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*based on 2007 $ Sources: The Conference Board of Canada; Statistics Canada

THE#BCBIZDAILY
Good news for B.C., more women engineers and a surprising lack of student debt

B.C. on top
Echoing a report from the Business Council of B.C. last month, the Conference Board of Canada’s Provincial Outlook: Winter 2015 predicts B.C. will lead Canada in economic growth this year, followed by Ontario and Manitoba. The reasons: a low Canadian dollar, a stronger U.S. economy and stronger consumer confidence. Lower oil prices will hurt provinces like Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan. For Canada as a whole, economic growth will be just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared to 2.4 per cent in 2014.

Women want in
Engineering isn't the boys club it once was. UBC announced Monday that the number of women registered in its first-year engineering undergraduate programs has risen from 19.7 to 29 per cent since 2010—the year Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science & Technology was established. WWEST supports the recruitment and retention of women in engineering, science and technology through workshops, talks, technical tours and mentorships in partnership with over 20 community and nonprofit groups. In the past five years, the program has connected with more than 2,300 young women across B.C. Canada is expected to have a shortage of 102,000 engineers by 2020, according to Ottawa-based Engineers Canada.

The myth of student debt?
Speaking of education, on CBC Radio's Early Edition, host Rick Cluff was surprised to hear B.C.'s minister of advanced education, Andrew Wilkinson, say that 70 per cent of B.C. post-secondary students graduate with no—that's right, zero—student debt. As for the other 30 per cent, Wilkinson said the average debt is $10,000 for a college diploma and $20,000 for a university degree. Listen to the interview here.