Ties That Bind: Economic Ties Between BC and Alberta (2017)

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BC and Alberta have especially strong economic connections and exhibit a high degree of economic interdependence.

Canada is a federation made up of provinces and territories with a significant amount of subnational autonomy. Although independent, the provinces also cooperate and are integrated and interdependent with each other in an economic sense. Interprovincial flows of goods, services, capital and people are fundamental to Canada’s economic prosperity, with many provinces trading almost as much within Canada as they do internationally. This edition of Policy Perspectives looks at the relationship between the two western-most provinces, British Columbia and Alberta, which have especially strong economic connections and exhibit a high degree of economic interdependence


  • The economies of BC and Alberta are arguably the most interdependent of any two provinces in Canada.
  • Integration between the two provinces is particularly evident in migration patterns and labour mobility.
  • Interprovincial trade tends to garner little attention, but trade between the provinces is significant: BC exports more merchandise to Alberta than it does to China; similarly, Alberta’s merchandise exports to BC are greater than its exports to Asia.
  • The value of service exports between BC and Alberta exceeds the value of trade in goods between Alberta and BC.
  • The Gateway plays a large and steadily growing role in BC’s profile of service exports.Trade, capital flows, migration, and interprovincial employment between the provinces strengthen economic growth and prosperity. These linkages and economic benefits between the two western most provinces have been enhanced by the New West Partnership Agreement.