B.C.’s rising sector could be opportunity for the Valley

The technology industry is on ramping up, and the valley could be an attractive location for "digital nomads".

The B.C. government has recently been touting the rise of the province’s technology sector, and the Columbia ValleyChamber of Commerce executive director says the industry provides a real growth opportunity for the valley.

According to the provincial Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, B.C.’s technology sector now employs more than100,000 people, with an an average weekly salary of $1,590 75 per cent higher than the average wage in B.C. Theministry outlined that employment in the sector rose 2.9 per cent in 2016 (higher than province’s overall employmentgrowth of 2.5 per cent) and that the industry now accounts for almost five per cent of B.C.’s workforce.

The figures make it the third-largest tech workforce of any province in Canada, and also mean the sector employs morepeople than B.C’s mining, oil and gas, and forestry sectors combined.

Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Clovechok said that, although she doesn’t have the exactdata, there most certainly are at least some tech sector workers here in the valley, working through the Internet.

“We don’t have any big web development companies here, but I have had conversations with people you can call ‘nomadicentrepreneurs’. I think most of them are working for larger companies, but choose to work remotely from here for lifestylereasons,” said Mrs. Clovechok. “I do think it’s a growth opportunity.”

In 2015, B.C.’s tech sector contributed $14.1 billion to the province’s economic output, and in 2016 that figure climbed to$26.3 billion.

“For the fifth year in a row, B.C. has seen significant growth in its diverse technology industry. We have more technologycompanies than ever, with more technology workers, earning higher wages than the Canadian technology sector average,”said provincial Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Amrik Virk in a press release.

“In today’s economy, virtually every business relies on technology to help increase efficiency, safety and competitiveness.British Columbia has exceptional talent and many innovative technologies originate in our province. British Columbians areclearly benefitting from a technology sector that is creating high-paying, skilled jobs,” said provincial Minister of Jobs,Tourism and Skills Training Shirley Bond in the release.

“We’re excited to be part of a progressive industry that develops innovative technology every day. The success of the sectoras a whole helps our business attract talent and investment. This has enabled us to create one of Canada’s most expansivenetworks of phone, Internet, and cloud services for businesses, while continually developing new technologies in ourproduct portfolio to better serve our clients. B.C. is a fast-growing global technology hub and we are proud to show thattech companies can thrive outside of major metropolitan cities,” said Kamloops-based Itel chief operating officer Dan Rinkin the release.

According to the ministry, the province now has more than 9,900 tech businesses (more than 14 per cent of all techbusinesses in Canada).

To learn more view the ministry’s 2016 technology sector profile athttp://www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/StatisticsBySubject/BusinessIndustry/HighTechnology.aspx.