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Stats Canada survey says Regina's GDP is the highest in the country.

Regina is the richest city in Canada, according to a new Stats Canada study. The Metropolitan Gross Domestic Product: Experimental Estimates, 2001 to 2009, cites Regina’s GDP as $65,404 per capita, higher than any other city in Canada. Since 2001, the Queen City’s Gross Domestic Product has jumped from sixth overall to first.

John Hopkins, chief executive officer of the Regina Chamber of Commerce, said this is good news for Regina.

 

“Generally speaking, it will lead to high tax levels and higher wage levels, it will improve people’s quality of life here.”

Statistics Canada defines GDP as “a measure of the value of output per person living in a metropolitan area.”

 

The study shows a trend of economic growth shifting to the Western provinces. Calgary and Edmonton round out the top three earners, with GDPs of $61,246 and $59,941. Saskatoon came in sixth with a GDP of $49,213. Eastern provinces took a hit. Montreal’s share of the national GDP fell from 11.2 per cent in 2001 to 10.8 in 2009. Toronto’s GDP fell from 19.6 per cent to 18.6.

 

The study took into account numbers from 20 goods and services-producing industries combining salary, supplementary labor income, mixed income, operating surplus and indirect taxes on productionless subsidies.

 

Hopkins said the rising GDP will create more jobs and business opportunities in Regina. Although some problems, like high housing prices, can accompany a high GDP, he said the numbers are very positive for the city.

 

Hopkins attributes the city’s growth to the expansion of potash mining, recent investment in the oil refinery, the Global Transportation Hub and Saskatchewan’s agriculture industry.

 

“Agriculture has really turned the corner in term of being profitable again. For decades not a lot happened on the farm, but that’s dramatically changed,” says Hopkins.

 

However, Peter Gilmer of the Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry said not everyone is benefitting. While there is no doubt that there has been significant economic growth in the Queen City that wealth is being situated with the highest income earners. He said Regina’s rising GDP is positive in that many of his clients are finding jobs, but it’s easy to forget about those who aren’t benefitting from the boom.

 

“There is rising costs for basic necessities like housing, food and transportation, but if they are left on a fixed income or low wages it becomes harder to meet those needs. For many low income folks things are actually tougher in the midst of a period of significant wealth creation and economic boom than they were beforehand.”

 

He said there has been some increase in social assistance in recent years, but with increased wealth now would be the ideal time to implement new initiatives.

 

Jack Boan, professor emeritus in economics at the University of Regina, said he appreciates that the study is titled experimental. While he said the numbers are hard evidence that Regina is growing rapidly, studies such as this one must extrapolate numbers to make up for the fact that they can’t track every transaction.

 

“They have great difficulty sorting out an area as small as a city. So I think that’s good because these are just estimates.”