Poor public transit and expensive housing are hurting Greater Vancouver’s economy, says report

Conference Board of Canada ranks Greater Vancouver ninth out of 20 international metropolitan areas

Inadequate public transit and road infrastructure, along with poor housing affordability, are hurting Greater Vancouver’s ability to attract labour and business investment compared to 19 other metropolitan regions around the world.
In a public policy report produced by the Conference Board of Canada, the region ranked ninth overall, according to a series of economic and social indicators. The top-performing Canadian region was Calgary in fourth place, however the report notes that the measures in the analysis were taken in 2014 or earlier and therefore don’t take into account the impact of the steep decline in oil and gas prices. Toronto finished just behind Greater Vancouver in 10th position.
The top three regions were Singapore, Copenhagen and Hong Kong.
Iain Black, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, which released the report, points out that many factors make the region an attractive place for people and businesses. On the economic side, Greater Vancouver earned an A grade for its low office rents but scored low in areas including labour productivity and post-secondary education attainment. It also noted land scarcity for trade-enabling port expansion and a low proportion of people aged 25 to 34. “The scorecard results,” says Black, “suggest Greater Vancouver still faces challenges that if left unaddressed could impact our future economic vitality.”
On the social side, Greater Vancouver ranked well for its low homicide rate, high proportion of foreign-born residents, high proportion of residents employed in cultural occupations and low level of air pollution.
The report recommended that more regional coordination is needed to address the challenges posed by poor transit infrastructure, housing affordability and the dwindling availability of industrial land.

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