Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Canada's Cities Deemed Most Livable

As a Canadian and a business owner it was great to find out this week that based on research provided the by the Economist Intelligence Unit that three of the top-ten most livable cities in the world were in Canada and that Vancouver ranked as the number one most livable city in the world.

The Economist Intelligence Unit is the world's leading resource for economic and business research, forecasting and analysis. Like The Economist, it is an independent of all governing bodies and corporations, leaving it free to deliver accurate and impartial business intelligence. The report provided livability rankings for 140 cities. Each city was assigned a score for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories which included, stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

Australia had four cities in the top ten and Vienna, Helsinki and Auckland New Zealand rounded out the top-ten group. A big disappointment for my American friends was that the highest ranked city was Pittsburgh at 29, and that Los Angles ranked at 44 and New York ranked at 56.

Why are these rankings so important? Well as a business owner, a highly livable city allows you the opportunity to define the best places to setup and run a business and it is important to know what cities have the greatest potential.

For Canada to have three cities, Vancouver ranked as number one and Toronto and Calgary as four and five respectively it’s quite an accomplishment. It shows that low interest rates, coupled with good government, limited risk, vision, stability, infrastructure and commitment are all important in growing an economy and a city. Canada has managed to build the infrastructure in order to make its major cities as appealing places to live and as such, great places to start and grow a business.

Canada has also weathered the economic downturn quite nicely.Our business growth is strong and emerging and our banking system is also strong. Although we take a lot of flak from our neighbors to the south and sometimes throughout the world in regards to Canada’s commitment to national health care and high taxes which are in some cases perceived as detrimental, Canada continues to lead all of the G8 countries in economic growth. Combine that with high livability rankings and you have a country that is well positioned in regards to providing opportunities for business for the future.

This study also shows that if quality of life can be sustained then businesses can also grow and prosper in these environments. An educated work force and a highly livable city are usually tied into a strong economy and significant business growth.

As a Canadian I am proud of the fact that Canada is the land of opportunity. Yes it may have cold weather, 15% of the population that speaks French, higher personal and business taxes, the HST (sales taxes) and higher municipal taxes, but now Canada should have no inferiority complex on both the world stage and in the business world.

Lowering our national debt and continuing to provide lower corporate taxes, rebuilding our education system and ensuring a high standard of living will ensure that Canada is a good place to invest and build a business. These are the things that hopefully we can teach the world. Combine that with mutual respect for our fellow humans throughout the planet and you have a winning formula for business success.

For more information on the study and to register free for additional information checkout at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Kensel Tracy is The Marketing Coach and Senior Partner with The Corporate Coachworkz Inc. and a Senior Consultant with the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing in Ottawa. He is also the President of Business Over Breakfast Clubs now opening in every city in North America. If you have something of interest he can be contacted at