Manufacturing is a key contributor to B.C.’s economic diversity and future growth.
It showcases B.C.’s capacity for innovation in product development and advanced manufacturing processes.
Manufacturing sub-sectors, such as pharmaceuticals and medicines, electronic products and components, machinery, and ship and boatbuilding, are growing significantly.
It is also closely tied to B.C.’s strengths in forestry, agriculture and mining, adding additional value to the abundant natural resources located throughout the province.
The manufacturing sector is a significant purchaser of services, stimulating growth in the transportation, financial and communication sectors.
- Manufacturing contributes $16.8 billion to the B.C. economy and represents about 9% of the total Canadian manufacturing gross domestic product (GDP).
- In the last five years, B.C. has had the second fastest growing manufacturing sector in Canada, in terms of percentage GDP. Only P.E.I. has experienced faster growth.
- The top five manufacturing sub-sectors, accounting for 57% of sector GDP and 50% of sector employment, are wood products, food, primary metal, paper and machinery.
- In 2017, there were 174,200 people employed in the manufacturing sector in British Columbia, the third-largest share of manufacturing workers among all Canadian provinces.
- There are approximately 7,200 manufacturing companies in British Columbia with at least one employee.
- Workers in the sector have weekly earnings that are 16.5% higher than the provincial average.
- Females represent approximately 30% of the employed labour force in the manufacturing sector of B.C.
- Every 100 direct jobs in the manufacturing sector support 75 jobs in the rest of the economy.
- In 2017, manufactured goods accounted for 61% of B.C.’s total goods exported to international destinations.
- In 2017, B.C. had the fourth-highest value of manufactured goods exports among the provinces.
- $26.4 billion in manufactured exports reached foreign destinations in 2016, an increase of about 6% over 2015.
- Manufacturers of technology products account for over 14,300 jobs and $1.6 billion of provincial GDP.
- Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing in B.C. has increased by over 125% since 2011.
- Medical equipment manufacturing exports from B.C. totalled $187 million in 2017 — an increase of 70% from 2011.
- B.C. has the third-largest aerospace sector in the country, generating $1.3 billion of the province’s GDP and providing 8,300 high-skilled, well-paid jobs.
- The manufacturing sector accounts for 32% of B.C. business spending on research and development.
- From 2015 to 2018, close to $20 million from the BC Knowledge Development Fund has been invested to support manufacturing-related research and development in the province.
- $4.7 million of approved government funding from the Canada-BC Job Grant Program was provided to support 238 manufacturing employers in the 2017-18 fiscal year.
- From 2015 to 2018, the Province has provided approximately $1.5 million in Sector Labour Market Program funding to the manufacturing sector for exploring and addressing labour market needs.
- In 2011, the Province helped Seaspan secure a winning bid under Canada's National Shipbuilding Strategy, which is expected to create more than 5,600 direct jobs and generate $635 million of economic expansion in the province.
- BC Ferries will be investing over $3 billion in capital toward asset replacement and mid-life upgrades.