Canadian Head Office Survey: How Do Metro Vancouver and British Columbia Stack Up?

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This issue of Policy Perspectives reviews the recently released Statistics Canada Annual Head Office Survey, comments on its implications for BC/Metro Vancouver, and offers a few thoughts on factors that contribute to a robust head office “ecosystem.”

Highlights

  • Statistics Canada’s Annual Head Office Survey shows that Metro Vancouver has room for improvement if the region wants to “punch at its weight” compared to other major cities across Canada.
  • Attracting new corporate offices, and growing more local firms into larger-scale businesses, would strengthen Metro Vancouver’s and British Columbia’s economic diversity and also create more high-paying jobs.
  • Different levels of government and the business community have partnered to launch two recent initiatives aimed at increasing the corporate office presence in Metro Vancouver – and these have scored a couple of early “wins,” suggesting that Metro Vancouver can compete on the world stage despite the disadvantages stemming from high housing costs and a lacklustre reputation as a global business centre.
  • To build a stronger corporate sector, political, civic and business leaders need to collaborate to: establish a clear vision for the region, speak with one voice, address Metro Vancouver’s reputation as a “high-cost jurisdiction” for companies, and overcome the perception in some quarters that Vancouver is “not a city for global business.”