Working a new system
When I chose the city of Vancouver as a place to live and work back in 1990, it was mostly by default. Several family members had moved there the previous year, and for me, heading to Toronto felt too much like staying in Montreal, where I’d just graduated from university. So I flew west, with no plans and little work experience, to a town that was struggling with recession after the world had discovered it during Expo 86.
Things didn’t go smoothly at first, but it turned out to be a good decision. I’ve since raised a family, built a career and made many friends in Vancouver, while watching the city grow up without losing its unique character—for now, anyway. As much as I love my hometown, though, I’ve also watched it become a playground for the wealthy and a tough spot for young people looking to make a life for themselves.
Our 2019 Best Cities for Work in B.C. ranking (p.29) reflects that last shortcoming. For the fifth annual survey, contributor Andrew Macaulay shook things up by adding several economic indicators and making the whole exercise more forward-looking. Although the new methodology means that comparisons with last year are only so useful, Vancouver was one of the cities that took a dive, falling from ninth place to 31st out of an expanded list of 46.
Luckily for those seeking opportunities, B.C. offers plenty of other choices. Just look at the top 20 in this year’s ranking, which includes representatives from several of the province’s economic regions. Also, as Macaulay points out, many of the cities in the middle of the pack scored very close to each other.
Speaking of scoring, Vancouver may have dropped in the Best Cities for Work ranking, but it’s the only B.C. community with an NHL team. On page 22, associate editor and sports fiend Nathan Caddell shows us what goes on backstage at Rogers Arena before a Vancouver Canucks game. Our guide is Jeff Stipec, COO of Canucks Sports & Entertainment, who kindly gave Caddell the run of the place one recent afternoon.
Mining, a key driver of the provincial economy, is one of the industries that make B.C. a great place to work. But here and across the country, mining companies face a new challenge: people can now sue them in Canadian courts for alleged crimes involving their foreign operations. As Andrew Findlay explains in “Rocked” (p.38), this change coincides with consumers’ and the industry’s own efforts to hold it to a better standard of corporate responsibility. It’s a goal that ranks high on our list.