The media announcement of the study is here.

The full study is available here.

Introduction and Study Purpose

The Victoria and Esquimalt harbours are located in the traditional territory of the Lekwungen People. With long family traditions, rich cultural activities, and strong connections to the lands and waters, the Lekwungen People are stewards of the harbours and contribute to the social, environmental, and economic well-being of the neighboring communities.

These lands and naturally protected deep water harbours play a strategic role towards a diversified economy serving as a gateway for commercial, industrial and tourism activity across Vancouver Island making them an important source of economic activity in the Greater Victoria region. Active commitment to the economic, social, and environmental vitality of the region by the local working harbour businesses creates benefits that impact not only Greater Victoria, but also ripple out across British Columbia and other Canadian provinces.

This study is intended to establish a baseline of the economic impact of the Victoria and Esquimalt harbours using a triple bottom line approach. The study was developed using 2019 as a baseline year. Data was collected directly from harbour businesses and organizations, while also leveraging existing local and regional studies and planning strategies where possible. It attempts to quantify all economic activity spurred by businesses within the working harbour, and provides discussion on the economic, social, and environmental contributions of the harbours including sector-specific highlights and discussion on the importance of the harbours to First Nations.

The study also establishes a framework that can be repeated in future years to measure trends and to assess future developments and economic growth against the 2019 baseline. The quantified economic impacts can assist in regional and local planning, facilitate financial forecasting, and support major investment initiatives in the harbours.

Results

Overall, Victoria and Esquimalt harbour organizations generated $2.9 billion in economic output across Greater Victoria in 2019, contributed $1.8 billion to local GDP (accounting for around 8% of Victoria’s overall GDP ), supported 14,983 local jobs, paid $953 million in employment income, and generated $539 million in total tax revenues. The harbour organizations leverage the unique benefits of the naturally protected deep water harbour and marine transportation highway. In 2019, their economic contributions demonstrated that they are key economic drivers in the region, fueling the local and regional economy.

More broadly, harbour activity generated $3.3 billion in output across British Columbia, contributed $2.0 billion to provincial GDP, supported 16,755 jobs across the province with $1.0 billion in employment income, and generated $607 million in total tax revenues.

Altogether, harbour organizations generated over $3.8 billion in output across Canada, contributed $2.3 billion to Canadian GDP, supported 19,079 jobs across the country with $1.2 billion in employment income, and generated $693 million in total tax revenues.

Beyond the economic impact, harbour organizations contributed over $1.7 million in 2019 to various social programs and community initiatives in addition to other in-kind donations. These contributions included sponsoring local events, supporting charitable organizations, and providing education or training opportunities.

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

Both harbours contribute to a sense of community and economic stability in the region with the largest proportion of economic activity within the Esquimalt Harbour and a significant presence of social amenities and attractions located within Victoria Harbour.