Every morning, nearly 250,000 British Columbians get up and head to work in the construction industry, and their work accounts for nearly a tenth of the entire B.C. economy. This is an ICBA President under-recognized reality in British Columbia, and one that we point out to stakeholders at every opportunity.

Too often, construction somehow fades into the backdrop, with other sectors – from energy and natural resources, to high tech and tourism – enjoying a higher profile and greater cachet.

In fact, building structures and infrastructure is the foundational activity in any economy. And in B.C., with an ongoing influx of new residents and various major industrial and infrastructure projects needing to be built, construction plays an even larger role.

Construction is a key indicator of overall economic health, since it is one of the first activities to shrink when uncertainty takes hold. It is a massive generator of investment and jobs in its own right – so much so that contractors are having growing difficulty finding enough skilled workers. Construction in turn drives large spin-off benefits in every community across the province.

We take stock in this Monitor of construction’s true economic impact, strength and importance in B.C. The numbers underscore the reality that when ICBA advocates for a strong construction sector, we’ve got the best interests of British Columbia and our long-term prosperity very much at heart.

GDP and employment figures are 2018 forecasts (Central 1 Credit Union), weekly wage rates are as of September 2018 (BC Stats).

Construction Tops Industry Ranks For Economic Contributions

* Agriculture; forestry and logging; fishing, hunting and trapping; mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction; utilities; and all forms of manufacturing

Economic Impacts of the B.C. Property Development Industry in 2016, MNP. Includes direct, indirect and induced.

Economic Impacts of the B.C. Property Development Industry in 2016, MNP

Construction Outlook is for Continued Strength

Hundreds of billions worth of construction projects are on the drawing board in B.C. As a result, most construction contractors geared up for even more work this year, despite an already intense pace. This will keep the industry’s GDP and employment contributions growing at the same pace as the provincial economy.

B.C. Major Projects Inventory, Second Quarter 2018. Tracks all projects with capital value of $15 million or more ($20 million in the Lower Mainland). *Total includes some projects (~$30B value) currently “on hold”, and some newly completed (~$1B value).

Economic Analysis of British Columbia, Central 1 Credit Union, August 2018

An Industry for All B.C.

Construction happens everywhere in the province, resulting in widely dispersed economic benefits. Once-depressed areas such as the North Coast are about to benefit from the largest-ever private sector investment in Canada – the construction of the massive, $40-billion LNG Canada project. Public support for the industry is equally widespread and robust.

B.C. Major Projects Inventory: Breakdown by Region

LNG Canada Project – Kitimat

Economic Commentary, Central 1 Credit Union – August 2018

Site C Clean Energy Project – Peace River Regional District

Source: BC Hydro

Checking in With British Columbians

Survey of a representative sample of >1,000 British Columbians, September 2018.