Future economic development initiatives by the City of Port Colborne will be guided by an economic development strategy that was formally adopted and approved by City Council in April, 2018.

Port Colborne's economic development strategy was the result of many months of collaboration between the City, the business community, and residents who collectively identified opportunities for growth and prosperity that will strengthen Port Colborne's economy.

Port Colborne's economic development strategy builds upon existing efforts by the City's economic development staff in such areas as business retention and expansion and the marketing of Port Colborne as a tourist destination. The strategy's action plans and recommendations will be incorporated into existing initiatives to help bring new investment and growth to Port Colborne's economy. The City looks forward to working with the business community and residents at large in completing this important work.

With financial support being provided by the Province of Ontario's Rural Economic Development program, the economic development strategy initiative was facilitated by the consulting firm of MDB Insight. City councillors, senior staff, stakeholders and the consultants identified priorities and opportunities for retaining, expanding and/or diversifying local key business activities including: fabricated metals manufacturing, distribution and logistics, bio-business/agri-food innovation, food processing, and tourism.

Click here to download the City of Port Colborne’s Economic Development Strategy & Action Plan.

The strategy identifies four priority areas for the City to focus its economic development efforts and includes action plans to help guide the community through the coming years.


Strategic economic development priorities 

 Small independent business

Port Colborne needs to establish a reputation as a charming, small-town community in a broader marketing campaign. Growing investment in the downtown and residential sector are also adding to the ability of the city to sustain growth over time. Costs are a positive. Major concerns with a shrinking and aging population persist though. 

Residential development 

Lower housing costs relative to the rest of southern Ontario and favourable positioning near Lake Erie, strong recreational assets, and the U.S. border support growth in new residents. There is a strong need to create a resident attraction marketing campaign to get the word out about Port Colborne. Opportunities exist for urban core, suburban, and rural developments. 

Industrial development 

Already home to a strong industrial base of businesses, Port Colborne will be severely restricted in its ability to attract new mid to large scale developments without more serviced land. This will also limit the ability of local companies to expand their operations, prompting some to maybe relocate or delay expansion. 

Tourism & destination development

Good tourism assets to build from (beach, lake, and canal in particular) and some important tourism events that draw visitors into the community. Need to better link tourism assets together to create a Port Colborne experience and a compelling reason for the millions of visitors in the Niagara Region to come.

Competitive analysis of industries 

The Competitive Analysis of Industries in the City of Port Colborne identifies opportunities to maximize Port Colborne’s potential for the retention of existing businesses, expansion of established firms, stimulation of entrepreneurial activity and the attraction of new investment opportunities.

The competitive analysis process involved accessing relevant information from secondary sources and supplementing this data with information obtained directly through consultations with industry representative and community leaders.

The report identifies Port Colborne’s unique advantage in the manufacturing sector, highlighting the employment growth manufacturing has experienced here in recent years compared to a decline on the provincial and national level.

Employment in health care and social assistance is also identified as an integral component of Port Colborne’s economy. These two sectors will continue to play important roles in Port Colborne in the future, and should be a source for new employment growth.

The report and analysis will serve as a basis for ongoing business attraction and retention activities.

For more information download the Competitive Analysis of Industries in the City of Port Colborne.

A hard copy of the analysis is available at the Port Colborne Public Library.