Operating Costs

The cost of doing business in British Columbia can be lower than in other top North American locations. Labour, power and facility costs are generally lower, making B.C. an attractive destination for business. British Columbia’s general corporate income tax rate is only 12%. When combined with the federal rate, British Columbia businesses pay a combined general corporate income tax rate of 27% — among the lowest in the G7.

Compared with the west coast of the United States, many industries can achieve total annual operating cost savings.

Annual Operating Costs

(Index Vancouver = 100.00)*
Exchange rate for cost comparisons: US$1 = C$1.34

Corporate Services
Vancouver, British Columbia 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
San Francisco, California 135.0 147.0 148.0 114.0
Seattle, Washington 129.0 138.0 136.0 111.0
Source: KPMG Competitive Alternatives Cost Model; Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, 2016
*This index shows how much it would cost to operate in selected locations for every $100 of location-sensitive costs in Vancouver. Location-sensitive costs include labour, power facilities, and taxes.

Industrial Electricity

More than 98% of the electricity generated in British Columbia comes from clean or renewable resources. British Columbia’s affordable and reliable electrical power gives businesses a significant opportunity to reduce operating costs. Electricity rates in British Columbia are among the lowest in North America. Ongoing investments in conventional and alternative energy technologies and infrastructure are ensuring that British Columbia has the power it needs to fuel business growth.

  • Reliable, renewable and low-cost hydroelectric power supplies 88% of British Columbia's electricity needs. The rest is mainly power from biomass.
  • A comprehensive transmission and distribution system delivers uninterrupted power to all regions of the province. 
  • British Columbia is Canada’s second-largest producer of natural gas.
  • The B.C. government develops and implements energy efficiency policies and regulations to support the Province's energy, economic and greenhouse gas reduction priorities. Through the Clean Energy Act the province aims to reduce BC Hydro’s expected increase in demand by 66% through demand-side measures by 2020 and reduce B.C. greenhouse gas emissions to 33% below 2007 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

Other Operating Costs

British Columbia offers notable savings on other key business costs, including real estate and labour. Factory lease rates in Vancouver, for example, are almost a quarter of those in London.  

Prime Office Rental Rates

US$ per square foot
Prime Office Costs in Downtown Core Annual Rental Rates - per sq. ft. (USD)
Canada - Vancouver, BC $47.95
U.S. - Los Angeles, CA $50.91
U.S. - Chicago, IL $61.33
U.S - Houston, TX $63.13
U.S - Seattle, WA $64.71
Germany - Frankfurt $64.84
India - Mumbai (Bandra Kurla Complex) $96.51
Singapore $100.74
Australia - Sydney $102.03
U.S. - Boston, MA $103.75
U.S. - San Francisco, CA $113.84
China - Shanghai (Pudong) $138.74
India - New Delhi $153.26
Japan - Tokyo $171.49
U.K. - London, West End $189.56
China - Beijing (Finance Street) $200.91)
China - Hong Kong (Central) $306.57
Source: CBRE June 2018 Global Prime Office Occupancy Costs