December 2019 - January 2020 Best Cities for Work in B.C.

With a mission to inform, empower, celebrate and advocate for British Columbia's current and aspiring business leaders, BCBusiness go behind the headlines and bring readers face to face with the key issues and people driving business in B.C.

Issue link: http://digital.canadawide.com/i/1184822

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Page 52 of 71

DECEMBER/JANUARY 2020 BCBUSINESS 53 Can we get some clarity? Outside Metro Vancouver, HSBC's Pete Molenaar relates, people who run lumber and other "meat-and-potatoes" businesses fret about regulatory uncertainty. "There is a low hum just to have a clear and deliverable framework for getting things done," he says. "I don't know if it's slowing things down a lot, but it's definitely inhibiting opportunity." Finlayson of the BCBC calls it a made-in-Canada problem: "The regulatory systems are very slow-moving, but we're in a fast- changing world." Rather than widespread deregulation, he'd like to see B.C. modernize its regulatory processes and decision-making. For example, policy-makers could use geophysical mapping, data analytics and other tools to get a better picture of the land base and its natural resources. "Aboriginal rights and title issues and historical uses of certain parts of Crown land, that could all be documented using modern technology so they wouldn't have to do it again each time a new mining permit is being developed," Finlayson says. Indigenous rights and the climate fight On the policy front, Ivanova highlights two provincial govern- ment efforts that could impact businesses in 2020 and beyond. B.C. recently became the first province to introduce legislation that would square its laws and policies with the United Nations Declara- tion on the Rights of Indigenous People ( UNDRIP). "Perhaps it will provide more regulatory certainty, or at least a path forward in terms of the issues around Indigenous rights and title," Ivanova says. Then there's the government's CleanBC plan, whose goals include making all new cars sold in the province zero-emission by 2040 and launching training programs for what it calls the clean jobs of the future. Given our cleantech sector's successes to date, Ivanova believes it can become a global leader, replacing some of the jobs lost in traditional resources industries. "Perhaps some incentive from government or policy-makers would help realize that potential faster, but climate change is one of the defining chal- lenges of our time." Over the past couple of years, data from the BC Chamber network has shown "the convergence of the twin pain points of carbon tax and climate change," Litwin says. Where busi- nesses were more likely to finger the carbon tax as an obsta- cle to growth and investment, "awareness around climate change has now caught up and is starting to surpass it as a choke point," he adds. "Look at the tourism sector in B.C.: it just takes a couple of wildfires and a few floods, and they lose their sweet spot for the whole season." Small and medium-sized businesses want to be part of the cli- mate change solution, Litwin says. Besides making it easier for SMEs to seek CleanBC funding, he argues, the provincial government could offer incentives for them to buy lower-emission machinery and equipment. B.C. businesses fetch a premium Depending on who you ask, outside investment in B.C. is a bonanza or a work in progress. For her part, McGuinness is seeing plenty of interest from buyers. Sequeira Partners, which advises Western BCBUSINESS.CA IN THE KNOW (From left) Panel members Val Litwin, Iglika Ivanova and Bryan Yu

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