BC's High Technology Exports: A Solid Base to Grow From

March 10, 2014
Jock Finlayson

British Columbia is home to an economically significant and notably diversified high technology sector. A detailed overview of the sector is presented in the most recent British Columbia’s Technology Report Card 2012. It shows that the production of advanced technology goods and services now generates 6% of the province’s GDP and accounts for approximately 80,000 jobs. While this is lower than the GDP share in some other provinces, BC’s technology sector continues to expand faster than the economy in general. And it has been resilient in the wake of the 2008-09 recession and the rather sluggish economic recovery that followed in its wake.


  • In the context of the overall British Columbia economy, the advanced technology sector is substantial, accounting for more than 80,000 jobs and 6% of economic output (GDP).
  • That said, BC’s technology sector is smaller than its counterparts in the other provinces that host sizable high technology industries.
  • The advanced technology sector in BC is populated by a plethora of smaller businesses and has relatively few large companies (and very few true “anchor” firms).
  • Turning to exports, BC’s technology industry has performed relatively well in recent years. Technology-related exports have grown more quickly than total provincial exports, and BC has outpaced Canada as a whole on this metric.
  • Within Canada, BC punches somewhat below its weight in exports of technology goods, but well above its weight in exporting technology services. Exports of technology services are difficult to track and often not very visible; this contributes to the perception that BC underperforms in technology exports.
  • Recent research on regionally-based high technology clusters in the United States indicates that over the long-term, technology production has significant multiplier effects, with one technology job supporting as many as five other jobs in a given metropolitan area.

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