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Geography 426: Industrial Change and Local Development

This guide was prepared to assist students in Geography 426: Industrial Change and Local Development. The focus is on finding statistics that shed light on the contemporary economic situation, and on challenges for economic development for the communities of Powell River, Campbell River, and Port Alberni.

If you need help, please contact Sarah (Tong) Zhang, GIS&Map Librarian | Librarian for Geography | Librarian, Data Services Team at 778-782-9704 or tza68@sfu.ca or Ask a librarian.

Collection and publication of statistics

Finding statistical information can be challenging. One of the most useful first steps is considering where statistics originate and why or in what forms they are published. Statistical information about BC communities is generated and collected in a number of places. We can look at Census information and also information gathered via various survey tools like the Survey of Household Spending. We can also look at information collected in the course of government administrative activities. For example, income is reported to the Canadian Revenue Agency; the CRA then can publish income statistics. Similarly, we can get information on business formation and failures in this province via the BC Ministry of Finance.

The statistical information can be packaged in many different ways. It may be available in reports or in tabular form. It may be available on municipal websites or within proprietary databases.

Useful statistical sources

Consolidated/ "Pre-packaged"/ Highlights

  • BC Stats: Socio-economic Profiles. These profiles have been created for a variety of different geographic designations, including Local Health Areas, School Districts, and more. Current to 2012, but comparison to past reports is not possible due to changes in methodology.
  • Statistics Canada. Census Profile. Information from the 2011 Census is available. Includes detailed demographic information on topics like households, ethnicity and language. You can select another census geography to make a side-by-side comparison. For an overview of census geography, see Statistics Canada's Illustrated Glossary and Illustrated Glossary: Hierarchy of standard geographic units tutorial.
  • Community Information Database. Map and community profile generator. Community profiles are organized by indicator and so are useful for seeing change over time (1996-2006). Also useful for comparing the community to the encompassing geographic regions and to peer regions. Developed by the Government of Canada’s Rural Secretariat. 

Tools for selecting your own criteria

  • SimplyAnalytics (formerly SimplyMap Canada) This database allows you to define a geographic region and then create a map or table with a selection of variables. Includes Census information, along with Labour Force Activity, Household Spending, "social groups" marketing profiles, and Business data.
  • Canadian Census Analyser Here, you can choose variables from the 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, and 2011 Census for each of the 3 communities (not available as a time series, unfortunately. Choose each Census year individually). You can also find tabulated information for 1961 for Port Alberni.
  • CivicInfoBC. Surveys and Statistics Report Generator Select by survey, by variables, and by geography.

Single-topic sources

Community development reports and plans

Here are a few reports available online. You will be able to find others. In Google, search for your municipality's name + "community plan" or "economic development".

Other sources of community information/reports

Municipality/regional district websites.

Carleton University's Find Canadian Government Publications on the WebGoogle Custom Search that searches across Canadian government websites. After running a search, there is the option to limit to federal, provincial, or municipal information at the top of the screen.

BC Major Projects Inventory. Gives a regional statistical snapshot, along with information on mining, energy, and infrastructure projects and feasibility studies in the region.

Canadian Electronic Library. Grey literature on a variety of policy issues. Search by topic or by community, or both at the same time, for example: "Port Alberni" and forestry.

Dissertations and Theses Abstracts and Index. You'll find in-depth information, often primary research, as well as extensive reference lists in these PhD dissertations. Search for the community name (in quotation marks) and economics or another key concept.

SFU Library Catalogue. Lots of possibilities here, but you may want to take note of specific subject headings like Economic forecasting - British Columbia - Powell River (or other community name).

News Resources | Alternative News Sources

Journal articles. Use databases such as:

Additional resources

Have a look at the following SFU Library guides for other sources to search: