North Vancouver Chamber Economic Employment Profile – Census 2021

The 2021 Canadian Census was conducted during the pandemic, a time period when places of work and traveling patterns were not “normal”.  The 2021 Census employment numbers are heavily skewed, with home-based employment rates 3-4 times higher than the previous Census in 2016. While this provides a fine snapshot of 2021, it’s less useful in understanding long-term trends that can support decisions or help anticipate needs related to the economy and businesses.

At the the North Vancouver Chamber, we had an opportunity to invest in an in-depth analysis of the 2021 Census data in an effort to better understand what the data can really tell us. We called for additional custom data sets and analysis in an effort to disentangle the issues, such as estimating which jobs are likely to remain home-based in future versus “going back” to their original places of work.  While some of the findings confirm what might appear “obvious”, it’s important to look clearly at what the data tells us. We are happy to share this information with our community in the hope that it can help you plan and make decisions at work or at home.

Note that we took the unique position that, given the interconnected geography, economy and workforce, an analysis of the combined set of data for the City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver and the Mission, Seymour Creek, and Burrard Inlet Reserves would make sense. It would also provide more useful insight for planning, and provide information that may not be apparent if each area of North Vancouver was considered individually.

Thank you to Vann Struth Consulting Group for their work and support on this project.

See highlights of this study and the full report below.

Read in Full Economic Employment Profile – Census 2021




Sectors that are particularly concentrated in North Vancouver compared to the region include:

  • Industrial employers – like shipyards, port/waterfront logistics & services, insurance carriers (based on ICBC)
  • Professional Services –  like architecture, engineering, and management consulting
  • Recreation & Tourism –  like destination, ski hills, golf courses
Labour Force Supply & Implications:
  • Population aging a concern for future North Van labour supply.
    • North Vancouver has an older population then the rest of the region and recent population growth has been faster among older age groups.
    • Even though older workers with high levels of education and income are more likely to continue working at older ages, labour supply among the local population is growing slower than total population and the supply of younger, less educated, and lower paid workers is likely to be a significant challenge.
    • An older population is more likely to work from home, which combined with the lingering impact of the pandemic, is likely to reduce demand for commercial office space in sectors like professional services, finance and insurance, and public administration.
  • Overall, the North Van labour force is considerably more educated and experienced than the regional average, meaning that:
    • local business requiring less educated or experienced workers are likely to need to attract commuters from other communities
    • many of the most educated residents must commute elsewhere in the region for employment.

Although commuting data from the 2021 Census was heavily influenced by the pandemic, long-standing commuting patterns continued where:

  • North Vancouver is a “net recipient” of workers from outer suburban municipalities like Surrey, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, and Squamish;
  • North Vancouver is a “net donor” of workers to the employment core of the region in Vancouver, Richmond, and Burnaby, plus West Vancouver and Capilano Reserve (home of Park Royal Mall).
Jobs & Worker Balance

Even though the number of local jobs and local workers is roughly in balance, there are many job/worker imbalances for individual sectors:

  • North Vancouver needs to “import” workers from other communities in sectors such as: manufacturing, commercial services (dry cleaning, auto repair, personal care), transportation, and construction.
  • North Vancouver has excess workers who must commute elsewhere in the region in sectors like professional services, education, public administration, retail, and health care.
Pay / Wages in North Vancouver
  • On average, jobs based in North Vancouver pay almost $20,000 less per year than the average income of North Vancouver residents. This supports the notion that jobs for professionals and senior managers are higher-paying elsewhere in Metro Vancouver than in North Vancouver.
Read Full North Vancouver Chamber Economic Employment Profile – Census 2021


Why we need a robust National Census.

At the North Vancouver Chamber, we support ongoing comprehensive collection of statistically rigorous national census data. We believe there are many good economic reasons to conduct a national census in Canada:

1. Resource Allocation: Census data helps the government allocate resources efficiently by identifying areas with specific needs, such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure. This targeted allocation can lead to cost savings and better economic outcomes.
2. Business Planning: Private sector businesses rely on census data to make informed decisions about where to open and invest in new stores, factories, or offices. This can improve their profitability and more broadly stimulate economic growth.
3. Labor Market Insights: The census provides valuable information about the labour force, including skills, education, and employment trends. This data is essential for workforce planning, which can enhance productivity and competitiveness.
4. Taxation and Revenue: Accurate population data from the census is crucial for tax collection and revenue forecasting. It ensures that the government can collect taxes effectively and fund necessary public services.
5. Economic Research: Researchers and economists use census data to analyze trends, demographics, and socioeconomic characteristics. This research can lead to policies that support economic growth and reduce inequality.
6. Infrastructure Investment: Census data informs decisions about where to invest in infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges, and public transportation. This, in turn, can boost economic development in under-served areas.
7. Housing Market Analysis: Real estate developers and investors rely on census data to understand housing demand, demographics, and affordability, which influences housing market decisions and investments.
8. Tourism Planning: Tourism is a significant contributor to the Canadian economy. Census data helps in planning and marketing strategies to attract tourists, thereby boosting the tourism sector.
9. Trade and Export Opportunities: Census data can provide insights into consumer preferences and demographics, helping businesses identify export opportunities and expand their markets.