Doing Business in Durham Region
Durham Region is a major economic centre that attracts businesses in different sectors, including innovation technologies, manufacturing, automotive.
Businesses in Durham Region
Big businesses that have operations here include Argus Industries, Pacific Engineering, Siemens, General Motors Canada. A total of 12,069 businesses were in operation in 2016, up from 9,999 in 2013. The retail sector is the main employer, followed by social assistance and healthcare, the food services and accommodation, and education. When it comes to business structure and legal status, businesses choose from different forms, including sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, and non-profit organization or co-op.
Why Businesses Choose Durham
The region offers plenty of opportunities for growth and development due to its skilled workforce, good infrastructure, diversified economy, and convenient location. The transportation network is well-developed and consists of international and domestic airports, railway, shipping ports, and roads and highways. Railway services are offered by VIA Rail, Go Transit, the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Canadian National Rail. Some of the largest ports are also located in the region or within a short driving distance, including the Port of Toronto and Port of Ottawa Harbor. The major airport in the region is the Oshawa Airport, and two other airline hubs are found within a short distance, the Billy Bishop Island Airport and Lester B. Pearson International Airport, both of which are located in Toronto. Many businesses move to Durham because of its educated labor force. A number of universities in Durham Region offer graduate and undergraduate programs, among which the Centennial College and University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
The municipalities also have a role to play and are tasked with identifying opportunities, attracting businesses and investment, and coordinating with industry players for further economic growth. The municipalities also cooperate with local and regional organizations and industry stakeholders to identify new business opportunities. In the tourism sector, for example, the municipalities cooperate with key players to promote Durham as an attractive destination for recreation, arts, and sightseeing.
Where to Start
Permits and licenses are required to open and run a business, and there are different types of permits depending on the scope of business activity. Companies that plan to begin operations apply with the respective municipality. Depending on the sector and activities, start-ups apply for telecom tower installation, birder, and other permits. Companies that need a private septic system permit, for example apply with the Durham Region Health Department.
Sectors to Invest in
The major economic sectors include tourism, smart energy, digital technologies, food processing and agriculture, and manufacturing. Other sectors to invest in include warehousing and transportation, technical and professional services, and insurance and finance. Other sectors also offer good business opportunities, including fishing and forestry, rental and real estate, construction, and recreation and entertainment. Skill professionals in different sectors are in high demand meaning that these sectors also produce goods and services that are in demand. Such sectors are, for example, the health services, food services, automotive services, and construction. Many companies are looking for engineers, drivers, electricians, plumbers, construction workers, millwrights, and carpenters. Fast growing sectors in places like Oshawa include construction and the health sciences. The construction sector is predicted to experience stable growth, especially when it comes to non-residential projects. While the manufacturing sector has seen a stable downtrend, other sectors have expanded, construction being one example (8.6 percent in 2017). Major sectors in Oshawa also include the retail sector, credit sector and food and beverage services. Sectors that experienced growth are insurance, real estate, finance, and further growth is expected in 2019. The wholesale sector grew by more than 13 percent in 2017 and also offers good opportunities for investment. According to a report by the Conference Board of Canada, the economy of Oshawa is predicted to grow at a faster pace than the rest of Canada, which makes it a good place to start a business and invest.