Green Jobs BC

Green Jobs BC
Blue Green Canada

Blue Green Canada

March 25, 2015 13:35 ET

Transit Plan Adds $4.5 Billion to GDP and 44,000 Person Years of Employment for Metro Vancouver

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - March 25, 2015) - Good Jobs, Clean Skies, a co-publication of Green Jobs BC and Blue Green Canada, finds that the Mayors' Council Transit and Transportation Plan will generate thousands of jobs, significantly cut traffic congestion, and reduce the environmental impact of transportation in the region.

"The benefits of the transit plan are clear," said Lisa Matthaus, co-chair of Green Jobs BC. "The Mayors' Council plan, if adopted, will create family-sustaining green jobs, reduce travel times, ease congestion, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. This plan will transform the way people get around."

The report was co-authored by Blair Redlin, public policy researcher and former Deputy Minister of Transportation, and economist David Fairey. It forecasts that the Mayors' Council Transit Plan will result in 43,800 person years in total new employment, $2.96 billion in wages and $4.48 billion in GDP, while reducing projected greenhouse gas emissions by 8.2%. The report also finds that carrying on with the status quo would cost the region an additional $1 billion per year by 2045, doubling the current costs of congestion, while implementing the Mayors' plan would reduce the costs of congestion by as much as 41.3%.

"The Mayors' Council plan will create jobs and reduce emissions," said Charley Beresford, Chair of Blue Green Canada. "Transit dollars have a remarkable multiplier effect, with every dollar invested in transit creating $1.48 in benefits. This plan makes good economic sense for the region."

Over 6,000 people in Metro Vancouver work in mass transit. The report projects the plan will add an additional 5,901 person years of employment annually by 2024. The plan would make it easier for people to access jobs, putting 60,000 more jobs within reach of people in the region.

"Metro Vancouver has become a lot more transit oriented," said Matthaus. "Between 2003 and 2013, the region saw almost 90 million more trips on transit. The status quo will result in more traffic and make it harder to get to work, while better transit will cut congestion and keep the region livable. Increasing the number of trips on transit is also vital to help us reach our climate change goals."

BC's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act mandates that greenhouse gas emissions are to be 33% below 2007 levels by the year 2020. Transportation makes up almost a third of greenhouse gas emissions in Metro Vancouver, the single largest source of emissions in the region. The report found that the drop in emissions the plan is projected to bring about will be key to meeting provincial targets.

"We're past the argument about economy versus environment," said Beresford. "The world is getting serious about building a green, inclusive economy, and this plan is in step with that process. This is an investment in real climate action, in cutting congestion and in building a more just and prosperous economy for everyone."

Good Jobs, Clean Skies backgrounder

A co-publication of Green Jobs BC and Blue Green Canada, Good Jobs, Clean Skies examines the potential economic and climate impacts of the Mayors' Council Transit Plan. Our analysis finds that the plan will drive growth in good jobs, contribute billions of dollars to our GDP, and reduce the overall environmental footprint of the region.

Key Findings

If implemented, the Mayors' Council plan over its 10 years will contribute to 26,322 person years of new direct employment, 43,800 person years of total employment, $2.96 billion in wages, and $4.48 billion toward GDP in Metro Vancouver. On average, over the 10 years, 4,380 person years of employment will be created annually. By 2024, the annual number of person years of work from the Mayors' Council plan will be 5,901. (A person year of employment is equal to one full-time equivalent job for one year.)

Transit investment is effective economic stimulus: every dollar invested in improved transit infrastructure creates $1.48 in benefits, and reduces private sector costs by 17 cents.

Regional targets for livability, growth, and location of employment centres will be supported by improved transit in all parts of the region, notably in fast growing urban centres such as Vancouver, Surrey, and the Tri-Cities.

The plan will save more than $1 billion in traffic congestion costs. The distances people drive and the costs of excess emissions will all be reduced by about a third. Greenhouse gases from transport will fall 8.2% versus a business as usual approach, and Metro Vancouver will be well on its way to being a place where half of all trips can be made by walking, cycling, and transit by 2043.

About the Authors

Public policy consultant Blair Redlin served as Deputy Minister of Employment and Investment, Deputy Minister of Transportation and Highways, President the BC Transportation and Financing Authority and President of the Transportation Association of Canada while a senior civil servant with the Province of British Columbia.

Economist David Fairey is a labour relations consultant with Labour Consulting Services. He has a Master's degree in Labour Economics and Public Finance and 24 years of experience as director of the Trade Union Research Bureau, specializing in labour relations.

About the Organizations

Green Jobs BC exists to strengthen communication and cooperation between labour and environmental organizations, in order to advance economic and environmental initiatives that provide good green jobs; are socially equitable; are ecologically responsible; and result in the reduction of GHG emissions.

Blue Green Canada is an alliance between Canadian labour unions, environmental and civil society organizations to advocate for working people and the environment by promoting solutions to environmental issues that have positive employment and economic impacts.

Both organizations share a vision for an inclusive, sustainable economy that provides good jobs and protects the environment.

Contact Information

  • Charley Beresford
    Blue Green Canada Chair

    Andrew Radzik
    Green Jobs BC Coordinator