Prince George is the supply and service hub for the more than $35 billion worth of major projects planned and underway in Northern BC over the next several years. The city's diverse economy is driven by an entrepreneurial industrial sector, rich natural resource base and the strategic advantage provided by its key geographic locations and skilled workforce. Transportation, tourism and recreation, healthcare, education and retail activities are also major components of Prince George's economic make-up.
Manufacturing is one of the largest economic sectors in Prince George. With the main manufacturing activities in the city traditionally related to the forest industry, wood products and paper manufacturing account for the majority of employment and a significant number of the companies in the manufacturing sector. With an established value-added wood industry, the city is home to numerous finger-jointing, re-manufacturing and secondary wood products mills.
Fabricated Metal Product, Machinery, and Transportation Equipment manufacturing firms make up nearly one-third of the manufacturers in Prince George. Chemical manufacturing and oil processing activities are also well-established in the city.
The presence of significant advanced manufacturing sectors in Prince George has created many new opportunities in other areas of manufacturing. Prince George's strategic location along key transportation corridors facilitates the export of manufactured products to key markets that are within easy reach in every direction, creating opportunities for growth for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Activity in the mining sector continues to expand across Northern British Columbia. There are currently 9 operating mines, 2 mines under development, 19 proposed mines and 78 major exploration projects across the northern part of the province. Mining exploration expenditures in northern mining regions totaled $332.5M in 2011, up 45.2% from the previous year. The dollars spent on exploration across the North have increased by an annual average of 26.4% over the past five years, leading to an increase in employment and the number of businesses focused on the sector.
As Prince George is the service and supply hub for most activities across Northern BC, this activity has created a significant presence for the sector in Prince George. A considerable number of Prince George drilling, engineering, manufacturing, fabrication and transportation companies are providing services to mining operations throughout Northern BC. The number of Prince George businesses engaged in support activities for mining operations has increased by 61.5% over the past five years. Employment in the sector has increased by an annual average of 54.3% over the same period, far exceeding the overall growth in employment in the city. Approximately 20% of Northern BC’s employment in the mining and oil & gas sector is located in Prince George, with a similar percentage for the number of businesses focused primarily on mining or support activities for mining operations.
The future of the mining sector is very positive, and it is anticipated that the sector’s presence in the Prince George economy will continue to grow. The Mt. Milligan copper-gold mine is currently under development 155km northwest of the city, with project costs estimated at $1.3B prior to the completion of construction in 2013. It is estimated that 400 permanent jobs will be created when the mine commences production. A number of mining development projects across the northwest region are anticipated to commence once BC Hydro’s $404M Northwest Transmission line is complete, representing more than $5.5B in activity. The Red Chris and Galore creek mines have received their environmental approvals and the KSM and Schaft Creek projects are moving through the EA process with the intent to commence with development once the Trans-mission Line is complete.
Prince George is strategically located on the shortest trade route between Asia-Pacific and US Heartland markets providing an ideal location for transportation, logistics, manufacturing, and export operations. Prince George offers a significant amount of light industrial land ready for development with market connections via air (Prince George International Airport, Global Logistics Park), land (Highways 16 & 97), rail (CN Transload and Intermodal Facility) and sea (Port of Prince Rupert 8 hours west).
Prince George is the ideal location for developments looking to take advantage of international and domestic trade including, but not limited to: transportation depots, truck terminals, warehousing & storage, freight forwarding, manufacturing and wholesale activities, as well as specific retail and other supply activities.
- The Prince George International Airport has the third longest commercial runway in Canada at 3,490m (11,450 ft). Their new 2,322m2 (25,000 sq.ft.) Crossdock Facility and Common Air Carrier Fuel Storage will both be completed before the fall, increasing their competitive advantage as a refueling and tech stop for cargo flights.
- Phase one of the the Prince George Global Logistics Park Development is ready to go, consisting of approximately 45ha subdivided into 19 light industrial lots ranging in size and price and located adjacent to the Prince George Airport. Ultimately the Prince George Global Logistics Park (PGGLP) will encompass 1,200ha.
- The $20M CN Prince George Intermodal and Transload Facility opened in 2007; after capacity upgrades of $3.2M announced in 2011, the terminal is now handling 700 cars per week.
- The Port of Prince Rupert has seen export trade value through the port double to $4.9B since 2007.
- Transportation and Logistics Prospectus
- Pacific Gateway Transportation Strategy 2012 – 2020 Report
- City of Prince George's zoning bylaw for Light Industrial (M1) zoning.
Canada’s lumber, pulp and paper industries are centered in Prince George. The largest companies in solid wood include Canfor, Carrier Lumber, Conifex, Sinclar Mills, Winton Global, and West Fraser. In pulp and paper, Canfor Pulp Limited Partnership is the largest mill in Prince George and is also invested in co-generation for energy production.
Prince George is a major suppler to regional energy projects, however the city is also excelling in energy itself. From traditional sources such as electricity and gas to new technology such as bioenergy and cogeneration, Prince George is rapidly advancing in energy solutions.
Prince George has outstanding positioning to attract and retain corporate service-based businesses, particularly customer care centers. Prince George is becoming increasingly well-known as a preferred place to locate corporate service-based businesses. From the perspective of both business overhead costs and cost of living for employees, the city has a significant advantage over many major cities in Western Canada.
Prince George also excels in other areas of service based business including logistics, land management, construction, maintenance, and engineering.
Prince George is the only city in Northern British Columbia with all the major stores and outfitting services you'll need. Whether you're visiting for a week, a weekend or just passing through, Tourism Prince George can help you make the most of your northern getaway. Tourism is thriving in Prince George and offers a diverse range of opportunities from visitors worldwide looking for first class hotels and shopping to great fishing, hiking, camping and festivals.
Northern Health provides health services to 300,000 people over an area of 600,000 square kilometers that makes up Northern British Columbia. Northern Health is responsible for the delivery of healthcare including acute care, mental health, public health, addictions, home and community care services. The only cancer care facility in Northern BC opened in Prince George in early 2013.
More information can be found at Northern Health
As a learning centre of excellence in BC, Prince George offers a variety of life-long learning options ranging from children’s public and private schools to trades and technical training institutes to world-class medical training programs and facilities. With a large multi-ethnic population, English language training is also widely available along with upgrading, career preparation and continuing education programs.
To learn more about education in Prince George, visit the following websites:
- School District No. 57
- The College of New Caledonia
- The University of Northern British Columbia
- Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society (ESL)