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Doing Business in Waterloo Region

Waterloo Region is one of the fastest growing and prosperous areas in Ontario. It is the fourth largest urban area in Ontario and the 10th largest in Canada at 568,500 people. We're planning to grow by over 200,000 people in the next 20 years, while maintaining the quality of life we're famous for.

We've got connections

We have the advantage of being located near many of the largest North Americans markets with 158 million people within a 1,200-kilometres radius. Within a three-hour drive we have access to six US border crossings, two major shipping ports and six international airports including the Region of Waterloo International Airport and Canada's largest airport, Pearson International. Easy access to Highway 401, two main freight rail lines and daily GO and VIA passenger train service makes travelling and transporting goods in and out of town easy and convenient.

Proactive governance and strategic investment in our future

Waterloo Region has set out to become more efficient, making the most of our resources and giving residents the quality of life they deserve in the 21st century - and we're succeeding! At the heart of our strategy is our rapid transit project, which will help us to move people and shape our community. And the shape of our community is changing, with more than $1 billion in private sector investment along the rapid transit route and over 55 per cent of new residential development constructed in the built up area in the last three years alone.

Waterloo Region is protecting its resources for future generations. Nearly 35 per cent of land within the region, including more than 15,000 hectares of Environmentally Sensitive Landscapes, is permanently protected to preserve our agricultural lands, drinking water resources and forest systems.

These smart investments in our future are providing the power of choice to residents and businesses. Whether you choose to be in a rural community, suburb or urban centre, great transportation options and a variety of housing types and employment lands are available to suit your needs.

The premier location for innovation and entrepreneurship in Canada

There are many reasons high-tech companies and manufacturers thrive in Waterloo Region, but the main driver is our rich and growing talent pool.

Two outstanding Universities and a top-ranked College are the key to our economic power and resiliency. They supply a constant stream of talented people, and those studying at the University of Waterloo are able to leverage their intellectual property to create new companies. Waterloo is home to the Institute for Quantum Computing. The research happening here harnesses the quantum laws of nature in order to develop powerful new technologies that will drive future economies. The Accelerator Centre and Communitech Hub are also two world-leading commercialization hubs that make Waterloo Region a magnet for companies seeking talent and acquisitions.

Attesting to our significant competitive advantage are world-leading companies - from Desire2Learn, to Microsoft, to Blackberry, to Google, to Toyota - who tap into our high-quality labour force with direct hires and leverage the region's considerable R&D capability.

The Mennonite farmers who settled Waterloo Region had a tradition of coming together to raise a barn in one day. This culture of collaboration continues to support new industry and entrepreneurialism today. We are a globally recognized high-tech cluster and a community with large ambitions. This community spirit and our drive to succeed, support a willingness to invest in and try new things.

Business Oriented & Internationally-Recognized

  • Canada is best country in G-20 to do business according to Forbes & Bloomberg
  • Canada is most tax competitive country in G-7 (KPMG 2014)
  • Lowest costs for R&D in G-7, 10% lower than U.S., thanks to generous tax incentives
  • Canada's workforce is most educated of OECD countries
  • First country to make itself tariff-free zone for manufacturers
  • Waterloo Region had an unemployment rate of 6.4 per cent in 2014

For more information on the talent pool in Waterloo Region, please visit the Labour Force page.

A resilient and diverse economy

Waterloo Region has a diverse economy with nationally significant clusters in manufacturing, information and communications technology, food processing technology, financial and insurance services and education. Industry leaders such as Toyota, Rimowa, BlackBerry, COM DEV, Christie Digital, OpenText, Desire2Learn, AGFA, SAP, Google, Manulife, SunLife, Loblaws, Home Hardware and ATS have a strong presence in this region as it offers access to markets, a highly educated workforce and a high standard of urban and rural living.

Diverse. Innovative. Entrepreneurial.

  • $26.35 billion GDP (2015), $50,973 GDP per person, 15 per cent higher than the provincial average
  • 15.36 patents per 10,000 people; 11.3 times higher than the Canadian average
  • Manufacturing is strong and stable; 20 per cent of employed population
  • Over 1,000 technology firms including Canada's largest software, hardware, e-learning and satellite companies

Outstanding Post-Secondary Institutions



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