Western Canada: Leading Out of the Recession
Driven by natural resources and a knowledge-based work force, the resurgence of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia is good news for the Canadian economy.
Mark Crawford (September 2010)
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Economic indicators in British Columbia show that a broad-based recovery is under way, anchored by the mining and energy sectors. Overall growth this year is projected at 3.5 percent, and is expected to maintain that pace through 2011. Forest products are leading the resurgence, especially softwood and pulp. Employment in British Columbia is expected to grow by 21,000 jobs this year, and 32,000 jobs in 2011.
British Columbia will also see its export base broaden and deepen with infrastructure projects increasing capacity and allowing the province to leverage its gateway to Asia status. More than just natural resource-based products will be flowing west to Asia: Orders are also arriving for commercial aviation products, defense and security, component manufacturing, assemblies and sub-assemblies, and machined parts and systems. Interest continues to grow in British Columbia's remote-sensing, satellite communications, complex robotics, 3D simulation technology, and advanced aerospace clusters.
Vancouver's international reputation for high-tech communications, new media, computer and software technology, and a creative work force continues to grow. Pixar Canada just opened a new studio in Vancouver to create short films. California-based Digital Domain, a visual-effects studio responsible for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Titanic, opened a 20,000-square-foot, 100-employee digital production studio in Vancouver. Not to be outdone, Games Academy, a German training institute, will open a downtown Vancouver campus this fall, marking the city's first direct foreign investment in the local video game development education market. Games Academy chose Vancouver for its entry into the North American market because of the local industry's size, game development studio mix, and talent level, as well as Vancouver's geographic location and cost of doing business. Games Academy Vancouver CEO Kay Gruenwoldt says, "Compared to larger U.S. cities on the West Coast, it's still more affordable to open up shop here."