Vancouver Island University released their Economic Impact Analysis and Community Engagement Report on October 9.
According to the report conducted by Roslyn Kunin & Associates, VIU contributes over $406 million to the economy of Vancouver Island each year. The report shows VIU’s social, cultural, and environmental impact on the region, as well as international student impacts on the community.
The presentation combined Kunin showing a power point presentation on the process the group used to compile the report, followed by President and Vice-Chancellor of VIU, Ralph Nilson, discussing the report and VIU’s role in the community.
The report itself covered multiple impacts VIU has, including its production of 3090 jobs and over $38 million in tax revenue for the government.
The report says VIU hosts over 17 thousand students each year, and that the university makes it possible for students to get their post-secondary education without leaving the island.
Kunin explained that the group went through secondary research such as VIU financial statements, annual reports, major capital projects, and student enrolment. Kunin also said 65 structured interviews were held with government officials from municipal, regional, and school districts. Also interviewed were First Nations, unions, and faculty.
Nilson discussed the impact the university has on the region. He said relationships with the surrounding communities are very important. He also said VIU impacts the community by helping people develop skills and create businesses.
Nilson said other campuses are using VIU as a means to both attract younger people to move to the area, as well as to keep people from leaving home.
According to Nilson, the report was done now, because after five years of being a university, they felt the need to show the community the impact and importance VIU has on the economy.
Nilson said many people may not understand how much of an impact our international students have on the economy. Nilson and Kunin touched on the impacts they could not measure, such as acceptance and learning of other cultures from the international students, as well as the impact of having a university education.
The main goal of this report is to show the community how important the university is to the regional economy. Nilson said it will aid in making a case to potential donors and local support.
Kunin said it was not possible to specify the economic impact on Nanaimo itself because of the multiple campuses and out-of-town students, so it had to be generalized to the region itself.
The report in its entirety can be found at viu.ca/impact