Investors' Guide

Ontario's Economy

A Stable, Growing and Diversified Economy

A Stable Economy

Ontario’s stable economy provides a fertile ground for businesses to take root and grow. Our GDP, which accounts for almost 40 per cent of Canada’s total output, exceeds that of numerous industrialized countries including Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland and Ireland. We’re Canada’s export leader, producing more than 40 per cent of Canada’s merchandise exports. And with 127 foreign direct investment projects worth US$6.1 billion in 2010, we lead North America in FDI projects per capita.

Our stable economy can be attributed in large part to Canada’s highly advanced banking and financial system, which has been hailed by the World Economic Forum as the world’s soundest. As the heart of Canada’s banking system, Ontario has the financial expertise, institutions and capital markets needed for raising short-term funds (through loans, trade credit, commercial and financial paper, acceptances or factoring), or long-term funds (through open market borrowing, new securities issues, loans, or sales financing and leaseback arrangements).

"The Canadian banking sector is well supervised and in a solid position."

International Monetary Fund Canada – 2011 Article IV Consultation Mission Concluding Statement

A Growing Economy

Ontario is building on a history of solid growth and ongoing investments to create a strong economic future. We increased our real output by 2.8 per cent in 2010 and expect average growth of 3.1 per cent between 2010 and 2014.

Ontario is a prolific exporter, with international goods and services exports representing more than 50 per cent of our total GDP. Merchandise exports, which were up $20.8 billion in 2010 and accounted for more than half of overall increases in Canadian exports, are projected to rise on average three per cent yearly over the next two decades.

At the national level, the International Monetary Fund’s September 2011 economic outlook puts Canada ahead of other G7 countries, with GDP growth projections through 2012. The best is yet to come for Ontario – and for businesses that choose to be part of our bright future.


A Diversified Economy

Ontario’s broad industrial base and strength across sectors give us the stability to ride out global economic cycles and ensure your firm has easy and reliable access to supplies and services. Ontario is a manufacturing centre, with production facilities for five of the world’s largest automotive companies and manufacturing output that accounts for 15.2 per cent of total GDP. We’re a banking and investment capital, with the highest concentration of financial services in the country.

Ontario is a global leader in mining, and home to nearly all the global giants in biotechnology, chemicals and aerospace. About 50 per cent of Canada’s total technology and communications industry, including leaders such as RIM, IBM Canada and Celestica, are based here.

Ontario’s diverse economy

Top six industries in our manufacturing sector: Transportation, equipment, metal products, food processing, chemical products, and electronic and electrical products
Largest service industries: Finance, insurance, real estate, trade, health care, professional services
Top exports: Autos and auto parts, machines, electrical products and metals


Transporation / Logistics

Our proximity to markets is supported by robust trade infrastructures at the provincial and national levels. In fact, Canada leads the G7 in the World Economic Forum’s Enabling Trade Index, which measures and compares countries’ overall effectiveness in enabling the flow of goods over borders, based on a combination of factors that include market access, border administration, transport and communications infrastructure, and business environment.

How do we ensure the smooth flow of people and products in and out of Ontario? Learn more about the two key factors that make this happen:

Extensive Transportation Systems

Ontario has an up-to-date, integrated transportation infrastructure that includes highways, internationally connected railways with advanced traffic management systems, worldwide cargo aviation systems and extensive inland and international marine shipping facilities. Ontario has 14 convenient land border crossings into the United States in addition to rail border crossings, ports and airports.

By Road

Ontario’s extensive road infrastructure makes it easy for businesses to move their goods over land. We have over 250,000 kilometres of municipal roads, provincial highways, and resource and recreational roads. Our highways stretch over 16,500 kilometres and include four-lane highways with advanced traffic management systems that improve efficiency and safety. Each year, about $1.2 trillion worth of goods are transported on Ontario’s highways.

By Rail

Our rail networks help ensure just-in-time deliveries of your goods and provide a convenient way for you and your staff to travel across North America. Transcontinental railway lines provide freight service across Canada and to the U.S. For passenger travel, VIA Rail provides train service in Ontario and across Canada while Amtrak provides connections to the U.S. The Government of Ontario's GO Transit provides intercity commuter rail and bus services to people in the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding communities.

By Air

Ontario has five international airports, including Canada’s largest airport, Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport. Close to 70 carriers fly in and out of Pearson International each year, delivering 32 million passengers to more than 180 destinations worldwide. This important hub provides direct service to 54 U.S. cities and 99 other international cities and has the capacity to process 1.2 million metric tones of cargo annually.

By Water

Goods flow smoothly in and out of Ontario, thanks to marine lines that offer shipping options to ports throughout the Great Lakes and around the world. Ontario ports are served directly by the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System – also known as Hwy H2O – a 3,700-kilometre long (2,300 miles) marine highway that runs between Canada and the United States.

Ontario ports handle a wide variety of commodities, including iron, steel, cement, wheat, raw sugar, and corn. While most Seaway traffic travels to and from Canadian and U.S. ports, about 25 per cent are ships to or from international ports, particularly Europe, Africa and the Middle East.


State-of-the-art Telecommunications Infrastructure

Our robust telecommunications networks provide seamless, secure, high speed national and international connections that are efficient, affordable and among the best in the world. Ontario firms are leaders in:

  • Telecommunications
  • Broadcasting
  • Satellite and space technologies
  • Short and long-distance telephone
  • Fibre optics and terminal equipment such as private business exchanges and customer premises equipment

Our networks support a nation-wide drive to be well connected. Canada ranks 7th out of 133 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Networked Readiness Index 2009-2010, and is 26th out of 150 countries in the ICT Development Index of the International Telecommunication Union.

Why Ontario

Wages in Ontario are competitive with those in U.S. jurisdictions.  when total compensation rates ae compared, Ontario provides ore of a cost advantage, largely because of publicly funded healthcare.

The Ontario Health insurance Plan (OHIP) provides universal healthcare coverage to Ontario citizens and residents.  It is primarily funded through personal income taxes, although large employers are subject to the Employer Health Tax of 1.95 per cent of payroll expenditures.  this is well below the G7 average.

Ontario's workers' compensation system provides no-fault workplace accident insurance for workers and their employers.

The Employer Insurance System is designed to meet the needs of today's job market by changing its focus from basic income support to active employment measures.  the goal is to encourage people to return to the job market and workplace.  Employers and employees in Ontario both contribute premiums to the Employment Insurance system for all insurable employment.