People and goods move quickly and seamlessly in and out of Ontario. Companies that do business here have access to a $17 trillion marketplace under the North American Free Trade Agreement, 139 million consumers within a day's drive of southern Ontario, and the Ontario market which has more than 13.4 million people and boasts the largest concentration of the country’s highest income earners. In 2010, Ontario companies exported more than $304 billion worth of products and services, with about 80 per cent of that total destined for the United States.
Our proximity to markets is supported by robust trade infrastructures at the provincial and national levels. In fact, Canada leads the G7 in the World Economic Forum’s Enabling Trade Index, which measures and compares countries’ overall effectiveness in enabling the flow of goods over borders, based on a combination of factors that include market access, border administration, transport and communications infrastructure, and business environment.
How do we ensure the smooth flow of people and products in and out of Ontario? Learn more about the two key factors that make this happen:
Extensive Transportation Systems
Ontario has an up-to-date, integrated transportation infrastructure that includes highways, internationally connected railways with advanced traffic management systems, worldwide cargo aviation systems and extensive inland and international marine shipping facilities. Ontario has 14 convenient land border crossings into the United States in addition to rail border crossings, ports and airports.
Ontario’s extensive road infrastructure makes it easy for businesses to move their goods over land. We have over 250,000 kilometres of municipal roads, provincial highways, and resource and recreational roads. Our highways stretch over 16,500 kilometres and include four-lane highways with advanced traffic management systems that improve efficiency and safety. Each year, about $1.2 trillion worth of goods are transported on Ontario’s highways.
Our rail networks help ensure just-in-time deliveries of your goods and provide a convenient way for you and your staff to travel across North America. Transcontinental railway lines provide freight service across Canada and to the U.S. For passenger travel, VIA Rail provides train service in Ontario and across Canada while Amtrak provides connections to the U.S. The Government of Ontario's GO Transit provides intercity commuter rail and bus services to people in the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding communities.
Ontario has five international airports, including Canada’s largest airport, Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport. Close to 70 carriers fly in and out of Pearson International each year, delivering 32 million passengers to more than 180 destinations worldwide. This important hub provides direct service to 54 U.S. cities and 99 other international cities and has the capacity to process 1.2 million metric tones of cargo annually.
Goods flow smoothly in and out of Ontario, thanks to marine lines that offer shipping options to ports throughout the Great Lakes and around the world. Ontario ports are served directly by the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System – also known as Hwy H2O – a 3,700-kilometre long (2,300 miles) marine highway that runs between Canada and the United States.
Ontario ports handle a wide variety of commodities, including iron, steel, cement, wheat, raw sugar, and corn. While most Seaway traffic travels to and from Canadian and U.S. ports, about 25 per cent are ships to or from international ports, particularly Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
State-of-the-art Telecommunications Infrastructure
Our robust telecommunications networks provide seamless, secure, high speed national and international connections that are efficient, affordable and among the best in the world. Ontario firms are leaders in:
- Satellite and space technologies
- Short and long-distance telephone
- Fibre optics and terminal equipment such as private business exchanges and customer premises equipment
Our networks support a nation-wide drive to be well connected. Canada ranks 7th out of 133 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Networked Readiness Index 2009-2010, and is 26th out of 150 countries in the ICT Development Index of the International Telecommunication Union.