Conversations Live with Stuart McNish: Is Vancouver a Headquarter Ghost Town? 

BCBC videos feature event highlights, perspectives from B.C.’s leading employers and insights from our economic and public policy experts
August 11, 2023

Is Vancouver a head office ghost town? “The numbers say no, but they also say we’re not doing well and the prospects of a change of fortunes are slim and dim,” says Jock Finlayson, the past chief economist of the Business Council of BC.

Head offices are highly sought after by any city because they generate employment, taxes and attract professional and financial services that support corporate headquarters. Calgary has established itself as more than just an energy hub – it is also the most concentrated headquarter city in Canada.

The presence – or lack of presence – of head offices speaks volumes about a city. Is it business focused? Does the city government understand or appreciate the needs of a corporate head office and do they care? Why should you care?

Finlayson says, “Vancouver is in a tough spot given our woeful combination of sky-high housing costs and modest incomes. The city has long struggled to expand and retain a base of corporate head offices, trailing Toronto and Calgary.” As well, based on a percentage of HQ’s per 100,000 people, we do even worse. In fact, Regina has a higher concentration than Vancouver.

Stuart McNish invited Jock Finlayson to join him for a Conversation That Matters about why Vancouver’s only hope is to work with and help grow existing firms.

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