Let's have a look at the road that the business sector has taken to reach its current state.
Vancouver Island History
The Island's history of course, begins with the numerous First Nations tribes who have populated the island for thousands of years. The white settlements started growing after the Hudson Bay Company sent James Douglas to build Fort Victoria in 1843.
The mining and lumber industries were the catalyst for rapid growth after 1900 (population 51,000) as immigrants moved in to develop these resources. By 1981 the population had grown to 495,000 and to 663,000 by 2001. Most recent statistics indicate a population of around 750,000 with the bulk of those (340,000) living in Greater Victoria. Other major centers include Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Courtney, Comox, Campbell River and Parksville.
Business on Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island has long been known as the centre of government, education, tourism and natural resources. Business has gradually shifted from the boom and bust nature of fishing, timber and mining to more of a white collar bias. The latest success stories have been in the technology, small manufacturing and recreation sectors. The exceptional quality of life that one experiences here has attracted a lot of talent to the southern parts of the island especially.
Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey
Over the past 10 years, services sector employment has increased from 242,000 jobs in the 3rd quarter of 1995 to 288,000 jobs 3Q2005 - an increase of 46,000 jobs (19%); while employment in goods sector industries has dropped by 9%, from 76,700 employed in 1995 to 69,700 in 3rd quarter 2005, a loss of 7,000 jobs.
Vancouver Island employment over the past 10 years for those industries which comprise the goods-producing sector has been dropping and replaced by the service sector. Largest losses have been in manufacturing and forestry, fishing, mining employment. This is due to restructuring, plant and mill closures, and automation.
Industry Employment by Location
Vancouver Island largest industries 3Q2005: together these four employ almost half of all workers in Vancouver Island.
- Wholesale & Retail Trade 55,000 workers; 15% of total employment
- Food & Accommodation 42,800 workers; 12% of total employment
- Health Care & Social Assistance 37,000 workers; 10% of total employment
- Construction 34,300 workers; 9% of total employment