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TORONTO -- The lure of a red-hot economy has attracted thousands to Calgary and made it the most attractive city in Canada, a new study concludes.


Toronto and Vancouver finished second and third, respectively, in the Conference Board of Canada report to be released this morning. It ranks the country's large metropolitan areas for the first time based on economy, health, society, housing, environment, innovation and education.


Alongside the ranking, the report issues a stark warning: Cash-strapped cities need more money from Ottawa and provincial governments or they will fail in the global competition to attract talent.


"Cities without the ability to act as magnets and attract new people will struggle to stay prosperous," says the report, titled City Magnets: Benchmarking the Attractiveness of Canada's CMAs [census metropolitan areas].


To rank Canada's 27 cities with a population over 100,000 (based on the 2001 census), the board compiled data for each of the seven categories, and assigned explicit weights to each. Under health, for example, it looked at the number of doctors per 100,000 people.


Calgary earned an A or B grade across all seven categories. Even in housing, it received an A because high incomes mean homeowners have fewer affordability problems than those in Vancouver and Toronto, the board found.


The Conference Board also compared Canadian cities to 27 in the United States, again using the seven categories. Cities from all regions of the United States were analyzed, but there was a particular interest in border cities and those with economic ties to Canada. Calgary finished third behind Washington and Austin, Tex., in this aggregate ranking. No other Canadian city ranked in the top 10.


Some of the weakest performers among Canadian cities were in Ontario and Quebec, where a struggling manufacturing sector has caused economic headaches. Thunder Bay, hit hard by no employment growth and very low income growth, ranked at the bottom of the list.


The report called on federal and provincial governments to help cities such as Thunder Bay and Windsor, Ont., recover from a manufacturing downturn. Vancouver, too, needs help addressing its housing needs, especially because the average homeowner devotes 42 per cent of his or her income to mortgage payments - twice as much as the average Calgarian, the board said.


Anne Golden, the board's president and chief executive, said in an interview yesterday that cities don't have the resources to address the economic challenges and social responsibilities facing them.


The credentials of highly educated immigrants are not being recognized, and their failure to achieve earning parity with their Canadian-born colleagues is "a collective failure of business and all levels of government, not the cities' alone," the report states.


Ms. Golden said Canadian cities are competing with others around the world for talent to address a looming labour shortage.


"Our cities have to be able to attract the best and brightest from around the world," she said. "You're seeing cities struggling. You're seeing cities underinfrastructured and underperforming. It is cities competing against cities in a global economy right now."


City rankings


Rankings of metropolitan areas and overall grades from the Conference Board of Canada. The board compares the performance of 27


Canadian cities in seven different categories: economy, innovation, environment, education, health, society and housing. It also then

compared Canadian cities with U.S. cities.


Rankings (bottom of page)


(Courtesy of The Globe & Mail)

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12/12/2007 Calgary est la ville canadienne la plus attirante pour les travailleurs et les investisseurs. C'est ce qu'indique une étude du Conference Board du Canada qui a évalué le pouvoir d'attraction des 27 principales régions métropolitaines du pays.


Toronto arrive au deuxième rang, Vancouver, au troisième, alors qu'Edmonton, Victoria et Ottawa-Gatineau se positionnent du quatrième au sixième rang. La région de Québec figure en 11e position, Sherbrooke en 12e, tandis que Montréal, au 14e rang, a beaucoup de retard à rattraper. Trois-Rivières occupe le 22e rang et Saguenay, le 25e.


Pour cette étude, on a évalué le rendement des villes dans sept catégories différentes: économie, innovation, environnement, éducation, santé, société et logement. Chaque région a obtenu une note pour chacun des indicateurs analysés, ainsi qu'un classement global relativement à son pouvoir d'attraction.


Plusieurs villes de l'Ontario se trouvent dans le bas du tableau. Le secteur manufacturier ne cesse de s'atrophier dans cette province, causant d'importants revers économiques dans la plupart des régions.


En plus de se distinguer de l'ensemble des régions canadiennes, Calgary garde la tête haute lorsque 27 grandes villes américaines sont ajoutées à l'exercice. Grâce à son économie qui tourne à plein régime, à sa robuste croissance de l'emploi et à la jeunesse de sa main-d'oeuvre, Calgary arrive tout juste derrière Washington, au premier rang, et Austin, au deuxième rang.


En général, les villes canadiennes sont à la traîne des américaines par rapport aux indicateurs économiques et au nombre de diplômés universitaires. Toutefois, elles se comparent avantageusement pour leur marché du logement plus abordable, leurs meilleures options en ce qui a trait au trajet domicile-travail, leurs modes de vie plus sains et leurs taux d'encadrement des élèves plus élevés.

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