Plus, B.C. leads Canadian jobs growth and LNG Canada receives second key approval 

Sweet success
B.C. retail sales of honey almost doubled in 2015 over 2014 to almost $16.5 million thanks to more people buying direct from beekeepers, according to a release from the B.C. government. Retail sales include farmers markets, roadside stands and direct sales to consumers and restaurants. In 2015 beekeepers’ farm cash receipts from honey sold to stores and wholesale packers reached $3 million, beeswax sales increased to more than $1 million, and pollination income was an estimated $5 million. Estimated total farm receipts for 2015 were more than $25 million.

Beekeeping plays a key role in the production of most fruit and forage crops. The province has more than 2,400 beekeepers and almost 45,000 colonies of bees. Crop pollination contributes an estimated $250 million to B.C.’s economy and more than $2 billion in Canada. 

Worker bees
Bees weren’t the only ones to find work in B.C. in 2015. According to Statistics Canada’s December 2015 labour force survey, 52,000 people found jobs in B.C. last year, up 2.3 per cent, the fastest provincial employment growth in Canada. B.C.'s employment was on an upward trend since April, but the unemployment rate still rose 1.2 percentage points to 6.7 per cent as more people looked for work.

An increase of 2.1 per cent employment in manufacturing in Canada, the first increase since 2012, was mostly in British Columbia and spread across several manufacturing industries.

Across Canada, in the 12 months to December, employment gains totalled 158,000 or 0.9 per cent, slightly above the growth rate of 0.7 per cent in 2013 and 2014. In the month of December, employment increased by 23,000, just 0.1 per cent, and the unemployment rate remained at 7.1 per cent, unchanged from November.

On a roll
It’s been a very good week for LNG Canada. First it received an LNG facility permit from the BC Oil and Gas Commission. Now the National Energy Board has decided to issue the company a 40-year licence, subject to federal government approval, to export natural gas. The licence will expire on December 31, 2022, unless exports have begun by that date or the NEB otherwise directs, according to an NEB letter dated January 7, 2016. The letter says, “We have determined that the quantity of natural gas proposed to be exported by LNG Canada, for a term of 40 years, is surplus to Canadian needs.”

LNG Canada had received government approval for a 25-year licence in 2013, but the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act changed the NEB Act to provide for natural gas export licences of up to 40 years. LNG Canada is the first applicant for a 40-year LNG export licence following the legislative changes.