What’s holding back the BC economy?

BC’s economy is tepid, with some pessimistic outlooks from business leaders.

So what’s holding us back? Why don’t we have a higher rate of innovation and a broader growth economy?

That’s the question asked by this BC Business article:

Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, said complacency about the allure of B.C.’s climate, geography, and lifestyle may be one of the greatest risks. “Snow and mountains do not a business strategy make,” she warned. “I see for the first time in a decade, young people between 25 and 34 moving en masse to Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, because that’s where the jobs are,”  Vrooman said. “I’m quite concerned about our ability to grow our economy for the next generation if they can’t find gainful employment here.”

The numbers back her up. Statistics Canada figures show B.C. lost 18,900 full-time jobs in 2013. Yet even with fewer spots to fill, companies are finding themselves unable to find workers with the skills needed to grow their businesses. There aren’t enough graduates in high-demand fields, and B.C. wages for even those workers are often insufficient to offset the high cost of living.

Is this a chicken and the egg problem?  Businesses can’t afford to pay enough to bring in the talent that would grow business?  Or is there a complacency problem here, where the environment was always supposed to be enough to draw people in and they’d take a paycut to live here?

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Don’t worry Johnny-boy, it’s just liquidity for ghung hey fat choy so they can stuff little red envelopes with cash and exchange it with friends and family. It’ll all go back to the banks afterwards. All countries now print money to cover cash crunches and GDP shortages. Harper will soon do the same here. But how? That’s the question. How will he stuff wads of cash in our hands to prop up the economy?


well if home prices are half of what it is, that $30k a year sales job doesnt sound too bad of an opportunity. its all relative, and once again demonstrates the housing prices are insanely high.

Son of Ponzi

New study about Vancouver going jelly in even a minor earthquake.
Not something the Asian buyers and investors will take likely.


China blinked again.Throws money at the chosen cadres. We are F%$ked again!


Anything over $2 M. 80% HAM buying from what I see. This chicken looks plucked and cooked from what I see.

Son of Ponzi

#48. & # 53
I assume from your comments that neither one of you is an expert in Sinology.


@48 “Perhaps you haven’t noticed… but almost half the locals in greater Van are asian.”

True, but to some people if you are not of British decent you are a foreigner and could never be considered a local.


anybody who doesn’t wan’t to snuggle down with their real estate wealth or government job leaves vancouver therefor talented and creative people avoid BC,
if you wan’t to be somebody the consensus is… get as far away from vancouver as you can

midnight toker

here is one innovative company based in Burnaby, I for one was shocked.



4 Trillion dollars transferred from China by its business elites and “Communist” party leaders since 2000.


Don’t worry, none of this money has had any effect whatsoever on Vancouver real estate prices. At least, I would never suggest so. That would be racist.

Lifetime Renter

BC has always been marked by cut and run capitalism. Dig it out of the ground then move on. Cut it down then move on. Fish it out of the water then move on. Now it’s build endless condos until the market collapses. Then those who made off like bandits will move on. These activities have created tremendous wealth, huge profits for some, but have never led to the development of significant secondary industry. Immense distances over difficult terrain separates this region from the main population centres and manufacturing bases in this country. Therefore there will always be a powerful tendency to locate manufacturing in the East. Meanwhile to the south of us, from the Canadian border to the Mexican border, taken as a whole, lies one to the most important economic and manufacturing regions on the planet with a… Read more »

Joe Mainlander

@ #43 Ponzi.

Perhaps you haven’t noticed… but almost half the locals in greater Van are asian.


i heard this on news1130 today. Vancouver ranked as #2 least affordable city in the world to live for the 6th year in a row, with Hong Kong being #1

“The consulting company says the median home in Vancouver costs 10.3 times the area’s median household income. Demographia says a reading of 5.1 or more is “severely unaffordable.” ”


The Oracle

Some wise words:

Set up the financial future for your kids. It is already too late for yourselves. Think not in 5-10 year horizon but 30-50 year horizon.

Again, it is too late for you. Don’t ruin it for your kids.

The Oracle


And they’re off…


New Listings 266
Price Changes 80
Sold Listings 124


Son of Ponzi

# 42
Quote from the architect :” River Green has given the Asian buyers what the want”.
Silly me, I thought it was the locals who are buying.


Richmond’s River Green has the sweet smell of success

Amidst the Chinese and English signage, a construction worker’s thick Waterford brogue stands out. “I don’t know how anyone can afford to buy here,” comments the young man who fled the recession in Ireland to build new luxury condos for Chinese immigrants in this suburb of Vancouver.



@Turkey – not all regulations are created equal. Some are good like environment protection while some in my view simply far to over-reaching and tries to make up for lack of common sense or forcing particular views/believe on others. As well, I think we have a system that is no longer based on the principles the intend of the rules but moving ever more towards the technicalities of the written rules. Take the tax system for example, it has evolved from the original act that numbered in tens of pages into the current monster of tens of thousands of pages + likely hundreds of bulletins, interpretations, and rules that CRA releases each year. I total believe it when people claim that no one has ever read the complete set of tax rules. Stuff like that should really be simplified because… Read more »



We really need to cut down on red tape as well. There are just way too many rules and regulations. Frankly I like the system where most rules/regs have an automatic sunset date of say 5 years or something, at which time they are either auto phased out or at least go through an evaluation so only the useful up to date part are kept.

“Red tape” is a loaded term, like “gravy train”, “overmature timber”, and “excited delirium”. If you can get people to breeze past words like these uncritically, you can get them to nod their head to some pretty silly stuff.

I would prefer a country with environmental regulations, and without BGH in my milk, and I’m willing to pay for the privilege.


Actually I find that Best Buy and Costco for a lot of items now have very similar prices between their US and Canadian stores. A lot of cost can be cut out if government mandated duties, tarriffs are reduced/eliminated.

We really need to cut down on red tape as well. There are just way too many rules and regulations. Frankly I like the system where most rules/regs have an automatic sunset date of say 5 years or something, at which time they are either auto phased out or at least go through an evaluation so only the useful up to date part are kept.

Oh yeah, government also needs to really start on cutting down on excessive benefits and introduce some much needed technology & efficiencies into their system, especially at the local and provincial level.

Joe Mainlander

BC has a small population in a large area, but the population is not dispersed., it is very concentrated; (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:British_Columbia_2006_population_density.PNG)

75% of us live in the lower mainland/southeast Vancouver Island area.


@Son of Ponzi – so very true! Hard work and skills mean very little without the soft skills here, even when it comes to raises and bonus which is supposed to be based mostly on work results. Also add in the fact that the salary structure here is that managers will always make much more than technical people and lack of advancement opportunities, it’s no wonder all the good experience people are leaving. In my experience, a lot of senior IT people are much more valuable and important than the manager whose time are tied up fiddling with MS Project to make the dates work regardless of reality and making reports and meetings. However, those IT people will never get the pay and recognition they deserve at most places and they end up leaving. The company and the overal economic… Read more »