British Columbia Tech Summit
Lumber, mining, fishing.
Ask someone on the street about the traditional BC economy and at least one of these sectors is inevitable.
But British Columbia’s tech sector is calling for a major overhaul of how the economy is measured going forward if the province is to remain competitive, according to a report released Monday.
Rather than focusing on tangible goods – a steadily declining component of the economy, according to data in the report – the BC Tech Association is urging the provincial and federal governments to adopt three priorities when they embrace the shift to more. intangible assets within the economy:
1) Improve data collection to better identify economic drivers
2) Make technology and innovation a key driver of the economy
3) Increase access to vocational training and investment in infrastructure for the service economy
The report shows how GDP has been used as a traditional means of measuring the economy, that is, through the tangible exchange of goods and resources.
“British Columbia cannot afford to let 20th century economic thinking guide 21st century decisions,” the report said.
Citing data from Statistics Canada, the authors point out that in 2019, more than 76% of the province’s GDP came from services while the goods-producing sectors accounted for the rest.
“The tech sector is difficult to quantify properly because its activity is included in several categories,” the report said, referring to the compartments into which StatsCan divides the economy such as finance and insurance; information and cultural services; and educational services.
“However, we can assume that the growth of the technology sector largely explains the growth in professional, scientific and technical services, which has grown from around 5.5% of GDP to almost 7% over the past 10 years. “
The report in turn notes declines in sectors such as manufacturing; agriculture, fishing, forestry and hunting; and mining, quarrying, oil and gas.
Again, citing data from Statistics Canada, the report indicates that over the past two decades, service-producing sectors have averaged about 80% of jobs in the economy, while production sectors in goods accounted for an average of 20%.
“Other jurisdictions around the world are recognizing the fundamental changes taking place and making changes to stay economically competitive. As we come out of COVID and start thinking about economic recovery, we need to make an honest assessment of our enduring strengths and how we can build a more inclusive, innovative and resilient economy in British Columbia, ”said the BC Tech CEO Jill Tipping in a statement.