Tax Tips to Help and Tax Scams to Avoid

Vancouver, BC – Tax season is here and BBB offers plenty of tips to help you find a trust tax preparer and to potentially avoid a couple of scams making the rounds in Canada.

“The CRA tax scam was still on our National Top 10 Scams list this year,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “The upside is we did see a drop in that scam, however it came back when the scammers contacted their victims offering to return their money for a fee.”

The CRA scam involved threatening phone calls at all hours demanding a tax repayment or you would be arrested or deported.

“The other good thing, is that according to BBB’s new Risk Index, fewer people are actually falling for tax scams this year even if they are approached,” adds Kelly. “Other scams we have seen are fake emails that look like they come from the CRA or other online tax return applications that actually redirect any government payments or steal information. These we need to be aware of.”

BBB offers these tip to find a trusted tax professional and to avoid getting scammed:

* Check on qualifications. Ask about their training, experience and knowledge of current tax law, and whether they are members of a professional organization with continuing education requirements and a code of ethics.

* Learn about their service terms in advance. Find out whether they guarantee the accuracy of their work and amend the return if there’s a mistake. And find out if they can be reached year round if there is a mistake or are required to undergo an audit, you want to make sure you can reach them after the tax season is complete.

* Ask for references. Get referrals from satisfied clients.

* Check with BBB. Visit www.bbb.org/mbc/ to determine if the tax preparer has a reputation for reliability and trustworthiness.

* Request a quote. Ask for an estimate of the preparation fee before authorizing the work.

* Signature. Make certain the preparer has signed it and get a copy and payment receipt for your records. Also review the return before signing it and ask for clarification of any entries you don’t understand.

Each year new scams surface online, promising tax refunds and other incentives to get you to part with your personal information.

Be on the watch for the following tax scams:

* Phishing Scams. Never open or download attachments included with messages claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency. Typically, these messages advise the recipient that they have qualified for a tax refund and need to click on a link to enter their information. The link takes the person to a bogus website and requires the visitor to enter personal identification. CRA will not contact you via email. Sometimes this is used to re-direct a direct deposit return.

* Identity Theft. If you’re doing your taxes on your own online, don’t use a public wireless connection. Even using the latest wireless security encryption standards such as WPA2 can be risky, so use a wired connection when dealing with sensitive financial and personal information.

* Malware. Refrain from opening any unsolicited tax-related email message, as some messages can exploit weaknesses in your browser and initiate a drive-by download of spyware or malware without your knowledge.

* The Canada Revenue Agency DOES NOT solicit personal information online or over the phone.

India rejects extension on pulse imports in blow to Canada’s largest market

CALGARY — India has rejected a long-standing exemption on pest treatment for peas and lentils in a blow to Canada’s top export market for the crops.

Federal Agriculture Minister spokesman Guy Gallant confirmed the Indian government has not granted another six-month exemption that would have crops fumigated on arrival, rather than before export, as has been allowed for more than a decade.

The decision puts Canada’s pulse exports to the country, worth $1.1-billion in 2016 and $1.5-billion in 2015, in jeopardy because the required treatment of methyl bromide doesn’t work in the cold and also is being phased out because it’s damaging to the ozone layer.

“India’s our largest market for pulse crops for peas and lentils, so the importance of India can’t be overstated,” said Carl Potts, executive director of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers.

“From a farmers’ perspective, ensuring we have ongoing, continual market access is a very important priority for us,” he said.

Some shippers have already stopped accepting pulses for export to India over fears they will be rejected on arrival, since the current exemption expires at the end of March.

Gord Kurbis, director of market access and trade at Pulse Canada, said officials at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and their Indian counterparts are working on a potential solution that could see Canada’s system of management practices and controls stand in for treatment before export.

But with the March deadline looming, he’s worried there’s not enough time for the scientists and regulators to approve the solution.

“The timing is definitely an issue,” said Kurbis.

He said he’s hoping officials will step in and keep the trade open until a longer-term agreement is reached.

“There needs to be awareness of this issue and intervention at the highest levels,” said Kurbis.

Gallant said the federal government is still working that long-term solution, and that the issue will come up when Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay visits India next week.

The trade issue comes after exports of peas and lentils to India grew by 20 per cent a year between 2010 and 2015 to account for about a third of all pulse exports for Canada’s 12,000 pulse farmers.

Pulse Canada says the fumigation treatment is not needed because the insects India is concerned about aren’t in Canada, and the cold winters help reduce the threat of other pests.

The issue carries some parallels to Canada’s dispute last year over canola exports to China, which had set restrictions on the amount of detritus allowed in shipments because of pest concerns.

The Canadian Press

B.C. man who scammed three with sham stock scheme banned from trading

BY BETHANY LINDSAY

Vancouver sun

Ayaz Dhanani, shown here in a Facebook photo, is in court this week to face criminal charges of fraud and theft, and is also facing fraud allegations from the B.C. Securities Commission. Dhanani says he is not guilty and the cases against him are without merit.

Ayaz Dhanani, shown here in a Facebook photo, is in court this week to face criminal charges of fraud and theft, and is also facing fraud allegations from the B.C. Securities Commission. Dhanani says he is not guilty and the cases against him are without merit. PHOTO BY FACEBOOK PHOTO

A Vancouver man who defrauded investors with promises of lucrative returns from imaginary companies has been permanently banned from B.C.’s capital markets and fined $225,000.

Ayaz Dhanani bilked three people out of $188,800 in a scheme involving stocks in gold-mining and oil companies. None of the firms or stocks were real, and the B.C. Securities Commission ordered Dhanani last week to pay back the ill-gotten funds, end all involvement in the securities market, and pay a hefty administrative penalty.

“The respondent’s misconduct is an egregious form of fraud,” the BCSC panel wrote in its decision. “It was all a sham. There is no evidence that there ever were any real investments contemplated by the respondent. The respondent simply pocketed the funds obtained from the investors and used them for the personal expenses of himself and his family.”

The gravity of the scam was particularly intense because of the lies Dhanani told, including the use of aliases, according to the decision. The fraudster is known to use at least six aliases.

One victim told a BCSC hearing that he was just 21 when he lost $55,000 in the scam, money he had saved from summer jobs and birthday gifts. Another said he was “in a desperate state” when he handed over $120,000.

Money from two of the investors ended up in a bank account belonging to Dhanani’s father. So far, none of the victims have been paid back, and despite a freeze order on one account, it’s not clear when or if Dhanani will have enough money to reimburse them.

Dhanani also has a history of criminal convictions for fraud. He is currently in jail facing numerous charges including theft, assault, kidnapping, identity theft and fraud.

 

Percentage of single-family homes in Metro Vancouver worth more than $1 million in 2016 widens from 28% to 43%: Andy Yan

BY JOANNE LEE-YOUNG

In his latest snapshot of housing unaffordability, researcher Andy Yan shows the percentage of Metro Vancouver homes valued over $1 million rose from 28 per cent to 43 per cent in 2016.

Marked in red are homes over $1 million for 2016 and 2015.

For the past five years, Yan’s so-called “million dollar line” looking at home values based on data from B.C. Assessment has been a visual way to capture the geographical divide in housing prices.

At first, the symbolic measure sat around Main Street between Vancouver’s west and east sides before drifting eastward beyond Fraser Street. Last year, for the first time, it fanned out as Yan accessed data to include rising prices for homes across Metro Vancouver.

For 2016, which is based on assessments at July 2015, Richmond, Burnaby, Vancouver, North Vancouver and West Vancouver all had over 60 per cent of homes worth 1 million or more — with West Vancouver at the highest with 97 per cent.

Said Yan: “I’m guessing this rise is probably not due to increases in local wages and incomes. I think it’s likely a convergence and combination of constrained supply for single family detached housing, low interest loans, property speculation, and global capital with a sprinkle of trying to secure adequate family-oriented housing for many households with children.”

There doesn’t seem to be an abating of this trend in close sight despite softening real estate prices for some parts and categories of Metro Vancouver in 2016.

B.C. Assessment has warned that single detached homes in Metro Vancouver will be assessed 30 to 50 per cent higher for 2017 taxes than in 2016. It said that these properties went up the most in Vancouver, Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby, the North Shore, Squamish and in the Tri-Cities from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016, which is the date on which yearly assessments for 2017 taxes are set.

Yan, who is director at Simon Fraser University’s City Program, also looked at the impact of transportation costs on housing affordability.

In the City of Vancouver the average cost of transportation over 25 years — assuming two per cent inflation per year and that nothing changes to improve the current situation — works out to be $298,459, according to Yan.

By comparison, if you live in the Township of Langley, the 25-year cost of transportation would be $563,755.

Across the Metro Vancouver region, if you add in amortized 25 year average annual transportation cost estimates, the percentage of homes with a cost of over $1 million rises significantly from 43 per cent to 92 per cent.

In areas such as Vancouver, the North Shore, Burnaby and Richmond, adding in such transportation costs increases the percentage of home values, but it’s in Coquitlam, New Westminster, Surrey, Delta, Port Coquitlam and the township and city of Langley where the contrast is most pronounced. In Coquitlam, the percentage of home valued over $1 million goes from 22.4 per cent to 97 per cent if you account for estimated amortized transportation costs. In the township of Langley, the percentage rises from 4.8 per cent to 90 per cent.

“This is only looking at the (straight) cost of transportation, not even the time,” said Yan.

He continued: “There is ‘phantom affordability’ too, if you will. This idea that you can drive (further from the city) until you qualify (to buy a home) doesn’t take into consideration that as home mortgages (cost less) transportation mortgages (in some areas) go up.”

Yan said this is precisely the direction seen in some U.S. cities, where the areas hardest hit by affordability woes have been the outskirts and suburbs rather than the city centres even when they have seen some of the highest home prices.

Canadians’ rising household debt key risk to economy, Bank of Canada warns

BARBARA SHECTER, FINANCIAL POST

The key vulnerabilities to the Canadian financial system continue to be elevated household debt, imbalances in the housing market across the country, and “fragile” fixed-income market liquidity, the Bank of Canada said Thursday in its year-end review.

But the central bank says new “household vulnerabilities” will be mitigated over time by new housing finance rules, which are expected to slow the housing market.

In the December report, the second of two assessments of risk each year, the Bank of Canada noted that mortgage rates are rising in response to government and regulatory changes to housing finance rules, as well as higher long-term bond yields that are increasing lender funding costs.

However, though global economic growth has picked up in the second half of the year, Canadians continue to labour under record debt loads.

“On a national basis, household indebtedness has continued to rise and, more importantly, so has the proportion of highly indebted households in many Canadian cities,” the report said.

Highly indebted individuals are key targets of the new federal measures aimed at cooling the housing market, but it will take time for the changes to have the desired effect, Carolyn Wilkins, senior deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, said at a news conference Thursday.

“It’s not something that will be a matter of weeks. That’ll be over the next few years, so it will take some time for that risk to come down,” she said.

Since the Bank of Canada’s last report on financial system stability in June, federal, provincial and municipal authorities have introduced policies and rules aimed at tamping down skyrocketing home prices, particularly in Toronto and Vancouver. These include British Columbia’s land transfer tax that applies to foreign buyers, and more stringent federal requirements to qualify for insured mortgages across the country. In addition, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is ratcheting up the amount of capital banks must hold against riskier mortgages.

“Taken together, the changes will have the greatest effect on household indebtedness by improving the quality of future borrowing,” the Bank of Canada report says.

If new measures requiring a higher qualifying rate for borrowers had been in place during the 12 months leading up to September of 2016, 31 per cent of high-ratio mortgages issued nationally would not have qualified, the report says. High-ratio mortgages are those with a loan to value of more than 80 per cent.

The report notes that tightened rules for obtaining portfolio insurance or other low-ratio mortgage insurance should also influence household debt by making refinancing and long-amortization transactions more expensive or less available.

For now, the national ratio of debt to disposable income is approaching 170 per cent, with strong growth in mortgage credit, and consumer credit. And it is growing at or slightly above the rate of income growth.

“The proportion of borrowers with high mortgage debt relative to income continues to increase in many Canadian cities,” the report said.

“This trend is partly fuelled by rising house prices, particularly in Toronto and Vancouver.”

Almost half of the high-ratio mortgages originated in Toronto in the third quarter had loan-to-income ratios that exceeded 450 per cent, up from 41 per cent a year earlier.

What’s more, the Bank of Canada report says, high loan-to-income mortgages are spreading beyond Toronto to nearby cities including Oshawa and Hamilton. It these cities, the proportion of high-ratio mortgages with loan-to-income ratios exceeding 450 per cent has more than doubled over the past three years to 25 per cent.

One area where risk has diminished slightly since the Bank of Canada’s report in June is the potential fallout from low commodity prices.

To some extent, “we’ve come past that,” Stephen Poloz, Governor of the Bank of Canada, said at Thursday’s news conference. He said prices have come up from lows and shown more stability in the past six months. Still, the central bank is keeping an eye on the continuing impacts on households in oil-dependent provinces.

“We don’t see it as a major risk, but it’s important to understand that it’s not over,” Poloz said.

Beyond household debt and the mortgage market, the central bank’s report also weighed in a segment of the capital markets that is drawing attention at the international level: bond market liquidity.

An in-depth market survey conducted by the Canadian Fixed-Income Forum, an industry group assembled by the central bank, found that there are “pockets where liquidity problems are more evident,” Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said in a statement Thursday.

These pockets include corporate bonds and certain repo markets.

However, it is too early to determine that regulatory changes are behind the liquidity issues, since markets have yet to fully adapt to the new regulatory requirements, Poloz said. In addition, he said comparisons to the market before the 2008 financial crisis may not be the best standard for comparison “because liquidity was excessive and virtually costless at that time.”

Poloz said the Bank of Canada will keep tabs on the fixed income market, particularly since new regulations are likely to make liquidity marginally more costly, and market-making less lucrative.

“We will continue to monitor market behaviour and to engage with market participants, while pursuing work on the impact of regulatory reforms at the international level,” he said.

B.C. government offers down payment loans to first-time homebuyers

VICTORIA — The B.C. government will loan first-time homebuyers some of the cash they need to afford their down payment, Premier Christy Clark announced Thursday.

The program will provide a government-backed loan of up to $37,500, or five per cent, of the purchase price of a home for qualified buyers, starting Jan. 16.

The goal is to match part of a person’s down payment to help them afford to buy their first home, as long as they already qualify for a mortgage under federal rules and the home is worth less than $750,000.

“What we know is for many first-time home buyers qualifying for a mortgage is hard, but getting past that down payment and scraping together the $25,000 or $50,000 you might need to be able to get into your first home is just impossible,” said Clark.

“So we want to be there to help first-time home buyers get over that hump.”

Clark said the move is a way for government to “be a partner in your home” and move renters into home ownership where possible.

The 25-year loan is interest-free for the first five years, and does not require the homeowner to even pay down the principal during those first five years, as long as they keep the home as their principal residence. It will be recorded as a second mortgage on the title of the property.

After the first five years, the province expects monthly payments at the current interest rate, with the loan repaid over the remaining 20 years. Extra payments or full repayment at any time will be allowed, according to the government.

The new down-payment program will cost government an estimated $703 million over three years, and is expected to help 42,000 people, according to government figures.

To be eligible, a homeowner must:

  • Have saved a down payment amount at least equal to the loan amount for which they are applying from government.
  • Have been a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least five years.
  • Have lived in B.C. for at least one year prior to the sale.
  • Be a first-time buyer who has not owned an interest in any residential property anywhere in the world at any time.
  • The home must have a purchase price of less than $750,000.
  • The buyer must already be able to qualify for an insured high-ratio first mortgage for at least 80 per cent of the purchase price.
  • The combined gross household income of all people on title must not be more than $150,000.

Provincial officials provided a few examples Thursday of how the program would work.

On a home worth $600,000, federal mortgage rules dictate a person must have a down payment of at least $35,000. If the person has saved only $30,000, the government would provide a matching $30,000 loan, giving the buyer $60,000 for the down payment.

On a home worth $750,000 (the program maximum), the minimum down payment would be $50,000.  If a person had saved a $52,500 down payment, government would provide five per cent of the $750,000, adding $37,500 to the down payment and allowing the buyer to pay almost $90,000 as the down payment. That could save $5,200 on interest payments on the mortgage over five years, say government officials.

Applications for the program will start on Jan. 16, 2017, for purchases that close on or after Feb. 15, 2017. The province said it will be a three-year program.

Government officials told media Thursday they hoped the program would have a very small default rate on the loans, because the owners would be meeting federal mortgage rules and qualifications under federal stress tests.

The premier said she was not concerned the program would raise housing prices.

“Our analysis tells us that it won’t because everybody who is going to be eligible for this program will have to have been accepted for a mortgage already,” said Clark.

The changes for first-time homebuyers are the latest in a series of housing reforms by the Clark government.

The province introduced a 15-per-cent tax on foreign buyers in August, which data suggests has sharply curtailed foreign purchases in the Metro Vancouver real estate market. The tax has done little to lower the price of most detached homes, but the real estate industry expects prices to drop next year.

The government had also offered tax breaks to first-time homebuyers in its February budget. The budget reforms included removing the property transfer tax on newly built homes worth up to $750,000 (a tax savings of up to $13,000), while increasing the property transfer tax to three per cent from two per cent on homes sold for more than $2 million. At that time, the province chose not to change the $475,000 threshold on used homes that allowed first-time homebuyers to also avoid the property transfer tax.

Comox Valley creates local flavours for B.C.

From water buffalo yogurt and gelato to estate-grown wines and distilled honey-based spirits, the agrifoods industry continues to thrive in Courtenay and Comox.

The provincial government’s Buy Local Program helps B.C. fisheries, farmers and food processors promote their products and supports food-supply security in British Columbia. The program is providing up to $44,000 of funding to several companies located in the Comox Valley to help increase sales and brand awareness.

Wayward Distillation House is bringing Canada’s only honey-based spirits to shelves all over the province. To stand out from commercial distilleries, the company sources local, natural ingredients from the Comox Valley to create Wayward distilled spirits. The use of B.C. honey adds subtle and intricate flavours to its products, while supporting local growers and producers.

Local winery, 40 Knots Vineyard and Estate Winery is promoting their Stall Speed non-estate brand of wines to British Columbians who are looking for hotter-climate grapes that cannot be grown in the Comox Valley’s cool climate. With ethically and traditionally farmed Okanagan grapes, the wine is produced and bottled in the Comox Valley. 40 Knots is not only known for its wines, but also for the scenery and tasting room.

Water buffalo milk products continue to make waves in the agrifoods industry, with McClintock’s Farm being on the forefront of producing water buffalo yogurt and gelato. The Courtenay based operation is one of three operating water buffalo dairies, offering British Columbians new options for old favourites.

The Buy Local program has received $8 million in B.C. government funding since 2012 to increase sales of locally grown and processed agrifood and seafood products within the province.

The B.C. government’s Agrifood and Seafood Strategic Growth Plan supports the building of domestic markets and maintaining a secure food supply. The plan is a component of the BC Jobs Plan, and the roadmap to leading the agrifoods sector to becoming a $15-billion-a-year industry by 2020.

The provincial government’s Buy Local program is administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia. Applications are available at: http://iafbc.ca/funding-opportunities/buy-local/

Governments of Canada and British Columbia investing in Highway 16 improvements

The Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia (B.C.) today announced $37,737,949 to improve Highway 16.

From visiting friends and relatives to getting goods to market, we rely on our roads, bridges and highways to support a vibrant economy and great quality of life. Investing in modern transportation infrastructure will help create jobs and grow the middle class now, while building the foundation for a strong economic future.

“One of the commitments we made in B.C. on the Move was to increase the number of passing lanes on highways 16 and 37. We’ve already built three and this new investment means five more safe opportunities to pass slower vehicles. Another one of our provincial priorities is to provide better access into communities, and upgrading the junction of highway 16 and 37 will ease congestion and improve traffic flow through Terrace.” says Todd Stone, B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

That is why the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia (B.C.) today announced $37,737,949 to improve Highway 16. The project includes the construction of five additional passing lanes along Highway 16, as well as an upgrade to the junction of Highway 16 and 37 in Terrace, where there is currently a four-way stop.

“The Government of Canada is working in close partnership with British Columbia to ensure we make smart infrastructure investments that create safer roads for travellers, help grow the middle class, and promote sustainable development. By supporting improvements to Highway 16, we are helping local businesses move their goods to market and fostering long-term prosperity in the region for years to come.” Said The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.

Once completed, the project will improve safety and traffic flow for all highway users, including local residents, tourists and commercial drivers by providing additional opportunities to safely pass slower-moving vehicles. It will also support future economic development in the region by contributing to a more efficient transportation network in northern British Columbia.

Meeting strengthens India-B.C. partnerships

Minister of Finance Michael de Jong met with Indian Finance Minister, Minister of Corporate Affairs in the cabinet of India, Arun Jaitley, today in New Delhi to discuss ways to continue to strengthen economic ties between India and British Columbia.

“I was impressed by Minister Jaitley’s interest in mutual economic investments in both India and Canada by companies, such as Indian Oil. India is an important economy with a young and growing middle class that represents an important opportunity for B.C. partnership, trade and investment, particularly in the areas of forestry, energy, international education and clean technology,” says Minister of Finance Michael de Jong.

The meeting builds on bilateral discussions and activities since the visit by Prime Minister Modi to Vancouver in 2015, where the prime minister and senior Indian government officials showed great support and enthusiasm for formalizing relations between India and British Columbia. Meeting topics included: the recent approval by the Canadian federal government of the Pacific North West LNG project; the successful issuance of B.C.’s Indian Rupee (INR) bond; and future opportunities to expand two-way trade and investment.

 

By 2030, India is expected to be the world’s third-largest economy behind the United States and China. B.C. exports to India have jumped from $201 million in 2011 to $623 million in 2015, making India B.C.’s fifth-largest trading partner. Real GDP in India was 7.2% in 2014, and estimated to grow to 7.6% in 2015, and in 2016 is expected to be 7.4%.

 

The Government of British Columbia has been actively working to make India and B.C. long-term partners in economic and social prosperity. It’s a strategy that’s focused on:

  • Building the foundation of the India-B.C. relationship based on mutual economic growth;
  • Identifying targeted opportunities for B.C. to help address specific needs of the Indian market and;
  • Making India top-of-mind among B.C.’s exporters.

On Sept. 9, 2016, British Columbia was the first foreign government to issue a bond in the Indian Rupee (INR) offshore market – or what is known colloquially as a Masala bond. The bond issue demonstrates the Province’s confidence in the outlook for India, and positions B.C. to participate in internationalization of the INR and India’s economy.

In addition, with Budget 2016, the Government of British Columbia committed $5 million over three years to promote a stronger B.C. wood brand in India. This investment is helping B.C. companies establish themselves as the world’s leading suppliers of sustainably harvested wood products to a market that includes the world’s largest middle class.

British Columbia’s work to build a strong relationship with India has proven successful. Earlier this week, Air Canada launched a direct flight from Vancouver to Delhi, demonstrating that India and B.C. are closer than ever before. This flight now provides a direct link for businesses to come together, and families to stay connected.

Meeting strengthens India-B.C. partnerships

Minister of Finance Michael de Jong met with Indian Finance Minister, Minister of Corporate Affairs in the cabinet of India, Arun Jaitley,  in New Delhi to discuss ways to continue to strengthen economic ties between India and British Columbia.
“I was impressed by Minister Jaitley’s interest in mutual economic investments in both India and Canada by companies, such as Indian Oil. India is an important economy with a young and growing middle class that represents an important opportunity for B.C. partnership, trade and investment, particularly in the areas of forestry, energy, international education and clean technology, ” says Minister of Finance Michael de Jong.

The meeting builds on bilateral discussions and activities since the visit by Prime Minister Modi to Vancouver in 2015, where the prime minister and senior Indian government officials showed great support and enthusiasm for formalizing relations between India and British Columbia. Meeting topics included: the recent approval by the Canadian federal government of the Pacific North West LNG project; the successful issuance of B.C.’s Indian Rupee (INR) bond; and future opportunities to expand two-way trade and investment.

By 2030, India is expected to be the world’s third-largest economy behind the United States and China. By 2030, India is expected to be the world’s third-largest economy behind the United States and China.

The Government of British Columbia has been actively working to make India and B.C. long-term partners in economic and social prosperity. It’s a strategy that’s focused on:

  • Building the foundation of the India-B.C. relationship based on mutual economic growth;
  • Identifying targeted opportunities for B.C. to help address specific needs of the Indian market and;
  • Making India top-of-mind among B.C.’s exporters.

On Sept. 9, 2016, British Columbia was the first foreign government to issue a bond in the Indian Rupee (INR) offshore market – or what is known colloquially as a Masala bond. The bond issue demonstrates the Province’s confidence in the outlook for India, and positions B.C. to participate in internationalization of the INR and India’s economy.

B.C. exports to India have jumped from $201 million in 2011 to $623 million in 2015, making India B.C.’s fifth-largest trading partner.  Real GDP in India was 7.2% in 2014, and estimated to grow to 7.6% in 2015, and in 2016 is expected to be 7.4%.

In addition, with Budget 2016, the Government of British Columbia committed $5 million over three years to promote a stronger B.C. wood brand in India. This investment is helping B.C. companies establish themselves as the world’s leading suppliers of sustainably harvested wood products to a market that includes the world’s largest middle class.

British Columbia’s work to build a strong relationship with India has proven successful. Earlier this week, Air Canada launched a direct flight from Vancouver to Delhi, demonstrating that India and B.C. are closer than ever before. This flight now provides a direct link for businesses to come together, and families to stay connected.