British Columbia has eight distinct economic regions, each with advantages in various sectors. Diverse communities, an energetic and educated workforce, powerful transportation and communication networks, an abundance of natural resources, and a quality of life unmatched anywhere else in the world, it’s easy to see why the world loves B.C.
In addition to the many towns and cities that make up the community of B.C., the province is home to over 200 First Nations communities that are actively involved in economic development within their traditional territories.
Located in central B.C., the Cariboo region is an area of vast landscapes of mountain ranges, lakes, and rivers. It includes the city of Prince George, which acts as a major service centre for the northern half of the province.
Located in the southeast corner of B.C., bordering the United States and Alberta, the Kootenay region is one of Canada’s leading destinations for outdoor adventures. Hiking, mountain biking, skiing, fishing, and river rafting are all popular activities. Coal production, mining and logging are important industries in this area. Tourism also contributes to the economy.
The Lower Mainland/Southwest is B.C.’s most populous region, home to over 2.8 million people, about 61 per cent of the provincial population. This dynamic metropolitan area offers economic opportunities, a mild climate, an active lifestyle, and all the amenities of a vibrant urban centre.
The second-largest region in the province by land area, Nechako is also the least populated. It is an area of vast and remote wilderness that includes mountains, glaciers, valleys, and plateaus. Natural resources, particularly mining and forestry, have played a critical role in the area’s economy and development. Many companies are actively exploring for minerals in the area.
Bordering the Pacific Ocean, the North Coast region is an area of spectacular forests, majestic mountains, and rugged coastlines. The economy has diversified in recent years as a result of new capacity at the Port of Prince Rupert, ports in Kitimat and Stewart, major investments in the aluminum smelter in Kitimat, and plans for liquefied natural gas plants, and other large infrastructure projects.
The Northeast region is one of the fastest-growing thanks to the rapid development of the energy sector. The province’s highest employment rate drives the region’s economy, fueled by opportunities in natural gas production and coal mining. Capital investment in the natural resource industries, including clean energy, shows consistent growth.
Located in the interior of B.C., the Thompson-Okanagan region is a popular tourist destination, renowned for its sunny climate, beautiful landscapes, and relaxed lifestyle. Its diverse economy is based on agriculture, the service sector, logging, and manufacturing.
The Vancouver Island and Coast economic region is found on the west coast of B.C. and includes the provincial capital of Victoria, all of Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and some of the coastal regions of the mainland. Driven by tourism and a healthy population, the service sector plays a major role in the region’s economy. Other important industries include logging and fishing.
Regional experts can help familiarize you with the amenities, infrastructure, and opportunities in each region. They can introduce you to the economic development offices and industry associations that will support the integration of your business into the province.