January 15th, 2021

Business Beat: Medicine Hat continues to draw business investment

By Jon Sookocheff on May 8, 2019.

Area Development, a corporate site selection magazine, recently released the results of its annual executive survey to do with site selection plans and priorities.

I read the report curious to see if U.S. companies plan on expanding to Canada. If so, where? And why?

The survey says that 40% of corporate executives plan to open a new U.S.-based facility within the next five years. Only 14% say they plan to open new foreign facilities within five years, the majority of those slated for Western Europe and Mexico.

The survey goes on to summarize critical location factors taken into consideration by corporate executives charged with locating a new facility.

Top of the list is the availability of skilled labour and associated labour cost. Other factors include highway accessibility, corporate tax rates, tax exemptions, quality of life, incentives, energy availability and costs, and construction costs.

Surveys like this drive home the point that international investment attraction is highly competitive, with thousands of communities vying for a limited number of projects.

To get the ear of corporate decision makers, municipalities must effectively communicate key competitiveness factors – taxation levels, labour market development programs, incentives packages, quality of life amenities, and so on.

On that note, it bears repeating that Medicine Hat is one of Western Canada’s most cost competitive jurisdictions, is highly motivated to attract new investment to the community, and boasts an outstanding quality of life.

The city levies no equipment tax, offers highly competitive energy costs, and makes available strategic incentives programs such as the Downtown Development Incentive Program and the Brownfield Tax Incentive Bylaw.

Canada’s sunniest city is made all the more competitive by virtue of its location in the province of Alberta, which is Canada’s most business-friendly environment.

Alberta has no retail sales tax, low corporate tax, low personal income tax and low fuel taxes. As a result, Alberta’s investment per capita is more than double the Canadian average, and the province has the youngest and fastest growing population in the country.

Add in strategic incentives packages like the Petrochemicals Diversification Program and the Alberta Investor Tax Credit, and Medicine Hat emerges as an ideal location for petrochemicals, controlled environment agriculture, oil and gas, manufacturing, food processing, and more.

Knowing that corporate executives must balance the needs of the business with the total costs to occupy any given space, it pays to keep the customer’s needs top of mind. Within Western Canada, Medicine Hat offers investors a low-cost business climate, access to skilled labour in a number of key industries, and a high quality of life in which to thrive.

Jon Sookocheff is interim CEO of Invest Medicine Hat. He can be reached at http://www.InvestMedicineHat.ca.

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