October 31, 2017

Elimination of the International Business Activity Program

On October 26, 2017, the British Columbia legislature passed the sections of Bill 2: The Budget Measures Implementation Act which terminated the International Business Activity (IBA) Program with effect on September 11, 2017.  Unfortunately, efforts to defer or forestall passage of the Bill were not successful.

Companies registered to use the IBA Program will not be able to claim refunds on income realized from eligible business activities from September 12, 2017 onwards. The timelines for filing refund claims remains the same: the BC Ministry of Finance must receive a refund claim no later than 18 months after the end of the company’s fiscal year.

The original intent of the IBA program was, as then Finance Minister stated in 1987, “to develop an international financial centre in Vancouver…we can be Canada’s and North America’s financial gateway to the Pacific Rim…” In the late ‘80s, Vancouver was merely a fledgling “international financial centre.”  In 2008, an organization in the U.K. started a ranking of “global financial centres” and, by then, Vancouver was ranked number 33.  Today, Vancouver has climbed to a ranking of number 17. A solid base of international financial service companies in British Columbia makes it easier for international companies to expand into and carry on business in BC.

Our mandate is, and has always been, to promote British Columbia as a desirable location for international business.  Part of that is to reach out to companies around the world and share with them the attributes that make BC a sound business location decision.  While the IBA Program was one of the attractive features of doing international business from British Columbia, it is by no means the only advantage that captured the attention of international executives.

We would like the work of AdvantageBC to continue even without the IBA program.  For that purpose, the Board of Directors has put together a Strategy Review Committee to review our mandate and objectives. This review will be completed in the coming months and we will provide updates as they become available. We welcome your input.

Did you know?

  • All five of Canada’s largest banks have significant operations in BC.
  • According to latest GFCI, Vancouver is the 5th most powerful financial centre in North America.
  • Vancouver is among the top-10 wealth management centres in the world.
  • Vancouver ranked third most livable city in the world by the EIU.