Jock A. Finlayson

Jock A. Finlayson - Economist

Inducted November 25, 2017

Jock A. Finlayson is the Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer at the Business Council of British Columbia, an organization representing 260 large and mid-size BC companies and affiliated industry associations that together account for approximately one-quarter of all jobs in the province.

Mr. Finlayson manages the Council’s policy and research staff and oversees the organization’s publications, presentations and other outputs.  He previously served as Vice President of Research at Canadian Council of Chief Executives, a leading business association in Ottawa.  Prior to that he worked in the market research field and gained experience at two Canadian consulting firms.   

Jock A. Finlayson was born in Comox, BC at St. Joseph’s Hospital. His parents owned and operated Finlayson Furniture in Courtenay and Campbell River. Growing up in the Comox Valley he was educated at Courtenay Elementary, Lake Trail Junior High, and G. P. Vanier. As a young man he worked at Elk Falls Pulp Mill in Campbell River.

 Mr. Finlayson holds a master’s degree in business from Yale University, undergraduate and M.A. degrees from UBC, and a post-graduate diploma in economics from the University of London. He received an honorary doctorate of laws from Royal Roads University in 2014. 

He is the author/co-author of two books and more than 50 published articles, book chapters and monographs. A frequent commentator on economic, business, and public policy issues, Mr. Finlayson writes regularly for the Vancouver Sun, Troy Media, and a number of other media outlets, and for several years he was a regular business panelist on CBC Radio’s “Early Edition” program.   

From 2007 to 2013, Mr. Finlayson was a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Canada, where he chaired the Corporate Governance Committee and served on the Board’s Human Resources Committee.  He is currently a member of the National Statistics Council, the principal advisory body to the Chief Statistician of Canada, and sits on the Boards of the Institute for Research on Public Policy and Genome BC.  He is also a member of the C.D. Howe Institute’s prestigious National Council. 

Mr. Finlayson is a Fellow of Royal Roads University.  He is a past president of both the Association of Professional Economists of BC and the Ottawa Economics Association. He resides in West Vancouver with his wife Marlene.

Jock is the author of more than 500 columns and op-eds, published in the Vancouver Sun, The Province, Business in Vancouver, Globe and Mail, Financial Post, Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Herald, Victoria-Times-Colonist, Edmonton Journal, Winnipeg Free Press, Wall Street Journal and several other newspapers. 

“For over three decades Canadian business leaders, academia, government decision makers and the public have turned to Jock to understand the consequences of global and local economic events and public policy trends. 

As one of Canada’s best known and respected economists , thinkers and commentators on public policy matters, Jock consistently assembles vast arrays of economic data, academic literature, political realities and business knowledge  into digestible and practical advice that decision makers everywhere seek out and apply. His advice and policy ideas, once adopted, have improved business outcomes and made meaningful contributions to BC's overall quality of life. 

His passion and talent for his profession is only rivalled by his integrity,  great sense of humour and dedication to BC and the prosperity of our province and its people. 

 It a privilege to work with Jock and even greater to call him a friend. On behalf of all of us at the Business Council and our 250 leading companies in every sector of BC’s economy we congratulate Jock on being a favourite son of not only the Comox Valley,  but of British Columbia." 

Greg D'Avignon, President & CEO,  Business Council of BC

Work and Professional Experience:

  • Production Worker, Elk Falls Pulp Mill, Campbell River, 1973 – 1974.
  • BC Hydro and Power Authority (summer employment), 1975 – 1978.
  • BC Public Service, Victoria, 1979.
  • Research Analyst and Instructor, University of British Columbia, Institute of International Relations, 1980 – 1982 (part-time while attending graduate school).
  • Instructor, Langara College, Vancouver, 1981 – 1982.
  • Associate, Business Council of Canada, Ottawa, 1982 – 1986.
  • Economist, Coopers and Lybrand (Accounting and Consulting firm), Toronto, 1988 – 1989.
  • Part-Time Associate with Environics Research Group (market research and polling firm), Toronto, 1988 – 1994
  • Director, Business Research, Canadian Labour Market and Productivity Centre, Ottawa, 1989 – 1990.
  • Vice President of Research, Business Council of Canada, Ottawa, 1990 – 1993.
  • Vice President and Chief Economist, Business Council of British Columbia, Vancouver, 1994 – 2001.
  • Executive Vice President, Business Council of British Columbia, Vancouver, 2002 – 2011.
  • Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, Business Council of British Columbia, Vancouver, 2012 – current.

Roles, Appointments and Activities:

  • Member, Board of Directors, Bank of Canada (Canada’s central bank), 2007 – 2013.
  • Member, National Statistics Council (the principal advisory body to the Chief Statistician of Canada), 2007 -  2017.
  • Member, Board of Directors, Genome BC (an agency mandated to fund research in and promote the application of genomics technologies in health care and other sectors) Vancouver, 2014 – current.
  • Member, Board of Directors, Institute for Research on Public Policy (a leading Canadian think tank), Montreal, 2014 – current.
  • Member, Board of Directors, Centre for the Study of Living Standards (another Canadian think tank), Ottawa, 2016 -current.
  • Member, Tourism 2020 Industry Advisory Council, Government of B.C., 2010 – 2013.
  • Member, Board of Directors, B.C. Innovation Council (a provincial Crown Corporation established to foster a more innovative B.C. economy), Vancouver, 2006 -2010.
  • Member, Board of Directors, Canada West Foundation (the leading think tank in Western Canada), 2004 - 2013.
  • Member, Degree Quality Assessment Board, Government of British Columbia (an agency that reviews the quality of current and proposed university degree programs), 2003 – 2007.
  • Member and Chair, Expert Advisory Panel to the B.C. Progress Board, 2001 – 2007.
  • Member, Economic Forecast Council, Ministry of Finance, Government of B.C., 1996 - 2012.
  • President, Association of Professional Economists of B.C., 1996 – 1998.  Member of the Association’s Executive, 1995 – 2002.
  • President, Ottawa Economics Association, Ottawa, 1992 – 1993.
  • Member of the Executive Committee, Canadian Association for Business Economics, 1991 – 1999.
  • Member, Board of Directors, Canadian Council for International Business, Ottawa, 1990 – 1996.

Partial List of Written Work:

Author or co-author of two academic books and several published papers:

  • Crash and Burn: British Columbia’s Experience with Value-Added Sales Tax Reform, Tax Notes, Washington D.C., forthcoming in 2018.
  • From Good to Great: Nurturing Small Business Growth in British Columbia, SFU School of Public Policy, February 2013.
  • An Update on Economic and Fiscal Trends in Western Canada, Dialogues: Canada West Foundation, Summer 2005.
  • International Trade and Investment Law in Canada, Carswell Legal Publications, 1995.
  • Managing International Markets: Developing Countries and Commodity Trade, Columbia University Press, 1987.
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We'd like to acknowledge the Comox Valley Echo (Judy Hagen, Hunt For History) and the Comox Valley Record for their research and articles about these Comox Valley Walk of Achievement Honourees.

Pattern Canada is pleased to support the Comox Valley Walk of Achievement with financial assistance in developing this website.

Special thanks to Bruce McPhee whose support enabled us to create this website and the Honouree signage along Fifth Street in Courtenay, BC.