Jobs in Ottawa: 2024 Ottawa Economy & Industries Guide

Ottawa Economy Guide

The city of Ottawa, Ontario—Canada's capital city—boasts a dynamic economy that serves as the backbone of its vibrant community. To get a good sense of Ottawa's economic landscape, one must look at key sectors such as government, technology, and tourism, all of which fuel the city's growth. With a focus on current economic trends and future prospects, the analysis offers insights into the factors driving the capital city’s economy, all of which are crucial information for current residents and those considering moving to Ottawa.

Top Employers in Ottawa

Largest Employers in Ottawa, ON

Ottawa is home to many top employers in a variety of industries. Adobe Systems Canada is a leading software company headquartered in Ottawa’s Centretown West neighbourhood known for its programs like Photoshop and Illustrator.

Alterna Savings and Credit Union Limited has approximately 584 full-time employees in Ottawa. Alterna has multiple locations in the area, including one in Downtown Ottawa and another in the picturesque Westboro neighbourhood. The credit union was established in 1908 and is currently developing a formal hybrid work program. 

Algonquin College of Applied Arts & Technology, located in lively Centretown Ottawa, is another leading Ottawa employer. Another top employer in the education industry is Carleton University, which is bordered by the beautiful Old Ottawa South neighbourhood to the east and the Carleton Heights area to the southwest. It has approximately 2,516 full-time employees and approximately 4,523 part-time employees. 

Evolugen, a renewable energy generation and services company, was established in 1970 and has approximately 238 employees.

Additional Large Companies in Ottawa

  • Canada Revenue Agency
  • Canada Post Corporation
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard
  • City of Ottawa
  • Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Health Canada / Santé Canada
  • CBC / Radio-Canada
  • Shopify Inc.

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Is Ottawa a Good Place to Start a Business?

Ottawa is an excellent place to start a business thanks to its unique position of having the second-highest concentration of scientists and engineers in all of North America.The city also has the country's highest concentration of tech talent and attracts all kinds of talent from around the world. The tax costs here are the lowest in the G7 and are among the top countries with the lowest business costs overall. 

There are many programs and resources easily available to small businesses and startups that can help them succeed. This makes Ottawa a smart place for those looking to begin a successful business. The affordable cost of living in Ottawa also makes it a prime place for businesses to grow and thrive while being active members of the local community.

Ottawa has been rated as the most business-friendly environment in the Western Hemisphere, which explains why it’s home to more technology companies than anywhere else in Canada. It was also ranked as one of Mercer’s top 20 cities for global quality of living, and it provides business owners with a friendly atmosphere. Low taxes, an excellent transportation infrastructure, and a strong arts community also make Ottawa a prime place for entrepreneurs of all sizes. Access to healthcare also makes Ottawa desirable. The city has lots of parks, walking paths, and places for hiking, cycling, and more as well as several festivals and events that are held throughout the year. 

Ottawa Economy Facts and Figures

Here are some key facts and figures about Ottawa’s economy:

  • Ottawa's city population was 1,017,449 as of 2021, making it the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Canada.
  • The number of employed residents increased by 4.54% to reach 557,600 in 2018, and the number continues to grow.
  • The median household income in Ottawa was $109,000, as reported in the 2016 Census.
  • The City of Ottawa is the city’s second-largest employer after the federal government, with about 17,000 employees.
  • Of Canada’s six largest cities, Ottawa has the lowest rental rate for businesses: leasing office space averaged approximately $20 per square foot in 2016. Ottawa also has the second-lowest average rental rate for Class A office space.
  • Ottawa is the economic region in Canada with the biggest share of the Franco-Ontarian population at 42.7%, and 44.8% of residents speak both English and French.
  • Tourism brings Ottawa approximately 2.2 billion dollars in revenue each year, supporting approximately 30,600 jobs.

Ottawa Industries

Ottawa is home to many major industries, including tech, healthcare, and tourism. The federal government is the city’s biggest employer, as the national headquarters for several federal departments are scattered around Ottawa’s best neighbourhoods. The city is also the main command centre for the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defense. Because it’s Canada's capital, Ottawa is also a major tourism hub, leading to a civil infrastructure boom. It attracts approximately 22 million tourists each year. 

Technology plays a major role here, with 1,800 companies employing around 63,400 people in total. Some of the most significant tech companies here include Nortel, Mitel, Corel, Shopify, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Nokia, and 3M. Many tech businesses are located in Kanata Research Park, which is the country’s largest technology park. It’s located in the South March neighbourhood of Kanata.

Healthcare is another major industry and employs over 18,000 people in Ottawa. Approximately 10% of the city’s GDP comes from finance, business, sales and service, and business administration. Real estate is booming here, and there’s a huge number of new construction homes in Ottawa. It also has the largest rural economy among the major cities in Canada, with the rural economy contributing over $1 billion to the GDP. Agriculture accounts for $400 million, including farm-gate sales, forestry, mining, and manufacturing. The rural employment rate continues to expand more each year after seeing a significant increase of 18% from 1996 to 2001.

Top Industries in Ottawa

  • Public Administration
  • Health Care
  • Professional Services
  • Retail
  • Education
  • Construction
  • Accommodation
  • Administration

Ottawa’s Dynamic Economy

It's become clear that Ottawa's economic base plays a crucial role in its stability and growth. The blend of government, high-tech industries, and tourism creates a robust and resilient economy, and Ottawa’s best suburbs contribute significantly to the region’s economic strength. Ottawa's economic state supports its current population and positions the city for future prosperity. The economic pulse of Ottawa reflects its status as a dynamic capital city with a promising outlook.

Thinking about moving to Ottawa? Contact MetroCity Property Group of eXp Realty at (613) 733-9494 to reach a local real estate agent who can help you find your Ottawa dream home today.

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