Canada’s Economy Of The Future

The world’s second largest country offers manufacturers exciting opportunities.

By Lisa Segelman
From the May / June 2024 Issue


Canada is the world’s second-largest country, by total area. Amidst its size and natural beauty, the nation has a strong, established manufacturing base and some noteworthy competitive advantages leading the evolution of advanced manufacturing.

Key to developments in manufacturing is the government support that industry enjoys which is a factor in their success. The country has been cited as the best place to do business in the G20, the premier intergovernmental forum for international economic cooperation, for the next five years and has a stellar education system which has led to Canada having the world’s most educated workforce.

Canada is also one of the top three countries for foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows worldwide in 2023.

“In Canada, we are building the economy of the future. We have the resources, the people, and the expertise, and our 15 free trade agreements give you access to 1.5 billion consumers in over 50 countries. If you’re looking for a second home, Canada is your answer,” says Laurel Broten, CEO of Invest in Canada, the nation’s FDI attraction and promotion agency.

Canada Economy
Canada is the world’s third-largest generator of hydro-electricity, which is a critical advantage for making the transition to clean energy. (Photo: Hydro-Québec)


Five Thriving Industries

Clean, Green Energy. Canada is a key global player in the transition to a net-zero future and has become a top destination for global companies that are focused on expanding their green energy projects.

“Canada’s commitment to ESG practices attracts like-minded global companies that can meet their own high ESG standards by investing here. The existing supply chain needs to be cleaner and greener. Consumers are demanding it, and Canada is in the perfect position to facilitate that change,” adds Broten.

Canada ranks #17 out of 150 most sustainable countries, #2 globally for green energy investment attractiveness and #2 on the Global Cleantech Innovation Index.

EV Battery Supply Chain. Canada ranks first in the world for global lithium-ion battery supply chains, according to a February 2024 report released by BloombergNEF. This marks the first time that China has not claimed the number one position. Canada’s consistent manufacturing and production advances, and strong ESG credentials, have helped it become a leader in forming the battery supply chains of the future.

Critical Minerals. Canada is also among the top 10 producers of nickel, cobalt, graphite, and aluminum, providing investors with ready availability of ethically sourced critical minerals.

Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing. Canada has a highly skilled labor force that specializes in STEM fields and backed by strong R&D. Global companies focused on biosciences, pharmaceuticals, and medical technologies benefit in Canada from first-rate academic institutions, vast research networks and opportunities for collaboration in research and skills development.

Value-added Agriculture. Canada is one of the world’s top exporters of agricultural commodities. Its agribusiness has earned a global reputation for its sustainable practices and wide range of high-quality outputs. Government initiatives support cutting-edge technologies in agri-tech and agri-food to improve production and processing.

Recent Corporate Investments In Canada

Honda is geared up for the creation of a comprehensive electric vehicle value chain in Alliston, Ontario. The company aims to establish a full Canadian EV supply system involving all aspects of production from raw materials procurement to the finished vehicles, with production to begin in 2028 for a projected 240,000 EVs per year. Honda’s investment of CA$15 billion (US $11 billion) secures the employment of its existing 4,200 Ontario employees and adds another 1,000 jobs.

Also in April, the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec announced agreements that will strengthen Canada’s semiconductor industry and further develop the assembly, testing and packaging (ATP) capabilities for semiconductor modules to be used across a wide range of applications including telecommunications, high performance computing, automotive, aerospace & defense, computer networks, and generative AI, at IBM Canada’s plant in Bromont, Quebec. The agreements reflect a combined investment valued at approximately CA $187 million.

EverWind Fuels a leading North American developer of a green fuels hub centered in Atlantic Canada, also announced this past April the completion of Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) and Front-End Loading Engineering (FEL-3) with Black & Veatch for its Phase 1 Green Hydrogen to Green Ammonia project in Point Tupper, Nova Scotia.

The Project meets the strictest global requirements for green fuels set by the European Renewable Energy Directive and has been pre-certified by CertifHy™.

Northvolt announced in September 2023 that it will establish a fully integrated lithium-ion battery gigafactory just outside of Montreal in the Canadian province of Quebec. The factory, named Northvolt Six, will host 60 GWh of annual cell manufacturing capacity, with adjacent facilities for cathode active material production and battery recycling, enabling fully circular production at site.

The first operations are set to begin in 2026. This initial phase of cathode and cell manufacturing, coupled with recycling, is expected to require a total investment of US$5 billion (CA$7 billion) and employ up to 3,000 people.

In March, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Premier of Nova Scotia, Tim Houston, announced that their governments are working closely with tire manufacturer Michelin to help support a CA$300 million project to modernize their Nova Scotia facilities to use technological innovation to manufacture more efficient tires, including tires for electric vehicles, and cut emissions from operations in the process through electrification.

City Of Wetaskiwin, Alberta

Wetaskiwin is a dynamic and diverse city, with a population 12,655 and an immense potential for investment and growth. Only 35 minutes south of the Edmonton International Airport, Wetaskiwin has a trade population 50,000.

Aerospace manufacturing, agricultural feed, supplies, machinery, metals are just a few of the industries that have made Wetaskiwin home.

To support new industry in the area, Wetaskiwin has offered tax incentives for new commercial development since 2020. The bylaw in place gives provision for incentives for the municipal portion of non-residential property taxes for both industrial developments and expansions, along with new commercial developments on a sliding scale over a three-year period. This is good news for smaller investors/manufacturers as well: now commercial developments that meet the minimum threshold of $2 million actualized investment in new building permit value will now be included in the tax incentive program.

“Investors are excited about Wetaskiwin’s access to North American market, the political and financial stability of Canada, the affordability of Wetaskiwin compared to major cities, says Vern May, Manager of Economic Development, City of Wetaskiwin.

“People are attracted to the fact that life costs less in Wetaskiwin,” continues May. “Plus, there’s a blend of modern amenities and rural charm, that bring families here.”

AstraZeneca announced in February that it’s bringing 500 scientific and high-tech jobs to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in a major expansion of its research footprint in Canada. The investment will contribute to AstraZeneca’s Research & Development Hub (R&D) in Mississauga, Ontario which focuses on global clinical studies in areas including breast, lung, and prostate cancer, COVID-19, and chronic kidney disease. The investment also includes the creation of a new Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease Development Hub, focused on rare disease research.

The decision to invest in Canada, and Ontario specifically, is a testament to the network of world-class universities, hospitals, and research centers in the GTA and southern Ontario, and the diverse scientific talent pool that exists in the region.

Check out all the latest news related to economic development, corporate relocation, corporate expansion and site selection in Canada.


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