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Granby, Que. is Canada’s most affordable place for business. Photo: Pierre Bona/Wikimedia

How do you go about picking the country’s best place to do business? Every company will have its own criteria for a desirable location, after all.

A retail outlet dependent on a local clientele will do best in a community with high incomes and a rising population. An exporter, by contrast, will favour cost advantages such as cheap space and power. Organizations requiring specialized skills may need to be near a big city or university, or offer an appealing lifestyle.

Do margins really matter in your business? To come up with our list of most affordable places, we examine costs for things like office, retail and industrial space and electricity. The communities with the lowest costs rank highest.

Here are Canada’s Top 10 Most Affordable Places for Business for 2016:

1. Granby, Que.

Population: 80,425
Average general lease rate: $10.66 psf/yr
Average retail lease rate: $15.15 psf/yr
Average industrial lease rate: $5.80 psf/yr
Peak electricity cost for mid-size businesses: $0.0660/kWh

2. Chatham-Kent, Ont.

Population: 106,115
Average general lease rate: $9.13 psf/yr
Average retail lease rate: $11.18 psf/yr
Average industrial lease rate: $5.48 psf/yr
Peak electricity cost for mid-size businesses: $0.1200/kWh

3. Joliette, Que.

Population: 50,480
Average general lease rate: $17.87 psf/yr
Average office lease rate: $12.75 psf/yr
Average retail lease rate: $20.00 psf/yr
Average industrial lease rate: $6.78 psf/yr
Peak electricity cost for mid-size businesses: $0.0493/kWh

4. Orangeville, Ont.

Population: 29,724
Average general lease rate: $19.11 psf/yr
Average office lease rate: $28.00 psf/yr
Average industrial lease rate: $6.91 psf/yr
Peak electricity cost for mid-size businesses: $/kWh

5. Windsor–Essex, Ont.

Population: 334,137
Average general lease rate: $15.57 psf/yr
Average office lease rate: $13.94 psf/yr
Average retail lease rate: $21.49 psf/yr
Average industrial lease rate: $4.14 psf/yr
Peak electricity cost for mid-size businesses: $0.1113/kWh

6. Grande Prairie, Alta.

Population: 67,993
Average general lease rate: $17.80 psf/yr
Average office lease rate: $11.00 psf/yr
Average retail lease rate: $17.08 psf/yr
Peak electricity cost for mid-size businesses: $0.0350/kWh

7. High River, Alta.

Population: 15,984
Average general lease rate: $21.82 psf/yr
Peak electricity cost for mid-size businesses: $0.0069/kWh

8. Winnipeg, Man.

Population: 796,364
Average general lease rate: $20.81 psf/yr
Average office lease rate: $22.16 psf/yr
Average retail lease rate: $30.49 psf/yr
Average industrial lease rate: $10.83 psf/yr
Peak electricity cost for mid-size businesses: $0.0670/kWh

9. St. Catharines, Ont.

Population: 135,324
Average general lease rate: $18.77 psf/yr
Average office lease rate: $19.00 psf/yr
Average retail lease rate: $15.63 psf/yr
Average industrial lease rate: $6.46 psf/yr
Peak electricity cost for mid-size businesses: $0.1030/kWH

10. Chilliwack, B.C.

Population: 100,025
Average general lease rate: $17.20 psf/yr
Average retail lease rate: $20.32 psf/yr
Average industrial lease rate: $13.75 psf/yr
Peak electricity cost for mid-size businesses: $0.1030/kWH

 

 

Click here for vital facts and figures on 219 Canadian municipalities »

The Canadian Business Best Places for Business relies on a mix of self-reported data from the municipal governments and independent demographic and market data. Cost indicators factored into the ranking of Canada’s Most Affordable Places were as follows: average home price (lower is better); average general lease rate (lower is better) or average office lease rate (lower is better), average retail lease rate (lower is better) and average industrial lease rate (lower is better); and peak electricity cost for mid-size commercial businesses (lower is better) and peak electricity cost for mid-size industrial businesses (lower is better).

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