Vancouver Island has many raw materials and its ability to make use of these resources while at the same time respecting its natural environment, are subjects that has been discussed on the island for many decades. It close proximity to the mainland and also the North West of the United States gives it an ideal location for finding buyers of its products. In recent times the weak Canadian dollar has been a positive occurrence for the Island as Canadian tourists wish to have their vacations closer to home, and the cheap prices has resulted In the USA importing more products from Canadian Industries. Vancouver Island has a wide diversity of key industries including tourism, agriculture and aquaculture, High Tech and Education. High tech tends to be concentrated around Victoria, and to a lesser extent Nanaimo, but the rest of the industry is spread evenly across the Island.
Tourism continues to go from strength to strength. This is great for the Island as tourists spread themselves into a wide variety of locations, and the money they spend has a trickle-down effect into local economies. The fishing industry is subject to salmon supplies and it is currently recovering from 2014 when production fell by 26%. More recently the industry has recovered although the commercial fishing fleet is controlled by the quotas set by the government in in Ottawa, through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The commercial fleet is big and there are three main types of trawler that are used. Trollers. Gillnetters and Seiners all vary in size but are used side by side in trying to capture the wild salmon. The Government have allowed five First Nations groups to ignore any restriction on salmon fishing as these indigenous people are dependent on the salmon for their survival. Forestry has always proved to be big business on the Island. Much of its produce is exported to China and the USA. There has been a steady increase in production in recent years, but the industry has to contend with many areas now being protected from deforestation.
The biggest threat to production is the threat from the USA government to impose tariffs on the Canadian timber, as much of the Canadian industry is government owned so is subsidized. The Americans see this as unfair competition and they are looking at ways to give their own companies an even chance in their domestic market. Since the year 2000 high tech companies have grown rapidly in the Victoria area. The actual figures are difficult to estimate as every company now has a high-tech section in their company. However, with Nanaimo also becoming a popular destination for the companies, it is clear that the Island does have something to offer the newest of the industry sectors. Life style, cost of living, recreation and health and wellness, are important reasons for choosing Vancouver Island as a location. The main disadvantage of not being in an ideal location is offset by the modern day digital world, and the influence of the world-wide-web.Once a few companies located others followed suit and this grouping has resulted in there being a sharing of ideas and skills.
The disadvantage of a lack of numbers of skilled workers has been lightened by migrating those needed skills onto the Island.The Island has a thriving economic base but has to contend with National and World trends. However, the people of the Island are flexible, and this has made it easy for them to adapt to economic change. In a world where the location of the office is no longer the premium, having an island base for a company is proving to be more of an advantage than a disadvantage.