Location and talent make Halton Region a hotspot for business

On November 6, Halton Region’s Economic Development team hosted its fifth Real Estate Forum: The Role of Real Estate in the Quest for Talent. The event offered industry professionals an opportunity to network and learn about all Halton Region offers to potential businesses looking to relocate into our region.

Most people have heard the phrase, “Location. Location. Location,” but in today’s competitive business environment, having a great location isn’t enough. Businesses are increasingly citing access to talent as one of the most important factors when deciding where to locate.

That’s good news for us since Halton’s ideal west Greater Toronto Area location offers our businesses access to a labour pool of more than 4.5 million people within easy commuting distance.  Halton itself has one of most highly educated labour forces in Canada – 74 per cent of residents have a post-secondary education.

Our residents consistently tell us how much they like living in Halton, with 99 per cent rating the overall quality of life here as very high. With our AAA credit rating and zero per cent average tax increase for Regional services over the last eight years, Halton really is not only a great place to live, it’s also a great place to work and do business. Our sustainable and well planned growth encourages businesses to establish or expand their operations in Halton, which translates into some rewarding numbers for the Region:

  • Halton’s unemployment rate in the third quarter of 2014 remained low at 4 per cent, significantly lower than the rest of the GTA at 8.9 per cent and Ontario at 7.8 per cent;
  • Our economy also demonstrated strong growth throughout 2013 with 17 per cent growth in development activity over 2010 levels.

These positive statistics translate into Halton Region remaining an economic hotspot and a premier business location within the GTA.  In fact, 94 per cent of Halton business respondents rank Halton’s quality of life as a comparable or advantageous attribute over nearby municipalities.

Business owners are always telling me that one of the main reasons their companies move and expand here is because of the region’s talent base and high quality of life.  We have plenty of green space, parks and bike trails and a winning mix of rural and urban amenities, all cited as important investment attraction attributes by David Gerofsky, our keynote speaker at the Real Estate Forum.

Employees are a business’ most valuable asset and Halton is a place where both owners and their staff want to live.

This past year, we’ve seen:

  • Amazon open a distribution centre in Milton;
  • Ford announce a $700 million investment in its Oakville plant and 1,000 new jobs;
  • Roxul announce plans to build their new North American headquarters in Milton, which will house approximately 100 employees;
  • The expansion of UPS’s state-of-the-art Healthcare Logistics facility in Burlington;
  • New large-scale industrial development in north Halton; and
  • The construction of several large office developments along the QEW corridor.

As your newly re-elected Chair, I’m proud that our work is paying off and that Halton Region remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”