Statistics Canada puts Guelph, Ont. high on local business conditions index

Downtown Guelph. Wikimedia Commons/Flickr user David J. Sullivan

The business community in Guelph, Ont., is reacting to the position the Royal City is in on an experimental index measuring the impact of the business environment in Canada.

Statistics Canada’s Real-Time Local Business Conditions Index places Guelph at number two out of the 25 urban centres in Canada as of Aug. 22.

The index puts Guelph (with a score of 337.47) higher than Montreal (17th; 233.57), Toronto (22nd; 211.01), and Vancouver (23rd; 209.86). Number one was Regina (345.22).

Executive Director of the Downtown Guelph Business Association Marty Williams is happy with the results.

“Main Street business is being mentioned and the local nature of independent entrepreneurs is being measured,” said Williams. “It’s not clear what is the actual thing that puts us ahead of our peers. But if we are comparing apples to apples across these different communities, it does say something about (the businesses in Guelph).”

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President of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce Shakiba Shayani concurs with Williams.

“There is a diverse cross-section of industries, post-secondary institutions, and research and innovations in Guelph and surrounding regions,” said Shayani.

“That makes it a prime location to do business.”

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The Real-Time Local Business Conditions Index measures the impact on businesses in Canada since the start of the pandemic. There are three components that Stats Can uses to make up the index: the economic size of a business district at the local level, operating conditions of the businesses in a given area, and the level of business activity in the area using road traffic data.

Williams said it would better serve the businesses here, especially small businesses, if there was a further breakdown of the numbers.

“We are achieving this much HST revenue from the food sector, and we are achieving this much from retail sector, and this much from the service sector,” said Williams. “But you don’t see that level in this index.”

Shayani said while it is great to see Guelph beat out larger urban centres, comparing against a city like Kitchener or St. Catharine’s paints a more accurate picture.

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“The aspiration should always be growth,” said Shayani. “But as a means to evaluate how we are doing, it makes mores sense to look at more comparable communities.”

Kitchener placed 11th (268.49), London 21st (220.43), and Hamilton 25th (202.64).


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