For nearly 10 years, FedDev Ontario has actively worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation and growth in Canada’s most populous region.
As one of Canada’s regional development agencies, FedDev Ontario is a key platform delivering the Government’s Innovation and Skills Plan in southern Ontario, ensuring that Canadians living and working in the region have tailored support to seize opportunities created by the innovation economy.
The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving their productivity, growing their revenues, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region. Read more about the impacts we are having in southern Ontario.
Since its creation, FedDev Ontario has:
more than $2 billion
with over 17,500 organizations
additional investments of more than $3.2 billion to support businesses, organizations and communities
with partners, stakeholders, investors and communities to improve local economic conditions and create new opportunities.
The Agency is part of the Innovation, Science and Economic Development portfolio and one of six regional development agencies, each of which helps to address key economic challenges by providing regionally-tailored programs, services, knowledge and expertise.
Our region: southern Ontario
As Canada's most populous region—home to 12.6 million residents living in 288 communities—southern Ontario is a key contributor to the overall Canadian economy. With headquarters in Waterloo and offices in Toronto, Peterborough and Ottawa, the Agency has a presence across southern Ontario to provide regionally-tailored knowledge and expertise.
Its mandate covers the region as defined by 37 Statistics Canada census divisions. A list of the communities that form each census division is available on the Statistics Canada website.
Southern Ontario snapshot
Get a glimpse of the current conditions in southern Ontario.
Southern Ontario's Population
36% of Canada’s population
- 4.9% growth from 2011 to 2016.
- More than one third of Canada’s population.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
38% of Canada’s GDP
- 37% of national growth over the last decade.
- Three industries: Real Estate and Rental and Leasing (13%), Manufacturing (12%), and Finance and Insurance (10%).
SMEs and Entrepreneurship
Nearly 416,000 active SMEs with employees
- Ontario small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) employed 3,9614,000 people in 2015, accounting for 87.3% of private sector employees. (Key Small Business Statistics, ISEDC 2016).
- 40% ($1.4 billion) of Canada’s venture capital dollars were invested in Ontario-based companies in 2017.
- Ontario is Canada’s industrial heartland, representing nearly 45% of Canada’s manufacturing output.
- Manufacturing sales for Ontario were $304.9 billion in 2017.
- Manufacturing domestic exports for Ontario in 2017 were $171.1 billion.
- Manufacturing accounted for 12% of Ontario’s GDP and 11% of Ontario’s employment in 2017.
Over 7.5 million workers
- 38.0% of net jobs created across the country over the last decade.
Foreign Direct Investment
4th-largest destination in North America
15% of Canada's Indigenous population
- A diverse population with unique needs, made up of 60% First Nations, 35% Métis and 1.4% Inuit.
R&D Spending and Activities
- Southern Ontario was home to 5 of Canada’s top 10 corporate research and design (R&D) spendersFootnote 1 in 2015
- Ontario is home to 51% of Canada’s life sciences R&D, with the world’s top 10 pharma firms all conducting clinical trials in Ontario (Government of Ontario, Investment Office, 2018).
- Ontario’s public R&D is 0.96% of GDP, among the top-ranked jurisdictions in the world (2018 Innovation Report Card, Conference Board of Canada, 2018).
- In 2015 Business Expenditures in Research and Development (BERD) in Ontario was 44.3% of Canada’s (STATCAN 2015).
199.3 billion in merchandise exports
Nearly 40% of Canada’s domestic exports
- Over 50% of Canada’s manufacturing exports.
- Top three export destinations: United States, United Kingdom and Mexico (exports to China almost at par with Mexico).
- Top five export industries: Autos, gold, motor vehicle parts, medications (packaged), and engines.
Note: These statistics are for Ontario as a whole.
- Ontario is leading the way in Canada in generating women majority-owned SMEs, accounting for 17% of all SMEs in Southern Ontario (STATCAN, 2015, internal calculations).
- Nearly 40% of all economic immigrants between 1980 and 2016 chose Ontario, making it the top destination in Canada (STATCAN, 2017)
- In Ontario, foreign-born residents represented 29.1% of total population (STATCAN, 2017).
- Toronto’s foreign-born population accounted for 46.1% of its total population in 2016.
Learn more about FedDev Ontario
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