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From Site Selection magazine, September 2013

Home and Away

The best in Canadian economic development feature the
right mix of focus abroad and taking care of your own.

Greater Vancouver leads the way in Canada's top competitive province this year, British Columbia, also home to the burgeoning port complex at Prince Rupert. A June 2013 report said the Port of Vancouver handles $172 billion of cargo each year, or one-fifth of Canadas total trade by value.
Photo courtesy of Port Metro Vancouver


n earning Site Selection's Canadian Competitiveness Award this year, British Columbia's Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training jumps up from a second-place finish last year to snare the prize. All indications are that the province's companies are preparing to do the same, in the form of trade and business development with Asia.

Energy is the lead dog, as ports, pipelines, terminals, railroads and other infrastructure gear up to connect Western Canada's prized resources with the Asia Pacific's prized markets. LNG is but one example. British Columbia's Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas estimates that the economic value of mineral and coal production in 2012 in the province was over $7 billion.

2012 Canadian
Competitiveness Rankings

  1. British Columbia Ministry of Jobs, Tourism & Skills Training
    Hon. Shirley Bond, Minister
  2. Invest Quebec
    Mario Albert, President & CEO
  3. Alberta Ministry of Enterprise & Advanced Education
    Thomas Lukaszuk, Deputy Premier Minister

Honorable Mention

Newfoundland & Labrador Department of Innovation, Business & Rural Development
Hon. Keith Hutchings, Minister

"At 6.7 percent, the province's unemployment rate still remains below the national average of 7.2 percent," said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labor Shirley Bond in August. "Tremendous economic opportunities lie ahead for our province - opportunities that will translate into 1 million job openings by 2020 in sectors including liquefied natural gas (LNG), mining, forestry and others.

"Since the release of our BC Jobs Plan, one new mine has opened, five more are under construction and six existing mines have announced expansions," she said. "The five LNG plants that are planned are expected to deliver over $1 trillion in GDP benefits to B.C. by 2046 and LNG means more than 75,000 new jobs throughout our province, once the five proposed plants are fully operational." That's not even counting a proposed $16-billion oil refinery in Kitimat from a team led by newspaper magnate David Black.

Site Selection awards the Competitiveness Award each year to the provincial economic development agency that performed the best between April 2012 and March 2013, as tracked by several statistical measurements derived from the magazine's proprietary New Plant Database.

Among other facts in the westernmost Canadian province's favor, British Columbia is a world leader in life sciences innovation, with 50 research centers and 12,000 employees in public- and private-sector research roles. And some 100,000 international students come to British Columbia annually to study, with many choosing to stay


The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is a $351-million project created in partnership between the Government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba, the City of Winnipeg, The Forks North Portage Partnership and the private sector; it will employ approximately 70 people.
Photo courtesy of Tourism Winnipeg

Top Canadian Economic Development Groups

Each year Site Selection also recognizes the Top 10 Canadian Economic Development Groups representing regions or municipalities. This year we add our list of Honorable Mention groups. For this honor, in addition to available New Plant Database information, we also paid close attention to such subjective but tangible factors as regional partnership, proactive programming and legislation and quality data and Web resources.

Alberta's Industrial
Heartland Association

Neil Shelly, Executive Director

An Alberta Dept. of Energy document from January 2013 shows the location of every single oilsands operation and upgrader in the province, whether operating, under construction or in the permit application phase. All told, there are 198 projects, including 11 upgrader complexes. Serving many of the needs of those projects is the region this organization encompasses, which includes the cities of Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan, as well as the counties of Strathcona, Lamont and Sturgeon. Among the more recent projects to land in the area is a $900-million propane dehydrogenation complex from Williams.

The Association is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, prompting Thomas Lukaszuk, deputy premier minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education for the Government of Alberta, to say, "The Association is a prime example of how we can achieve success through collaboration. Thank you to all who had the vision and character fifteen years ago to set individual priorities aside for the common good."

Calgary Economic Development
Bruce Graham, President & CEO

Even if Calgary's Olympic Games occurred 25 years ago already, the connections formed from such events keep paying off. This April, Siemens announced it would establish its Canadian Energy HQ in the city after discussions with Alberta Premier Alison Redford at last year's London Games.


Nothing bespeaks Canadian infrastructure like a CN train, even as the company's leadership this summer bemoaned new federal rail regulations. Among other projects, the railroad in July said it will start serving a new state-of-the art frac sand terminal north of Grande Prairie, Alta., starting in November 2013. Here, a CN train transits a bridge near Messiter, BC, in the Canadian Rockies.
Photo courtesy of CN

"During the next 25 years, the oil sands are expected to contribute over $2.1 trillion to the Canadian economy - about $84 billion a year," wrote Calgary Economic Development President & CEO Bruce Graham in an editorial that same month. A result of the success of the energy sector is that most major Canadian financial institutions and lenders have a presence in Calgary, along with a growing list of international financial groups. Calgary rose by 11 positions in the London-based Z/Yen Group's Global Financial Centre Index (GFCI), which ranked the city No. 17 among 77 of the world's leading financial centers. Calgary's finance and business industry has seen 8,100 new jobs created over the past 10 years, an increase of 47.6 percent.

City of Hamilton
Economic Development

Neil Everson, Director of Economic
Development & Real Estate Division

The cleat in the Golden Horseshoe is welcoming, among other projects, one of the most advanced prepared meats manufacturing facilities in North America from Maple Leaf Foods, scheduled to open later this year at Red Hill Business Park, where Paletta International is opening its own $10-million ammonia refrigeration facility. Hamilton has also welcomed a new distribution center from Navistar, and a new production facility from automotive parts supplier Stackpole's Engineered Products Division.


This office's popular "Hamilton Calling" program visited 270 companies in 2012, and as of the end of April this year had visited nearly 75 more. Meanwhile, the economic development team has delivered multiple enhancements to its online Site Selector/Property Search tool, and has continued to work with other city agencies to streamline planning and permitting processes. Conference Board of Canada ranked the Hamilton-Burlington economy the fastest growing in 2012 among Ontario cities.

London Economic
Development Corp.

Kapil Lakhotia,
Interim General Manager

London saw 13 company expansions in 2012, and continues to see small and medium-sized companies landing in the metro area as well, including logistics operations from such companies as Kuehne and Nagel, FedEx and UTI Logistics. Other projects have included a $10-million investment from McCormick Ltd. and a $5-million investment from Brose. Long-term investments in three industrial parks have helped.

Programmatic success has come in multiple forms for LEDC: the Hire ONE Initiative for SMEs; an industrial lands needs study; the BizInc Student Entrepreneurship Incubator at Western University and Fanshawe College; and the talent attraction portal for digital media, among others. More than 1,800 new jobs have been created over the April 2012-March 2013 period examined, and the city has seen $8 million in funding for its new International Water Center of Excellence, as well as $13 million for a new advanced manufacturing park.

Montréal International
Jacques St-Laurent, President & CEO

A July report from Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. lauded Greater Montréal for its rapid growth in high-tech industries, especially areas such as computer systems design, and credited the area's education infrastructure as a primary reason.

The comprehensive efforts of Montréal International would be another. In 2012 the agency helped attract $689 million in foreign direct investment alone, across 29 projects that will create or maintain 2,068 jobs. Seventy-eight percent of those investments are in the area's high-tech sectors: aerospace, life sciences and health technologies, and information and communication technologies. Among the projects cited in the organization's annual report are facility investments from Medtronic ($50 million), Winpak, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Aerolia, a $127-million data center from France's in Beauharnois, and the launch of Avantis Industrialisation by Avantis Group and Drakkar & Partners.

Greater Peterborough Area EDC
Dan Taylor, President & CEO

This area in Kawartha Lakes known has also historically been known as the Electric City, and is and currently home to such companies as GE Canada, Rolls Royce, Siemens, PepsiCo, Minute Maid and SGS Lakefield. In February GE said it would invest $26 million in its plant, as it establishes a North American Center of Excellence for large, slow-speed motors and ramps up to pursue opportunities under the Canadian federal government's new $33-billion, 28-vessel National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. More recently, Aditya Birla Minacs this summer announced it would add 50 jobs to the 400-person payroll at its local contact center. And Lifestyle Home Products in June announced it would relocate to Peterborough and create 100 new jobs.

Infrastructure Insights From the Top


This aerial view of Greater Halifax shows how many layers of infrastructure contribute to the area's economy, much of it backed in part by the federal government.
Photo courtesy of Infrastructure Canada

The Honorable Denis Lebel, Canada's Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, shares his thoughts on public-private partnerships.

"The Harper Government believes that public-private partnerships, or P3s, can improve the delivery of infrastructure and provide better value for money for taxpayers. We've seen through numerous successful projects across Canada that by bundling the design, construction, financing, operations and/or maintenance of assets together, we can protect taxpayers from additional costs over the asset's lifecycle.

"We created PPP Canada to serve as a center of expertise for P3s ... With PPP Canada now in its fifth year of operations, we are seeing increased use of the P3 model at all levels of government, with more projects under way each construction season. Economic Action Plan 2013 announced $1.25 billion over the next five years to renew the P3 Canada Fund, which will be focused on helping inexperienced jurisdictions bring their P3 projects to the market.

"In addition, the government has announced that projects over $100 million seeking funding from the new Building Canada Fund will now be screened for P3 viability, to help promote on-time and on-budget delivery of public infrastructure across the country."

When it comes to GPAEDC resources, start with their website, which is among the hippest and most attractive in the Canadian local economic development arsenal. But non-screen-driven tools are plentiful too, starting with a regional airport that's just received $30 million in upgrades and is sparking its own cluster of businesses. Meanwhile, the area continues to build solid curricular, training and research relationships with Seneca College, Fleming College and Trent University.

Québec International
Carl Viel, President & CEO

Approximately 8,800 new jobs or maintained were created between April 1, 2012, and March 31, 2013. The agency says this works out to an average rate of 1.5 jobs per $1 million in capital investment, because that total investment came to more than $6 billion. Investors include Fujitsu, Kerr Foods, Strongco, Valero (Ultramar) and Thales.

Québec City is expected to lead all five provincial Census Metropolitan Areas in economic growth in 2013, according to The Conference Board of Canada's Metropolitan Outlook.

In 2012, the Québec City region posted a new record of nearly 420,000 jobs, up 10 percent from 2007 for a gain of 39,000 jobs over a five-year span, says Québec International. "Robust job creation has brought unemployment down to around 5 percent — one of the lowest rates in the province of Québec."

According to various indicators, the region is very likely to build on its growth momentum. In 2012, regional GDP grew by 1.3 percent, 2,300 jobs were created and 6,416 new housing starts were recorded.

City of Toronto
Michael H. Williams,
General Manager, Economic Development & Culture

Invest Toronto
Renato Discenza, President and CEO

Greater Toronto
Marketing Alliance

George Hanus, President & CEO

Last year, Toronto recorded its highest total employment number since 1990, with 1,331,600 people employed in full-time and part-time positions in the city. Among projects to land in Toronto was Pinewood Studios' $40-million movie studio and Royal Bank of Canada's new headquarters investment.

Greater Toronto produces nearly 20 percent of Canada's GDP but it wants to cultivate more: In January 2013, the city's Economic Development & Culture department issued a report that recommends, among other things, making zoning and planning by-laws and policies more flexible to accelerate commercial and industrial investment, and fully promoting the recently renewed and modified Imagination, Manufacturing, Innovation and Technology (IMIT) program.

Invest Toronto, charged with FDI attraction, says it helped attract 22 new investments from abroad and generate 153 new leads, including 48 from China. Moody's Analytics stated in 2012 that Toronto will overtake London as a global banking center by 2017.

Vancouver Economic Commission
Joan Elangovan, A/CEO

Among the projects landing in Greater Vancouver are a new distribution center from Toys "R Us in Delta, an R&D/office investment from computer game firm TinyCo and a Neptune Bulk Terminals expansion for coal processing. Port Metro Vancouver this April announced that Richardson International announced this April it has received permission from Port Metro Vancouver to build an additional grain storage annex at its complex in North Vancouver.

As a charter member of the Consider Canada City Alliance, the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) united with economic development organizations from nine other large Canadian cities to promote Canada as the world's most desirable destination for Chinese investment and trade during a trade mission earlier this year.

The VEC is just as focused on the minutiae important to companies once they're on the ground. VEC staff helped develop a pilot multi-city business license now being considered by elected officials throughout the region.

Economic Development Winnipeg
Marina James, President & CEO

More than 9,000 jobs were created in Winnipeg during this time period. This includes major projects such as IKEA's distribution warehouse, Maple Leaf Foods meat processing facility, CN's National Training Center and Staples Canada Distribution Center. Winpak Ltd. is moving ahead with an expansion of its production facility valued at $10 million that will create up to 125 jobs over the next five years.

More than 100 acres were sold and are now in various stages of construction in and around CentrePort, Winnipeg's tri-modal inland port and foreign trade zone.

New and expanded manufacturing and distribution facilities that opened over the past year include Fort Garry Fire Trucks, Trailer Wizards, C & T Rentals, Star Produce and Motomco Group of Brazil.

Throughout 2012, Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. - through its Yes! Winnipeg initiative - proactively sought out business investment attraction. In total, 28 companies that turned to Yes! Winnipeg for assistance made the decision to invest in Winnipeg in 2012. These companies anticipate employing 790 staff when their operations reach maturity.

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