What is Economic Development?

Economic Development is programs, policies and activities that seek to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community by creating and retaining jobs and providing a stable tax base.

Economic Development programs aim to:

  • Bring new businesses in and promote the community as a location for economic activity.
  • Help existing local businesses solve problems.
  • Help local businesses grow and expand.
  • Help entrepreneurs and new firms start up and access the resources they need to succeed.
  • Improve a community’s quality of life.

City of Pickering Economic Development Strategy

The City of Pickering is a vibrant municipality with a strong legacy of innovation and growth through technology, coupled with a remarkably high quality of life and of place. Pickering is growing – with a population of 100,000 expected to grow to 150,000 by 2036. In addition to this growth, Pickering lies at the heart of Canada’s largest market – over six million people within an hour commute – providing an ample, skilled, and diversified workforce for a variety of needs. The region is served locally by five Universities, including the University of Toronto and Ontario Tech University, and six Colleges, including Durham College, providing access to skills, training, and research assets across the spectrum.

These are all important factors to be understood and harnessed in an Economic Development Strategy that anticipates growth and helps bring assets together to support an economically, environmentally, and socially sustained future. By better understanding the economic ecosystems already in place, looking toward future opportunities and risks, and then bringing people together to chart a path forward, the new Economic Development Strategy will be a roadmap for the City. This will allow the City and its stakeholders to better guide a variety of activities, including but not limited to business attraction, retention and expansion, employment and mixed-use land development, and potential industry sector targets. The City of Pickering now wishes to develop a fulsome strategy for fostering and attracting economic growth:

  • Make it more specific and relevant to the City’s attributes and unique strengths,
  • Identify the types of economic growth that are most appropriate to the City’s vision, and
  • Develop an Action Plan and Action Items to support this growth and investment attraction.

Overview of Action Plan:

The City of Pickering is at the start of a period of dynamic growth and change. The City’s significant assets and legacy of innovation can carry it to sustainable, equitable economic growth if continued actions are taken in the following areas:

Action Plan

Action AreaAction Item

• Branding

• Marketing

Local Communications

• Community Website

• Community Social Media Platforms

Business Support

• Business Census and Outreach

• Business Retention and Expansion Initiatives

• Business Continuity Support

• Entrepreneurial and Startup Support

• Incubators or Accelerators

Workforce and Talent

• Workforce Gap Analysis

• Career Awareness Building

• Workforce Development Events

Investment Attraction

• Direct Outreach

• Ongoing Sector Research

• Existing Business Engagement

• Conferences and Other Multipliers

Investment Servicing and Aftercare • Development and Adoption of Full Investment Service Processes and Protocols

View the Economic Development Strategy report.

City of Pickering FDI Strategy

Why Foreign Direct Investment? Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) can and should be a strong component of the City of Pickering’s economic development efforts. FDI is defined as either a greenfield investment or operation in a new market by a foreign company, or acquisition of a local operation by a foreign entity. Foreign investment can have some catalytic economic benefits that differentiates it from other forms of economic growth. These include:

  • Employment and Economic Boost: On average, FDI creates more new jobs and greater capital investment per project than other forms of domestic investment. This can lead to an increase in income and more purchasing power to locals, which in turn leads to an overall boost in targeted economies.
  • Workforce Development: The skills gained by the workforce through training enhances the overall education and human capital within a community.
  • Innovation Enhancement: FDI allows for resource transfers and the exchanges of and enhancement knowledge, technologies, and skills.
  • Increased Income: FDI projects often bring higher than average wages into the region. With more jobs and higher wages, the regional income increases further promoting economic growth.
  • Overall Stimulation: FDI can stimulate a target region’s economic development and create a more conducive environment for companies and investors and stimulate the local community and economy.

Analysis on the priority sectors has reinforces the findings of the main Economic Development Plan as regards target industry clusters, and also suggests that foreign direct investment attraction activities focus on the following areas:

Priority Sectors
Utilities Electric Power Generation (Nuclear Modular Reactor Production, Low Carbon Hydrogen Production)
  •  Aerospace Manufacturing
  • Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing
  • Electrical Equipment and Component Manufacturing
  • Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing
  • Food and Beverage Manufacturing
  • Machinery Manufacturing
  • Primary Metal Manufacturing
Transportation and Warehousing
  • Multi-Modal Transportation and Logistics
  • Warehousing and Storage

Overview of Action Plan:

The City has stated that they will be taking a direct role in facilitating investment attraction to the City. The following actions should be made to ensure that city staff have the information needed to be able to identify potential investors and know the actions needed to connect with the decisions makers who are most commonly involved in the location selection process. All of the items below are intended to be understood as additional to those marketing items included in the Economic Development Strategy.

Action Plan


Task Descriptions

Appealing and relevant marketing materials are an important piece of attracting new investment. There is an ongoing discussion in Pickering regarding branding for the City, which will likely have ramifications for any of the branding and marketing suggestions.

  1. Continue to collect and update competitive and business support information.
  2. Continue to develop updated marketing materials.
  3. Continue to enhance online presence.
  4. Continue to enhance social media presence.
Direct Outreach
Task Descriptions

The City should continue to expand its existing economic development marketing and outreach to include new messages and possibly to adjust its targets based on the evolving global marketplace.

  1. Site Selector Networking
  2. Industry Networking
  3. Keep up-to-date employment information on employers in targeted sectors so that it is available to share with site selectors.
  4. Identify and engage stakeholders and ambassadors within targeted sectors and work with them.

View the FDI Strategy Analysis Report.

Additional relevant document:

Report to Council ECD 01-23, January 2023