Illustration: Alex Mathers Illustration: Alex Mathers

There’s no barrier to doing business more formidable than government. Red tape and high taxes can snarl up your operations, slow down your innovation, and even stop you from getting started in the first place.

So when you’re choosing a location for a new outlet, office or venture, it’s important to find a place with an administration and community that tries to help—not hinder—companies like yours. You want a tax and regulatory regime that enables your growth instead of stifling it, a bureaucracy that won’t stop your planned capital projects in their tracks.

Help is at hand. For the first annual study of Canada’s Best Places for Business, we surveyed 50 of the country’s largest municipalities to find the ones with burgeoning markets, the lowest costs and the most amenable tax and regulatory regimes. Looking for a municipality that’s open for business? Here are the Canada’s Top 10 Most Business-Friendly Places for 2015:

1. Winnipeg, Manitoba

2. Delta, British Columbia

3. Victoria, British Columbia

4. New Westminster, British Columbia

5. St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

6. Cambridge, Ontario

7. Regina, Saskatchewan

8. Whitby, Ontario

9. Welland, Ontario

10. Moncton, New Brunswick

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. Governmental indicators factored into the ranking include business license cost (lower is better), building permit processing time (lower is better), business property tax rate (lower is better), business income tax rate (lower is better), small business income tax rate where different (lower is better).

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