NEWS RELEASE · 19th May 2010
Ministry of Finance
Finance Minister Colin Hansen today highlighted 10 indicators that the British Columbia economy is beginning to recover.
"British Columbia has taken a series of actions that position us to lead the economic recovery in Canada by attracting new investment, new businesses and creating jobs," said Minister Hansen. "When the global economic slowdown hit in 2008, we acted immediately to develop a comprehensive plan. Combined with economic measures we've taken since 2001, we now have one of the most competitive business climates in the G7. Today we are seeing a number of positive signs that our economy is starting to turn around."
New indicators showing B.C.'s economy is growing stronger include:
1. The Conference Board of Canada forecasts that this year B.C. will be one of the provincial leaders in economic growth at 3.8 per cent.
2. The Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation forecasts B.C. will lead the country in the growth of new housing starts, which are expected to increase by 37 per cent in 2010.
3. B.C.'s total value of building permits have increased 47.5 per cent over last year - from $597.2 million in March 2009 to $881.1 million in March 2010.
4. Last month, B.C. created 12,700 new jobs. Since December 2001, B.C. has added over 400,000 jobs to the economy.
5. KMPG ranks Vancouver first out of 41 major international cities for business tax competitiveness. KPMG cites corporate tax rate cuts and B.C.'s move to adopt the HST as the reasons for Vancouver's improved ranking.
6. Pixar, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and Digital Domain are all opening offices in Vancouver. Pixar plans to employ as many as 100 staff at its new Vancouver studio.
7. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business reports the confidence of B.C.'s small and medium businesses rose in April - it is ahead of the national average and 47 per cent higher than one year ago.
8. After extended shutdowns, nine sawmills are reopening around B.C., including the Canfor mill in Quesnel, which will be the first sawmill Canfor is dedicating to a single country: China. The Quesnel reopening means 155 employees will be called back to work.
9. B.C.'s mining industry is vibrant. Two major metal mines - Copper Mountain outside Princeton and New Afton near Kamloops - are under construction. Together, they are expected to employ 750 workers during construction and another 500 when the mines are fully operational. A third mine at Mount Milligan northwest of Prince George is set to begin construction this year.
10. Tourism is on the rise, thanks in part to the incredible success of the 2010 Winter Games. Stats Can reports over 268,000 international visitors entered B.C. in February 2010, an increase of 30 per cent from the previous February.
British Columbia's economic growth is projected to lead Canada this year and has been boosted by international investors and buyers who have identified British Columbia as having competitive advantages in the changing global economy.
Since 2001, the Province has implemented a series of economic actions that now makes British Columbia one of the most competitive jurisdictions in the G7. These include: tax reductions; streamlined
regulations for businesses; improved labour mobility between provinces;
new and upgraded transportation infrastructure; new trade offices and a
series of trade missions to attract investment from Asia; an Olympic
hosting program; a fiscal foundations that has led to seven credit-
rating upgrades; and seven new universities to train skilled workers in
the modern economy.