UVic economic impact $3.2 billion

- Mitch Wright

Victoria is often recognized as a tourism town, a government town, a navy town and more recently a high-tech town, but over the past half-century, it has also developed into a university town with UVic as an institution that has an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion.

Since it was founded 50 years ago, the University of Victoria has become an intellectual, cultural, social and economic cornerstone of the community.

The research-intensive institution’s economic importance amounts to a $3.2-billion annual injection throughout the region, according to The Economic Impact of the University of Victoria, an analysis recently compiled by the university and released publicly at a Nov. 19 media conference.

“In just 50 years, UVic has grown to become the world-class institution it is today, winning acclaim for excellence in teaching, research and service to the community,” says UVic President David Turpin. “Over its history, UVic has attracted incredibly talented students, faculty and staff from across Canada and around the world, enabling it to meet the educational needs of this city and this region and to make significant contributions to knowledge through research and discovery.”

Providing the staff, faculty and facilities for the influx of students drawn to higher education is the most visible way the university affects the region’s economy, with direct university spending contributing $584 million, student spending circulating $177 million and visitor spending chipping in another $135 million.

With approximately 5,000 employees serving more than 15,000 full-time students, UVic is one of the region’s largest employers, but the biggest driver of UVic’s economic influence is the effect university degrees have on graduates’ earning power, which pushes approximately $1.27 billion through the south Island, and university research activity and technology innovation, which puts $994 million into circulation.

Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin, who took part in the media conference, acknowledged that Greater Victoria is indeed a university town, and also cracked wise that anyone in doubt should simply “head downtown on a Thursday or Friday night” for proof.

The report shows “the absolutely vital role the university plays in keeping our economy strong, vibrant and innovative,” said Fortin.

Bruce Carter, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO, and Anthony Sukow, a UVic grad and co-founder of successful tech firm Terapeak, also took part in the Nov. 19 news conference at UVic’s Legacy Art Gallery.

The new assessment employs methodology used by UBC, SFU and the University of Alberta in similar reports to arrive at the $3.2-billion figure. After its first full year of operation in 1963/64, the university’s annual economic impact was estimated at $6.3 million.



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Keywords: economic

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