Open-minded, dynamic and creative, the Québec City region boasts unbeatable quality of life

The Québec City region has one of the best-educated workforces and some of the lowest start-up and operating costs in North America

In North American terms, Québec City is one of the most dynamic, cutting-edge and economically attractive metropolitan regions, maintaining its leading position year after year. 

Known for its breathtaking beauty, The Québec City region has experienced record growth in recent years. Resolutely focused on 21st century solutions, the region has capitalized on the rise of information technology and communication by diversifying its economy and developing sectors of excellence, thereby gaining a leading role on the world stage.

The Québec City region is home to one of the highest concentrations of researchers and research facilities in Canada and the US Northeast. The region has a larger proportion of graduate students than in any other major Canadian city.

This intellectual capital serves to foster creativity and develop cutting-edge industrial sectors throughout the region, attracting growing numbers of specialized workers and innovative firms. Buoyed by its economic vitality, companies across the region are prospering in a challenging global economy by embracing innovation. Being located in Québec City often gives them a competitive advantage over their rivals.

The Québec City region has one of the largest pools of creative workers in Canada and has some of the lowest start-up and operating costs in North America. The cost of living in the Québec City metropolitan region is low. Housing prices are very competitive, while the region has one of the lowest inflation rates in the country.

Why Québec City

Québec City is the capital of the province of Québec. The metropolitan region has capitalized on the rise of technology by embracing economic diversification and key sectors of industrial excellence plus establishing a firm foothold in the knowledge-based economy. Insurance and financial services, architecture and green buildings, biopharmaceuticals, multimedia, nutraceuticals, optics and photonics, natural beauty products and medical technology have all performed well and made key contributions to regional economic performance in terms of job creation and production growth.

During the depths of the global recession in 2009, the local labour market remained relatively strong. Overall, growth in the Québec City metropolitan region was quicker and more pronounced than in other parts of Canada.

Home to some 6,000 researchers and associates, the region has one of the highest concentrations of research centres in Canada, with nearly 400 labs, groups, institutes and R&D centres. Generally speaking, costs are lower for companies to start up operations in the Québec City region than elsewhere in Canada or in the US.

Business advantage

Every two years, KPMG conducts a global study on business operating costs and other competitiveness factors in more than 110 cities in 14 countries. In KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives 2012, Quebec City was ranked #1 among comparably sized Canadian and U.S. cities (500,000 to 2 million residents). Globally speaking, Quebec City ranked second, just behind Marseille (France) but ahead of Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Raleigh (North Carolina) and Austin (Texas).

Overall, it is 5.8 per cent cheaper for companies to set up operations and do business in Quebec City compared with the average for U.S. cities. The region is particularly noteworthy in this regard for its high growth-potential sectors. For R&D-focused companies (biotechnology, clinical trials, electronic system development), the cost advantage is 13.8 to 20.5 per cent cheaper on average than in U.S. cities. This advantage is even higher in the digital entertainment and software development sectors (23.4 and 12.4 per cent cheaper respectively). The financial services sector has a cost advantage of 21.4 per cent.

Quebec City has thus confirmed its leadership role in providing a competitive high-quality business environment, not only in North American terms, but globally as well.

Future plans

Québec‘s economic development plans include:

  • Private investments totaling nearly $6 billion over the next nine years primarily in the industrial, real estate, financial and energy sectors
  • Public investments of more than $2 billion
  • Healthcare investments
  • The start of construction of “green” neighbourhoods
  • Tram and high-speed rail projects
  • Expansion of the Port of Québec
  • Construction of a new multi-purpose amphitheatre.

So does the Québec City metropolitan region have the means to realize its ambitions? “The simple answer is yes, as borne out by all of our key economic indicators,” says Carl Viel, Chief Executive Officer of the region’s economic development agency Québec International.

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