Explore the Toronto and Canada Advantage

In addition to being a world-leading centre for advanced health research, there are many advantages to doing business in Toronto, Ontario and Canada. Did you know that Ontario is North America's third largest medical technology research cluster? Or that the cost of doing business in Toronto is less than in comparable U.S. cites? Combine this with being one of the safest and most livable cities the world, and it is clear why Toronto gains about 100,000 new residents every year.

Click on the headings below to learn more about the advantages of doing business in the region.

The Toronto region is home to the largest geographic concentration of health sciences assets in Canada, with strong connections to other global centres of health science expertise. Combined, this has created a thriving HHS cluster with great potential for continued growth. Fast facts about Toronto research outputs:

$1B+ in research funding at universities and partner hospitals

9,300+ life science graduates annually

9,500+ researchers and research staff

Among Toronto’s advantages as a place to do business are its:

Established Industry Ecosystem: Toronto is home to over 800 companies with a total of 38,000 employees; and hosts the headquarters for 50 multinational pharmaceutical, medical device and digital health companies.

Access to a Generous Tax Incentive Program: The Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program (SR&ED) provides investment tax credits to individuals or corporations that conduct research and development in Canada.

Business Cost Advantage Compared to other Cities: The cost of doing business in Toronto is well below the three major U.S. health sciences clusters (see figure).

The Toronto region offers a convergence of leading-edge medical research with international business expertise and advanced manufacturing capabilities. It is home to an established industry ecosystem complete with multinational and home-grown companies, employing highly skilled professionals, academics and technicians, including 800+ home-grown companies and start-ups with $840M+ in research revenue.

Perfect Mix of Science, Business and Lifestyle in North America’s Fourth Largest City

World-leading academic and translational research

A centre for global clinical trials

Dynamic metro region

Advanced business environment

Toronto, Ontario has the perfect mix of world-leading academic, translational and clinical research together with a business-friendly tax environment, all housed in one of the most affordable and fastest-growing tech markets in North America.

Within the dynamic Ontario Life Sciences sector, which generates over $40 billion in revenues annually and employs nearly 83,000 people, Toronto is a magnet for investors, multinational companies and highly skilled personnel. An important part of this ecosystem is known as the Toronto Academic Health Science Network. This network comprises the University of Toronto and 13 affiliated research hospitals, including Canada’s largest: University Health Network.

The region welcomes about 100,000 new residents every year. Canada’s skills-based immigration system ensures many of these newcomers are highly-skilled professionals from around the world.


The Toronto region’s Human Health and Sciences cluster offers specialized scientific infrastructure and globally recognized expertise, and is known for conducting pioneering research in the following areas:


A History of Innovation in Toronto at University Health Network

Life-changing scientific breakthroughs made here include:

 The first clinical use of heparin

  North America’s first artificial kidney designed and used clinically

 First use of radiation therapy to cure Hodgkin’s disease

 Development of lumpectomy for breast cancer

 First use of total body cooling as a method for making heart surgery safer

 First external heart pacemaker used in an open-heart resuscitation

 Identification of blood-forming stem cells—a discovery that gave birth to the field of stem cell science

 First allogeneic blood stem cell transplant (transplants between unrelated donors)

  First successful single-lung transplant (1983) and double-lung transplant (1986)

 Discovery of the human T-cell receptor

 First treatment of sleep apnea in patients with heart failure by a mechanical assist device (CPAP) that improves heart function

 First use of deep brain stimulation to help with treatment-resistant depression

  First transplant using donor lungs repaired outside of the body (ex vivo) using lung perfusion technique

 First human blood stem cell isolated in its purest form—as a single stem cell capable of regenerating the entire blood system

Toronto Clinical Trial Cost Advantages: With lower clinical trial management costs than in the United States and streamlined operations and approvals processes thanks to a new single ethics review for multi-centre clinical trials, Toronto has become an ideal location for global clinical trials. Additionally, Ontario clinical trial data is recognized by U.S. and EU authorities.

Access to Highly Diverse Participant Pools: Toronto is Canada’s largest city, housing 8% of the country’s entire population. It is widely recognized as the most ethnically diverse city in the world: half of all Torontonians are foreign-born, and residents speak over 140 languages.  

Access to Leading-Edge Informatics and Data: The region possesses robust digital infrastructure, as well as a universal healthcare system to support comprehensive data collection, analytics and sharing. The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), which leads cutting-edge studies that evaluate healthcare delivery and population outcomes, provides access to a vast and secure array of Ontario’s demographic and health-related data, including:

Population-based health surveys

Anonymous patient records

Clinical and administrative databases

The Toronto region is connected to other major cities around the world by two international airports and is only a short flight away from key regional hubs. The region’s culturally diverse talent pool also enables greater global connectivity in the workplace. With over eight million people and climbing, the Toronto region welcomes about 100,000 new residents each year.

One of the largest, safest, fastest-growing and most culturally diverse metropolitan regions in North America

#1 Best Place to Live, Economist Cities Ranking, January 2015