: Prince George
  • June 26: Fort St. John
  • Fall: Additional forums will be announced that will include events in the Kootenays, Vancouver Island and Thompson Regions.

Labour dispute continues between Province, BCTF
Contention remains between the Province and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), as the union schedules a third week of rotating strikes this week. This week, the Labour Relations Board also ruled against the BCTF, saying that the province holds the right to dock teachers’ pay by 10 per cent.


Today and tomorrow, teachers will vote on escalating labour action to a full-scale strike.

Internal BCTF communications, however, indicate that the union’s Collective Bargaining Defence Fund does not have enough money to give teachers strike pay after next week. As such, if teachers continue the rotating walkouts past next week or if they increase their job action they will not receive compensation.


TransCanada announces agreement regarding $1.9b pipeline
Last week, TransCanada announced an agreement with Chevron Corp. and Apache Corp. regarding a $1.9-billion LNG pipeline to supply the Kitimat LNG facility.


The agreement outlines the delivery of approximately 1.9 billion cubic feet of gas per day for the Merrick Mainline project. The proposed pipeline would run 260 kilometres, from northeastern B.C. to Summit Lake in the interior. It will also connect with Kitimat LNG’s proposed Pacific Trail Pipeline, anticipated to run from Summit Lake to a planned export terminal in Kitimat.

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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.