Skip Navigation LinksDurham Portal > Doing Business > Economic Climate in Durham

Economic Climate in Durham

Durham Region is a great place to do business.  Here you’ll find a diversified and balanced manufacturing sector, skilled labour force, access to first-class educational facilities and a diverse economic base with focus on key sector areas, including advanced manufacturing, agri-business, energy and tourism.

Small and medium businesses are a vital part of our economy. They employ close to 2.8 million people, more than half the workforce in Ontario, and they have a major impact on jobs, investment, trade, innovation and prosperity.

According to Industry Canada, small businesses account for more than 98% of all the firms in Canada and play a large role in net job creation, creating 77.7% of all private jobs from 2002 to 2012.

What is the economy of the Region of Durham and its employment opportunities?

Major employers in Durham Region include: 

Durham District School Board 
Durham College 
General Motors of Canada 
Lakeridge Health Corporation 
Ontario Power Generation
Regional Municipality of Durham  
Minacs Worldwide University of Ontario Institute of Technology,

In addition, there are many small firms that supply parts and materials for the automotive industry and other manufacturing in the area. Traditional manufacturing continues to decline but is being replaced by greater use of advanced manufacturing and technology and new industries related to bio-technology, renewable energy and new agricultural methods. New construction, especially residential housing and expansions of Ontario Power Generation capacity and development related to the expansion of the 407 Highway east through Durham are expected to drive the local economy over the next decade.

Did you know? 42% of Durham Region’s workforce commutes outside of the area for work. Durham’s housing, semi-rural setting, excellent services and recreational activities plus the ease of commuting into Toronto and other parts of the GTA make it an attractive place to live. This means that living in Durham still provides access to major labour markets outside of Durham where there is a wide diversity of employment opportunities. Residential growth also creates many opportunities within Durham for employment related to personal services, retail sales and food services. 

Highway 407

In June 2016, the Phase 1 expansion of the Highway 407 East Project to Oshawa opened to traffic. This extends the 407 Highway by 22 kilometres and provides alternative travel options to and from Toronto.  A further 10 kilometres to Courtice is scheduled for completion by 2020.

Major Economic and Employment Trends in Durham Region

The Durham Workforce Authority is a public agency that studies the local labour market (employment). They identify opportunities and needs and make recommendations to government for new initiatives to improve how the labour market works. A priority that they have identified for Durham Region is the attraction and retention of skilled and professionally trained immigrants to meet the future needs of local business and industry.

Business Associations

Chambers of Commerce, Boards of Trade and local Business Improvement Associations play a very important role within our Region. They work for the betterment of local schools and other community institutions. Many of them offer a range of programs and services to their members, including informal advise on timely business mattes, opportunities for networking and a variety of publications. Membership in these organizations is voluntary.

These associations are primarily governed by volunteer local leaders and business people and they promote the interests of business in a broad-based way.


Copyright © 2010 Durham Region