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Waterloo EDC Blog

Downtown Kitchener in Waterloo Region

Waterloo is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada

Posted by Waterloo EDC on March 17, 2022

The newest Canadian census numbers are in and they confirm something that the cranes, moving trucks and economic growth seem to suggest: Waterloo is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada.

In previous years, we’ve reported annual estimates for population growth, which confirmed that on a yearly basis we were experiencing one of Canada’s biggest population booms. The newest data covers a five-year period – from 2016 to 2021 – and shows that these yearly returns are no fluke. In that timeframe, Waterloo was the sixth fastest growing large urban centre in Canada.

Here are the top 10 fastest growing communities in Canada:

  1. Kelowna, British Columbia – 14% growth
  2. Chilliwack, British Columbia – 12.1% growth
  3. Kamloops, British Columbia – 10% growth
  4. London, Ontario – 10% growth
  5. Nanaimo, British Columbia – 10% growth
  6. Waterloo, Ontario – 9.9% growth
  7. Oshawa, Ontario – 9.3% growth
  8. Halifax, Nova Scotia – 9.1% growth
  9. Guelph, Ontario – 9% growth
  10. Moncton, New Brunswick – 8.9% growth

Two things are immediately apparent when looking at this list. First, Ontario and British Columbia dominate this top-10 list. Second, none of Canada’s “big cities” – Montreal, Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver – were near the top of the list. This is indicative of the boom mid-sized Canadian cities are seeing as cost-of-living and other factors are making our biggest urban centres less desirable for experienced workers and families.

What’s behind Waterloo’s five great years of population growth?

It starts with one of Canada’s most diverse economies.

In Waterloo, we’re known for our dynamic tech ecosystem, which includes giants like Google, some of Canada’s fastest-growing companies – Faire and ApplyBoard, for example – and a large collection of startups. Google is in the midst of a massive expansion to its Canadian HQ that will see about 3,000 employees working in the heart of our community. We’re growing so fast that CBRE named Waterloo the #1 small tech talent market in North America.

But, for all the attention tech gets in Waterloo, manufacturing still accounts for 1/5 of all employment – we have one of the largest manufacturing workforces in Canada. We’re also home to Canada’s largest robotics and automation cluster, with companies like Beckhoff Automation, Eclipse Automation and ATS Automation setting up shop here alongside Canada’s largest automaker, Toyota.

That means jobs, which means people.

Our local development is stepping up to help house the people coming to work here. A couple of years ago we wrote about a multi-billion dollar development boom in our highest-density areas and many of those developments are just reaching completion now.

Our two universities – the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University – and our college – Conestoga College – are also growing, with international reputations that are attracting students from around the world.

Finally, Canada’s immigration programs are the most business-friendly in the G7, including a program that can help your employees get work permits and visas within just two weeks.

 

Want to learn more about what’s pushing Waterloo’s population boom? Contact our team.

Topics: technology, manufacturing, site selection