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Overview of the Green Economy


British Columbia’s natural resources will continue to provide a competitive advantage in the green economy, especially with the province’s abundance of low-carbon natural resources such as hydro, wind, wave energy and biomass.
WorkBC – Green Economy

BC is currently the fourth largest provincial employer of environmental workers in Canada, making up 15% of Canada’s green workforce. By 2029, provincial employers will need to fill 35,900 net environmental job openings due to 7,600 new jobs and 28,300 retiring workers.  Though the pandemic has affected every area of the economy, the outlook is more promising for the environmental sector, which is expected to rebound quicker than others.
The Eco-Future

Environmental Employment in BC in 2019

Total employment, Environmental employment, enviroshare - all 2019 BC and Canada
From Recession to Recovery: Environmental Jobs and Hiring Trends in the Decade Ahead September 2020

Green Economy includes seven sub-sectors:

  • Green infrastructure, transportation and planning
  • Sustainability services and education
  • Land and water remediation and environmental consulting
  • Clean technology, alternative energy and green building products
    • More than 32,000 people work in the clean energy sector in B.C. and produce about $8 billion toward the province’s GDP.
    • 25% of Canada’s ‘Cleantech’ companies are based in Vancouver
    • Approximately 70 per cent of the 200+ cleantech companies located in British Columbia (BC) are based in Metro Vancouver, employing more than 3,500 people. Metro Vancouver is also home to the world’s largest hydrogen and fuel cell industry, with a 16 per cent global market share.
    • Clean Energy BC identifies the following energy subsectors: windpower, solar, large hydro, tidal, run of river (small hydro), geothermal, biomass
      For details on the technology behind these energy sources, where they are used in BC and why they are potentially useful, see:
      Clean Energy BC
      for example: Clean Energy BC – Solar Power BCClean technology, alternative energy and green building products

Environmental Job Openings to 2025

net environmental job openings to 2025 and % of 2020 employment, for BC and Canada
Updated: Environmental Labour Outlook to 2025, Eco Canada

When it comes to replacement demand, the regional perspective mirrors the national outlook, as most net hiring over the next 10 years will come from retirement.

The majority of green jobs in BC are not new occupations but are, for the most part, created from existing occupations. They are jobs that are being re-designed to help reduce the impact of humans on the environment, to promote sustainability, and to encourage the efficient use of energy and resources. An example would be an automotive technician whose skills are shifting to include more work with hybrid and electric vehicles. B.C. is developing programs like Energy Step Code training and certification and Certified Retrofit Professional accreditation expanding job training for electric and zero-emission vehicles.

The provincial government has committed to a massive turnover of three million fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Under the new goals, by 2025, 10 per cent of new light-duty passenger vehicle sales in B.C. will be zero-emission vehicles, increasing to 30 per cent by 2030, and 100 per cent by 2040.

Zero Emission Vehicles Act for light duty vehicle sales 10% by 2025 30% by 2030 100% by 2040
(see: – Work From Ohm: B.C. government investing in EV mechanic training)

Green Economy Development in Vancouver

  • one in 15 Vancouverites works in the green economy
  • green and local food jobs represent roughly 6 per cent of all jobs in Vancouver
  • Local food is the largest subsector of Vancouver’s green economy
  • Green building design and construction is the second-largest sector
  • the green builds sector’s sophisticated and expert workforce is the largest employer in Vancouver’s green economy, accounting for over 7,600 jobs

For more information on BC’s green economy see:

Occupations in the Green Economy

What is a green job? A job with a focus on activities that restore or preserve environmental quality; reduce energy, materials and water consumption; decarbonize the economy; and minimize or altogether avoid the generation of all forms of waste and pollution.
Vancouver Economic Commission | State of Vancouver’s Green Economy 2018

All occupational sectors contribute to BC’s green economy to varying degrees.  A green job can be with business, nonprofit organizations, government or education. Small business, self-employment and entrepreneurship is very much a part of the new green economy. Some green jobs require specific ‘green’ skills or education, such as a solar engineer, an environmental educator, or an organic gardener. Other positions do not necessarily require a green background — for example a graphic designer or accountant working for a green company or organization.

Green jobs in agriculture (which include farmers and farm managers, aquaculture operators, nursery and greenhouse operators, and landscaping and ground maintenance supervisors) employ the most people in BC’s green economy.

Green jobs are found in these sectors:

green industry job sectors

New employment opportunities in the green economy include occupations such as:

  • tidal power electrical engineers

And many others…

More information on specific careers in the green economy can be found at:

Hiring Forecast

Critical Shortages Anticipated in Green Occupations Across Canada

ECO Canada 2021 Occupations that are projected to experience a shortage of environmental workers across Canada
Updated: Environmental Labour Outlook to 2025

The majority of jobs in BC’s green economy are found in Metro Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

Across Canada, the environmental employment outlook is moderate at 8.1% growth from 2019 to 2029 (50,100 new jobs)—in keeping with the overall national job rate projections. Higher growth rates are expected within energy efficiency, clean and alternative energy, clean technology (cleantech), nature conservation, sustainable transportation, green building and construction, and water quality.

For more information see:

Finding Jobs

Online Job Postings

Creating a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of employers in the green industry in British Columbia. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • Canadian Environmental Resource Guide
    Available at the Central Library, Level 4, 363.70025 C21

Additional Resources

Still looking for more information? Try looking at the following resources: