Toronto – Driving Business Away

I read today two articles about a survey that was recently completed regarding running a business in Toronto. The first was in the National Post (click here for the full article) and the second was on 680 News (click here for that article). Both had the same attitude – the changes that have been occurring in recent years surrounding legislation about businesses has been driving business owners elsewhere.

Both articles are discussing the cause of businesses moving away from Toronto. The easiest answer is taxes – with property taxes continually on the rise, more and more businesses are seeking cheaper offices. Moving from a downtown Toronto location to Markham or Mississauga would mean a decrease in property tax, but the question becomes, at the expense of what.

Toronto currently is still a large center of commerce, and by moving away from the center, some businesses will find that it impacts their clients. While they may save money on taxes, they are not able to retain all their customers. However, most businesses will find that the difference in location is not that significant. There are a variety of offices that are available on a per use basis (for example, Telsec offers daily and monthly rentals of offices). While these offices do look shared, they can help a business maintain a presence in the downtown core, while not costing the full price of an office (assuming that you aren’t renting every day, but only a few times per month).

The city of Toronto needs to realize that keeping businesses in Toronto can be lucrative to the city in terms of increased tax income, but that to keep businesses here, they need to offer more than merely being a center of commerce. While certain businesses are tightly tied to their location, many are not, and if the city continues to increase taxes at astronomical rates while reducing the services provided in exchange, businesses will be heading quickly for the greener pastures.