According to the Conference Board of Canada’s annual analysis of 27 Canadian census metropolitan areas (CMAs), the west is a hub of economic growth. Global demand for resources out of Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, and Regina will lead to the strongest economic growth among Canadian cities in 2012.
“In spite of global economic turmoil, high prices for agricultural products, minerals and oil are likely to continue. Canada’s prairie cities will reap the benefits of this global demand for commodities,” said Mario Lefebvre, director, Centre for Municipal Studies, in a release this week.
Lefebvre says the outlook is not as promising for cities in central and eastern Canada. “The uncertain global economy, a continued slow recovery in the manufacturing sector and the windup of fiscal stimulus introduced by governments in recent years will hamper overall economic growth.”
Saskatoon is forecast to see the most economic growth this year. The province’s booming primary sector is supporting gains in all industries, and employment is expected to grow by almost five per cent this year. This week, the Star Phoenix reported that a construction boom will reshape the city’s skyline this year. The construction boom in Saskatoon is mostly commercial and residential, with builds like the Rivers Centre at River Landing keeping construction workers busy.
Although Saskatoon’s commercial and residential construction is booming, the city doesn’t have any projects on our Top 100 projects list this year. (Projects on the Top 100 span sectors including energy, water/wastewater, transportation, and public buildings, but our criteria excludes commercial builds such as hotels or condos).
Top 100 Projects in or around Calgary, Edmonton and Regina total approximately $5.3 billion, just under five per cent of the total list value.
While Ontario is being outperformed, the numbers are not dire.
The $1.6-billion Windsor–Essex Parkway project—number 23 on this year’s Top 100—will help Kitchener–Waterloo’s economy to grow by a projected 2.5 per cent in 2012, despite a manufacturing sector that’s in transition. In addition to double-digit growth in construction sector output, employment is forecast to increase by an average of 2.3 per cent in 2012 and 2013 in the area.
In Quebec, Trois Rivières is expected to post real GDP growth of 2.6 per cent in 2012. The primary driver of growth will be Hydro-Québec’s planned $1.9 billion refurbishment of the Gentilly-2 nuclear reactor, which is forecast to boost construction output substantially. The project didn’t make it onto the 2012 Top 100, as construction isn’t planned to begin until well into 2012.