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2021: A Year of Economic Growth in Greater Sudbury

Local economic growth, diversity and prosperity remains a priority for the City of Greater Sudbury and continues to be supported through local successes in development, entrepreneurship, business and assessment growth in our community.

The new Statistics Canada Census showed Greater Sudbury’s population grew from 161,531 in 2016 to 166,004 in 2021, an increase of 4,473 people or 2.8 per cent. New data also found occupied household counts were up 3.4 per cent from 68,152 in 2016 to 71,467 in 2021.

“The Census data supports the ongoing growth we’ve continued to experience in our community over the last four years,” said Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger “This new data reflects one of the largest increases in population and household growth we’ve seen in years, which tells us our hard work is paying off in getting people to see our community as a great place to live and do business.”

The new Census data supports the overall economic growth experienced in the community through initiatives related to City Council’s Strategic Plan. One such example includes the development of the Affordable Housing Strategy and implementation of policy changes to encourage new housing units in the community. As a result of more people coming to live in the community, increases were experienced in the number of new residential units created over the last few years, increasing 67 per cent from 2019 to 2020 and remaining strong in 2021 with 449 units created.

In line with the trends, building permits continue to contribute to housing opportunities for the growing population with 2020 seeing a record high value of permits overall at $324.2 million and $290.2 million in 2021, which remains one of highest values in northern Ontario.

Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) building permits increased from 2020 with 328 permits issued in 2021 at a value of $151.3 million. Building permit activity in this area contributes to strong employment growth in the community.

Information continues to be made available to developers, investors and the public through a variety of avenues including the newly launched Development Tracking Dashboard, which provides updated data on residential, industrial, commercial and institutional development in the community for 2021 and over the last five years.

In addition to development, other areas contributing to the overall economic growth in our community include:


  • Municipal services have been consolidated to better serve the community through the new one-stop service offer at Tom Davies Square, anticipated to launch in line with the provincial reopening plan. This new streamlined process will create one central area for residents to easily access municipal services including an area specific to building, planning and development.

Policy Changes

  • Several policies and programs have been implemented in recent years with a focus on creating housing opportunities. The Affordable Housing Strategy and several Community Improvement Plans (CIP) provide grants and other financial incentives for residential developments that meet certain affordability and locational criteria.
  • The Nodes and Corridors Strategy prioritizes investment and intensification within the City’s strategic core areas and on its major corridors. Recent amendments to the Official Plan and Zoning By-law help to create more mixed uses and housing options on Lasalle Boulevard, with additional areas to follow.
  • Recent amendments to the Zoning By-law encourage housing development through the introduction of secondary unit policies and changes to residential parking requirements. In addition, multi-residential buildings, retirement homes and long-term care facilities were added as permitted uses in the Shopping Centre Commercial Zone to increase opportunities for related development.

Business support

  • Through support from services offered the City’s Regional Business Centre, there were 33 new businesses started in 2021 and five business expansions, for a total of 45 jobs created, which shows an increase of five more jobs than those created in 2020.
  • The Regional Business Centre’s Downtown Business Incubator, known as the Innovation Quarters, is nearing its official launch and is being developed in partnership with NORCAT and the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce. The program will support early stage, innovative, high growth business potential start-ups across various industries and anticipates supporting 30 graduating companies for a total of 60 job created over the next several years.

Film and Television

  • The film and television sector continues to be an economic driver for the community with more than $11 million in local spending in 2021 resulting from 10 productions, 356 days of filming and with more than half (53 per cent) of the crew local to the community.

Immigration initiatives

  • Newcomers to Greater Sudbury increased through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot. In 2021, the program recommended 84 individuals to apply for permanent residency. When including family members of these individuals, there were a total of 215 newcomers to our community through the program.

“I thank City Council and staff for their ongoing commitment to ensuring our community remains resilient and competitive while positioning Greater Sudbury as a place people want to live, work and do businesses,” said Ed Archer, Chief Administrative Officer at the City of Greater Sudbury. “We continue to find innovative ways to adapt our policies and make process improvements that positively affect the overall economic growth of our community.”

Those interested in learning more about how Greater Sudbury’s economic growth in 2021, can visit Economic Bulletin page. Related information will be shared and reported on quarterly in 2022.