BC Natural Resources Survey Finds Broad-Based Support for Increased Resource Investment
Promoting innovation, marketing BC’s “low carbon advantage,” and building new markets needed for the resource sector to compete globally.
Vancouver, B.C. – January 23, 2020:
British Columbians recognize the integral role natural resources play in driving the provincial economy and support increased investment in the sector to encourage sustainable resource development. That’s one of the key findings of the inaugural BC Natural Resources Survey conducted by the BC Chamber of Commerce, C3 Alliance Corp., and research company Abacus Data.
From November 14, 2019 to January 10, 2020, an online survey was conducted using the BC Chamber’s business insight platform BCMindreader.com The survey was designed to gauge public perceptions on natural resource development, growth prospects for various business sectors, obstacles holding back resource expansion and ideas for sustainable development, among other issues. More than 1,000 individuals responded to the survey, representing a broad cross-section of British Columbians comprising a healthy mix of income and education levels, geographic regions, and spanning diverse political affiliations. Half of respondents had no ties to the resource sector, while the other half either worked in natural resources or had a family member or acquaintance affiliated with the sector.
“We undertook this research project to get a better sense of how British Columbians felt about the province’s economic drivers,” said Sarah Weber, President and CEO, C3 Alliance Corp. “Clearly, BC residents understand the important contribution of natural resources to their economic well being. Even among individuals who are not connected to the sector, there’s a deep appreciation for the role natural resources play in driving BC’s prosperity.”
Among the survey findings:
- 55% of respondents said natural resources were crucial to the BC economy, while another 43% considered them very important.
- 86% of people either strongly agreed or agreed that a strong resource sector helps create a vibrant economic base in BC on which we can grow other parts of the economy.
- A majority of respondents (81%) acknowledged that revenue from natural resources helps pay for provincial social programs such as health care and education.
- 75% of people agreed that the provincial government should encourage more investment in BC’s natural resource sector.
“What we’re seeing is broad-based support for responsible resource development by British Columbians,” said Val Litwin, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. “BC’s reliance on clean hydroelectricity gives our resource sector a distinct low-carbon advantage compared to other international jurisdictions. This is a key selling point that we should be marketing aggressively to help grow our economic base.”
British Columbians recognize this export attribute, with 78% of respondents saying they would like BC to more aggressively promote its “low-carbon advantage” globally.
The majority of respondents are proud of BC’s natural resource sector, acknowledging that participating companies offer well-paying, highly skilled jobs, are environmentally thoughtful, well run, technologically advanced and innovative. Sixty-five percent of British Columbians said they would encourage young people to work in natural resources.
When asked how important various business sectors will be in ten years, 47% cited natural resources, with another 36% stated the sector will play the same role it does today. Specific business segments British Columbians believe are poised for growth include: renewable energy (75%), followed by high-technology (68%), energy (58%), agriculture (54%), natural gas/LNG (51%), tourism/hospitality (45%), forest products (31%), mining (29%), and film and TV production (22%).
It’s notable that when asked how they would prefer specific sectors to rank in terms of their importance to the BC economy, 53% of British Columbians said they would like to see forestry become ‘more important’ followed by 44% who cited mining.
Surprisingly, half of respondents were pessimistic about the future of the province’s natural resource sector, which may reflect the slow pace of project approval in BC and well-publicized opposition to resource development. Impediments to growth cited include onerous government regulations, pressure groups and protests, climate change, labour costs, insufficient government incentives to attract investment, competition for talent, climate and taxes.
British Columbians believe we must take measures to improve economic prospects for the natural resources industry including; promoting innovation, positioning BC as a leader in low-carbon resource products and identifying and building markets for sustainably produced products.
To access the full survey report, visit http://www.bcchamber.org/natural-resource-survey-2020
Results from the BC Natural Resources Survey will be presented at the 17th Annual BC Natural Resources Forum in Prince George, BC , January 28 to 30, 2020 www.bcnaturalresourcesforum.com. Forum speakers include BC Premier John Horgan, Tracy Robinson, Executive Vice-President and President, Canadian Natural Gas Pipelines, TC Energy, Sue Paish, CEO, Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster, Affonso Jr. Bizon, General Manager, Rio Tinto BC Works, Peter Zebedee, CEO, LNG Canada, James Thompson, Vice-President, Western Region, CN, and Chief Councillor Crystal Smith, Haisla Nation, among other community and industry leaders.
For additional information, please contact:
BC Chamber of Commerce
Director of Communications
C3 Alliance Corp.