Niagara’s manufacturing sector is an incredibly important economic engine for the region. Manufacturing accounts for the largest portion of Niagara’s GDP and there is a strong circle of support that’s grown around the sector over the last century.
Educational partnerships, stakeholder groups that bring together the public and private sector and strategic incentives that encourage investment have helped set Niagara apart as one of North America’s most competitive centres for manufacturers to do business.
Manufacturing is big business in Niagara. The sector employs over 17,000 people and it accounts for the largest portion of the region’s GDP. The manufacturing base is diverse, but the largest concentrations of employees are in transportation equipment, fabricated metal products, food and beverage, machinery and furniture.
Niagara’s close proximity to the US border and high quality binational land-based transportation routes, water ways and air freight facilities, offer important advantages for companies that operate according to just-in-time shipping principles.
Competitive incentives at the provincial level, paired with industry-oriented incentives at the regional level have created a favourable environment for doing business that is attracting big-game players like Innio and helping secure new investments from long-time Niagara manufacturing partners like General Motors.
Niagara offers manufacturers significant cost savings benefits. Niagara’s lower utility costs create potential operational cost savings of up to 19% and overall, a typical manufacturing facility may achieve cost savings of 19-28% in Niagara over Ontario competitors and 11% cost savings over the closest US competitors.
In a comparison of the costs of operating a manufacturing business in 115 different North American cities, Niagara ranked seventh, putting it ahead of cities including Toronto, Montreal, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh and New York.
From research and development assistance to training support and manufacturing-related advocacy, there are many resources available to support manufacturing companies in Niagara.
Niagara College’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Inovation Centre This Centre offers a team of experts who specialize in engineering design, 3D technologies, lean manufacturing processes and additive manufacturing. They work with Ontario businesses to bring ideas to life, from concept through to developing working prototypes, utilizing leading-edge technology, including equipment and software.
Niagara Industrial Association The NIA is a Niagara-based, industry-focused organization that advocates on behalf of local industry, addresses issues that inhibit the advancement of local industry and pursues business development opportunities in a collaborative manner.
McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute This research hub is one of the largest university-based manufacturing research institutes in Canada, supporting academic research and education programs spanning many manufacturing processes.
Mohawk College’s Ideaworks The Additive Manufacturing group offers manufacturers, designers, university researchers and start-ups a collaborative, low-risk environment to explore metal and plastic additive manufacturing/3D printing.