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West at a Glance - April 2017 Issue

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Inside this issue

Provincial Government Developments

British Columbia




News and Opinion Highlights

Key Economic Indicators

  British Columbia Alberta Saskatchewan Manitoba Canada Last
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) 2,443 2,289 570 641 18,308 Mar-17
Change from previous month 4.2 20.4 -5.1 2.8 19.4  
% ch. from previous month 0.2% 0.9% 0.9% 0.4% 0.1%  
% ch. from year earlier 3.5% -0.1% 0.4% 0.7% 1.5%  
Unemployment Rate (SA,%) 5.4% 8.4% 6.0% 5.5% 6.7% Mar-17
percentage points from previous month 0.3 0.1 0.0 -0.3 -0.1  
percentage points from year earlier -1 1.2 -0.2 -0.5 -0.4  
Regular EI beneficiaries (SA) 55,340 91,730 19,270 16,090 567,930 Jan-17
Change from previous month 20 -6,090 -370 230 -1,850  
% ch. from previous month 0.0% -6.2% -1.9% 1.5% -0.3%  
% ch. from previous year 1.9% 41.2% 23.1% 2.9% 3.7%  
Average weekly earnings $931.42 $1,112.98 $1,007.87 $898.19 $967.15 Jan-17
Change from previous year $24.43 -$5.74 $23.47 $20.43 $16.73  
CPI (y/y) 2.3% 2.2% 1.4% 2.3% 2.0% Feb-17
CPI (y/y) previous month 2.3% 2.5% 1.6% 2.1% 2.1% Jan-17
Consumers and Business
Retail Sales (SA, $millions) $6,477 $6,436 $1,651 $1,653 $45,952 Jan-17
% ch. from previous month 2.9% 2.4% 3.7% 2.5% 2.2%  
% ch. from previous year 6.6% 4.8% 6.0% 2.8% 4.5%  
Manufacturing Sales (SA, $millions) $3,924 $5,731 $1,355 $1,498 $53,816 Jan-17
% ch. from previous month -0.3% 2.7% 3.4% 1.7% 0.6%  
% ch. from previous year 7.0% 14.8% 12.6% 0.6% 2.7%  
Building Permits (SA, $millions) $1,276 $1,121 $247 $264 $7,450 Feb-17
% ch. from previous month 9.0% -8.2% 66.4% -12.6% -2.5%  
% ch. from previous year 9.7% -21.8% 35.8% 31.1% 3.9%  
Housing Starts (SAAR, thousands) 47 35 5 9 254 Mar-17
% ch. from previous month 55.6% 32.8% 3.6% -6.2% 18.4%  
% ch. from previous year 8.1% 58.4% 33.0% 196.9% 24.7%  
International Trade
Merchandise Exports ($millions) $2,980 $8,000 $2,262 $1,098 $38,491 Feb-17
% ch. from previous month -17.3% -3.9% -12.7% -8.4% -5.4%  
% ch. from previous year 4.8% 36.9% 3.5% -2.7% 2.4%  
Merchandise Imports ($millions) $3,816 $2,033 $773 $1,693 $42,483 Feb-17
% ch. from previous month 1.8% -2.4% -9.8% 8.8% 1.5%  
% ch. from previous year -2.3% -5.3% 8.4% 6.2% -1.3%  
Population (estimate) 4,777,157 4,280,127 1,158,339 1,328,346 36,503,097 Q1 2017
% ch. from previous year 1.3% 1.5% 1.5% 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
COFI COFI will host its annual convention for industry and government leaders from BC to discuss key issues and opportunities facing the BC forestry industry. This year's theme is Forestry for the Planet. Vancouver, BC COFI :April
5–7, 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
North American Wholesale Lumber Association Vancouver Regional Meeting. Panelists are Jason Fisher (Province of BC), Susan Yurkovich (Council of Forest Industries), and Duncan Davies (Interfor). Vancouver, BC North American Wholesale Lumber Association :April 27, 2017
PwC PwC hosts its 30th annual Global Forest, Paper & Packaging Industry Conference. Vancouver, BC PwC :May 10, 2017
WOOD MARKETS WOOD MARKETS will host the 7th Annual Global Softwood Log & Lumber Conference shortly after the announcements of countervailing and anti-dumping duties from the US. Vancouver, BC WOOD MARKETS :May 11, 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
Annual Aboriginal Opportunities Forum The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade hosts this forum with keynote speaker Jody Wilson-Raybould, MP for Granville and Minister of Justice. Vancouver, BC Annual Aboriginal Opportunities Forum :June 16, 2017
Tenet i2c Innovation to Commercialization A Dragon's Den-style pitch competition for University of Calgary researchers developing products for medical treatments. Calgary, AB Tenet i2c Innovation to Commercialization :April 11, 2017
Healthcare Reform: A Policy Conversation A conversation on health-care reform hosted by the University of Calgary. Calgary, AB Healthcare Reform:April 11, 2017
Women in Supply Chain: The Innovative Supply Chain The Van Horne Institute's first installment of a new speakers' series on the Innovative Supply Chain, featuring Jennifer Martin, President and CEO of Telus Spark. Calgary, AB Women in Supply Chain :April 12, 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
Alberta's Carbon Tax – Its Impact on the Economy and Policy Certainty Part of the Calgary Chamber's Energy Future Series, this event will bring together Alberta CEOs to share their perspectives on recent policy changes and the impacts on their businesses. Calgary, AB Alberta's Carbon Tax :April 19, 2017
Innovating Alberta's Energy Future Showcase An Energy Futures Lab event featuring speakers from across Alberta, including Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Co-founder of the Cleantech Group Nicholas Parker. Calgary, AB Innovating Alberta's Energy Future Showcase :April 19, 2017
Strengthening the Southern AB/Port of Prince Rupert Trade Corridor The Calgary Regional Partnership, with the Port of Prince Rupert will host a working session focused on creating practical action plans for expanding trade between southern Alberta and Prince Rupert. Calgary, AB :April 20-21, 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 Strengthening the Southern AB/Port of Prince Rupert Trade Corridor :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, assessing the disaster management issues encountered. 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 innovative technological solutions. Calgary, AB University of Calgary's W21C Program 2017 Reverse Trade Show :May 2, 2017
Alberta-US Trade Summit A summit hosted by Calgary Economic Development that will include expert panels discussing the current political and economic environment. Calgary, AB Alberta-US Trade Summit :May 2-3, 2017
2017 Summit of Co-Operative Leaders Hosted by the Alberta Community & Co-Operative Association (ACCA), this summit will feature panel discussions on the role of co-ops in strengthening Alberta's economy. Red Deer, AB 2017 Summit of Co-Operative Leaders :May 3, 2017
Report to the Community: Reimagine An event by Calgary Economic Development discussing new ideas and innovative technologies and how they shape Calgary's story to the world. Calgary, AB Report to the Community :May 5, 2017
CCAB Aboriginal Economic Development Conference A conference highlighting innovation in the Indigenous economy. Calgary, AB CCAB :May 11, 2017
Let's Talk Exports with EDC's Peter Hall Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) and Export Development Canada (EDC) are hosting a breakfast with guest speaker Peter Hall, Vice President and Chief Economist at EDC, to discuss global economic trends. Edmonton, AB CME :May 11, 2017
2017 Canadian Inland Ports Conference An annual Van Horne Institute conference discussing the economic benefits of inland ports for the provinces and communities in which they are located. Calgary, AB 2017 Canadian Inland Ports Conference :May 24, 2017
Polytechnics Canada's Annual Conference The theme of this years' conference is "Canada's Polytechnics: Building Canada through Skills and Innovation," and will feature keynote speaker Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO of the Lumina Foundation. Edmonton, AB Polytechnics Canada's Annual Conference :May 31-June 1, 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
"State of the City" Address Charlie Clark, Mayor of Saskatoon, will deliver the annual "State of the City" address. Saskatoon, SK State of the City :April 11, 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 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 Inc. 2017 Annual Business Conference :May 10, 2017
Canada Wide Science Festival (CWSF) Hosted by the University of Regina, the CWSF is a fun-filled exhibition of science, technology, engineering and math. Guests can engage with Canada's top 500 young scientists and get hands on science activities. Regina, SK CWSF :May 14-20, 2017
Leadership Conference 2017 The event hosted by the Edwards School of Businesses a day of collaboration with evidence-based practitioners who represent industries in health, technology, sports and education. The event will provide attendees with tools and best practices to implement to make more strategic decisions. Saskatoon, SK Leadership Conference 2017 :May 18, 2017
Emerging Labour Force Trends Conference Sponsored by the Government of Saskatchewan, the event will feature the Saskatchewan Minister of the Economy who will give an overview of Saskatchewan's Labour Market Challenges & Opportunities. Regina, SK Emerging Labour Force Trends Conference :May 24, 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
Aboriginal Business Match Event (ABM) The event in June will spotlight Agriculture and Manufacturing. The event will connect community, national and international decision makers to provide business-ready opportunities for productive land base use and diverse and industrial equipment. Regina, SK ABM :June 5-7, 2017
Canada's Farm Progress Show (40th Anniversary) This milestone event – the 40th Anniversary of the Canada Farm Progress Show brings in more than 40,000 attendees and 700 exhibitors from around the world. The event connects local producers and international customers with the latest in dry land farm equipment, technology and innovation. Regina, SK Canada's Farm Progress Show :June 21-23, 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
Metalworking Manufacturing and Production Expo A cost effective, tightly focused forum, targeted to the manufacturing & production audience where attendees can meet face-to-face with product and application engineers and get hands-on experience with the products and solutions displayed. Winnipeg, MB Metalworking Manufacturing and Production Expo :April 18, 2017
The Innovators – ICTAM The ICT Association of Manitoba (ICTAM)'s signature event, celebrating innovation leaders that are inventing the future. Winnipeg, MB ICTAM :April 19, 2017
Vision Quest Vision Quest will bring together innovators, entrepreneurs, business leaders and youth to discuss and promote Aboriginal business, community and economic development. Winnipeg, MB Vision Quest :May 16-18, 2017
CANSEC The Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) will showcase leading-edge technology, products and services for army, navy, air force and joint forces military units. Ottawa, ON CANSEC :May 31 – June 1, 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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