Economies of Canadian Provinces

Annual Inflation across Provinces in May 2011
Annual Inflation across Provinces
in May 2011

Canada’s provinces and territories make up the second largest country in size, smaller only than Russia. Canada has a very large and diverse range of geographic features, so living conditions vary greatly from province to province. Even the provincial economies are significantly different, depending on row materials, and the location and focus of their production. Which province has the strongest economy? Which of them has the highest prices? And what about their housing markets?

Provinces and Territories

GDP in Canadian Provinces
GDP in Canadian Provinces

The provinces are co-sovereign divisions of the monarchy, and each province has its own “Crown” represented by the lieutenant-governor, while the territories are simply parts (non-sovereign) of the federal realm, and have a commissioner. The ten provinces are Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan, while the three territories are the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon.


Gross Domestic Product

Gross Domestic Product  2009
Gross Domestic Product 2009

Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta account for over 70 per cent of the national GDP. In the list of GDP per capita, Alberta took first place, with $81,188 in 2008. There is wide variation among the provinces. If the GDP of Ontario, the most populous province, were considered as a national GDP, it would rank 25th largest in the world. The territories’ GDPs are comparable to those of smaller island nations, but smaller than many larger Canadian cities. According to RBC economists, Alberta’s GDP growth will be the second highest in the country in 2012. It will grow by 3.8 per cent, following Saskatchewan’s growth of 4.3 per cent.

Consumer Price Index

Consumer Price Index  May 2011
Consumer Price Index May 2011

Alberta has the highest CPI of all provinces and territories, followed by Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. Ontario and Quebec have the strongest influence on the CPI, while Alberta’s is only about 11 per cent. The total Canadian CPI in May 2011 was 120.6, much lower than in Alberta, which had 126.1 CPI. According to Alberta Finance, several factors have contributed to the high level of Alberta’s CPI, including increases in energy prices (natural gas in particular), automobile insurance premiums, and tobacco products. On the other hand, Alberta’s inflation has been the lowest in Canada for a long time.

Labour Force

Unemployment Rate  May 2011
Unemployment Rate May 2011

Alberta has the highest employment rate (69%), with one of the highest concentrations of engineers in the world, according to a report by Calgary Economic Development. Newfoundland and Labrador has the lowest employment rate and also the highest unemployment rate. Alberta’s unemployment rate ranks third, following Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Housing Market

Average House Prices  2011
Average House Prices 2011

The average house price in Canada is $376,814. Houses are most expensive in British Columbia, where the prices grew by 20 per cent since 2010. The lowest average house prices are in the East. Alberta’s housing statistics are more or less stable, and according to Sano Stante, president of Calgary Real Estate Board, with just under four months supply, we can expect single family home prices to remain stable in the coming months. “Provided that interest rates remain moderated, we are positive about the near term stability and recovery in the Calgary real estate market,” he added.

Average House Price Change across Provinces
Average House Price Change across Provinces
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