Operating Costs

The cost of doing business in British Columbia can be much lower than in other top North American locations. Labour, power, and facility costs are generally lower, and so are corporate income tax rates.

Compared with the west coast of the United States, many industries can achieve total annual operating cost savings of up to 18 per cent. These industries include content development, electronics assembly, advanced batteries, and qualified international business activities.

Annual Operating Costs

(Index Vancouver = 100.00)*
Exchange rate for cost comparisons: US$1 = C$1.02

Content Development
Electronics Assembly
Advanced Batteries
International Business**
Vancouver, British Columbia 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
San Diego, California 101.6 103.5 103.6 108.3
San Francisco, California 108.0 105.3 108.6 118.9
Seattle, Washington 101.0 103.3 105.1 109.5
Source: KPMG Competitive Alternatives Cost Model; Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, 2013
*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.
**Registered in the International Business Activity Program. Assumes a maximum of 100 per cent corporate income tax abatement.

Industrial Electricity

British Columbia’s affordable and reliable electrical power gives businesses a significant opportunity to reduce operating costs. Our rates are less than half those in Toronto and New York, and Boston and are very competitive with those of other North American cities. Our affordable rates and innovation in the clean energy field provide abundant and environmentally sustainable power resources.

  • Reliable, renewable and low-cost hydroelectric power supplies more than 95 per cent of British Columbia's electricity needs. The rest is mainly natural-gas-fired power.
  • A comprehensive transmission and distribution system delivers uninterrupted power to all regions of the province. BC Hydro has an Average System Availability Index of 99.935 per cent, even during extreme weather and other disruptive events.
  • British Columbia is Canada’s second-largest producer of natural gas.
  • Our Energy Plan promotes development of conventional and alternative power sources, such as wind and biomass power. It also promotes green “run of the river” projects, in which a river’s natural flow and elevation are used to create power.

BC 2013 Industrial Electrical Costs

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 less than half of those in London.  Labour costs are generally lower than those on the west coast of the United States.

Class A Office Rental Rates

US$ per square foot
Class A Office Rental Rates in Downtown Core Annual Rental Rates
U.S - Seattle, WA 32.27
Canada - Vancouver, BC 35.34
U.S. - Los Angeles, CA 35.70
U.S. - Chicago, IL 37.62
U.S - Houston, TX 38.01
U.S. - Austin, TX 40.05
U.S. - Boston, MA 48.75
Germany - Frankfurt 48.76
U.S. - San Francisco, CA 51.22
India - Mumbai 63.75
Australia - Sydney 82.61
China - Shanghai 83.63
Singapore - Singapore 89.29
India - Delhi 91.58
China - Beijing 101.17
Japan - Tokyo 107.91
Hong Kong - Hong Kong 130.86
U.K. - London, West End 165.51
Source: Cushmand & Wakefield, MarketBeat Across the Globe 3Q 2012

BC Canada Building Lease Cost