Toronto is the technological heart and soul of Canada. The city's vital Information and Communication Technology (ICT) bunch has been providing more than $20B annually to the economy.
Toronto is the commercial, distribution, cultural, financial, entertainment, and industrial center of Canada, as well as the banking and stock exchange center of Canada. It should be noted that many world-leading high-tech companies are drawn to Toronto to invest and grow their operations. It is the country's main wholesale and distribution point. Ontario's wealth of raw materials and hydroelectric power has made Toronto a chief center of industry. According to the Branham300 (2009), of the top 250 Canadian ICT companies, 40 percent are headquartered in the Toronto region.
Over the past few years, the City of Toronto together with other orders of government, has been working in close association with ICT industry stakeholders to produce a strategy for this strategic sector with the aim to become and be recognized globally, as one of the five most advanced, creative, and fruitful locations in the world for ICT research, education, business, and investment by 2011. ICT Toronto, a multi-stakeholder partnership was produced to function as an advisory and reference group and potential ICT think tank to carry out the ICT Strategy.
Toronto’s leading economic sectors include aerospace, transportation, media, arts, film, television production, publishing, finance, business services, telecommunications, software production, medical research, education, sports industries, and tourism. The Toronto Stock Exchange—the world’s eighth largest in terms of market value—is headquartered in the city.
Toronto is Canada's prominent media market, and the fourth largest media center in North America (behind New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago). Toronto is a major international center for business and finance. By and large, Toronto is regarded as the financial capital of Canada. The city is an important center for the media, publishing, telecommunications, information technology, and film production industries; it is home to major companies such as Research In Motion, BCE, Thomson Corporation, CTVglobemedia, TELUS, Celestica, Nortel Networks, CGI Group, Softchoice, MTS Allstream, Aastra Technologies, Open Text, Mitel Networks, Shaw Communications, CAE, MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, and Rogers Communications, etc.
In terms of employment, the service side of the ICT cluster is the largest, followed by development and manufacturing. The City of Toronto has over 50 percent of all ICT companies located in the Greater Toronto region. The city distinguishes on two key location factors, offering strong competitive advantages including labor force availability, and market accessibility.
The Toronto region leads North America in offering a diverse, talented pool of Interactive Digital Media services. The digital media industry consists of more than 950 companies employing about 16,000 people and approximate revenue of between $1.1 billion and $1.2 billion annually in Ontario. A number of major corporations are established in the city, including the Hudson's Bay Company, Manulife Financial, TD Canada Trust, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, Bank of Montreal, Celestica, Four Seasons Hotels, Rogers Communications, MDS Inc., and many others.
Toronto, with a population of 2.48 million people (5.5 million in the GTA—Greater Toronto Area) is acclaimed as one of the most multicultural cities in the world and is graded as the safest large metropolitan area in North America by Places Rated Almanac.
Toronto’s overall employment in 2009 was 1,291,200 down by 1.4 percent from 2008. During the past year, growth was found in half of the major employment sectors, wherein the services sector grew by 0.9 percent. Despite the slowing economy, Toronto continues to be a suitable place for new startups and relocations from elsewhere. Annual sales for the ICT cluster amount to over $32.5 billion, whereas the annual exports for this cluster are over $6.2B. Toronto's GDP is $138B. The unemployment rate is 9.99 percent, and the total labor force amounts to 1,487,960. Toronto is a world leader in digital microwave transmission, satellite communications services, and data distribution networks.
Toronto ICT potency lies in software and systems development, manufacturing, and ICT services. Toronto ICT Cluster is the largest in Canada and third largest in North America. Globally focused manufacturers and developers produce software, hardware, new media, and communications solutions that permeate and act as accelerator in all areas of the economy. Toronto has more than 5,000 ICT companies.
With a total number of 130,511 graduates as of 2008, this city has a substantial potential of human resources to serve different sectors.
The Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP) has grown to represent ISPs (Internet Service Providers) of all sizes from across Canada. Although there is still a great chance to enhance the number of its members—something the organization is actively engaged in—its current members already supply almost 90 percent of the Internet connections to Canadian homes, schools, and businesses. Moreover, Canada's federal R & D system and Ontario's provincial tax exemptions provide some of the most magnanimous R & D tax benefits for businesses. The City's taxation measures are expended to maintain and increase necessary programs and services that are vital for a prosperous Toronto. After a solid economic growth and inflation in the first half of 2007, the economy began to go through slower growth since the second half of 2007 due to the global ripple effects caused by the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the United States. As of June 15, 2010, the goods and services tax (GST) rate has been 5 percent. The level of Taxation in Canada is average among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. Approximately 70 percent of the Canadian government's income comes from taxation, the rest from investments, tariffs, and fees. Corporations functioning in Ontario are generally taxed at a rate of 30 percent.
In this context, it is advisable to note that the corporations operating in this location collect employment insurance premiums and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions, from both the employer and the employee, to provide support for loss of employment (including maternity leave) and retirement. There are also employment insurance premiums to be paid by both the employee and the employer.
This destination's competitive advantage dwells on its depth and variety of its ICT operations. With its world-leading renowned postsecondary education, R&D, expert talent pool, high-performance infrastructure, and supportive government initiatives, Toronto is a natural place where information-oriented companies can invest and excel. Additionally, there are some important grounds to outsource services to Toronto because of the following facts: reduced capital expense, improved IT performance and reliability, reduced IT overhead, a technology edge over competitors, and access to different skills and technology as needed.