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CANADA
From Site Selection magazine, September 2023
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Canada's Best Locations 2023

A strong thread of tech runs through the nation’s leading regions for economic development.

CANADA
by Adam Bruns
T

ech jobs are said to be waning overall. But the 2023 Scoring Tech Talent report from CBRE confirms that those tech companies still in growth mode sure like Canada.

Canada's 1.1 million tech workers accounted for 6.5% of the nation's total workforce in 2022, says CBRE, compared to 4% of the U.S. workforce. Their numbers are growing at a faster rate too: Since 2020, Canada has added 150,000 tech workers — a 15.7% jump — compared to 11.4% (610,000 workers) in the U.S.

Toronto ranks No. 5 among 50 North American markets analyzed. Meanwhile, No. 8 Vancouver was the fastest growing (68.6% growth of tech talent occupations from 2017-2022), followed by No. 21 Calgary (60.6%), No. 18 Waterloo region (51.5%) and No. 39 Edmonton, which tied with Madison, Wisconsin, at 45% growth.

Ottawa was No. 11 overall, just behind Denver and just ahead of Montreal and Atlanta. Canada's capital region topped all 50 markets in terms of tech talent concentration (13.3%), with the Waterloo Region (10.1%) and Toronto (9.5%) joining it among the Top 5 most tech-talent-saturated markets.  

All of those Canadian markets are represented in this year's Canada's Best Locations. This group of Top 20 regions and ties is based on corporate facility investment data evaluated by capex and job creation on a cumulative and per-capita basis, derived from project data entered into the Conway Projects Database from January 2022 through June 2023.

It probably comes as no surprise that many of those leading tech markets are also in Ontario, which once again this year earns the Canadian Competitiveness Award as the nation's most economically competitive province, based on cumulative and per-capita calculations from corporate facility projects, those projects' capital investment and jobs as documented by Site Selection's Conway Projects Database. Alberta is the runner-up, followed by Nova Scotia.

Canadian Competitiveness Award

1st

Invest Ontario/Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

Trevor Dauphinee, CEO / Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

“North America plays a key role in our global battery strategy. The region will become PowerCo SE's second pillar beside Europe, with battery cells made in North America for North America. Gigafactory St. Thomas opens the door to a key market for e-mobility and battery cell production.”Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group Board Member for Technology, on the company's 3,000-job, C$7 billion plant coming to St. Thomas, April 2023

Recent Projects: Volkswagen Group (C$7 billion, 3,000 jobs, St. Thomas); Nokia of America ($770 million, 340 jobs, Ottawa); AstraZeneca Canada ($500 million, 300 jobs, Mississauga); General Motors ($280 million, Oshawa); Magna International (C$470 million in Brampton, Guelph, Belleville, Newmarket, Windsor and Penetanguishene)

Four of the Top 10 projects by capex and 11 of the Top 20 by job creation tracked over the 18-month period landed in Ontario. Over the last three years, Ontario has secured over C$25 billion in automotive and EV battery-related investments that will create thousands of good-paying jobs and is throwing strong support behind the life sciences as well. “Ontario is Canada's premier business destination and the gold standard for innovation and growth,” says Trevor Dauphinee, CEO of Invest Ontario.

Knowing the province is home to is home to over 400,000 ICT workers and positioned well to take advantage of a projected $29 trillion global opportunity in AI, 5G and quantum technologies, the province in June announced at the Collision Conference in Toronto up to $77 million in funding to help Ontario companies adopt, develop and bring to market critical technologies, such as 5G, ethical artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, cybersecurity and robotics. The new funding go to the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence and the Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI). “Critical technologies fuel innovation and drive growth in every sector, including automotive, life sciences and advanced manufacturing,” said Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli.

Among other incentives, the province in June introduced the Ontario Made Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit, a 10% refundable corporate income tax credit for eligible corporations on qualifying investments in buildings, machinery and equipment for use in manufacturing or processing in the province.

“For the second year in a row, Ontario has been recognized as Canada's most competitive province, a sign that our plan to build a strong, resilient economy is working,” Fedeli tells Site Selection. “With a highly skilled workforce, competitive costs and access to global markets, Ontario has everything companies need to invest and grow. We're excited to welcome more companies from all around the world to Ontario.”

VWStThomas1

The VW/PowerCo SE battery module plant in St. Thomas, Ontario, will bring 3,000 jobs and a €4.8 billion/C$7 billion investment to Ontario.

Photo-rendering courtesy of Volkswagen AG

2nd

Invest Alberta

Rick Christiaanse, CEO

“Alberta continues to attract innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world. Teknol's expansion into Calgary is yet another example of the exciting momentum we see in Alberta's technology sector. Alberta's government is committed to making our province one of the most innovative jurisdictions in Canada.”Nate Glubish, Alberta Minister of Technology and Innovation, on the $12.5 million, 125-job expansion of Silicon Valley company Teknol in Calgary

Recent Projects: Heidelberg Cement (Edmonton); Amazon (2,500 jobs, Acheson); McCain Foods ($600 million, 260 jobs)

Alberta says it has supported the commitment of nearly C$20 billion in investment that created more than 24,000 new high-value jobs for Albertans since 2020. The province's tech sector, with 3,000 companies already established, is doing its part within the province's signature industries such as energy and also beyond into such fields as software, ICT and machine learning.

The province's international ties include a strengthened relationship with India. June 2022 saw India-based IT solutions provider Mphasis open a Canadian delivery center in Calgary expected to create 1,000 jobs in two years. The company also is partnering with the University of Calgary to create a center of excellence for quantum computing. Invest Alberta earlier last year signed an MOU with India's National Association of Software and Service Companies (nasscom) to promote innovation, investment, and technological exchange between Alberta and India. The organization is the industry association for the $227-billion IT business process management industry in India. Among the perks for nasscom's 3,000 member companies: MacEwan University offered nasscom members 180 days of complimentary office space. “The MOU,” said Invest Alberta, “aligns with nasscom's ongoing collaboration with the Government of Canada to further cross-national relationships and promote technology-based investment between the two countries.”

The province is just as focused on “the regions,” i.e. rural and small town communities. “Since Invest Alberta was created two years ago, we've worked with investors and partners to announce a plant protein facility in Strathmore, a net-zero hemp manufacturing hub in Vegreville that works with local farmers, an advanced manufacturing plant in Lethbridge County, hydrogen opportunities in the Peace Region, and a new wallboard manufacturing plant and state-of-the-art aircraft facility in Wheatland County,” said Invest Alberta COO Lynette Tremblay last November in announcing its Alberta CAN: Regional Investment Initiative, starting with the Alberta HUB region in northeast Alberta.

3rd

Invest Nova Scotia

“As a company that grew up here, we always believed in the potential of the digital sector to drive the next generation of our region's economy. We are thrilled to collaborate with other leaders from across the ecosystem who feel the same.” Mike Johnston, President & CEO, REDspace, on the summer 2022 launch of “Here We Code,” a digital movement uniting academia, industry, non-profits and government to nurture tech talent and companies

Recent Projects: Michelin North America ($140 million, 70 jobs, Bridgewater); USG Corp. ($104 million, 100 jobs, Sydney); EverWind Fuels ($4.4 billion, Point Tupper)

The digital and ICT economy in Nova Scotia accounts for more than 1,300 companies and organizations, $2.5 billion in gross output, 10% of the province's business sector output and more than 25,000 employees.

Invest Nova Scotia was formed last fall to amalgamate the former Nova Scotia Business Inc. and Nova Scotia Innovation Corp. The organization came to payroll rebate incentives agreements with six companies in its 2022-2023 fiscal year, including the potential for 700 jobs from professional services company Avanade Canada at an engineering hub in Halifax; 30 jobs from HydroSurv Unmanned Survey (Nova Scotia) Inc., which operates from the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE) in Halifax; and 60 jobs from digital health company ResMed in Halifax. Other agreements have been reached since with Arctic Wolf Networks and maritime intelligence firm Global Spatial Technology Solutions.

Among other steps to cultivate talent, Nova Scotia is investing $17 million to expand computer science programs in the province.

Canada’s Best Locations

The top economic development organizations saluted in this year's Canada's Best Locations are presented in alphabetical order by community name within provinces, which in turn are presented in order of those with the most groups per province.

ONTARIO

Invest Brampton
Clare Barnett, Director of Economic Development

Recent Projects: Magna International Inc.; Lululemon Athletica Canada; Mondelez International, Inc.; Cardinal Meat Specialists

“Magna's roots in Ontario run deep, and we are excited about opening a new facility dedicated to a strategic electrification product,” said Eric Wilds, Magna chief sales and marketing officer, of a new 560-job battery enclosure manufacturing facility coming to this city as part of a family of investments by the legendary global Canadian automotive manufacturer in six Ontario cities. The Lululemon facility, which will create more than 1,000 jobs, is also from a Canadian company, as Lululemon was originally founded in Vancouver. In calendar year 2022 Brampton saw a record $2 billion in total construction value, up 131% since 2018, and 9 million sq. ft. of industrial and office space enter the approvals process. Among other developments, the Brampton Innovation District, located near the Metrolinx GO transit station renamed in its honor in downtown Brampton, has joined the Global Institute of Innovation Districts. With the establishment in Brampton of Toronto Metropolitan University's new school of medicine — the first new medical school in the GTA in 100 years — complementing a host of life sciences companies in the city, a new MedTech Task Force has been convened.


Advantage Brantford
Sara Munroe, Director, Economic Development, Tourism and Cultural Initiatives

Recent Projects: Numesh Inc.; Mitsui High-Tec (Canada), Inc.; Tees N More; Massilly North America Inc

“Brantford is an essential hub for Ferrero across Canada,” Ferrero Senior Vice President Fabrizio Secco said in late 2022 of the chocolate maker's $26 million, 100-job expansion in the city. Apparently it is for Mitsui High-tec too: The company opened its second facility in Brantford in April for the making of motor cores for electric and hybrid vehicles, and a third facility is under construction. The city issued more than $500 million in building permits in 2022, topping the previous mark of $472 million set in 2021, which surpassed the 2020 record of $255.2 million. Among other developments, Brantford, recently named the second-safest city in which to live in Canada, has hosted a number of film and TV productions: In July, Location Managers Guild International (LMGI) nominated the City of Brantford for an LMGI Award in the Outstanding Film Commission category for the second year in a row for work on “The Handmaid's Tale.” And the city has introduced online option for submitting and tracking building permit applications (Brantford.ca/BuildingPermit) that will significantly expedite the process.


Burlington Economic Development
Anita Cassidy, Executive Director

Recent Projects: Musket Equipment Leasing Ltd; Sobeys Inc.; Universal Matter Inc.; Rampf Composite Solutions

Among Burlington Economic Development's accomplishments is supporting bioengineerign company Cultivated B's $50 million investment in a new 200-job manufacturing facility and innovation hub. It's the largest new industrial purchase in over a decade in the city. The facility will develop and produce bioreactors as well as photobioreactors and high-precision devices for cellular agriculture and precision fermentation. “The opportunity to build these in Canada will enable other businesses to produce alternative proteins at an industrial scale, whether that is in the cultivated meat, pharmaceutical or cosmetic industries,” explains Anita Cassidy. Among many levels of support her organization provided was use of the city's TechPlace innovation hub by the company as a soft landing and meeting space. TechPlace also launched Acceleration+ in partnership with LatAm Startups, Haltech, and Innovation Factory last year to enable innovative international companies to grow in southwestern Ontario. Overall, Burlington Economic Development conducted over 30 site selections in fulfillment of business support requests, Cassidy says.


Invest in Hamilton

Hamilton, Ontario

Norm Schleehahn, Director of Economic Development

Recent Projects: ArcelorMittal Dofasco; Atomvie Global Radiopharma; Sierra Supply Chain Services; United Parcel Service Canada; Canada Bread Co.

Welcoming C$751 million in company investments and more than 625 new jobs made for another strong business year for Hamilton. Last fall saw the city's launch of the Fundica/Hamilton Funding Finder, a tool that uses AI to assist businesses in finding funding relevant to local business needs. Also last fall, the Hamilton City Council approved the Bayfront Industrial Area Strategy for the nearly 4,000-acre mixed industrial area on the shore of Hamilton Harbour, adjacent to some of the city's oldest neighbourhoods. “The Bayfront has been part of Hamilton's industrial, economic and cultural legacy for decades,” says Schleehahn, “and it was where Hamilton grew its reputation as one of Canada's major manufacturing centers.” Hamilton Economic Development early this year saw its Manufacturing Strategy approved, with an emphasis on areas such as water technology, decarbonization technologies, and steel production. The Canadian government through the National Trade Corridor Fund will contribute $23.4 million to the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport Gateway Expansion. The city in February launched the Entrepreneur Success Initiative, which aims to grow immigrant entrepreneur investment opportunities outside of the GTA; Hamilton is the first city to launch the pilot program.


London Economic Development Corporation
Kapil Lakhotia, President & CEO

Recent Projects: Andriani SPA; Edge Automation; Anvo Laboratories; CHAR Technologies; Amazon

“We’re able to hire top-notch professionals from myriad cultures and backgrounds, which ensures that we look at things from all different angles, which is vital to the success of our business.” Ian Ng, Site President, Citi Canada, on the company’s choice of Mississauga for a new strategic hub

Recent Projects: Bombardier, Henkel Canada, Amazon, GSK, BoomerangFX

London ranked No. 8 among the top emerging tech markets in CBRE's Scoring Tech Talent 2023 report, beating out Las Vegas, Winnipeg, and Buffalo, among others, with a digital media and tech cluster that numbers more than 300 companies employing more than 9,000 people. An exemplar of the area's tech community that circles back to traditional industries is software development firm Factory Bucket, whose Cohesiv app solution for customers in the manufacturing, warehousing and logistics industries just got a shot in the arm with C$200,000 in funding from the locally based 519 Growth Fund. The London EDC supported C$218 million in company expansions and attractions in 2022, (up from $173 million in 2021) that added 1,400 jobs. In addition to a strong advanced manufacturing community, the area's agri-food processing cluster boasts 60 companies employing more than 6,000 people. “With the successful launch of Western Fair's The Grove,” said a London EDC update, “London now has a dedicated food and beverage incubation facility with equipment, resources, mentorship and programming.” Among other tools, virtual tour capability has allowed London EDC to increase the number of site selection tours it conducted from 15 in 2021 to 151 in 2022.


City of Mississauga Economic Development Office
Christina Kakaflika, Director, Economic Development

Recent Projects: Cyclone Manufacturing; Omcan; Vitacore Industries; Mother Parker's Tea & Coffee

Together with incentives from the Region of Peel, the city's Tax Increment Equivalent Grant will make it more cost-effective to build office space downtown. In partnership with Oxford Realty Properties, the city opened IDEA Square One in May 2023. It is the first anchor location for Mississauga's entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem under the city's new innovation district brand “IDEA Mississauga. The EDO's international outreach included Farnborough International Airshow, the MedTech Conference in California, Cybertech Global Tel Aviv 2023 and a delegation to Germany to meet some of the more than 120 German companies that have called Mississauga home.


Invest Oakville
Rebekah Diec Stormes, Director, Economic Development

Recent Projects: Ford Motor Co.; Goodrich Aerospace Canada; Blyth Brewing & Distilling; PCL Construction Group

In 2022, Halton Region entered into a new three-year funding agreement with Toronto Global for the provision of foreign direct investment (FDI) services, ending in 2025. The Oakville Economic Development department continues to work in partnership with Toronto Global through Halton Region to promote Oakville as a destination for international investment. In partnership with Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing, the department hosted an Auto Mayors Economic Development Officers (EDO) meeting to revisit the 2021 Action Plan and develop updated recommendations for the next term of Ontario Auto Mayors. The working session included participation from more than 25 municipalities from across the province together with Ontario's auto makers to explore ways to support the industry's transition to electric vehicles.


Invest Ottawa
Ottawa, Ontario
Michael Tremblay, President & CEO

Recent Projects: Porter Airlines; Ranovus; Amazon; Virica Biotech

Invest Ottawa unveiled an expanded board of directors and its updated strategic plan in June 2023. Building on having the highest concentration of top tech talent per capita in North America (CBRE), decades of disruptive tech capabilities and startup culture and successful companies and what it calls a “vibrant mix of main street businesses and diverse, inclusive communities,” the plan aims to foster economic growth by not only helping founders, business owners and companies launch and grow, but attracting top R&D-focused tech firms and global investment; cultivating a diverse and expert pool, bolstering Ottawa's workforce; facilitating innovation, collaboration and impact through Bayview Yards, Ottawa's business acceleration site; and operating Area X.O, the region's R&D complex for next-gen smart mobility, connectivity and autonomy. Area X.O and InDro Robotics, the leading Canadian robotics R&D company, in June unveiled the Drone and Advanced Robotics Testing and Training Zone (DARTT) — the first facility of its kind in the country. From 2013 to 2022 (inclusive), Invest Ottawa has helped to facilitate more than 14,700 jobs; helped domestic companies raise C$1.86 billion in capital; and helped attract C$1.47 billion in domestic and foreign direct investment to Ottawa.


Toronto Global
Trevor Novak, Senior Director

Recent Projects: Globant; Recursion Pharmaceuticals; 88 Pictures Ltd.; Sanofi; Cinespace Film Studios

Toronto Global represents and works in collaboration with a region encompassing 24 municipalities and a population of 7 million. It helped attract 3,400 new jobs and C$920 million during the time period examined. The organization's 2022-2023 annual report, released in June, noted Toronto Global had facilitated 45 new investments in the Toronto Region in its fiscal year, including U.S. cloud computing company Snowflake's Canadian HQ and French company Sanofi's Artificial Intelligence Centre of Excellence. Since 2017, Toronto Global has helped land 215 international companies in the region, creating 30,000 total jobs and $2.8 billion in capital expenditure. Analyst Sophia Chea dug into the data following the GTA's high ranking in the CBRE tech talent report: “Toronto experienced a significant population growth in the 20s and 30s age groups between 2016 and 2021,” she wrote this summer. “Individuals in their 20s grew by 11.1%, while those in their 30s grew by 14.7%. This growth is among the highest across large tech markets, serving as evidence of the city's growing tech workforce and innovative potential.”


Waterloo EDC
Tony LaMantia, President and CEO

Recent Projects: Stellantis; Magna International; Les Aliments Dainty Foods; Service Mold & Aerospace; Convoy Technologies

Waterloo Region consists of three cities (Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge) and four townships that are closely connected, yet each with its own charm. With a combined population of nearly 650,000, the region's reputation as a tech hub was only enhanced in this year's Scoring Tech Talent report from CBRE, which identified the region as the second-fastest climber in its rankings in North America (tied with St. Louis), moving up six spots to No. 18. Moreover, among all 50 markets across North America examined by that report, the Waterloo Region had the highest total concentration of residents in their 20s, and among the 18 markets of fewer than 50,000 in the workforce, the region was No. 1 in tech concentration. The University of Waterloo was also recognized as one of the world's Top 25 tech schools, with more students than any other university in the Top 25. “Waterloo EDC helped us create a full vision of what we could do here and why Waterloo is uniquely suited for what EPAM does,” said Mark Samson, vice president of Delivery Management at expanding company EPAM Systems. “It was an easy business decision to make.” In total, companies working with Waterloo EDC invested more than $188 million in Waterloo. Meanwhile, the region also played host to the launch of Canada's national Quantum Strategy with C$360 million in funding.


Invest WindsorEssex
Stephen MacKenzie, President & CEO

Recent Projects: Avidbots Corp.; Shimco North America; Vuereal Inc.; Racer Machinery International

This region saw 1,578 jobs created and nearly C$3 billion in corporate facility investment in the time period examined. Among the largest projects anywhere in Canada (though not counting toward the totals above) is the US$4.1 billion, 2,500 job NextStar Energy battery plant that will occupy 4.5 million sq. ft. Recruitment of the facility’s first 130 employees kicked off this summer. Korean-based battery supply chain company Dongshin Motech, a tier one supplier for NextStar, chose Windsor for its North American headquarters. The total investment amount for the project is over C$90 million and will create over 300 jobs. The Invest WindsorEssex (IWE) team together with Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens traveled to South Korea in late 2022 and pitched EV supply chain opportunities to over 66 LGES supplier companies. There are currently several billion [dollars] in potential investment being finalized with many major EV suppliers. Meanwhile, Invest WindsorEssex’sAutomobiltiy and Innovation team was named the official eXtended Reality (XR) partner for Project Arrow, Canada’s first zero-emission concept vehicle. Among the programs offered by Invest WindsorEssex are low land lease rates of C$4,500 per acre/year for 49 years with the option for an additional 49-year term (for airport land) and no development charges for planning and constructing a new facility on any land in the City of Windsor. A tax assessment grant program covers up to 100% of the municipal property tax increase created by the project for up to 10 years after project completion.


York Region Economic Strategy/York Link
Jonathan Wheatle, Director, Economic Strategy

Recent Projects: Qualcomm; Novo Plastics; Syntronic; Canada Computers; Dishon Ltd.

Bolstered by strong performances in Markham and Vaughan among its nine cities and towns, York Region and its population of more than 1.2 million continue to benefit from some of the lowest tax rates in the Greater Toronto Area and a deep talent pool in technical, engineering and scientific occupations, having the highest labor force proportion in tech of any region across the Toronto-Waterloo corridor, according to York Link. Local economic development offices in York Region also include Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Newmarket, Richmond Hill and Whitchurch-Stouffville. In July 2023, York Region announced the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) is launching an “OVIN Demonstration Zone” in partnership with the City of Vaughan and the City of Markham that will provide support to SMEs while testing critical technologies in the autonomous vehicle space. With 4,600+ tech companies among its more than 54,000 businesses, York Region is Canada's second largest tech hub, with a particular strength in the automotive industry as Canada's largest independent automotive and electronics manufacturing cluster. “Collective investment attraction work to increase awareness has been a focus for York Region with its local municipalities, partners, and upper tier government, demonstrated through recent collaborations and promotion at AutoTech Detroit,” says a spokesperson for York Link.

QUEBEC

 
Montréal International
Stéphane Paquet, President & CEO

Recent Projects: CellCarta, Sony Pictures Imageworks Canada, Avianor, Biodextris, Priya Foods

Among the strongest sectors in the Montréal region is life sciences, crystallized in the May 2023 announcement at the Effervescence conference organized by Montréal InVivo of a C$350 million investment by Jadco Group and CellCarta in Inspire Bio Innovations Montréal, a new life sciences and precision medicine hub that will redevelop the site of the former Montréal Chest Institute, a key medical center in the history of Montréal and Quebec. “Having chosen to establish our laboratory operations and headquarters in downtown Montréal over 12 years ago, CellCarta is delighted to have found a site and a project that fully meets our strategic ambitions of reuniting all our Montréal employees under one roof and of securing the longer-term growth and sustainability of our operations in Montréal,” said Martin Leblanc, co-founder and vice chair of the board of directors at CellCarta. Stéphane Paquet of Montréal International tells me the natural convergence between the region’s leadership in AI and leadership in life sciences is one reason health sciences FDI in the metro region ballooned to 19% of all FDI in 2022. “We were already an AI hub,” adds Stéphanie Doyle, Montréal International’s senior director for Europe and for life sciences & health technologies,” but life sciences is growing exponentially. Half of the projects the last two years are in AI and health.”

InspireBio-Aerial.jpeg

Inspire Bio Innovations Montréal, a new life sciences and precision medicine hub, will redevelop the Montréal Chest Institute, a key medical center in the history of Montréal and Quebec.

Rendering courtesy of Jadco Group


Québec International
Carl Viel, CEO

Recent Projects: PepsiCo Canada; ProEV; Miralis; Solus Advanced Materials

In the CBRE 2023 Scoring Tech Talent report, Québec City had the lowest cost ($33 million) among all North American markets examined for a typical 500-person tech company occupying 60,000 sq. ft. of office space. Compare that to the highest cost on the scorecard: $79 million in the San Francisco Bay Area. The region saw companies create 2,400 new jobs during the examined time period. From April 2021 to April 2023 the area has welcomed nearly C$3.5 billion in new capital investments. Moreover, 2022 investment in property, plant and equipment non-residential properties in the metro area saw a jump of 25% compared to 2021. According to Conference Board of Canada estimates, the real GDP of the metro reached C$40.1 billion in 2022, representing growth of 1.5%. AI is a growing sector in this region too, illustrated by growth of such firms as Coveo, Guay, Canam Group and BIM One and the support for them from the Scale AI innovation center. Meanwhile, the Davie Shipyard is welcoming an C$840 million infrastructure upgrade investment, and a number of mixed-use projects are rising in North Shore, Lévis and Quartier Sila, in the heart of the new district of Saint-Romuald.


Sherbrooke Innopole
Sylvain Durocher, Executive Director

Recent Projects: Delafontaine; General Dynamics Mission Systems; Pasqal; Soucy Techno

Part of this region’s vision for the future is a new innovation zone for quantum technologies developed for Quantum Sherbrooke, one of the first innovation zones designated by the province of Québec. It unites several assets in the area, including the Institut quantique at the University of Sherbrooke, the Technological Innovation and Circular Economy Hub (CITEC) and Usine CINQ (Center for Digital and Quantum Innovation). Sherbrooke Innopole’s 2022 annual activity report documented 714 interventions in 2022 with companies in key sectors: Advanced Manufacturing, Information and Quantum Technologies, Cleantech, Life Sciences,and Micro-Nanotechnologies. “The interventions completed during the year are expected to result in significant economic spinoffs in the medium term: investments of $216.8 million and the creation or consolidation of 847 jobs within companies,” the organization reported. “Since 2010, the key sectors have experienced a net growth of 195 companies and over 9,000 jobs, in addition to injecting C$3.3 billion into the local economy,” said Sylvain Durocher, executive director of Sherbrooke Innopole. Innovative activities have included the area’s first video games week (already repeated in 2023) and support for 12 companies in their expansion outside the province through the Sherbrooke International program. Finally, seven Sherbrooke Innopole funds have allocated more than $1.6 million to 12 seed, pre-commercialization, startup, innovation or growth projects, with spinoffs exceeding C$56.5 million and 436 jobs created or consolidated.


ALBERTA

 
Calgary Economic Development
Brad Parry, President & CEO

Recent Projects: RAM; Amazon; Star Building Materials; Fresh Taste Produce; E3 Lithium

Of the 50 North American tech talent markets analyzed by CBRE in its 2023 Scoring Tech Talent scorecard, Calgary moved up the most of any of them since 2022, advancing seven spots to No. 21. Among recent investors, Applexus Technologies is creating 125 new jobs at a newly established C$3 million Canadian HQ. Mphasis received $7 million through the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund to that will aid in recruiting 560 tech professionals based in Calgary. RAM Consulting, a British Columbia-based project delivery firm, in April announced the opening of its new office and innovation hub in Alberta, a 200-job project in Bow Valley Square that marks the company’s first interprovincial expansion. Among workforce innovations is the EDGE UP 2.0 program, which supports displaced talent and mid-career professionals from the energy sector in pivoting to in-demand tech careers. The global energy transition is estimated to create 170,000 jobs in the cleantech sector and contribute $61 billion to GDP in Alberta by 2050, according to the Alberta Energy Transition Study prepared for Calgary Economic Development (CED) and Edmonton Global. The 2023 Global Startup Ecosystem Report from Startup Genome placed Calgary among the top 60 globally. Moreover, the area’s tech attraction is helped by having the highest concentration of head offices per capita in Canada. The metro also is experiencing the largest population growth in over two decades, welcoming a record-breaking 49,754 new migrants in 2022, according to CED.


FishingJasperNationalParkAlberta.jpg

Alberta's natural landscape is as attractive as its business environment.


Edmonton Global

Malcolm Bruce, CEO

Recent Projects: Imperial Oil; Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation; Lafarge Canada; Siwin Foods; Nanocanada

A region of more than 1.5 million people that counts in its circle such communities as Leduc, St. Albert, Sturgeon County, Parkland County and Strathcona County welcomed more than C$268 million in investment during the examined time period. Edmonton Global advocated for the newly introduced Alberta Agri-processing Investment Tax Credit, a 12% non-refundable tax credit against eligible capital expenditures for corporations investing C$10 million or more to build or expand agri-processing facilities. Edmonton hosted the inaugural Canadian Hydrogen Convention and Carbon Capture Convention, (which combined to attract more than 6,500 attendees) as well as the inaugural event known as Upper Bound, Canada’s largest AI conference that welcomed 2,000 people. Edmonton Global also introduced Forward Slash, a movement including regional business, government and academia to accelerate the economic growth of the region. Since being created in 2018, Edmonton Global has supported 28 final investment decisions in the Edmonton region representing more than C$2.4 billion in investment and the creation of more than 3,500 jobs.


MANITOBA

 
Economic Development Winnipeg
Ryan Kuffner, President & CEO

Recent Projects: McKesson Corp.; Loveday Mushroom Farms; Northquip; Smartrend Supply

Projects generated only by Economic Development Winnipeg (and not encompassing all projects in the organization’s entire service area) created 1,861 jobs and attracted $367 million during the examined time period. The team in calendar year 2022 confirmed seven project wins and continued to focus on four key sectors EDW says are thriving post-pandemic: agribusiness, aerospace, creative industries and advanced manufacturing. Among other initiatives, the organization deepened its commitment to FDI attraction and talent mobilization. Its Tourism Winnipeg division submitted more than 82 bids fin 2022 for major events, securing 59 of them for an estimated C$26.3 million economic impact. Among other news, the new Price Institute of Advanced Manufacturing and Mechatronics, backed by provincial funds, will soon arrive at Red River College Polytechnic and provide two new post-graduate diplomas in mechatronics and advanced manufacturing. EDW rolled out its new “Winnipeg — Made from What’s Real” brand at its annual meeting in May, where outgoing President and CEO Dayna Spiring said, “I challenge all residents and business leaders to think about the story you’re telling the world about Winnipeg and to be unapologetic ambassadors for our city.”


NOVA SCOTIA

 
Halifax Partnership
Wendy Luther, President & CEO

Recent Projects: Cherubini Metal Works; Nine Locks Brewing Co.; Tesla; Agada Biosciences; Bragg Communications

The annual Halifax Index released June 1 reported that the metro “smashed” previous population growth records for both international and interprovincial migration, adding nearly 21,000 people in 2022. That nearly doubles the previous record and also nearly matches the total number of migrants to the area between 2008 and 2015. The Partnership in its most recent fiscal year supported close to 100 companies looking to relocate or expand operations. Ten companies chose to establish or expand operations in Halifax, creating 285 jobs. Halifax’s business confidence survey revealed that connections to universities and colleges (79.8%), workplace-safety culture (78.5%), and quality of life of residents (73.5%) were the three aspects of doing business in Halifax cited most frequently as advantages. Overall, the city added 11,600 jobs in 2022. Halifax is home to more than 40 companies producing digital products to improve the delivery of health care. In 2022, the Index reported, these companies attracted C$60.3 million in investment and employed 400 people, led by medtech company ABK Biomedical, founded at Dalhousie University, which closed a US$30 million round, its second of that size in three years. The total number of startups in the city increased by 7.9% to 313.


NEW BRUNSWICK

 
Moncton Economic Development
Kevin Silliker, Director Economic Development // (506) 853-3532 //

Recent Projects: Goright Fleet Solutions; Ideal Roofing: Manac Inc.; OrganiGram; Kent Building Supplies

The Moncton team updated its downtown and heritage buildings financial incentive program and refreshed the city’s free bilingual signage program for businesses. More new arrivals will need that new signage: The Moncton Census Metropolitan Area had the fastest-growing population of all of Canadian CMAs, adding 8,784 people from 2021 to 2022 and thus growing by 5.4% to bring the population to 171,608 in an area with a GDP of C$8.3 billion. Good thing that downtown Moncton saw new housing starts totaling 124 new units in 2022, when the city also was ranked No. 1 by MoneySense Magazine for Best Place to Buy Real Estate in Canada. Among expanding companies is Greystone Energy Systems, which is adding up to 34 new jobs by 2025 and receiving provincial payroll rebates in support. “Greystone is an important part of our province’s advanced manufacturing sector with their commitment to best practices and the latest technology and processes,” said Greg Turner, minister responsible for Opportunities NB. All told in 2022 Moncton saw a 23% climb in building permits in 2022, valued at a new record of C$366 million.


BRITISH COLUMBIA

 
Vancouver Economic Commission
Eleena Marley, CEO
 
Invest Vancouver
Jacquie Griffiths, President

Recent Projects: AbCellera Biologics; Seaspan ULC; Anaconda Systems Ltd.; Nano One Materials (Burnaby); McKesson Corp. (Surrey); Fine Choice Foods (Richmond)

Site Selection’s Conway Projects Database shows strong performance not only from Vancouver itself, but from metro-area municipalities Burnaby, Surrey and Richmond. The region brought its strong profiles in clean tech/energy and entertainment production together in April when it launched a new initiative to provide renewable power to film sets. In its annual plan report, Invest Vancouver states that the newly fledge organization tallied approximately 70 verified investment leads in 2022 and represented the entire metro Vancouver region at over 150 points of engagement. The organization noted investments in the region by cellcentric, HCL and Mastercard’s Centre of Excellence, and noted that between June and December 2022 the area organization helped welcome more than C$16 million in new locations and expansions creating around 55 new jobs with C$50 million and 200 jobs in the pipeline for 2023. Among the Vancouver Economic Commission’s signature moves in 2022 was the launch of “A Beyond GDP Framework for Vancouver” that presents 36 indicators (existing and aspirational metrics) grounded in local values and lenses. Examples of the new metrics include air quality, job satisfaction and food security.

Adam Bruns
Editor in Chief of Site Selection magazine

Adam Bruns

Adam Bruns is editor in chief and head of publications for Site Selection, and before that has served as managing editor beginning in February 2002. In the course of reporting hundreds of stories for Site Selection, Adam has visited companies and communities around the globe. A St. Louis native who grew up in the Kansas City suburbs, Adam is a 1986 alumnus of Knox College, and resided in Chicago; Midcoast Maine; Savannah, Georgia; and Lexington, Kentucky, before settling in the Greater Atlanta community of Peachtree Corners, where he lives with his wife and daughter.

     



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