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BC Finance Report Warns of Severe 2024 Economic Downturn

The Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) has expressed deep concern about the projected economic slowdown and deterioration of the province’s fiscal position. The government’s First Quarterly report, released on September 27, predicts weak economic growth for the province due to a slowdown in the export sector and diminishing benefits from large capital projects. While the economic growth outlook for this year has been revised upwards, the outlook for 2024 has been significantly downgraded. The BCBC highlights that real per capita income is expected to decline by 2 percent in both 2021 and 2024/25, a situation typically associated with recessions.

The Business Council emphasizes the need for the government to prioritize the economy, stating that without increased investment and stronger economic growth, many households in British Columbia will continue to face declining living standards in the coming years. The BCBC urges the fast-tracking of projects across various sectors, including LNG, mining, AI, and biotechnology, as these sectors can create and sustain high-paying jobs. Laura Jones, the President and CEO of the BCBC, emphasizes the importance of economic growth, as it provides hope and resources for areas such as education and social housing. The report also reveals that revenue shortfalls and higher spending have led to a significant increase in the projected deficit, reaching $6.7 billion in fiscal 2023/24, surpassing the deficit incurred during the pandemic year of 2020/21 by more than $1 billion.

In summary, the BCBC is deeply concerned about the projected economic slowdown in British Columbia and the decline in the province’s fiscal position. The report indicates weaker economic growth due to a slowdown in the export sector and diminishing benefits from capital projects. Real per capita income is expected to decline, which is unusual and typically associated with recessions. The BCBC urges the government to prioritize the economy and fast-track projects in various sectors to create high-paying jobs and improve living standards. The report also highlights the significant increase in the projected deficit, exceeding the previous year’s deficit.

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