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Knowledge Creation: A Business District Analysis

Dominated by the presence of the health care and social assistance and educational services sectors, the Knowledge Creation District is critical to the Region’s innovation ecosystem and has nearly half the Corridor’s jobs related to higher education and hospitals.

In Partnership with:

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The Knowledge Creation District (KCD) is dominated by the presence of the health care and social assistance and educational services sectors. Together these sectors account for approximately 65% of the jobs in the District, supported by the hospitals and post-secondary institutions that serve as key anchors of economic activity in the Region. 

The KCD has a small geographic footprint, yet an outsized influence on the regional economy. Home to anchor institutions such as universities, colleges and teaching hospitals, the District is critical to the Corridor’s innovation ecosystem. A strong post-COVID recovery for the District will require, among other things, a focus on re-establishing Canada as a destination of choice for international students and doubling down on efforts to support the Region’s growth in knowledge and innovation sectors. 

Employment figures for Knowledge Creation

+160,000 jobs (as of 2016)

6,590 businesses (as of 2018)

32km² in geographic size 

41% of employees are able to work remotely

Top 3 sectors by employment share: 

  • Health care and social assistance (44%) 

  • Educational services (22%) 

  • Professional, scientific and technical services (5%)

Challenges and Opportunities for the District

As a home to many of the Corridor’s largest teaching hospitals and leading colleges and universities, the KCD is the epicentre of the Corridor’s innovation ecosystem. Its post-secondary institutions have increasingly relied upon large numbers of international students, who are also a key source of talent for employers in the region. Public transit represents a critical enabler for activity in the KCD but infrastructure investments haven’t kept up with demand and a growing student population. 

Impact of the Pandemic

The KCD’s high concentration of health care workers have been leading the fight against the pandemic and are among those with the highest risk of exposure to the virus. The District was also heavily impacted by the loss of students, who moved en masse to online and hybrid learning, with financial repercussions to post-secondary institutions and economic repercussions to the region as a whole. 

Recovery Post-Pandemic and Future Growth 

Post-secondary institutions, together with government, must work to re-establish Canada as a destination for international students. Governments must continue to support the region’s education and knowledge-based institutions, with an additional emphasis on improving commercialization outcomes. Post-pandemic recovery is also an opportunity to leverage the District’s strengths in life sciences to address future medical challenges and drive the sector’s growth. 

Education and training provided by post-secondary institutions must embrace new forms of teaching and build on the successes of co-op programs and work-integrated learning. 

Dive deep into the Knowledge Creation District

Learn more about the people, jobs, industries and infrastructure that occupies our Knowledge Creation District.
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More Pandemic Recovery & Growth Data

Explore more outcomes from this Board of Trade initiative.

Explore the Other Business Districts

Visit these unique place-based Business Districts and learn what each needs to grow during and after the pandemic.


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Metropolitan Centre

The Metropolitan Centre has been the most dramatically impacted by the pandemic, with two-thirds of its employees having transitioned to working from home.


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Goods Production & Distribution

The essential nature of manufacturing and logistics means it has seen the least amount of economic disruption during the pandemic.


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Services & Mixed Use

The Services and Mixed Use District has a diversity of economic activity that has allowed is to escape major economic disruption during the pandemic.


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Regional Centres

Home to major transit hubs and a high concentration of retail activity, Regional Centres were impacted by the large drop in consumer traffic due to the pandemic.