November 1, 2016
An assembly of provincial and national leaders gathered to examine global factors influencing the competitiveness of BC’s economy at the annual BC Business Summit. Discussion also centered on the strategy and planning necessary to achieve long-term economic prosperity. The sold-out event, which was titled “BC 2035: A Vision for Economic Growth and Prosperity,” was hosted by the Business Council of BC and held at the Fairmont Hotel on November 1, 2016. CPABC was proud to be an initiative sponsor of the event.
A presentation on the BC 2035 initiative opened the summit. Completed by the Business Council of BC, the initiative outlined a roadmap for achieving a competitive provincial economy over the next two decades, and presented perspectives from senior business leaders, government, First Nations leaders, elected officials, and thought leaders across BC. BC 2035 identified four foundational pillars for long-term provincial economic prosperity: people, education, and skills; healthy communities; building a more competitive economy; and embracing innovation and technology.
The summit also offered attendees the opportunity to gain insight from respected economic experts and academics. CPABC second vice-chair, Barry Macdonald, FCPA, FCA, introduced the first keynote speaker, Dr. Santa Ono, president and vice chancellor of the University of British Columbia. During his presentation “Learning, Research, and Innovation as the Foundation for Economic Growth,” Ono spoke on the need for, and opportunity to create, a deeper pool of human capital in BC, noting that education is the foundation of a strong economy. Ono remarked that talent is one of BC’s greatest natural resources, and that the province must focus on growing such talent to remain competitive. He also addressed the importance of collaboration between education and business, as well as the valuable role research and innovation clusters can play in supporting provincial and national economies.
Stephen Poloz, governor of the Bank of Canada, provided the summit’s second keynote address. During his presentation, “Certainty for Uncertain Times,” Poloz discussed the role inflation targeting has played in Canada’s economy, noting that over a 25-year span, it “has proven its worth repeatedly, both in good economic times as well as turbulent ones.” The Honourable Kevin Lynch, vice-chair of BMO Financial Group, provided the third keynote address, “A Transforming World: Implications for Canadian Business.” Emphasizing that “change is the new constant,” Lynch noted the need for Canada to improve upon research and development and innovation by business, in order to keep pace with global competitors.
Two panel discussions were held at the summit, “Diverse Economies and Partnerships” and “Creating Competitive Urban Clusters.” Sessions based on the theme of “Today’s Ideas, Tomorrow’s Prosperity” were held throughout the day and focused on topics relevant to BC’s economy, including social and technological innovation, a more competitive tax environment, and First Nations reconciliation and innovation.
Premier Christy Clark closed the summit, acknowledging the importance of investing in transit, housing, healthcare, and education to create a prosperous provincial economy.