The B.C. economy is expected to continue seeing stable growth in the coming years despite ongoing global volatility according to the independent Economic Forecast Council, Finance Minister Michael de Jong said at the close of his annual meeting with the council.
B.C.'s economic growth is expected to outperform Canada in the coming years. On average, the council is forecasting B.C.'s real GDP growth at 2.5% in 2015, 2.8% in 2016, and 2.6% in 2017. Average forecast growth is down slightly for 2015, unchanged for 2016, and up slightly for 2017 compared to the council’s previous forecast in January of this year. The council also projects B.C.’s real GDP will grow by an average of 2.4% for the 2018-20 period. An updated forecast from the council will be published with Budget 2016.
The council also projects B.C. real GDP will grow by an average of 2.4% for the 2018-20 period. An updated forecast from the council will be published with Budget 2016.
Discussion at the meeting focused on B.C. housing affordability, commodity prices and their effect on B.C.’s resource sectors, slowing growth in China, and opportunities and uncertainty surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership, upcoming Softwood Lumber Agreement negotiations, and the new federal government’s fiscal priorities.
The Economic Forecast Council includes some of the most respected independent economic forecasters in Canada. The 13-member council's mandate—as determined by the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act—is to provide economic advice to the Minister of Finance in advance of each year's budget and fiscal plan.
The Budget 2016 Economic Forecast Council projections will serve to determine a potential Economic Stability Dividend for public-sector employees in 2017, based on agreements negotiated under the government’s Economic Stability Mandate. de Jong recently announced the first of four potential Economic Stability Dividends will be paid to public-sector workers covered by agreements under the mandate starting in February 2016.
Minister of Finance Michael de Jong ─
“With moderate growth expected in the B.C. economy over the next three years, our focus on fiscal prudence and spending discipline remains at the forefront. British Columbia’s strategy of export diversification is ever more critical as jurisdictions around the world face ongoing economic uncertainty.”
A backgrounder follows.