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Risk: Infrastructure and Connectivity

Find out how infrastructure and connectivity affect your business risk profile and how Waterloo compares to other North American communities.

There’s a reason everyone knows the mantra “location, location, location.”

In this edition of our “Understand the Risk” series, we’re talking about more than just parking spots. We’re going to dig into Waterloo’s infrastructure and connectivity to see how we compare to other markets when it comes to the best location for your business. Infrastructure and connectivity play a key role in risk reduction – good infrastructure means you can deliver your products on time, receive parts on time and your staff can get where they need to go.

This article is part of our “Understand the Risk” series, which looks at business risk with comparative data. Articles in this series cover natural hazards, infrastructure, economic competitiveness, stability and freedom, talent and workforce and health.

Airports and flight services


*Four airplanes = good; One airplane = bad

Access to air travel isn’t just about getting to your vacation. It’s about moving your people around efficiently and ensuring that your products can reach a global market.

Waterloo benefits from air service provided by the Waterloo Region International Airport (YKF) and Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ).

Waterloo Region International Airport offers daily flights to major Canadian hubs, including Calgary, Halifax, and Vancouver on WestJet and Flair Airlines. Flight options for business and personal travel are growing each year with the airport’s aggressive expansion plan, including a runway extension and terminal expansion. For most international travel, Waterloo businesses are served by Toronto Pearson International Airport, which is one of North America’s leading airports with flights to almost every major global destination. From Waterloo, Toronto Pearson International Airport is only a short 86km/53mi drive.

The chart above provides a comparison between air travel in the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor and some of the largest communities in North America. As you can see, we have the largest number of international destinations and are second for total international passengers. To get the numbers, download our comparative risk profiles.

Highways and rail


As with air travel, highways and rail are about having confidence that your people and products will get where they need to go with minimal delay. In a world of just-in-time delivery – especially as manufacturers reshore their operations – this is particularly important. Finding a location with excellent highway and rail connections minimizes your risk.

Waterloo has multiple access points to Canada’s Highway 401. This superhighway provides direct access to London, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan, to the west and Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal to the east. In addition to those destinations, Highway 401 also has connections to access Buffalo, New York. We’re also served by CN Rail for freight and VIA Rail and GO Transit for passenger service.

The highways and rail network gives Waterloo-based companies same-day access to more than 150 million consumers in some of North America’s largest markets, including New York City, Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

In our research on risk mitigation, comparative data highlighted infrastructure quality – especially our roads – as a strength in Canada. Our country is ahead of the UK, Mexico and Japan on the Road Connectivity Index and the United States, Mexico, China and Japan on the Global Supply Chain Resilience Index.

Want to learn more right now?

We offer in-depth risk profiles for manufacturing and tech.