Discover the people, geography, economy and other key information about one of the most dynamic and innovative regions in the world.

The basics

What languages are spoken in Ontario? What's our population? Where do people live and what languages are spoken here?

Did you know?

  • Ontario is the second largest province in Canada.
  • Nearly half of the 250,000 people who immigrate to Canada each year choose to live in Ontario.
  • Ontario's multi-skilled workforce exceeds 6 million people and about 68% have post-secondary educations.

Facts and figures


Over 1 million km2 (415,000 miles2).
(That's bigger than France and Spain combined.)

Toronto (province)
Ottawa (national)

Official language
English; with over 200 other languages spoken.

The Canadian dollar (current exchange rate)


Ontario is situated within a day's drive of over 40% of North America's population. This central location, along with its competitive business costs and highly skilled workforce, make it the perfect location for your business expansion into North America.


Our people: 68% educational attainment

Ontario is home to one of the most diverse and multicultural populations in the world. We also have one of the most highly educated populations anywhere.

Educational attainment

  • Ontario's population of 13.8 million people accounts for one-third of the population of Canada.
  • Ontario's multi-skilled workforce exceeds 6 million people. About 68% of Ontario residents between 25 and 64 have completed post-secondary schooling at one of the 20 public universities and 24 colleges located throughout Ontario.

Post-secondary Educational Attainment (%)
Select Markets, 2016 (Age 25-64)
Select markets Post-secondary educational attainment (%)
Ontario 68
Canada 67
Ireland 56
Japan 50
United States 45
United Kingdom 44
Germany 39
France 34
Mexico 16
Note: Not all jurisdictions count apprenticeship as post-secondary education.
Source: OECD, 2016; Statistics Canada, 2017

Population distribution

The South

  • The southern area of Ontario is home to 90% of the population.
  • The largest concentration of people live in urban city centres along the shores of the Great Lakes and along the western shore of Lake Ontario, including Toronto, Hamilton, St. Catharines, and Niagara Falls.

The North

  • Ontario's North is home to a diverse population and an array of businesses operating at the leading edge of the 21st century's global economy.
  • From sophisticated biomass products to mass transit vehicles, from fibre-optic-based call centres to remote-control mining equipment, Northern Ontario's products and services are known around the world.


Top destination for new immigrants

  • Nearly half of the 250,000 people who immigrate to Canada each year choose to live in Ontario

Immigrants and percentage distribution by province of destination, 2011
Province Number of immigrants %
Newfoundland and Labrador 685 0.3
Prince Edward Island 1,738 0.7
Nova Scotia 2,136 0.9
New Brunswick 1,967 0.8
Quebec 51,738 20.8
Ontario 99,458 40.0
Manitoba 15,963 6.4
Saskatchewan 8,955 3.6
Alberta 30,962 12.4
British Columbia 34,785 14.0
Yukon 237 0.1
Northwest Territories 85 0.0
Nunavut 24 0.0
Unknown 14 0.0
Total 248,747 100.0
Source: Statistics Canada

Our diversity and multilingualism

Because Ontario has long been Canada's top destination for new immigrants, about 50% of Ontarians are foreign-born.

  • The primary language in Ontario is English which is spoken by about 97% of Ontario's population. Ontario is also home to a significant French-speaking population.
  • Altogether, more than 200 languages are spoken in Ontario.


Select languages spoken by Ontarians
Languages Population
French 142,6540
Major languages spoken in India 685,193
Major Chinese languages 499,380
Italian 251,330
Spanish 178,335
Portuguese 147,723
German 140,805
Arabic 133,390
Polish 128,440
Russian 93,080
Ontario's population in 2015 was 13.8 million.
Source: Statistics Canada. 2015. National Household Survey (NHS).



Ontario's economy: part of the $20-trillion NAFTA marketplace

Room to grow and a stable economy are key when you're in business. Ontario offers a strong and stable economy with a track record of weathering the worst.

Connections to the U.S. and NAFTA marketplaces

Ontario is home to one of the largest manufacturing sectors in North America, making it one of the top economic leaders on the continent.

Ontario is also part of the $20-trillion NAFTA marketplace, and offers strategic access to one of the wealthiest economies in the world.

$629 billion GDP

Ontario offers your company an economy that is big enough to grow in. Ontario's gross domestic product as a sub-national jurisdiction, $629 billion, is bigger than that of many industrialized countries. It's bigger than Switzerland's or Sweden's.


GDP for Ontario and select OECD countries, 2016 (Billions US$)
Ontario and Select OECD Countries Billions US$
Poland 1055
Netherlands 873
Ontario 629
Switzerland 527
Belgium 526
Sweden 487
Note: Ontario’s GDP at PPP was estimated as a percentage of Canada’s. GDP at PPP for all countries.
Source: Ontario Ministry of Finance with data from Statistics Canada, and OECD, 2017.

Diversification across industries

  • Ontario has a highly diversified economy that includes the full range of advanced manufacturing (i.e., aerospace, auto, medical devices, etc.), business services, renewable energy, life sciences, natural resources, research and development and more.
  • Ontario's economic vitality strengthens companies that operate here. Our economy thrives through its unique combination of resources, manufacturing expertise, exports and a drive for innovation.


Ontario's transportation infrastructure: connected to U.S. and global markets

Connect to the NAFTA marketplace as well as global markets. If your operations depend on logistics and transportation Ontario offers a sophisticated, integrated transportation infrastructure.

Connections can give you the advantage

Ontario enjoys close, rich ties to global markets.

  • Central Ontario is within a day's drive of over 40% of North America's population and is supported by an extensive and efficient network of accessible highway systems.


Road, rail, air and water transportation

Ontario's transportation system includes highways, internationally connected railways with advanced traffic management systems, worldwide cargo aviation systems and extensive inland and international marine shipping facilities

  • Ontario's extensive road infrastructure can make it easy for you to transport your goods over land. We have over 250,000 kilometres of municipal roads, provincial highways, and resource and recreational roads.
  • Ontario has 14 convenient land border crossings into the United States in addition to rail border crossings, ports and airports.
  • Our rail networks help ensure just-in-time deliveries of your goods and provide a convenient way for you and your staff to travel across North America.
  • Ontario has five international airports, including Canada's largest airport, Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International Airport.
  • Goods flow smoothly in and out of Ontario, thanks to marine lines that offer shipping options to ports throughout the Great Lakes and around the world. Ontario ports are served directly by the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System, also known as Hwy H2O, a 3,700-kilometre (2,300-mile) marine highway that runs between Canada and the United States.

Healthcare in Ontario: streamlined and convenient

You'll save on costs and streamline your businesses healthcare and health insurance operations through Ontario's universal healthcare system.

Lower costs

Save on health care. Ontario offers lower health care insurance costs for employers than the U.S. In fact, the average cost to employers in the U.S. is about twice as much as it is in Ontario.

Employer health costs for a typical firm
Country Thousands US$
U.S. 997
Ontario 360
Note: Typical firm defined as having approximately 91 employees.
Source: MMK Consulting, 2016


Services and coverage

In Ontario, your eligible employees can access universal healthcare services under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, which covers the costs of doctor examinations, medical testing, emergency care and hospital care.

  • Ontarians who qualify to participate in Ontario's health care insurance system can access a variety of health care services in their community.
  • Employees eligible to work in Canada and their dependents are eligible for publicly funded health care insurance under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). The Plan provides free basic healthcare services such as doctor or hospital visits.
  • The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) is government-run for the Canadian province of Ontario. OHIP is funded by taxes paid by the residents and businesses of Ontario and by transfer payments from the federal government.


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