British Columbia

B.C. ranks high and low in Canada: report

The B.C. Progress Board issues a report ranking British Columbia against other provinces in everything from cancer mortality to economic growth, and the results are mixed.

The B.C. Progress Board issued a report Thursday ranking British Columbia against other provinces in everything from cancer mortality to economic growth, and the results were mixed.

On the positive side, British Columbians were found to live longer than other Canadians, and the province was tops in the country in environmental quality.

In economic growth, however, the province came ninth, or second last.

Provincial NDP Leader Carole James said other findings also were a concern.

"The high rates of child poverty, mediocre productivity — those are things that for the long term have needed to be addressed in British Columbia and haven't."

This was the B.C. Progress Board's ninth annual report since it was established by the provincial government in 2001. The board is made up of business executives and academics with a mandate to track changes in the economic performance and social well-being of British Columbia, according to the board's website.

Crimes statistics improve

B.C. leads the country in life expectancy and has the lowest cancer mortality. Since 1990, mortality rates for cardiovascular disease have fallen 38 per cent while infant mortality is down 37 per cent, the report said.

Crime has also dropped off dramatically, although the improvement barely altered B.C.'s ranking. 

"In spite of the fact B.C. has experienced the largest [crime] decline over the last 10 years and the second-largest decline since 1990, its rank has only improved by one place — from last to ninth," the report said.

And while British Columbia stands fifth in terms of gross domestic product per capita, its growth in that category is second worst in the country, ahead of Prince Edward Island.

"We're low this year," spokesman Joel Emes said. "It's not really a surprise given the recession, but the outlook is quite positive."