Head and Regional Office Sector Profile Value Proposition
HEAD AND REGIONAL OFFICES
Halifax is a strategic location for companies looking to establish a head or regional office.
• Home to the majority of Atlantic Canada’s head and regional offices, Halifax is the
largest commercial centre in Atlantic Canada and the logical place for a company to
establish a head or regional office in the region.
• Halifax is the regional headquarters of Canada’s “Big 5” banks as well as several
Fortune 500 companies.
• Halifax is a competitive location for the development of branch offices headquartered
elsewhere – particularly to serve Eastern and Atlantic Canada and in sectors aligned
with the province’s strengths (e.g. defence, marine transportation).
• With one of the largest concentrations of universities, best educated workforces in
North America, and largest workforces in the region, Halifax offers a sustainable,
talented workforce to support business growth.
HEAD AND REGIONAL OFFICES
• Opportunity to do business in, and from, Atlantic
Canada’s regional commercial centre
• Strategic location for international travel,
business, trade and service delivery across
European, North American and Caribbean time
zones (UTC – 04:00)
• Necessary infrastructure and professional
services support for HROs
• Access to a sustainable, talented workforce to
support business growth
• Lower wage costs
• Reliable and Secure telecommunications
• Opportunities for R&D collaboration
• Lower cost of living
• Good work/life balance
HALIFAX OFFERS HEAD
AND REGIONAL OFFICES:
Nova Scotia is home to 78 head offices, most of which are located in Halifax. This is the
highest concentration in Atlantic Canada and the highest number per capita in Eastern Canada.
Major Canadian companies such as Emera, I.M.P Group International and Clearwater Fine
Foods have head offices in Halifax. Several of the world’s largest multinational companies,
as well as several Fortune 500 companies and six of the top 20 companies on the
Financial Post 500, have regional offices in Halifax.
A 2014 study of Head and Regional Offices in Halifax reported that 61 sampled firms fell
predominantly into three sectors:
• Manufacturing-related (61%)
• Knowledge-based (30%)
• Finance, insurance, and real estate (16%)
Collectively, these sectors account for two-thirds of all head and regional offices
surveyed. Two other significant sectors are information and cultural industries (primarily
telecommunications) and construction (primarily heavy and civil).
Within the manufacturing sector, head and regional offices are primarily concentrated
in food and beverage manufacturing, a reflection of the number of seafood product
preparation and packaging companies in the area. As well, computer and electronic
products manufacturing (22%) and transportation equipment manufacturing (17%) play
an important role due to the presence of aerospace, marine, and defence product and
component manufacturers operating in the region.
HEAD AND REGIONAL OFFICES BY MAJOR SECTOR, HALIFAX
Source: Hoovers, InfoCanada,
Greater Halifax Partnership, 2013
& CULTURAL INDUSTRIES8%
ADMINISTRATIVE & SUPPORT, WASTE
MANAGEMENT & REMEDIATION
& REAL ESTATE
3% TRANSPORTATION & WAREHOUSING
3% MINING, QUARRYING & SUPPORT
2% HEALTH CARE & SOCIAL ASSISTANCE
2% RETAIL TRADE
Halifax also has a strong presence in banking and credit unions and serves as home base for the regional
office operations of all five of Canada’s major banks. In addition, Halifax’s HRO sector is strongly represented
by insurance carriers, legal service firms, and computer systems design and related services firms.
The head and regional offices surveyed employ 12,021 people and accounted for approximately 5.3% of
the labour force in the Halifax Region in 2012. More than 80% of those employed fall into four sectors:
• Professional, scientific, and technical services (29%)
• Manufacturing (24%)
• Finance, insurance, and real estate (18%)
• Information and cultural industries (11%)
The presence of head and regional office operations has enabled Halifax
to attract and retain a strong pool of talent at the senior management level.
HEAD AND REGIONAL OFFICES BY
MANUFACTURING SUBSECTORS, HALIFAX
Source: Hoovers, InfoCanada, Greater Halifax Partnership, 2013
33%FOOD & BEVERAGE
Source: Hoovers, InfoCanada, Greater Halifax Partnership, 2013
PROFESSIONAL, SCIENTIFIC & TECHNICAL SERVICES29%
FINANCE, INSURANCE & REAL ESTATE18%
OTHER (MINING, UTILITIES, CONSTRUCTION, RETAIL, HEALKTH CARE)13%
INFORMATION & CULTURAL INDUSTRIES11%
TRANSPORTATION & WAREHOUSING6%
HEAD AND REGIONAL OFFICE EMPLOYMENT BY MAJOR SECTOR, HALIFAX
• Emera Inc
• Bell Aliant Inc
• Clearwater Seafoods Incorporated
• CCL Group
• Irving Shipbuilding Inc
• RBC Financial Group
• Manulife Financial
• Stewart McKelvey
• Jazz Aviation LP
• Boyneclarke LLP
• Royal DSM/Ocean Nutrition Canada Limited
• Admiral Insurance
• Maritime Paper Products
NOTABLE HEAD AND REGIONAL
OFFICES IN HALIFAX
A lot of our engineers come from Dalhousie University and NSCC. The
post-secondary education here is a richness we take advantage of.
President and CEO
Head Offices are precious jewels in our economy. They provide high
paid career development opportunities, job security, earnings, as well
as build supplier communities. Head offices build wealth and growth
that stays here, in Nova Scotia.
Chairman & CEO
Halifax’s airport and international connections were a critical factor as we
determined our new location. As well, a familiar legal structure to its UK
operations and a strong population base were both major selling features.
Frankly, it’s just easy to setup a business here.
Located on North America’s east coast, Halifax is a strategic location for moving goods
in and out of North America, traveling to and from international destinations, or delivering
services across European, North American and Caribbean time zones.
• With our North Atlantic time zone (UTC – 04:00), you can easily do business with
Europe and across North America on the same work day
• Halifax is two hours closer geographically by air to Europe than any other North
American destination, and closer to New York and Boston than it is to any other major
• Halifax has the only US preclearance facility in Atlantic Canada with 24/7 Canada
Customs services, and NEXUS and CANPASS programs for frequent travelers
• The Halifax Gateway offers a winning combination of multi-modal transportation and
logistics assets and services, modern infrastructure, and global reach
Halifax has the necessary infrastructure of financial and legal services to support a
corporate head or regional office as well as an international airport and a variety of hotels
for company personnel flying in and out and for visiting customers.
Halifax is also home to Hibernia Atlantic’s network cable landing station, known as the
Halifax International Exchange Centre, providing fast and secure transmission of data
between commercial North American and European clients via redundant routes through
more than fifty commercial centres.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES TO
SUPPORT HEAD AND REGIONAL OFFICES
COMPETITIVE BUSINESS COSTS
Halifax offers more competitive business costs compared to other cities across North America and
incentives to meet your particular needs.
Inexpensive office space. According to CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), the average rental rate for class-A
office space in downtown Halifax is $18.14/sq. ft., well below that of other major cities across North
America. Comparable office space is more expensive in Washington, Seattle, Boston, Vancouver,
Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.
Competitive business costs. Halifax has significantly lower costs compared to major North
American cities. KPMG ranked Halifax 4th among 110 countries in mature markets in International
Business Cost Competitiveness in 2012
Lower Wage Costs. Salaries in Nova Scotia tend to be lower than in other provinces and US states –
a real competitive advantage for companies located here.
Investment Incentives. Whether starting, relocating or expanding a business, we have incentives to
meet your needs. There are five major incentives offered across industries. Sector speciﬁc incentives
are outlined in the industry proﬁles.
• Nova Scotia Payroll Rebate provides eligible companies with a return
on gross payroll taxes.
• Capital Investment Incentive contributes 20%, up to a maximum of
$1 million, toward the cost of technologically advanced machinery, clean
technology, equipment, software and hardware.
• Workplace Innovation and Productivity Skills Incentive provides
funding to businesses to invest in employee and management skills
development, and improve productivity.
COMPARATIVE COST OF DOING BUSINESS (ACROSS NINETEEN
MANUFACTURING, CORPORATE, IT, AND R&D INDUSTRIES)
80 90 100 110 120
Source: KPMG Competitive Alternatives 2012
CORPORATE INCOME TAX
General Rate 16%
Manufacturing & Processing 16%
Small Business Rate 3.5%
CORPORATE CAPITAL TAX
General Rate Eliminated
Financial Services 4%
Payroll Tax Nil
Source: Nova Scotia Department of Finance
CANADA’S SMART CITY
Halifax has among the highest ratios of educational facilities to
population in North America, with six universities offering a multitude of
undergraduate and graduate programs.
More than 30,000 students are enrolled at these
universities every year, while some 6,805 earn
degrees and certificates. This is in addition to the
10,688 students across Nova Scotia who attend the
Nova Scotia Community College, as well as students
graduating from universities in nearby towns and
provinces. Close to 70% of Halifax’s working age
population has a post-secondary designation.
Halifax also offers a critical mass of public and private
sector scientists doing world-class R&D in various
industries. Its highly-educated workforce, scientific
community, and first-rate R&D tax credits, make
Halifax a prime location for research and innovation.
Fast Facts: One of the largest concentrations in North America producing talent you need.
Bringing temporary foreign workers into the province is straightforward and
fast. The Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) Skilled Worker stream
helps employers hire workers whose skills may be in limited supply in the
province. The stream helps employers recruit and retain immigrant
workers with the required skills for these positions. Work permits
issued from the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration are processed
more quickly, on average, than most other provinces.
TO ATTRACT FOREIGN WORKERS
HALIFAX IS A PLACE WHERE
PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE AND WORK
One of the oldest cities in Canada, Halifax offers a unique blend of history and modern
conveniences. Both cosmopolitan and laid-back, Halifax offers an affordable cost of living,
a variety of cultural and entertainment options, and easy access to outdoor recreation
without the stress and traffic jams of bigger cities (median commute is 6.5 km).
A City of the Future. Halifax ranked 1st for quality of life, and 2nd overall, in FDI
Magazine’s 2010/2011 ranking of Large Cities of the Future across the Americas.
Busy Urban Centre and Beautiful Natural Environment. Halifax’s mix of urban and
rural communities result in a city that balances work and play with city and nature.
Ocean. No matter where you are in Halifax, you are never far from the ocean. The
commercial heart of Halifax is on the water and there is no shortage of beautiful beaches,
scenic coastal villages like Peggy’s Cove, and water sports like sailing, deep-sea fishing
and some of the best winter surfing in the world.
Food and Nightlife. With the second-most bars per capita of any city in Canada and
hundreds of restaurants, Halifax offers a variety of fine-dining and live entertainment
Arts and Culture. From exploring an art gallery or museum, to taking in a symphony,
theatre or festival performance, Halifax’s vibrant arts and culture scene engages and
Affordable living. The average home price in Halifax is $269,000, well below the
national average of $363,643.