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B.C.'s economy forecast to remain steady, despite slower near-term economic growth

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 11:51 PST, Tue December 6, 2022

Like other jurisdictions, B.C. is expected to see slower economic growth through 2023 because of global inflation and higher interest rates, before steady growth resumes in the medium term, according to projections from private-sector forecasters.

Each year, B.C.'s finance minister meets with the Economic Forecast Council (EFC), a 13-member council of private-sector forecasters from throughout Canada, in preparation for the next year's budget. This is the second year that an additional set of discussions was added, providing an opportunity to consult with an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Advisory Council to explore how the provincial government can continue to build a more inclusive, sustainable economy and support well-being in British Columbia.

The EFC anticipates the province's economy will grow by 2.9 per cent in 2022 and 0.4 per cent in 2023; slower than its January 2022 forecasts of 4.2 per cent and 2.7 per cent, respectively. The updated figures are similar to what was presented in the province's Second Quarterly Report. Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is then expected to pick up, with an increase of 1.6 per cent in 2024, followed by gains of 2.3 per cent, 2.3 per cent, and 2.1 per cent in 2025, 2026, and 2027, respectively. The reduction in the near-term outlook is consistent with other jurisdictions and reflects persistent global inflation and interest rates rising higher and more rapidly than expected throughout Canada.

"We're entering this period of slower growth and challenging global economic times in a strong position to continue supporting people, because B.C.'s economy grew more than most last year," said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. "We'll use the resources we have to address the issues that matter most to people, including housing, health care, and building a sustainable economy that works for everyone—but no matter what is on the horizon and no matter what the numbers show, this government will continue to be here to support people."

Discussions with the EFC and the ESG Advisory Council focused on current events, issues affecting B.C.'s economy, and the environmental, social, and governance opportunities and challenges facing the province. Topics at the meetings included:

• Global inflation and monetary policy impacts

• Government policies to stimulate investment and ensure shared prosperity

• Socioeconomic factors in B.C., such as inequality, Indigenous partnerships, and well-being

• Environment, climate change, and the transition to a lower carbon economy

• Housing affordability and supply

• Labour market dynamics and immigration

• Opportunities for businesses to build on B.C.'s strong ESG profile

"We are committed to building an inclusive economy, where environmental and social sustainability is the basis for future growth," said Robinson. "A strong social, cultural, and economic foundation is key to successful and resilient communities. We know this, and we know generations will benefit from the decisions we make right now."

Forecasts and feedback from the two councils will be used to inform the next provincial budget, which will be released on Feb. 28, 2023. EFC members will also have an opportunity to submit revised forecasts in early January.

To read B.C.'s Second Quarterly Report, visit gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/finances/reports/quarterly-reports.

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