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.

Windstorm reminds British Columbians to prepare for emergency

VICTORIA - This weekend's windstorm that ripped through the Lower 
Mainland and Vancouver Island knocking over trees, power lines and 
leaving people in the dark for a number of days is a reminder for all 
British Columbians to make sure they and their families are prepared 
for any emergency.
"The recent wind storm serves as a reminder to British Columbians that 
emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility that starts in each 
of our homes," said Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, Naomi 
Yamamoto. "We all need to have supplies on hand, like food and water, 
first aid kits and flashlights, so that our homes are ready for any 
potential emergency, large or small."
Yamamoto joined BC Hydro officials yesterday in a tour of impacted 
areas and the utility company's Emergency Operations Centre, commending 
work crews on their tireless, around-the clock effort to restore power 
to affected communities. The minister committed to exploring with 
partners, including local authorities and BC Hydro, lessons learned to 
help better prepare and respond to emergencies.
Emergency officials are using the recent windstorm to remind residents 
to prepare for more severe weather incidents, as well as make it a 
catalyst for preparing for catastrophic impacts should a large 
earthquake strike the coast. All British Columbians should have an 
emergency plan that outlines evacuation and family reunification 
measures, and an emergency kit to help sustain family and pets for a 
minimum of 72 hours.

B.C. Semi truck driver found dead in sleeper cab in Saskatoon

By François Biber

A grisly discovery in Saskatoon’s north end this morning after a lifeless body was found in a semi near Circle Drive.
Rick works at WRT Equipment on 43rd Street just one block north of Circle Drive. He said he noticed the same semi parked in front of his shop, idling day and night since Friday.
“And today it was still here so we banged on the door to see if anyone was in there and my boss crawled up on there and saw his legs sticking out,” he said.
Rick said the truck pulled up on Friday and was sitting parked on the side of the road and he said it hadn’t moved when he came into work on Saturday.
“Overnight it’s not unusual because they’ll crawl back there and go to sleep for the night and then take off but after four days of it running and sitting there,” Rick said, adding his suspicions grew bigger each day.
Upon discovering the body inside, they called the trucking company, Piston Transportation Ltd., and they were shocked to hear the truck was still in Saskatoon.
“We phoned the company and they’re going why is this truck still here because it was supposed to be in Alberta or something to pick something up there but they couldn’t get ahold of him or nothing,” Rick said.
Saskatoon police and the coroner were on scene and after an initial look inside the semi, police are calling the death not suspicious.
Police said the man is a truck driver from B.C. and they won’t be releasing the man’s name until his family has been notified of his death.

ICBC rates could go up by 6.7% due to fraud, rise in claims


ICBC says a spike in injury claims and fraud will likely force it to increase basic auto insurance rates this October by as much as 6.7 per cent.

The Crown corporation says its payouts for pain and suffering, future care and loss of wages rose 10 per cent last year to $2.17 billion.

CEO Mark Blucher says if ICBC were to ask for a rate increase today, it would seek 6.7 per cent — which is the maximum allowable under current legislation.

But Transportation Minister Todd Stone said on Monday such a hike would be “unacceptable” and he is working with the provincial insurance company to minimize the rate hike.

“While the number of crashes is relatively unchanged, ICBC is also reporting more crashes with multiple injuries than ever before, with more cases being potentially fraudulent,” said Stone.

“Just last month, ICBC released a media bulletin about a ‘jump-in’ scheme, where it was able to determine only one individual was in an accident, but two other relatives fraudulently filed bodily injury claims,” said Stone.