Markets & Companies

The Formula For Success

The Canadian Province Ontario Leads for North American Foreign Direct Investment

20.11.2014 -

Ontario, Canada, ranked number one for greenfield capital investment in North America during 2013. The results were part of a report by FDI Intelligence, the research division of the Financial Times of London. The province attracted USD 7.2 billion in investment, finishing ahead of Texas and California - places with much larger populations.

Ontario's diverse and robust economy enabled the province to weather the global recession better than its peers and then rebound much stronger as global markets recovered. Since the recessionary low of mid-2009, job creation in Ontario has been stronger than in most developed economies including the US, the average of OECD countries, and the rest of Canada.

Compelling Business Case

So what are the "magic ingredients" that capture the attention of business leaders and site selectors? There's no single factor that will seal an investment deal. But what Ontario brings to the table is a comprehensive suite of attributes - sector diversity, economic heft and market access - that stands out among its competitors.

Heartland of North American Markets

Ontario is among the top 10 economies in North America, ideally situated with 141 million consumers within a day's drive and efficient access to NAFTA markets. The province is also a leader of industry and commerce within Canada, home to 64% of foreign head offices and accounting for almost 40% of the country's GDP. This economic power drives a range of industry clusters that nurture the concentration of talented workers and integrated supply chain that modern businesses seek. For example, within North America, Ontario is second only to California for information technology companies and in the top five for life sciences companies. Toronto, the provincial capital, is among the continent's top three financial centers.

Business Fundamentals

As the global economy has changed, Ontario has continually evolved to remain competitive. Building the most skilled workforce possible remains an ongoing priority - 64% of Ontario's population has completed post-secondary education, double the OECD average. New ideas flourish in Ontario - the province's R&D tax incentives are among the most competitive in the world. A CAD 100 R&D expenditure by a small or medium-sized business can be reduced to an after-tax cost of about CAD 55, or as little as CAD 43 if working with eligible Ontario research institutions.

Meanwhile, KPMG's Competitive Alternatives study found that Ontario's overall business costs are lower than in the US, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Australia or Japan. Furthermore, Ontario's combined federal-provincial general corporate income tax rate (26.5%) is significantly lower than the US average federal-state rate (39.3%).

Global Economy Driven by Local Relationships

The Ontario government is working hard to ensure that foreign investors continue to be attracted to the province. A big part of this approach is building productive and strategic relationships. It's a skill that Ontario's government has become very adept at - working closely with the business community at home and abroad to bring investment opportunities to fruition.

Here in Germany, the first step in building that relationship is our presence in-market. The government of Ontario has an International Marketing Centre in Munich, part of our network in key global markets. We'd be delighted to provide you with the intelligence and connections you need to do business in Ontario. Ontario offers a world of opportunity for any business seeking to establish or increase its presence in North America. We look forward to working with you to make Ontario part of your company's growth plans.

Life Sciences in Ontario

Pharmaceuticals, medical devices, biotechnologies: If this is what you do and you're not in Ontario, you're missing out. The life sciences sector here is thriving, and your firm could be the next success story. The province offers other advantages specifically in the life sciences sector: Innovation takes brainpower. Any innovative business' biggest asset is its people - their intelligence, talent, expertise and initiative. Nearly two-thirds of Ontarians have post-secondary education, placing the province ahead of the US, the UK, Germany, France and Japan in terms of the world's best-educated workforces.

Ontario is a hotbed of life sciences R&D, with seven of Canada's top 10 research hospitals. The networks and synergies you need are already here - and expanding. Why build from the ground up when you can plug into a growing grid of expertise and research capacity?

Ontario's businesses have access to the world's largest healthcare market. In fact, more than half of the pharmaceuticals produced in Canada are exported, primarily to the US For life sciences firms, this proximity is a significant advantage because Canada is actively working to increase collaboration between regulatory agencies in the US and Canada. The federal government is exploring ways to streamline decision-making, improve efficiencies and reduce costs for pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The Bottom Line

Ontario offers a stable and growing economy, proximity to key markets, an innovative business climate, established infrastructure, low business costs, a deep talent pool, and an outstanding quality of life.


Life Sciences in Ontario: An Industry Snapshot


  • Ontario's life sciences industry is home to more than 1,600 firms, more than CAD39 billion in revenues, and more than 51,000 workers
  • Eight of the world's 10 largest pharmaceutical firms conduct research in Ontario
  • 58% of Canadian life sciences R&D spending is here
  • Across the province, Ontario's 24 academic research hospitals invest CAD1.2 billion in R&D, generate more than CAD3 billion of spin-off economic activity and employ 15,000 researchers and staff
  • 35,000 science, technology, engineering and math majors graduate from Ontario's 44 universities and colleges every year
  • More than 5,200 clinical trials are underway in Ontario at any given time