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High on head-office list

Winnipeg ranks third in headquarters-per-capita count

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Winnipeg has one of the highest numbers of head offices per capita in Canada but is still a far cry from one of the top headquarters cities in the country, Statistics Canada reports.

In its 2011 Head Office Survey report released Tuesday, the federal agency said Winnipeg had the third-highest number of head offices per 100,000 population (11.9) among the country's eight largest census metropolitan areas (CMAs). Only Calgary, at 17.7, and Toronto, at 12.6, had higher rates.

When it comes to the number of head offices in each city, Winnipeg doesn't fare so well, ranking sixth on the list of eight with 91. Toronto has the most by far, with 734, and Montreal is second with 405.

Manitoba's chief statistician admitted he was a bit surprised at Winnipeg's high per-capita ranking.

"I never thought of us as being third-best," Wilf Falk said in an interview. "So we're holding our own. Not doing too bad, given our size."

Even Winnipeg's sixth-place ranking for number of head offices is nothing to be ashamed of, Falk said.

"There's no way we should (expect to be) competitive with Toronto, Vancouver or even Calgary... "

The survey included head offices of private-sector and Crown corporations. Some companies that have their corporate headquarters here are Great-West Lifeco, Investors Group, James Richardson & Sons Ltd., Manitoba Hydro, New Flyer Industries, Palliser Furniture and Bison Transport.

The Statistics Canada survey found the distribution of head offices in Canada didn't change much from 2010 to 2011 at either the city or provincial level.

Ontario still has bragging rights as the province with the biggest share of head offices, a whopping 40 per cent. Quebec is still second with 20.3 per cent. Manitoba is fifth with 3.1 per cent.

Statistics Canada said Winnipeg's 2011 head-office count included 13 of Canada's top-500 companies, the same number as in 2010. Toronto had the most top-500 company head offices at 204, followed by Montreal with 82.

As for head-office employees, Winnipeg had 6,498 in 2011, including 3,323 working for top-500 companies. That was down slightly from 2010's 6,516. However, the number of top-500 company head-office workers here was up slightly from the previous year, when there were 3,314 .

Because it had the most head offices, Toronto also boasted the most head-office employees in 2011 (71,895) and the most top-500 company head-office workers (46,536).

Nationally, Canada's 2011 head-office count of 2,843 was down 0.8 per cent from 2010's tally of 2,865. However, the number of head-office employees was up, climbing to 219,629 from 217,231.


HERE is how Winnipeg stacked up against Canada's seven other major cities in terms of head offices and head-office employees in 2011 (with the 2010 total in brackets):

City Head offices Employees Offices / 100,000 pop.

Toronto734 (738) 71,895 (72,239)12.6 (12.9)

Montreal405 (407)42,104 (41,678)10.4 (10.5)

Vancouver247 (249)14,458 (14,256)10.2 (10.4)

Calgary224 (227) 29,603 (27,807)17.7 (18.3)

Edmonton124 (126) 5,754 (5,563)10.4 (10.2)

Winnipeg91 (91) 6,498 (6,516)11.9 (12.1)

Ottawa-Gatineau76 (78) 7,064 (7,037)6.0 (6.3)

Quebec59 (59) 6,135 (6,048)7.7 (7.8)

-- source: Statistics Canada

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 27, 2013 B5

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