Victoria and Esquimalt Harbours contribute $2.9 billion to regional economy annually

Economic Impact Study shows that both harbours support 14,983 jobs in the region

June 22, 2021, Victoria, BC, Canada – The Economic Impact Study for Victoria and Esquimalt Harbours reveals that harbour-based activities generated $2.9 billion in economic output across Greater Victoria in 2019.

Of the $2.9 billion in economic impact, $2.4 billion is generated by the Esquimalt harbour businesses with a significant contribution by CFB Esquimalt, and $554 million is from the Victoria harbour businesses. The study shows that the harbours contributed $1.8 billion to local GDP (accounting for around 8% of Victoria’s overall GDP), paid $953 million in employment income, and generated $539 million in total tax revenues. In addition to the financial contribution, a total of 14,983 people are employed in the region as a result of our working harbours.

“The working harbour is critically important to the region and, with quantifiable data and analysis, that impact is now measured and shareable,” said Judith Ethier, Chief Administrative Officer, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. “As a not-for-profit organization with a mandate to be stewards for a working harbour, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is committed to a triple-bottom line approach toward economic growth in the region and supports the sustainable development of our harbour.”

The Victoria and Esquimalt harbours are located in the traditional territory of the Lekwungen People. The economic, social, and environmental contributions of the Esquimalt Nation and Songhees Nation are highlighted in the report, illustrating their ongoing use of and connection to the lands. Indigenous reconciliation includes highlighting and supporting the Indigenous economy.

“Our harbours represent our connection to the sea, but also to one another” said Christina Clarke, Corporate Executive Officer, Songhees Development Corporation “Our economies are interconnected, the prosperity of one business contributes to the prosperity of all.”

Beyond the direct economic impact, harbour organizations and businesses contributed more than $1.7 million in 2019 to various social programs and community initiatives in addition to various other in-kind donations. These contributions included sponsoring local events or organizations, supporting charitable organizations, and providing education or training opportunities which provided significant social value to the region.

Victoria and Esquimalt harbour organizations reported spending more than $58 million in 2019 on various environmental initiatives. These initiatives ranged from reducing the overall environmental footprint, promoting sustainable practices, remediating or removing contaminants, and implementing practices that help improve the local wildlife habitats.

“The economic impact study is a result of respectful and powerful collaboration,” said Bruce Williams, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. “This project was initiated by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, which is a force in the economy of the region with its impact reaching far beyond the shoreline of the harbour.”

The Economic Impact Study establishes a baseline of the economic impact of the Victoria and Esquimalt working harbours, using a triple bottom line approach that also highlights the social and environmental contributions. The study was completed by HDR and supported by various project partners. While the study does not capture the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the regional economy, the 2019 baseline provides a stable benchmark for assessing and comparing future economic impacts during normal economic conditions.

Economic Impact Study Project Partners

  • Esquimalt Nation
  • Songhees Nation
  • BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
  • CFB Esquimalt
  • City of Victoria
  • Canadian Coast Guard
  • Destination Greater Victoria
  • Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Victoria Harbour Authority
  • Public Services and Procurement Canada
  • Ralmax Group of Companies
  • Seaspan Victoria Shipyards
  • South Island Prosperity Partnership
  • Township of Esquimalt
  • University of Victoria
  • Victoria Esquimalt Harbour Society