Before kicking off the New Year, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) asked some of Waterloo’s leaders to make predictions for 2019. Tony LaMantia, Waterloo EDC’s President and CEO, said this about business investment in Ontario:“While most economists are projecting slower economic growth in 2019 due to mounting global trade tensions and the length of our almost 10-year post-recession expansion, I believe that business investment in Waterloo Region and SW Ontario will surprise us on the upside. Spurred by major multi-year investments already underway in advanced manufacturing (e.g. Toyota Canada), I predict companies will aggressively take advantage of Canada’s new Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance incentives to expand investments in plant, equipment and emerging technology in order to up their competitive positioning—move up the value chain into higher margin, higher value-added production.”
The prediction is – Tony would admit – optimistic. It certainly bucks many projections. However, it isn’t unrealistic. In 2018, Toyota Canada committed to a $1.4 billion investment in Waterloo (and neighbouring Woodstock), and they’re hardly alone. Numerous advanced manufacturers have made investments in the last year – LEONI Elocab and Erwin Hymer Group come to mind.
Even home-grown tech companies like North are getting in on the action. In 2018, the company released its newest product – augmented reality glasses that are getting significant attention – and it is manufacturing them right here in Waterloo.
As we’ve written before, the changes Canada has made to improve competitiveness – including 100% write-offs for manufacturing machinery and equipment – are also very exciting for those looking to invest in Canada or expand their business.
As Waterloo begins 2019, we’re very optimistic. We have exceptional talent and cost advantages, a very diverse economy with support from some of Canada’s greatest education and research institutions and, most of all, we have momentum.