The Economic Benefit of Your Favorite Activity

Published by Liane Langlois on

Breaking it Down...

by R. Bruce Thomas

In October 2023 a report commissioned by Moto Canada, the Canadian Quad Council, and the Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada was released with the title "Economic Impact Study of On-road Motorcycles and Off-highway Vehicle Recreation in Canada" (Press Release).

The study is based on Statistics Canada data from 2022 plus a User Survey from early in 2023 and, while the report has been out for 6 months, it is particularly relevant now as we all prepare to get out and ride all summer. Do you have any trips planned? What is your budget? Are you buying a new ride? What maintenance do you have scheduled? The estimated costs incurred by riders across the country in regards to these questions, and more, are presented.

It's not just about the impact that riding has on our wallets but about the impact that motorcycle and off-highway vehicle recreational use (let's call it M&OHV) has on the economy as a whole. You may find it rather surprising to learn that M&OHV use directly impacts over 88,000 jobs and contributes over $17 Billion (yes, with a B) to Canada's economy. (National Summary)

In Alberta (Alberta Summary) the totals are nearly 14,000 jobs and $2.8 Billion which includes $1.3 Billion in tourism. These numbers place the province third in the country behind Quebec and Ontario. We happily cede that third place to British Columbia where the left coast riders pay an extra $49 Million in taxes. Still, the AMSS appreciates that some of the $394 Million in tax revenue paid to three levels of AB Government has helped push our safety message for years.

I was surprised by the impact of Alberta OHV's with total output and effect on GDP being ~20% higher than with on-road motorcycles. But these users need trailers and tow vehicles which require more gas and tires and maintenance, etc., so it makes sense. Estimated taxes to Governments are 30% higher than for road going bikes so hopefully trails and back-country areas are maintained effectively.

The report delves into the impact that tour companies and riding schools have on the economy and that is encouraging. Knowing that enough people are signing up for guided tours and also taking training courses to improve their safety bodes well for the future.

Overall the report is eye-opening as to the number of M&OHV's used in Canada and the money that is spent in their operation, never mind the large tax revenue they generate. Tourism (rated as any trip more than 50 km from home) pulls in more than 40% of the revenue although that number may be higher as there is no indication that foreign travelers were counted (and we have a lot of great roads that attract tourists such as the Cabot Trail, Icefields Parkway, and Alaska Highway to name a few).

If you love charts and want to let your eyes go a bit buggy you can find the complete study by clicking here.

One final item to point out is that May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and it would be great if we could extend that mentality for the duration of the riding season. At the AMSS AGM it was noted that 20 Alberta Riders lost their lives in 2023. We can all do our part to reduce that number whether we ride or drive.

If nobody is the first to die when riding then nobody will be the last to die while riding.

Ride responsibly, and often.

Categories: News