Why Oakville? The 2019-2024 Strategy has three primary goals
Oakville is at the centre of the action in Canada’s premier economic region, attracting industry leaders in professional and financial services, advanced manufacturing, government, automotive, construction, education, health care, and IT.
Oakville is the location of choice for many Canadian headquarters, including Ford Canada, Siemens Canada, PCL Constructors Canada, Takeda Canada, The Weather Network, Canadian Tire Financial Services, and HATCH. Other leading global businesses include Collins Aerospace, PwC, Suez Water Technologies & Solutions, Geotab, Rockstar Toronto, and Aviva Canada.
Sheridan College’s Oakville campus has garnered international recognition through its animation program, and it delivers leading-edge programming in game design and mobile computing. It’s also among the top five most research-intensive colleges in Canada, undertaking important collaborations with local industry that innovate new processes, products and services.
Creating a diverse and prosperous economy by attracting new investment and supporting the expansions of existing businesses is critical to achieving Oakville’s vision to be the most livable town in Canada. The 2019-2024 Economic Development Strategy sets out three goals.
Goal 1: Attracting new investment & jobs
Oakville is the right place to start or grow a business.
The town of 211,000 people is only 30 minutes from downtown Toronto, has hundreds of hectares of vacant employment land, and offers ready access to two international airports, two shipping ports, intermodal rail service and integrated highway infrastructure leading to U.S. border crossings. Companies in Oakville draw on a labour market of more than 3.5 million and one of the most educated local workforces in Canada.
Oakville also offers an enviable quality of life. The town was named the Best Place to Live in Canada by MoneySense Magazine in 2018, and has also ranked among the best places for newcomers, best places to retire and best places to raise a family.
Oakville is committed to streamlining its development processes and timelines, investing in the infrastructure that supports economic growth, and attracting companies – domestic and foreign – that create knowledge-based jobs. The economic strategy sees promise in emerging clusters for the local economy in additive manufacturing, life sciences and digital health, animation and gaming, and emerging technologies.
Most importantly, the Town’s strategic initiatives will focus on creating a business and investment environment that is welcoming, agile, customer-focused, and forward-looking.
Goal 2: Growing the local economy
Thriving businesses are the lifeblood of the local economy, because company growth results in job creation, spin-off enterprises, non-residential tax assessment, and an increase to Oakville’s GDP. Local business success also drives innovation, along with new investment by solidifying Oakville’s reputation as the community where companies want to be.
Advanced manufacturing, professional and financial services, digital media and information communications technology, and life sciences are the drivers of new investment and job growth.
The Town’s new strategy focuses on retaining and supporting the growth of Oakville’s existing business base, an essential component to ensuring the longterm health of the local economy.
Oakville Economic Development is committed to enhancing relationships with businesses, community partners, and internal departments to create opportunities for collaboration in support of business retention and growth.
That will include: an enriched business visitation program to proactively support business development and collect important data; engaging with local foreign-owned companies to understand opportunities for international trade and investment; developing a transit plan to serve business needs; and creating connections between businesses and the agencies, academic institutions, and business support resources that can help them grow.
Goal 3: Vibrant commercial districts
Commercial districts are highly visible and important economic drivers that are often viewed as a barometer of the community’s health and vitality. It is important for the community as a whole to have successful, vibrant retail districts that attract residents and visitors to spend time and money.
Oakville’s three business improvement areas in Downtown Oakville, Kerr Village and Bronte Village, offer a variety of shopping, dining and entertainment experiences which support the culture and livability of the town, attracting talent and new companies to Oakville.
The Town contributes to its commercial districts through infrastructure investment and partnerships with BIAs on events and beautification.
Strategic initiatives support and grow business in Oakville’s commercial corridors include: making it easier to implement initiatives in the BIAs through process improvements to signage, permits, and other approvals; implementing the Digital Main Street Program in Oakville’s three BIAs to provide direct assistance to businesses in transitioning to a digital economy; monitoring the impact of road and streetscape construction in the downtown; exploring the feasibility of a short-term technology hub at the former post office downtown.
Where businesses want to be
The list of reasons to invest in Oakville is long and comprehensive. The strategic plan builds on Oakville’s strong economic base and will: create jobs; bring commercial and industrial development; cut the timelines and boost the transparency of development approvals; and improve the town’s reputation for business friendliness.
This strategy brings to life Oakville’s commitment to achieving its economic development vision to be the community where businesses want to be.