Operating in Israel, we are constantly in contact with local companies considering opening a North American location. Most often the driver for this consideration is an existing market presence large enough to justify a production facility there rather than manufacturing the product in Israel and shipping it to the market. In other situations, companies see the potential commercial opportunities in North America and want to access that market from a local base.
When Israeli companies think of North America, they tend to think exclusively of the United States and rarely give significant thought to Canada, America’s northern next door neighbor. Regarding Ontario, it is Canada’s largest province in terms of population is also its second largest in terms of size.
Why Canada and why Ontario specifically? Some reasons:
*Two non-stop flights a day from Tel Aviv to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
*Business costs 16-20% lower than those in the United States.
*Canadian dollar trades at 65% of the value of the American dollar, making goods and services less expensive.
*Ontario’s Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credits provide a 50% savings over the OECD average.
*Highly stable work force with average turnover of 5% as against 15% in the U.S.
*44 Colleges and Universities with 35,000 STEM graduates each year.
*Pro-business government policies.
*Same language (with the added benefit of French as an official language as well), culture, time zone and ethics as the United States.
*Seven of the ten largest global tech companies (i.e. GE, IBM, Siemens, Cisco, Intel, Google and Oracle) conduct R&D in Ontario.
*Jobs Prosperity Fund grants of 50-66% of foreign investments which remain in Canada for 5 years.
*Well-established Israeli business community very receptive to newcomers.
Of course, accessing the U.S. from Ontario is also easy and quick. 70% of the U.S. population is within a 90 minute flight from Toronto with the U.S. border just a short 2 hour drive away via Buffalo, New York. Additionally, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allows goods to pass duty free in both directions.
Ontario specifically has been recognized for its business potential. According to Site Selection magazine’s annual “Best to Invest” rankings, Ontario is the best location for investment in Canada. Based on qualifying new corporate facilities and expansions, Ontario also recently won the prestigious Canadian Competitiveness Award, an honor bestowed each year by the internationally renowned publication.
Ontario is also a tech leader, as it is the largest IT region in North America outside of Silicon Valley. It is easy to collaborate with universities and R&D facilities to drive innovation from lab to market quickly. Ontario’s extensive network of incubators and accelerators ensures a steady stream of innovative concepts, ideas and products that strengthen the entire ecosystem. And of course, there is an abundance of sophisticated talent with expertise across a wide array of sectors to generate the technological advancements needed to get – and stay – ahead.
In short, Ontario is worth a look by any Israeli company giving thought to locating in North America.
Our office represents the trade and investment promotion interests of Ontario in Israel and can be the first point of contact for interested Israeli firms considering North America.
Sherwin Pomerantz is president of Atid-EDI Ltd., an economic development consulting firm with 26 years’ experience in assisting overseas companies and public entities in their export promotion and foreign direct investment attraction efforts.