British Columbia

Gateway to the Asia-Pacific Region

While people have long been lured by British Columbia’s extraordinary beauty and mild climate, they are increasingly attracted by the province’s explosive economic growth. Almost a million kilometres square, larger than France and Germany combined, Canada’s western most province offers unbeatable opportunities to investors looking for a gateway location between North America and Asia. With incentives for investments in R&D, machinery and equipment, mining exploration, film and new media, and provincial tax credits, exemptions and deductions for business investment and innovation, BC is offering a world of opportunity for businesses looking to invest. The world will discover what BC has to offer when Vancouver/Whistler host the 2010 Olympic winter games.

Business Environment

  • GDP in 2006 of $180 billion and total goods exported worth $33.5 billion
  • Foreign companies spent $10 billion for business expansion, modernization and new facilities in British Columbia in 2006 and 2007
  • Home to several thriving and burgeoning high technology sectors
  • Over $1.5 billion invested in R&D over the past few years making the province a world leader in several technology fields, including advanced energy, and life sciences
  • National leader in regulatory reform, committed to reducing red tape and creating better regulations that cost less, are more effective, results-based and responsive to business


  • 6 universities, 3 university colleges, 12 community colleges and 5 provincial technology or technical institutes have shaped a high quality, diverse labour pool of 2.4 million which is continuously expanding in line with the needs of high-growth sectors
  • Over 107,250 skilled workers immigrated to British Columbia between 2001 and 2006, enriching BC’s international networks, cultural diversity and multi-lingual capabilities

Other Key Advantages

  • The advanced energy sector includes the largest hydrogen and fuel cell division in the world—Ballard Power Systems, representing 75% of Canadian fuel cell and hydrogen based R&D expenditures and 69% of Canada’s employment in the sector
  • Close to 1,000 non-Canadian firms are serving their international customers from BC
  • Vancouver ranks 3rd out of 215 cities worldwide and 1st in North America for quality of living (Mercer Human Resource Consulting 2006)

Sector Strengths:

  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Biotechnology and Life Sciences
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Value-Added Wood Products
  • Agri-Food and Fish Products
  • Energy & Power Technologies
  • Mining
  • Contact Centres and Business Process Operations
  • Film and TV Production
  • Resort Tourism