B.C.’s economic growth pays dividends

STATISTICS Canada has confirmed that British Columbia’s economy grew by 3.8% in 2017, exceeding February’s Budget 2017 forecast of 2.3% provided by the Economic Forecast Council (EFC), the Province announced on Thursday.

The province’s economic growth in 2017 triggers the Economic Stability Dividend (ESD), negotiated as part of the Province’s 2014 Economic Stability Mandate. The ESD will provide unionized employees with a 0.75% additional wage increase beginning in February 2019. All four dividends total 1.95% and over the five-year term, employees will have received 7.45% in cumulative wage increases, including the 5.5% negotiated under the Economic Stability Mandate.

To activate the ESD negotiated in the 2014 mandate, real gross domestic product (GDP) growth for B.C. must exceed the forecast provided by the independent EFC for the calendar year. The wage increase is calculated based on 50% of the positive difference between the EFC forecast for real GDP growth and actual growth as reported by Statistics Canada.

British Columbia is on track to be one of Canada’s strongest economies in 2018 and 2019. B.C. has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and private sector economists expect British Columbia’s economic growth to rank near the top of the provincial rankings, the B.C. Government said.