Economic Performance and Growth

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada released its final report “…as part of an overall holistic and comprehensive response to the Indian Residential School legacy…”.  The TRC report includes 94 Calls to Action; number 92 is entitled ‘Business and Reconciliation’:

92: We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. This would include, but not be limited to, the following:

i) Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects.

ii) Ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects.

iii) Provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.

Source:  Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
Retrieved from:

Indigenous organizations in Niagara are gathering and sharing information to describe their community. This information is also included in the Work and Employment Sector of this report.

Indigenous Employment and Education in Niagara:

In 2016, the Niagara Regional Native Centre (NRNC) published “Hanyoh: Community Snapshot Employment & Education” in March 2016. This report contains information and local survey results about urban Indigenous employment in Niagara, educational attainment, demographic information (including age, sex, marital status, housing type, heritage/lineage, and municipality), and access to transportation. It also contains advice for both employers seeking to hire and retain Indigenous employees, and Indigenous job-seekers.

Regarding access to transportation, 51.1% of respondents have a valid driver’s license while 48.9% do not. 42.9% have a personal vehicle, while 57.1% do not. 64.7% have reliable transportation to get to work, while 35.3% do not.

Regarding levels of education and access to training, 75.3% of respondents have completed high school, 40% have completed college, 14.3% have completed university, 7.1% have accomplished general education diploma, 4.7% have completed trades training, and 7.1% identify other. 55.2% of respondents are currently seeking training to further their education.

Based upon the sampling from the survey conducted by NRNC, the urban Indigenous employment demographic in the Niagara region is as follows:

Employment Status Aboriginal

Source: Hanyoh: Community Snapshot Employment & Education. Niagara Regional Native Centre. March 2016.
Retrieved from:

The FRIEND Anti-Racism project of the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre (FENFC) focuses on building relationships and breaking down barriers on behalf of Indigenous people. One of those barriers is racism. The goal of The FRIEND Project is to counter negativity with positivity.  Indigenous people are important contributors to the prominence of the Niagara region, and The FRIEND Project tells those stories. The FRIEND Project report (2017) can be downloaded from the FENFC website.

Source:  Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre
Retrieved from:

The following table, ‘Aboriginal identity population by both sexes, total – age, 2016 counts, Canada and census subdivisions, 2016 Census – 25% Sample data’ shows Statistics Canada 2016 Census data.  ‘Aboriginal identity’ refers to whether the person identified with the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. This includes those who are First Nations (North American Indian), Métis or Inuk (Inuit) and/or those who are Registered or Treaty Indians (that is, registered under the Indian Act of Canada), and/or those who have membership in a First Nation or Indian band. Aboriginal peoples of Canada are defined in the Constitution Act, 1982, Section 35 (2) as including the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.

Aboriginal identity population by both sexes, total – age, 2016 counts, Canada and census subdivisions, 2016 Census – 25% Sample data

Aboriginal identity population

Footnote 1 – Only the 2016 counts provided in this table are unadjusted. Therefore, the 2016 Census counts are not based on adjusted counts for the incompletely enumerated Indian reserves and Indian settlements of previous census years, while the percentage change is based on adjusted counts. The growth rates for the Aboriginal identity population for the periods 2011 to 2016 and 2006 to 2016 have been adjusted for incompletely enumerated Indian reserves and Indian settlements, and other changes in reserves to allow for comparison of the different census year periods.

Footnote 2 – ‘Aboriginal identity’ refers to whether the person identified with the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. This includes those who are First Nations (North American Indian), Métis or Inuk (Inuit) and/or those who are Registered or Treaty Indians (that is, registered under the Indian Act of Canada), and/or those who have membership in a First Nation or Indian band. Aboriginal peoples of Canada are defined in the Constitution Act, 1982, Section 35 (2) as including the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census
Retrieved from:

Regional Growth Strategy:

Niagara 2041 is the updated regional growth strategy – “Fostering an Environment for Economic Prosperity”.  The strategy includes 3 parts: How We Grow (land availability, housing, employment), How We Flow (water and wastewater infrastructure, environmental protection), and How We Go (transportation).

Source: Niagara Region
Retrieved from:

Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) point:
In 2016, the Niagara region was formally designated as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) point. The Niagara FTZ Point, the first one established in Ontario, promotes the use of federal, provincial and regional programs that support export development.

Source: Niagara Region
Retrieved from:

The November, 2016 webinar hosted by Niagara Connects and archived on the Niagara Knowledge Exchange (NKE) describes what an FTZ Point is, reviews how it works, and highlights its potential benefits to local business.

Source:  Niagara Region
Retrieved from:

Niagara Region Agri-Food Strategy:

In 2016, Niagara Region released an updated Agri-Food Strategy, guided by the Niagara Agricultural Policy and Action Committee. The strategy mission is to support agri-food prosperity and sustainability, in light of the fact that the industry’s annual economic impact on the regional economy of $2.7 billion and generates or sustains 17,227 jobs.  

The strategy’s vision for the future is: Niagara is home to a broadly based, unique, innovative and progressive agri-food sector, which is a pillar of our economic prosperity and quality of life. Niagara region leads in enabling the development, production and distribution of high quality agri-food products for local and global markets.

The strategy’s 5 elements include: Grow the Cluster; Link Food, Farming and Health; Foster Innovation; Enable the Cluster; Cultivate New Approaches.

Source: Niagara Region
Retrieved from:

This information is also included in the Environment Sector of this report.

Job Growth in Niagara:

Niagara Region Growth Strategy projections show that by 2041, the number of jobs in Niagara will increase by 150,000.  One example of such growth is the new General Electric (GE) Canada facility in Welland.  GE has chosen Welland as the site for a new, multi-modal first-of-its kind facility in Canada, that will initially create 150 jobs in phase one and begin production in early 2018. GE Power’s reciprocating engines, components for compression, mechanical drive, and power generation, and components for GE transportation diesel engines will be manufactured at the facility.

Source:  GE Canada
Retrieved from:

Building an Ultra High-speed fibre optic Internet Network for Niagara:

The South Western Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) initiative is a project to build an ultra high-speed fibre optic Internet network for everyone in Western Ontario and Niagara. The project is being led by a partnership of 16 regional and local municipalities in Southern Ontario.  The project’s aim is to provide access to fibre-optic high-speed Internet access for 3.5 million Ontarians living in rural areas. Niagara Region has signed on as a partner to the SWIFT project.

The SWIFT project will allow the creation of an extensive, cost-effective high-speed Internet network that will serve all of Niagara. This has wide-reaching economic benefits for Niagara, including:

  • Supporting the growth of small businesses in rural areas by expanding access to online and e-commerce tools
  • Securing significant Federal and Provincial investment to improve Niagara’s information infrastructure
  • Better connecting residents in rural communities with online information and services

The scope of the project for Niagara is to participate in a well-developed southwest Ontario initiative to build new fibre optic infrastructure throughout Southwest Ontario and in the Niagara Region. The South West Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) will include optical transport, aggregation, and access connectivity as a basis for providing Metro-Ethernet Forum (MEF) standard of service over a unified platform across participating southwest Ontario municipalities.

SWIFT will be an open access system equitably available to all providers and users in the region. Service providers will build, own, and operate the network and pay modest wholesale and retail residuals to SWIFT in exchange for the upfront two-thirds build cost subsidy they receive from SWIFT and our federal and provincial government partners.  Through this mechanism, it is the objective of SWIFT to connect virtually every resident, farmer, business, and public-sector organization to fibre optics by 2040, thereby contributing to the resurgence of the regional economy.

When the initial build phase of the project is completed in 2020, fibre optic access will be available in about 350 communities across Niagara Region and Southwestern Ontario to a population density as low as four persons per square kilometre.

Source:  Niagara Region and SWIFT Network
Retrieved from: and and

Data and Knowledge in Niagara:

Niagara Connects is facilitating the work of the Data and Knowledge Niagara Reference Group, to describe qualities of data as a valuable resource in the Niagara context.  In 2016, a commonly preferred definition of data for Niagara was developed:

A series of observations, measurements, or facts that can be analyzed and interpreted to create information to support focused planning and decision-making”

Niagara’s Data Ecosystem includes:

  • Living in Niagara Report and Niagara Knowledge Exchange (NKE) – Since 2005, the Niagara Connects Network of people works together to build community capacity to use Niagara-focused evidence (data, information, and knowledge) to inform planning and decision-making. Niagara Connects facilitates the Living in Niagara (LIN) report, a triennial measure of quality of life across the 12 Living in Niagara Sectors, which align with the Social Determinants of Health.  The report and its Sectors are described, built, owned, and strengthened by diverse players in the Niagara-wide community.  The Niagara Knowledge Exchange (NKE) tool, also facilitated by Niagara Connects, dovetails with the LIN report. The NKE supports people gathering and sharing of data, information and knowledge to support evidence-informed planning, collective action, and Niagara-wide innovations. Each month on average, 800 people view 3,000 pages and 50 resources are uploaded to the NKE. People work with Niagara Connects Knowledge Brokers to populate the NKE with relevant, reliable evidence, and to provide opportunities for shared learning such as webinars that highlight Niagara-focused innovations. Webinars attract between 40 and 120 participants, and are viewed in archived format, posted as resources on the NKE, on average 67 times, with a range of from 21 to 235 views.   
  • INCommunities, formerly known as Information Niagara, began operation in 1974 and is one of seven operators in Ontario providing 211, where callers can receive information and referrals to community services in more than 150 languages. INCommunities also offers an online, searchable database of community services at which contains more than 2,700 community records, updated annually.
  • Niagara Community Data Consortium (NCDC), launched in May 2015, offers access to the Canadian Council on Social Development’s (CCSD) Community Data Program, a gateway for municipalities and community sector organizations to access customized tables from Statistics Canada and other providers to monitor and report on social and economic development trends within their communities. For a small annual fee, organizations can access over $1 million worth of data products. The Niagara Workforce Planning Board coordinates local CCSD membership. was launched by Niagara Region in June 2016. This Niagara Open Data Portal provides a variety of openly shared data sets to enable access and use of datasets from various Niagara organizations. As of June 2017, 275 datasets were available on the portal, from 12 organizations, 8 of which are local governments.

In 2016, Niagara Connects engaged 50 diverse data players from 32 organizations in constructing a Data in Niagara Network Map. The map illustrates connections between 293 people from 127 organizations, working in data in Niagara and beyond. It shows a ‘network of networks’ all working on different aspects of data, and poised to connect Niagara-wide.

In April, 2017, Niagara Connects engaged 80 people from 65 organizations working across the 12 Living in Niagara Sectors in completing a Data in Niagara Inventory survey. The goal of the survey was to create a picture of the data continuum in Niagara, to contribute to clearly illustrating how data is currently being used every day by people, organizations, businesses, and networks in Niagara. The top 3 Living in Niagara Sectors represented by survey respondents are: Health & Wellness; Economic Prosperity; and Learning & Education.

Survey response highlights include:

Respondents indicated a willingness to share and access data:

  • 63% can see their org. sharing data for purpose of combining & analyzing data to create new understandings of Niagara
  • 88% can see their organization accessing shared Niagara-wide data
  • 92% currently sharing or using data in their role in their organization

Almost all (97%) of respondents identified benefits of sharing data, with the top 3 benefits being:  

  • Increased understanding of local trends, gaps, opportunities based on accurate, timely information
  • Enable evidence-informed decision-making at system, organizational, service levels
  • Increased collaboration and efficiency between community partners which ultimately leads to less duplication of data collection methods and services delivered.

Respondents also identified barriers to sharing data that currently exist:

  • Privacy, confidentiality, security of data
  • Resources required (time, human resources, technology, skill sets) to contribute to and coordinate shared data
  • Inconsistent definitions, language, tools, platforms

Source:  Niagara Connects

Strategic Locations for Investment in Niagara:  

The Niagara Open Data portal includes a table of “Strategic Locations for Investment”. These locations are part of the Niagara Economic Gateway, mentioned in the Provincial Growth Plan, “Places to Grow”.

Strategic Locations of Investment dataset, Niagara Open Data portal
Highway 406 Economic Gateway
Niagara Falls QEW Business Park
Brock Business Park Revitalization
Niagara Falls Priority Investment Area
Fort Erie Industrial Park
Welland Canal Green Manufacturing & Assembly Zone

Source: Niagara Region. (2016). Strategic Locations for Investment [Data file].
Retrieved from


The Tourism Partnership of Niagara (TPN) is a non-profit industry-led organization whose sub-regional partners include Niagara Falls Tourism, Tourism Niagara-on-the-Lake, City of St. Catharines Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Twenty Valley Tourism Association, and Niagara’s South Coast Tourism Association.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, in 2012:

  • Total visits to Niagara totalled 12.2 million, representing 8.6% of total visits in Ontario
  • Visitor spending in Niagara totalled 1.8 billion
  • Total GDP (direct, indirect, and induced) generated by visitor spending amounted to $1.2 billion, 6.8% of our region’s GDP
  • The total tourism employment impact (direct, indirect, and induced) of visitor spending was 21,600 jobs, accounting for 9.9% of our region’s total employment
  • Total tax revenues (direct, indirect, and induced) from tourism for all levels of government amounted to $657 million. $326 million were federal tax revenues, $272 million were provincial, and $59 million were municipal
  • Ontario residents accounted for the majority of visits and spending (66% of visits, 59% of spending). U.S. visitors accounted for 27% of visits and 28% of expenditures. Visitors from other areas of Canada made up 2% of visits and 5.8% of spending. Overseas visitors accounted for 5% of visits and 7% of spending.
  • Of the Ontario visitors to Niagara, 34% are from the Greater Toronto Area, 18% are from Hamilton, Halton, and Brant, and 18% from York, Durham, and Hills of Headwaters.
  • Of the visitors to Niagara from other areas of Canada (besides Ontario), 46% were from Quebec.
  • Of the U.S. visitors to Niagara, 79% came from border states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York), with 54% from New York.
  • Of the overseas visitors to Niagara, 14% were from the UK, 8% from France, 7% from India, 6% from Germany, 5% from Mainland China, and 5% from Japan.
  • The majority (63%) of visits to Niagara were same-day visits. The average number of nights spent in Niagara was 1.9, which is below Ontario’s average of 3.0.
  • Visitors spent an average of $146 per trip in Niagara. On average, overnight visitors spent 4 times as much as same-day visitors.
  • The largest proportions of expenditures were spent on food and beverages and accommodations.
  • Visitors in Niagara are more likely to visit a casino, theme park, zoo/aquarium, historic site, park, and museum/art gallery compared to visitors in Ontario.
  • Most trips to Niagara are for pleasure, followed by visits to friends and/or relatives.
  • The majority of overnight visits were spent at paid accommodations, such as hotels and motels.
  • Niagara accounts for 3% of Ontario’s tourism related establishments.
  • The largest proportion of trips occur in the summer months. This region’s seasonal pattern is more skewed towards summer compared to the rest of Ontario.

Source: “2012 Tourism Statistics – Region 2”. Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Summer 2014.
Retrieved from:

The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Chamber of Commerce provide a report entitled: Canada’s Top 10 Barriers to Competitiveness in 2016.

Barriers cited include:

  1. Public policies block small companies from becoming bigger
  2. Canada is vulnerable to cyber crime
  3. Canada’s trade agenda—new agreements are just the start
  4. Canadian resources cannot get to world markets
  5. Poor literacy, numeracy and digital skills are limiting productivity in segments of Canada’s workforce
  6. Canada needs a more aggressive and effective innovation strategy
  7. Canada is not ready for climate change
  8. Internal barriers to trade cost Canadians billions and restrict investment
  9. Lack of clarity regarding businesses’ responsibilities to Aboriginal peoples constrains investment
  10. Canada’s brand does not support business competitiveness

Retrieved from:

Niagara Community Observatory (NCO) Policy Briefs:

The NCO is a unit of Brock University. The NCO works in partnership with the Niagara community to foster, produce, and disseminate evidence-based research on current and emerging issues. The NCO has developed policy briefs which span multiple sectors and topics relevant to Niagara. Recent ones include:

  • Moving Niagara Towards a Knowledge Economy (October 2015) highlights the dynamics of knowledge-intensive economies, specifically as it relates to revitalization and growth in small city-regions. This policy brief adds to the body of local research, identifying gaps that continue to exist and aids in planning with regards to moving Niagara further along the continuum towards a knowledge economy.

Source: Niagara Community Observatory. Moving Niagara Towards a Knowledge Economy
Retrieved from:

  • Niagara’s Changing Economic Structure (October 2015) outlines the employment trends in Niagara from 2004 to 2014, illustrating the continuing trend in the decline of the manufacturing sector as a major employer. It highlights the change in the size of businesses operating in Niagara – the number of large employers (200+ workers) is declining, and there is growth in the number of owner-operated and micro-sized businesses (1-4 workers).

Source: Niagara Community Observatory and Niagara Workforce Planning Board. Niagara’s Changing Economic Structure
Retrieved from:

  • Downtown Revitalization in St. Catharines: Building Vibrant Public Spaces (June 2016) reviews the results of a survey of over 300 St. Catharines residents regarding their opinions about the latest infrastructure improvements to the downtown core, including the Meridian Centre, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, and the new Brock campus. While participants were generally positive about the infrastructure projects meant to attract people to the core, they also wished for some smaller initiatives that would make the downtown more welcoming for those already working and living there, such as more seating, more green space, and more free amenities.

Source: Niagara Community Observatory. Downtown Revitalization in St. Catharines: Building Vibrant Public Spaces
Retrieved from:

  • Is There a Skills Gap? Understanding What Niagara Employers are Looking for in Recent Graduates (February, 2017) reviews the results of interviews with 44 Niagara employers. Niagara employers seek job candidates with credentials and the ability to talk about hard and soft skills developed within meaningful educational, work, and life experiences. Overall, employers are satisfied with the credentials, knowledge, and hard skills they are seeing in graduates, but feel that soft skills could be improved.

Source: Niagara Community Observatory. Is There a Skills Gap? Understanding What Niagara Employers are Looking for in Recent Graduates
Retrieved from:

  • Youth Employment in Niagara: Mapping the Opportunities – On November 15, 2017, the Niagara Community Observatory will share information about a policy brief that sheds light on the complex, multifaceted challenges of youth unemployment confronting Niagara.

Source: Niagara Connects. Youth Employment in Niagara: Mapping the Opportunities
Retrieved from:

Starter Company Grant:

Starter Company is a program funded by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Growth, delivered by local Small Business Enterprise Centres. Through Starter Company, current and aspiring entrepreneurs can get one-on-one guidance from an advisor, participate in workshops, seminars, and networking events, and talk with a mentor with small business experience. Grants up to $5,000 are also available through this program.

The Niagara Falls and St. Catharines Small Business Enterprise Centres deliver this program in Niagara.

Source: Ministry of Economic Development and Growth. Small Business: advice, support services, regulations
Retrieved from:

Basic Income Guarantee:

The St. Catharines and District Council of Women and the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network have worked throughout 2016 to raise awareness of the potential benefits of implementing basic guaranteed income. In February 2016, Niagara Regional Council voted to support provincial and federal efforts to develop the Basic Income Guarantee program, which ensures everyone has sufficient income to meet basic needs, regardless of work status.

Source: Niagara Poverty Reduction Network and St. Catharines and District Council of Women
Retrieved from:

This information links closely to Living Wage and Cost of Living in Niagara information included in the Work and Employment Sector of this report.

Number of Businesses in Niagara    

Almost 98% of all businesses in both Niagara and Ontario employ fewer than 99 individuals; this point is highlighted in the Niagara Workforce Planning Board’s Local Labour Market Planning Report 2016 .

Canadian Business Counts, June 2017 show the number of businesses in Niagara. Non-employer* businesses include Independent Workers who are self-employed, as well as businesses that are registered and may not be actively doing business.

Employers (June 2017): 12,390
Non-employers* (December 2016): 26,026
Total businesses: 38,416

Employment Size Range of Businesses with

from 1 to 500+ Employees in the Niagara region  

(June 2017)

Number of employees Number of businesses Per cent
1 to 4 6,280 50.70%
5 to 9 2,576 20.80%
10 to 19 1,704 13.80%
20 to 49 1,186 9.60%
50 to 99 377 3.00%
100 to 199 175 1.40%
200 to 499 68 0.60%
500+: 24 0.20%
TOTAL 12,390


Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Business Counts, June, 2017 Establishment Counts
Retrieved from:

Niagara’s Employment Inventory

In 2016 and 2017, Niagara Region Planning and Development Services conducted surveys of business owners to create an inventory of all area employers.  It is anticipated that creation of a regional employment database can be used to:

  • aid economic development
  • help businesses grow
  • align Niagara Region with the other 6 regions in the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance, in having the necessary data available to include in asset mapping and to create a cohesive database tool for analysing trends and gathering information about food and farming businesses within the Golden Horseshoe (including Niagara, Hamilton, Halton, Peel, York, Durham and Toronto)
  • track geographic movement of certain clusters and types of businesses
  • provide other communities, as well as investors, insight into the development opportunities available within Niagara
  • inform the work of Niagara Region Social Assistance and Employment Opportunities by providing a complete inventory of local employers

In 2016, between May 8 and September 1, the Niagara Employment Inventory team:

  • visited 10,743 visible businesses (not including home-based and rural businesses) in Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and Welland
  • collected the location of over 110,000 jobs, including 71, 899 full-time jobs; and 38,239 part-time jobs
  • of these, the top 5 employment sectors included were: Retail trade (19,084); Health care and social assistance (14,549); Accommodation and food services (13,825); Educational services (13,151); and Manufacturing (9,811)

Source:  Niagara Region
Retrieved from:

Farms in Niagara

The 2016 Census of Agriculture shows there are 1,827 farms covering 218,251 acres in Niagara, with gross farm receipts of over $838 million. These businesses are lead by 2,615 farm operators who are on average 56 years of age.  The following data is provided by Statistics Canada.

Number of Census Farms and Number of Farm Operators, in Ontario by County, 2016
(selected counties and districts including Niagara Region)

Counties & Districts Number of Census Farms Total Operators Farms with one Operator Farms with two or more Operators
Brant 712 990 400 590
Haldimand-Norfolk 2,148 3,040 1,160 1,880
Hamilton 810 1,175 455 720
Niagara 1,827 2,615 1,010 1,605
Southern Ontario 17,003 23,640 9,730 13,910
Waterloo 1,374 1,985 775 1,210
Wellington 2,348 3,455 1,235 2,220
Western Ontario 16,208 23,015 9,250 13,765
Durham 1,323 1,945 750 1,195
Prince Edward 432 660 225 435
Toronto 73 90 55 35
York 712 1,025 435 590
Central Ontario 7,147 10,305 4,170 6,135
Ottawa 1,045 1,485 625 860
Eastern Ontario 7,257 10,620 4,105 6,515
Algoma 280 420 145 275
Rainy River 235 330 145 185
Northern Ontario 1,985 2,890 1,135 1,755
The Province 49,600 70,470 28,390 42,080


Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.

Source: Statistics Canada, Census of Agriculture, 2016.
Retrieved From:

Organizations Contributing to Economic Development in Niagara

Chambers of Commerce in Niagara:

There is an ecosystem of 9 Chamber of Commerce organizations in Niagara. Across the region, they represent just over 4,400 members, up from almost 3,900 members in 2014. Members include a mix of businesses, institutions and non-profit organizations. Some members belong to more than one Chamber.

The Niagara Chamber Partnership includes the Fort Erie, Grimsby, Lincoln, West Lincoln, Niagara Falls, Niagara-On-The –Lake, Port Colborne-Wainfleet, and Welland/Pelham Chambers with a total of over 2,800 members.  The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce, representing almost 1,600 members, grew from the 2006 amalgamation of the former St. Catharines and Thorold chambers.

Chambers of Commerce have a long-standing history in Niagara, with the original chamber in St. Catharines established in 1867, Thorold in 1889, and the Niagara Falls Chamber of Commerce established in 1892.  

Chambers of Commerce in the Niagara region Number of Members


Number of Members


Niagara Chamber Partnership member
Greater Fort Erie Chamber of Commerce 400 400
Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (amalgamation of former St. Catharines and Thorold chambers) 1500 1600
Grimsby & District Chamber of Commerce 250 250
Lincoln Chamber of Commerce 182 182
Niagara Falls Chamber of Commerce 640 700
Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce (est)  200 450
Port Colborne/Wainfleet Chamber of Commerce 200 250
Welland/Pelham Chamber of Commerce 450 500
West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce 100 100
TOTAL 3822 4432 8

Source:  Chamber of Commerce websites in Niagara

Co-operatives in Niagara:

The Niagara Co-op Network Facebook group includes 88 members, and can be found at: The Network reports there is a total of 105 co-operatives in Niagara.

Co-operatives in Niagara by Municipality
Municipality Number of Co-operatives
Fort Erie 8
Grimsby 4
Lincoln 8
Niagara Falls 16
Niagara-on-the-Lake 3
Pelham 3
Port Colborne 3
St. Catharines 40
Thorold 3
Wainfleet 1
Welland 14
West Lincoln 2
Total for Niagara region 105


Source: Niagara Co-op Network
Retrieved from:

Social Enterprise in Niagara:

In 2016, 145 people participated in a Social Enterprise Forum which lead to creation of Social Enterprise Niagara (SEN), a local group of social entrepreneurs, educators, civil servants, and others focused on social entrepreneurship and enterprise training in Niagara. SEN is on a mission to educate, raise awareness, build community, and connect people interested in establishing a social enterprise to the necessary resources. SEN hosts monthly meetups to connect with social entrepreneurs and stakeholders in Niagara.

Source: Social Enterprise Niagara
Retrieved from: and

Municipal Government Organizations Working in Economic Development:

A total of 8 municipal government organizations work in the area of Economic Development* and Prosperity in Niagara:

* Economic development activity for Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Township of Wainfleet and Township of West Lincoln is supported by Niagara Region Economic Development.

Community Futures Development Corporations in Niagara:

There are two federally-funded Community Futures Development Corporations in Niagara.

Post-Secondary education institutions in Niagara:

Post-secondary education, and the presence of post-secondary institutions in our community play an important role in economic development for Niagara. We are fortunate to have both a university and a college in our region of Ontario.  

Niagara College plays three critical roles in developing the local labour force and contributing toward regional economic development, by

  • Producing skilled labour through its delivery of programming to match existing and future demand
  • Providing and supporting access to specialized expertise, resources and equipment to facilitate business development, innovation and technology transfer (e.g. ; )
  • Enhancing the region’s capacity to attract new employers and investment.

Source:  Niagara College

Other Organizations Contributing to Economic Development and Prosperity in Niagara:


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