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West at a Glance - March 2017 Issue

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Inside this issue

Provincial Government Developments

British Columbia




News and Opinion Hightlights

Key Economic Indicators

  British Columbia Alberta Saskatchewan Manitoba Canada Last Update
Gross Domestic Product
Real GDPFootnote 1  (2007 $billions, forecast) $216 $288 $58 $56 $1,674 2017
% ch. from year earlier 3.4% -2.2% -1.5% 1.7% 1.5%  
Labour Market
Employment (SA, thousands) 2,419 2,268 568 634 18,273 Jan-17
Change from previous month 11.2 0.2 -0.7 1.3 48.3  
% ch. from previous month 0.5% 0.0% -0.1% 0.2% 0.3%  
% ch. from year earlier 3.5% -0.4% -1.0% 0.9% 1.5%  
Unemployment Rate (SA,%) 5.6% 8.8% 6.4% 6.1% 6.8% Jan-17
percentage points from previous month -0.2 0.3 -0.2 -0.2 -0.1  
percentage points from year earlier -1 1.4 0.8 0 -0.4  
Regular EI beneficiaries (SA) 54,950 97,870 20,150 15,780 568,790 Dec-16
Change from previous month -900 1,650 -750 80 -3,190  
% ch. from previous month -1.6% 1.7% -3.6% 0.5% -0.6%  
% ch. from previous year 1.5% 56.1% 27.8% 2.9% 4.0%  
Average weekly earnings $933.75 $1,129.62 $1,010.37 $898.69 $971.00 Dec-16
Change from previous year $8.16 -$16.98 $18.27 $5.57 $11.27  
CPI (y/y) 2.3% 2.5% 1.6% 2.1% 2.1% Jan-17
CPI (y/y) previous month 1.9% 1.0% 0.6% 1.1% 1.5% Dec-16
Consumers and Business
Retail Sales (SA, $millions) $6,333 $6,264 $1,588 $1,600 $44,912 Dec-16
% ch. from previous month -0.3% 1.1% 1.2% -0.1% -0.5%  
% ch. from previous year 7.2% 1.8% 3.5% 3.1% 4.3%  
Manufacturing Sales (SA, $millions) $3,965 $5,618 $1,320 $1,467 $53,462 Dec-16
% ch. from previous month -1.5% 2.9% 5.4% -4.5% 2.3%  
% ch. from previous year 8.8% 8.1% 12.2% 2.9% 3.5%  
Building Permits (SA, $millions) $959 $827 $143 $193 $7,168 Dec-16
% ch. from previous month -23.5% -24.3% -8.2% 5.8% -6.6%  
% ch. from previous year -26.5% -28.6% -38.4% -7.5% 1.4%  
Housing Starts (SAAR, thousands) 29 19 4 9 207 Jan-17
% ch. from previous month -30.9% -28.8% -21.7% 120.3% 0.5%  
% ch. from previous year -17.2% -18.9% -9.5% 69.2% 19.0%  
International Trade
Merchandise Exports ($millions) $3,928 $7,964 $2,547 $1,200 $41,652 Dec-16
% ch. from previous month 4.4% 4.3% -4.8% 0.8% -1.7%  
% ch. from previous year 33.9% 9.2% -1.4% 0.3% -1.2%  
Merchandise Imports ($millions) $3,867 $2,255 $733 $1,612 $41,952 Dec-16
% ch. from previous month -2.4% 16.2% 13.6% -0.8% -6.0%  
% ch. from previous year 4.1% -1.4% 0.4% -3.0% -4.1%  
Population (estimate) 4,773,345 4,268,929 1,155,393 1,323,958 36,443,632 Q4 2016
% ch. from previous year 1.3% 1.6% 1.6% 1.7% 1.3%  
Largest Cities (CMAs) Vancouver (2,463,431) Calgary (1,392,609) Saskatoon (295,095) Winnipeg* (778,489)   2016
  Victoria* (367,770) Edmonton* (1,321,426) Regina* (236,481)      

Upcoming Events

Event Description Location Date
British Columbia
Transportation Summit 2017: The Future of Our Region The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade will host this opportunity for the business community to discuss the future of the region's transit and transportation networks. Vancouver, BC Transportation Summit 2017 :March 3, 2017
#BCTECH Summit The Province of BC and the BC Innovation Council will co-host the second annual #BCTECH Summit, the largest conference in BC showcasing the province's technology industry. Vancouver, BC #BCTECH :March 14-15, 2017
Bank of Canada The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade will host the Bank of Canada's Deputy Governor, Lawrence Schembri, for a keynote address. Vancouver, BC Bank of Canada :March 22, 2017
University of British Columbia The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade will host UBC's new President and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Santa Ono, for his inaugural address. Vancouver, BC University of British Columbia :March 28, 2017
Air Canada The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade will host Air Canada President and CEO, Calin Rovinescu, to discuss competitive business in the 21st century. Vancouver, BC Air Canada :April 20, 2017
Simon Fraser University The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade will host SFU President and Vice-Chancellor, Andrew Petter, in a discussion about building BC's innovation economy. Vancouver, BC Simon Fraser University :May 30, 2017
Creating Prosperity Through Innovation A lunch event hosted by TECTERRA, featuring Director of Portfolio Development, Richard Gorecki. Edmonton, AB Creating Prosperity Through Innovation :March 1, 2017
Propel Energy Tech Forum An annual forum for energy technology companies that focuses technology developments in energy efficiency, oil and gas extraction, pipeline operations, and environmental monitoring. Calgary, AB Propel Energy Tech Forum :March 1-2, 2017
Calgary Downtown Economic Summit An event hosted by Calgary Economic Development, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, and the City of Calgary to identify emerging trends and opportunities for Calgary's city centre. Calgary, AB March 2, 2017
Addressing the Essential Skills Gap A Canadian Apprenticeship Forum roundtable on how to address essential skills deficits among apprentices. Edmonton, AB Addressing the Essential Skills Gap :March 2, 2017
Southeast Alberta Energy Diversification Symposium (SEEDS) A conference hosted by the Alberta Labour, Economic Development Alliance of Southeast Alberta, and Medicine Hat College to provide an opportunity for discussion about Southeast Alberta's energy diversification opportunities. Medicine Hat, AB SEEDS :March 2-3, 2017
CERI 2017 Oil and Gas Symposium: Where do we go from here? Symposium hosted by the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) to discuss the current oil and gas extraction environment, such as pipeline approvals, LNG plants, market prices, and First Nations engagement. Calgary, AB CERI :March 6-7, 2017
Western Business Outlook: Edmonton The Conference Board of Canada's outlook for Edmonton in 2017 from a global, national, provincial, and metropolitan perspective. Edmonton, AB Western Business Outlook: Edmonton :March 8, 2017
Western Business Outlook: Calgary The Conference Board of Canada's outlook for Calgary in 2017 from a global, national, provincial, and metropolitan perspective. Calgary, AB Western Business Outlook: Calgary :March 10, 2017
Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital 2017 Reverse Trade Show A trade show hosted by Alberta Health Services which highlights clinical care challenges that could be addressed through the development of innovative technological solutions. Edmonton, AB Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital 2017 Reverse Trade Show :March 21, 2017
Oil Sands Innovation Summit Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) will hold a summit showcasing how innovation is improving the environmental performance of Canada's oil sands. Calgary, AB Oil Sands Innovation Summit :March 21-22, 2017
EDA 2017 Annual Professional Conference & AGM Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) will host its annual conference with the theme of "Embracing Change. Creating Opportunity." Banff, AB EDA :March 22–24, 2017
AccelerateAB An annual event connecting local startups, mentors, investors, and other partners to accelerate the success of Alberta's entrepreneurs. Calgary, AB AccelerateAB :April 19, 2017
XXV Anniversary Business Forum and Gala Dinner The Canadian Council for the Americas is hosting an event to discuss the future of the economic regions in the Americas (NAFTA, Pacific Alliance, Pacific Rim, US-Canada, and the Americas). Calgary, AB XXV Anniversary Business Forum and Gala Dinner :April 25, 2017
IPAC & Conference Board of Canada Present: Resilience A conference focused on the increased risks posed by natural hazards and the responses from both public and private sectors. It will also feature a lessons learned event for the May 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire. Edmonton, AB IPAC :April 25-26, 2017
University of Calgary's W21C Program 2017 Reverse Trade Show A trade show hosted by Alberta Health Services which highlights clinical challenges for seniors that could be addressed through the development of innovative technological solutions. Calgary, AB May 2, 2017
CCAB Aboriginal Economic Development Conference A conference highlighting innovation in the Indigenous economy. Calgary, AB CCAB :May 11, 2017
2017 Canadian Inland Ports Conference An annual Van Horne Institute conference discussing the present and future economic benefit of inland ports for the provinces and communities in which they are located. Calgary, AB 2017 Canadian Inland Ports Conference :May 24, 2017
The Centre for the Study of Science and Innovation (CSIP) Launch CSI, the newest research centre to be launched by the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, is an academic research institute that supports the advancement of understanding about policy through the application of robust, theory, innovative method and evidence-based discussions. Saskatoon, SK
Regina, SK
CSIP :March 8 & 13, 2017
SUSTAINTECH 2017 The third annual SustainTech conference, organized by the Saskatchewan Environmental Industry and Managers Association (SEIMA), brings together industry, academia, and regulators to share new ideas and technologies. Saskatoon, SK SUSTAINTECH 2017 :March 16, 2017
CANDO Links to Learning Links to Learning is an annual training forum for First Nations Economic Development Officers and Land Management Officers. Saskatoon, SK March 28-30, 2017
Saskatchewan Economic Summit 2017 The Saskatchewan Economic Summit 2017 is organized by the Conference Board of Canada's Saskatchewan Institute. The Summit is an opportunity for senior government officials and decision-makers from the private sector to discuss issues affecting Saskatchewan. Regina, SK Saskatchewan Economic Summit 2017 :April 3-4, 2017
Saskatchewan Mining Supply Chain Forum The 9th Annual Saskatchewan Mining Supply Chain Forum is presented by the Saskatchewan Mining Association, the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy, and the Saskatchewan Industrial and Mining Suppliers Association. The Forum will provide information on how businesses can access mining supply opportunities. Saskatoon, SK Saskatchewan Mining Supply Chain Forum :April 4, 2017
Johnson Shoyama Graduate School 2017 Tansley Lecture Under the theme: "Canada and President Trump: How do we manage?" – former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson explores the uncertain and critical era into which Canada-U.S relations are entering. Regina, SK Johnson Shoyama Graduate School 2017 Tansley Lecture :April 5, 2017
2017 Agri-Value and Networking Event This year's theme is "Growth, Opportunities and Challenges in Value-Added Processing." The workshops will feature an address by Lyle Stewart, the Saskatchewan Minister of Agriculture as well as other local and international speakers. Saskatoon, SK 2017 Agri-Value and Networking Event :May 4, 2017
2017 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference The 2017 conference includes talks on production optimization, geology, and environmental issues. Also featured is the core workshop, intended to give delegates a unique perspective on the geology of key plays within the Williston Basin. Regina, SK 2017 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference< :May 2-4, 2017
Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc. 2017 Annual Business Conference This year's business conference will focus on "Business Innovation Through Technology," featuring high-calibre speakers and content while providing the opportunity to learn from some of the province's up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Saskatoon, SK Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan :May 10, 2017
Saskatchewan Mining Week 2017 The week-long event will feature various activities and events ending with the 49th Annual Emergency Response/Mine Rescue Skills Competition. Saskatoon, SK Saskatchewan Mining Week 2017 :May 28-June 3, 2017
Rotary Career Symposium Manitoba's largest career symposium with over 185 exhibit booths with post-secondary and employment options for students and job seekers. Winnipeg, MB Rotary Career Symposium :March 14-16, 2017
2017 Dare to Compete (un)Conference The conference is organized around the Industry 2030 themes: Human Resources & Skills Development, Technology & Innovation, Trade & Business Development, and the Business Environment. Winnipeg, MB 2017 Dare to Compete :March 21, 2017
Manitoba Sustainable Energy Association (ManSEA) Conference and ManSEA's annual general meeting with the theme of "Carbon Pricing and Sustainable Energy – What does it mean for me?" Portage la Prairie, MB ManSEA :April 5, 2017
Red River College (RRC) Applied Research and Innovation day A showcase of student and staff applied research that's happening at RRC and being driven by industry. Winnipeg, MB RRC :April 6, 2017

Western Economic Diversification Canada

The role of Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is to improve the long-term economic competitiveness of Western Canada by supporting programs and services that enhance innovation, business development, and community economic development. In addition, the department undertakes policy, advocacy and coordination activities in order to advance the interests of Western Canada in national economic decision-making.

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