When it comes to our regional peers, Greater Victoria performs better than others in environmental impact and our economy is more stable, but we’re challenged when it comes to housing, rental pricing and vacancy rates. These are some of the findings of the South Island Prosperity Index report, released May 21 by the South Island Prosperity Partnership (SIPP).

The annual report, launched in 2017, tracks comparative data on 33 indicators which provide a picture of economic health. It is meant to provide a snapshot of southern Vancouver Island’s current competitive position relative to peer cities across Canada and the globe, and helps the organization set priorities for attracting investors, entrepreneurs and talent to the South Island.

Dallas Gislason, Director of Economic Development for SIPP, says “the key focus for this year’s Prosperity Index was to ensure we are improving the report over the previous two years’ versions. We’ve refined it into key themes of prosperity: economy, equity and inclusion, and environment. Those three areas have to work in lock-step in order for our region to truly say it is prosperous over time.”

The Index is being released during a sharp economic downturn that has adversely affected nearly every business sector, and the SIPP team took that into account when compiling this year’s report, adding an Economic Recovery Dashboard that will measure a small group of monthly data to track the region’s recovery rate.

“Because we normally look at annual indicators that tell us how we perform year over year, we had to quickly adapt to a new reality that this pandemic has forced upon us,” notes Gislason. “This means we need a way to measure and monitor our region’s progress towards recovery on a more month over month basis. The dashboard tracks 12 (with more being added) key indicators, like unemployment, E.I. claimants, and hotel occupancy. Over time, the larger index report will become a more powerful tool to measure economic progress as we track the long-term implications of the economic fallout caused by the pandemic.”

This April, the South Island Prosperity Partnership also announced the creation of a new multi-stakeholder taskforce to coordinate a strong response to the urgent economic crisis. Its members consist of community and business stakeholders invested in the region’s economic health and wellbeing.

For more information and to download the South Island Prosperity Index Executive Summary, visit https://southislandprosperity.ca/prosperity-index/.