In a revamped version of its annual “best cities for work” list, BC Business magazine ranked Vancouver Island as the most resilient region in the province with Langford sitting in the number one spot.
Instead of its usual focus on cities and work, the magazine broadened its ranking approach to include smaller communities and overall economic health. Many factors in 2021’s decision making came from the impact of COVID-19 on population, job security and income.
Share of population aged 65 and older, share of workforce in accommodation and food service, and share of workforce in information, culture and recreation where each pegged as groups hit the hardest by the pandemic. Because immigration has been down in the last year, cities that relied on it for population growth were also negatively impacted. In contrast, share of workforce in public administration and share of workforce in wholesale trade were included as groups least affected by the pandemic.
In total, the magazine examined 12 indicators – each weighted depending on its importance – to find B.C.’s top 50 most resilient cities of 2021. In Greater Victoria, six communities made the cut with Langford leading the charge at number one. Sidney placed third, followed by Sooke in fifth place, Central Saanich in ninth, Saanich in 25th and Victoria in 31st.
Langford mayor Stew Young said the award shows the importance of continued economic activity, like affordable housing, and working together during difficult times.
“It’s a combination of a lot of effort from the entire community getting behind business and supporting each other,” he said.
Across the Island, six more communities made the top 50. Parksville came in second, followed by Courtenay in seventh, Comox in 11th, Nanaimo in 21st, Duncan/North Cowichan in 24th and Port Alberni in 47th. BC Magazine said one secret to the Island’s success has been having an above-average percent of residents working in the public sector. In Langford, Sooke, Central Saanich and Victoria, the government employs more than 10 per cent of the workforce.
The Island also fell in line with a broader trend seen across the province – mid-pandemic conditions have favoured smaller independent communities and suburbs over top metropolitan areas. Victoria fell 12 spots from 19th in 2020, while the City of North Vancouver dropped 25 spots to 36th and the District of North Vancouver plummeted 35 spots to 39th.
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