Energizing Canada's Urban 'Magnets'

A new report ranking Canada's cities in terms of their ability to attract skilled workers finds that looming demographic challenges and infrastructure deficits will require urgent attention from higher levels of government.

"[T]he Conference Board of Canada report [titled City Magnets: Benchmarking the Attractiveness of Canada's CMAs (census metropolitan areas)]...ranks the country's large metropolitan areas for the first time based on economy, health, society, housing, environment, innovation and education."

"To rank Canada's 27 cities with a population over 100,000 (based on the 2001 census), the board compiled data for each of the seven categories, and assigned explicit weights to each. Under health, for example, it looked at the number of doctors per 100,000 people."

"Alongside the ranking, the report issues a stark warning: Cash-strapped cities need more money from Ottawa and provincial governments or they will fail in the global competition to attract talent."

"The Conference Board also compared Canadian cities to 27 in the United States, again using the seven categories. Cities from all regions of the United States were analyzed, but there was a particular interest in border cities and those with economic ties to Canada."

"The report called on federal and provincial governments to help cities such as Thunder Bay and Windsor, Ont., recover from a manufacturing downturn. Vancouver, too, needs help addressing its housing needs, especially because the average homeowner devotes 42 per cent of his or her income to mortgage payments - twice as much as the average Calgarian, the board said."

"Anne Golden, the board's president and chief executive, said in an interview yesterday that cities don't have the resources to address the economic challenges and social responsibilities facing them."

Full Story: Calgary tops list of Canadian cities

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