News Release - Business Council of B.C. Launches Inaugural Prosperity Index

September 19, 2019

Vancouver, BC – September 19, 2019 - The Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) has released a groundbreaking analysis of the province’s overall well-being – including its people, our society and business environment -- and how we rank compared to competing Canadian and international jurisdictions. Produced as a public service, the analysis highlights key areas where B.C. performs well and others where we need to improve to support the quality of life we expect for our communities, citizens and future generations.

The B.C. Prosperity Index is a data-driven study based on research by Dr. Andrew Sharpe and his colleagues at the Centre for the Study of Living Standards in Ottawa. Dr. Sharpe is recognized as a leading global expert in the field. For this project, he collaborated with the BCBC team, including Vice President and Chief Economist Ken Peacock.

Due to a commitment to factual data and the challenges of obtaining it from numerous jurisdictions measured, the Index results are based on data up to calendar year 2017. Each successive release of the B.C. Prosperity Index will be based on a similar lag.

The index covers 12 indicators which are grouped into three domains:

  • Business Environment (productivity; business investment; innovation; and educational attainment).
  • Economic Well-Being (GDP per person; household disposable income; the unemployment rate; and housing affordability).
  • Societal Well-Being (life expectancy; poverty; income inequality; and the state of the natural environment.)

Looking at the aggregate results, B.C. is firmly in the middle of the pack among the jurisdictions examined in the study, placing 11th out of 21 jurisdictions. The data confirms that B.C. performs relatively poorly on productivity, investment, and innovation. Conversely, the province scores very well on educational attainment and life expectancy, and it performs better than average on household income and the incidence of poverty.

Top performers in the overall Index results include California (1st), Washington (2nd) and Oregon (3rd). The top performing country is Japan (4th), followed by the United States (5th). Alberta (8th) is the top performing Canadian province. Canada as a whole, placed 15th among the 21 jurisdictions in the Index.

B.C.'s mediocre overall result is based on a below average ranking in the Business Environment domain (15th of 21), a middling ranking on Economic Well-Being (10th of 21), and an above average ranking on Societal Well-Being (7th of 21).

“The data shows that we have room to improve in several areas. However, this ranking is not indicative of our potential. B.C has advantages that we should be leveraging, including our highly educated and diverse population and rich base of natural resources,” said Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO of the Business Council. “The Index looks at prosperity from a holistic perspective in that each domain in our research is interdependent. The findings reported are material; our quality of life can be improved if we attract investment, spur innovation, and boost productivity.”

“Despite recent data that shows B.C. at or near the top of the growth curve within Canada since 2013, we look less impressive from a longer-term perspective and also when compared with similar jurisdictions,” said Mr. Peacock. “There are lessons, ideas and practices that B.C. can take from competitors and apply at home so the province can move from below average or average on some indicators to levels that will provide significant benefits to British Columbians.”

“While the Index will be published annually, we will use this common fact base throughout the year to convene people, advance ideas and act through collaboration with the purpose of improving each key element that contributes to our prosperity,” added Mr. D’Avignon. “We live in an age where the anxiety, complexity and pace of change require us to be more thoughtful, try new approaches and be more collaborative by fully utilizing the strengths of our people and natural advantages to ensure a high quality of life.”

The B.C. Prosperity Index is being published by the Business Council of B.C. as a resource for elected representatives, public servants, community and business leaders, the media, and the broader B.C. public. Financial supporters committed to our collective prosperity helped make the index possible include Air Canada, Encana, PETRONAS Canada, Port of Vancouver, TD Bank, and Waste Connections of Canada. Sponsors, however, had no role in determining the structure or content of the Index.

Read the full 2019 B.C. Prosperity Index report at:

The Index will be updated each September to provide up to date information that can be used to develop strategies that will move our economy forward to the benefit of all British Columbians.

About the Business Council of British Columbia

Now in its 53rd year as the premier business organization in British Columbia, the Business Council of B.C. is a non-partisan organization made up of 200 of the leading and largest companies, post-secondary institutions and industry organizations from across B.C.'s diverse economy. The Council produces high quality public policy research and advocacy in support of creating a competitive economy for the benefit of all British Columbians.

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