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One Industry, Many Strengths

Ontario has a history of excellence as a top auto-producing jurisdiction in North America. For generations, the auto sector has supported the livelihoods of Ontario workers and has remained an essential part of Ontario’s economy.

  • In 2019, the sector contributed $13.9 billion in GDP to the provincial economy and employed 100,000 people in auto assembly and parts manufacturing.
  • Canada’s Industrial Heartland is an important player in the nation’s largest export industry, with total exports of $80,000,000 (CA$) in 2019, making it 1 of the world's most successful regions for automotive assembly and parts production.
  • In 2019, Ontario was the 2nd largest vehicle producing jurisdiction in North America.
  • Ontario is the only province in Canada that builds both cars and trucks.
  • In Woodstock, Ontario, Toyota produces the RAV4, 1 of its best-selling vehicles. This makes the plant, Toyota's largest production facility in North America and the 2nd largest in the world. Approximately 250,000 RAV4s rolled off the line in 2016, up from 78,000 in 2009. In 2018, the facility manufactured its 8 millionth vehicle.
  • In 2020, the industry contributed to more than 117,000 jobs directly in Ontario.
  • 85% of the vehicles and parts manufactured in Ontario are exported, making the auto sector the leader in provincial exports.
  • More than 700 parts firms (including Aisin, Linamar, Listowel, Magna, Marwood International, Martinrea and Vuteq), and more than 500 tool, die and mold makers are in Ontario.
  • More than 300 firms work in connected and autonomous development, and smart mobility – putting Ontario at the forefront of the global automotive industry.

A Major Link in North America's Automotive Supply Chain

Excellent land, sea and air transportation options are never more than two hours away from any business location in Canada’s Industrial Heartland. Its impressive network of superhighways and rail lines provides unrestricted access to North American markets. Their seamless connectivity is the cornerstone for reliable, fast, and economical transportation of any goods to almost anywhere in the world, even in less than 24 hours by air.

  • Located directly on Canada's busiest highway between Detroit and Toronto, Canada’s Industrial Heartland is less than a one day drive from more than 170,000,000 consumers and a GDP of almost US$11 trillion. The U.S. states within this radius are home to almost half of the U.S. population (45.3%).
  • The world's largest concentration of auto-related resources is located along the 800-km (500-mile) corridor that stretches from Detroit to Ottawa.
  • 70% of North American assembly plants are located within 1 day's drive of Canada’s Industrial Heartland.
  • Only North American region with 5 major original equipment manufacturers all assembling vehicles: Ford (Oakville), General Motors (Ingersoll/Oshawa), Honda (Alliston) Stellantis (formerly Fiat-Chrysler, Windsor/Brampton) and Toyota (Woodstock/Cambridge).
  • Cross-border business is thriving with daily goods traffic between Ontario and the U.S. totaling $980,000,000 (CA$) in 2020. Trade was never halted during the pandemic.
  • The border crossing between Windsor, in southern Ontario - and Detroit, in the northern United States, is the busiest trade corridor in North America with 16,000,000 vehicles and CA$140 billion in goods passing through annually (OMAFRA, 2021).

Competitive Advantages

  • Investing in Canada's Industrial Heartland gives businesses direct access to the world's 10th largest (Canada) and the world's largest (U.S.) economies.
  • Canada ranks 1st among G7 countries for ease of paying taxes and low total tax burden for small to medium-sized companies (PwC/World Bank Group 2018).
  •  Canada’s Industrial Heartland’s combined federal-provincial corporate tax rate of 26.2% in 2023 is the 4th lowest in the G7. 
  • At 13.0%, Canada's tax treatment for new business investment is the lowest in the G7, below the OECD average and significantly less than the U.S. at 17.8%.
  •  As the number one cleantech cluster in Canada, Ontario’s electricity system was 94% emissions-free in 2020, a key factor in helping companies meet their sustainability goals. 
  • For smaller commercial consumption, the region’s industrial electricity prices can be as much as 33.8% lower than those in Canada’s main metropolitan areas, and up to 73.4% lower than the U.S.
  • For automotive and related manufacturers, Canada’s Industrial Heartland provides the much-needed materials for both traditional and leading-edge production – from raw steel, aluminum and plastics, to the rare minerals needed to produce batteries for Electric Vehicles.

Innovative Growth

Federal and Provincial governments are proactive in supporting the transportation industry with incentives and programs designed to meet the sector's needs. R&D initiatives alone help to lower the after-tax costs of research and development for manufacturers in Ontario to between 40 and 50% of their expenditures.

    • The Province’s Invest Ontario agency was created specifically to help businesses grow, with an offering of $400,000,000 to encourage investments in the advanced manufacturing sector including Electrical Vehicle related technologies.
    • Canada ranks first place among the G20 in the ease of starting a business. It only takes two steps and less than 2 days to register a company, which is the lowest of any G20 country (World Bank, 2021).
    • Canada was ranked #8 in global competitiveness in 2020 - leading the North American sub-region. 
    • Investors in Canada’s Industrial Heartland can rely on a highly reliable political system and public sector. Canada is second only to Japan among G7 countries in terms of political stability (World Bank).
    • In addition, Canada ranks #2 in attracting businesses and #1 among OECD countries in attracting entrepreneurs (OECD, 2019) who know their business is safe here; Cornell University's 2018 Global Innovation Index, ranked Canada #1 in ease of investor protection.
    • When it comes to businesses, opportunities in Canada’s Industrial Heartland do not stop at national borders. The Heritage Foundation: Index of Economic Freedom ranks Canada #1 in trade freedom among G7 countries.

Skilled Workforce

  • Local community colleges and universities partner with large manufacturers and government to ensure a continuous supply of skilled workers with engineering, computer, advanced manufacturing technologies, tool and die, as well as, other essential expertise.
  • Canada's Industrial Heartland offers a total workforce of nearly 100,000, with over 800,000 altogether in the region.
  • 70% of Ontario adults possess a post-secondary education (OECD, 2018).
  • With the help of the Global Skills Strategy program, which approves 92% of permit applications and can issue these in as little as 2 weeks, it is easier than ever to bring workers from a worldwide pool of labour.
  • More than 30 world-class research and innovation centres, such as the University of Waterloo, Western University and McMaster University, work closely with local industries and provide a continuous supply of new ideas and talent. University of Waterloo graduates are now the 2nd most frequently hired by Silicon Valley companies, while Ontario itself is the 2nd largest IT cluster in North America (OECD).