Does BC’s self-image need a tune-up? Perhaps this report (37-page PDF) will help stimulate a few new thoughts about how we earn our living, especially in Metro Vancouver. And perhaps a few new thoughts about where our jobs will come from, other than solely from LNG plants and bridge construction.

Despite all the noise about resources, the report notes that in 2016, the tech sector in BC has become its largest employer, generating more jobs than mining, oil, gas and forestry combined.

Called British Columbia’s Digital Technology Supercluster, the report is the result of work by Deloitte, and was sponsored by the BC Tech Association, the Research Universities’ Council of BC, Wavefront and the Chief Advisor of the Innovation Network, Dr. Santa Ono.

Thanks to the BCTech Association for this overview:

BC is home to a vibrant, diverse and successful technology-enabled economy that has been building momentum since the 1960s.

  • $26 billion a year generated in revenue, making BC the fastest-growing technology sector in Canada
  • 150,000 people employed in technology, making BC the fastest-growing tech workforce in Canada
  • Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, Cisco, Disney, GE, Sony and Electronic Arts are a few examples of global companies that are increasingly attracted to the province
  • Boeing, Finning and SAP have set up global analytics centres of excellence in BC; Sierra Wireless and Wavefront drive global leadership for the Internet of Things (IoT) and D-Wave and 1QBit are the world game changers in quantum computing
  • BC universities are producing world-class research and talent: They attract over $800 million a year in research funding; since 2001, they have been awarded over $1.2 billion in funding for research infrastructure and equipment and they have evolved their program mix to meet the needs of the technology sector by supporting a 57 per cent increase in engineering and computer science program spaces between 2006 and 2015
  • The fact that three out of five Canadian “unicorns” (tech companies worth more than $1 billion) call BC their home, 25 per cent of all US patents were derived from post-secondary research in BC and the visual effects for top-grossing films (Star Wars) and games (Nintendo) are being produced in BC is a testament to the province’s world-class, creative and digital media talent
  • BC has a significant geographic advantage as the Canadian gateway to both Asia — one of the fastest growing global economies — and the Cascadia Innovation Corridor, with access to cross-border talent, research, capital and distribution.

For me, the things I note are the ground-floor presence in fast-growth, high-potential areas such as the Internet of Things (see pages 18 and 27).   Plus academic and research capability.  And solid talent in digital media and entertainment via video games, special effects and animation (page 17).

At least for the next few years, if not more, BC’s tech sector also benefits from Canada’s political stability and its immigration policies, that allow us to attract top talent from around the world.