A year in review2022 highlightsSector initiatives and impact summary reportEmpowering entrepreneurial ambitionSuccessful applications for funded projectsDigital enhancements & researchPolicy advocacyBuilding Possibility: Trend reportDevelopment and growth updates

Executive summary: Propelling sustainable growth & innovation

Milton’s new sector roadmap

Milton Economic Development embarked on a new path forward with the approval and launch of a five-year Economic Development Strategy in early 2022.

This fresh approach was developed through in-depth research, stakeholder engagement, market analysis and reflects the post-pandemic realities of Milton’s market.

The work completed from this strategy in 2022 included initiatives to not only support continued recovery of Milton’s hardest hit sectors, but maintain a future-focused growth strategy that will assist in attracting new investment within Milton’s key target sectors.

Driving growth & business innovation

Since the pandemic, the Economic Development team has been quick to evolve with the changing needs of the business community. In 2022, the team developed new approaches to their Business Retention and Expansion activities, delivering on the creation of a work plan that responds to immediate needs while also helps to create stronger long-term connections with the business community.

Significant investments were made in supporting the local small business community as well, with economic development leading Milton’s Seasonal Patio Program and with the help of successful federal funding applications the division secured once again through the Digital Main Street Program.

Proactive lead generation

Another successful round of Federal funding was also secured in 2022 from the CanExport Community Fund. The Economic Development team was able to make significant progress on enhancing key digital investment attraction tools, such as Milton’s recently launched Data Centre that will streamline and enhance customer service through targeted lead generation campaigns.

2022 also saw a welcome return in the pace of proactive outreach from investment brokers, site selectors and businesses looking to expand or relocate in Milton. The activity and inquiry levels seen in 2022 across Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) uses were very comparable to pre-pandemic years. This was partially due to the sheer volume of development the economic development team has helped to support, which continues to create new opportunities and inventory for prospective industrial lease users in Milton.

With the Economic Development team investing significant resources and energy in promoting, educating and supporting ICI development across Milton’s four growth areas (Derry Green, Milton Education Village (MEV), Milton Transit Station Area (MTSA), Trafalgar & Agerton) – the levels of these activities and volume of these inquiries is only set to increase over the next five years.

The last year has been one of continuous improvement and increasing momentum as the team launches into the work of Milton’s new economic development strategy. The subsequent pages of this report will delve further into key initiatives, highlights and trends defining Economic Development’s work in 2022.

A year-in-review: Recovery, research & planning

Milton’s Economic Recovery Action Plan

Through significant progress has been made to move past the challenges thrust on businesses during the height of the pandemic, recovery initiatives and business support was still a key area of focus throughout 2022.

Economic Recovery Action Plan

                  Phase 1                                                           Phase 2                                                        Phase 3


Economic Recovery Action Plan – Activities in 2022

  • Continued to develop and maintain a virtual business support centre on Milton’s website and through one-on-one interactions with local businesses to support access to changing business recovery resources and information.
  • Developed and led ongoing business recovery initiatives to assist the hardest hit small business and retail sectors (Temporary Patio Program, Digital Main Street: Service Squad).
  • Participated in outreach, research and advocacy in partnership with all levels of government on behalf of businesses for additional programming, funding and initiatives that support long-term recovery based on local needs.

2022 highlights

Approval of Milton’s new Five Year Economic Development Strategy

With a new Economic Development Strategy approved by Council in February 2022, Milton Economic Development set to work, implementing action items in accordance with newly identified values and guiding principles.

The Strategy takes a new sector-focused approach in an effort to support supply chain gaps and opportunities for existing local businesses, position ourselves as an innovation hub, and build a complete community that is competitive and desirable to industry and talent alike. With an emphasis on deepening relationships with key community partners, Milton Economic Development work continues to fuel growth and enhance our community as a place to do business.

Work was undertaken to push forward objectives under each of Milton’s four strategic Economic Development goals.

Review Milton’s new Economic Development Strategy.

Impact in numbers

  • Council approval of new 5-year Economic Development Strategy.
  • Reopened the MEV Innovation Centre to tenants and events.
  • Successfully secured two federal grant, used towards implementing a third round of the successful Digital Main Street Program and hiring a temporary staff person to support key marketing and research deliverables within the 5-Year Economic Development strategy.
  • Hired and led the Town’s Digital Service Squad to assist 660 small businesses.
  • Brought $80,000 in Transformation Grants funding into the community and directly into the hands of small businesses through the Digital Main Street Program.
  • Supported over 1.5 million square feet in expansion of new Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) development in 2022.
  • Milton has a historical five-year rolling average of 1.5 million sq. ft. of industrial, commercial, and institutional development. The non-residential total weighted assessment is 21%, which helps to create a balanced and diversified tax base to support Milton’s revenue.
  • Supported the ongoing and streamlined development process for 9,827,899 sq. ft. of industrial development- either newly constructed or now proposed for Derry Green Corporate Business Park.

Sector initiatives, events & impact summary report

Launch of Net Zero Event Series

A renewed appetite for in-person connections and networking opportunities was evident in 2022. In alignment with Milton’s target sector work, staff led a highly successful Road to Net Zero event for industry leadership. This collision-style event, hosted by Milton Economic Development on November 30th, brought together over 80 senior executives including some of Milton’s largest industry leaders within the advanced manufacturing, green innovation, and professional services sectors to discuss strategies and new technologies for reducing their environmental impact.

Those who attended were eager to network and build connections. Economic Development staff assisted in connecting attendees during and post event, which have resulted in building business partnerships, funding applications, research project partnerships and local sales. A linktree platform was designed to allow digital connections between attendees, event booth representatives, and keynote speakers post-event. In addition, all responses to a survey sent out to showcase participants stated that they made anywhere from 3-10 business connections directly beneficial to their work from this single event. The survey noted that all were also able to achieve follow up conversations with their leads, with 2/3 reporting sales / sign-ups or transactions as a result of the event. Economic Development staff continue to be active participants in growing relationships and partnerships that formed as a result of this event by providing resources, making connections and seeking additional opportunities for collaboration. Overall, the Road to Net Zero was a huge department success and highlight for supporting the growth of Milton’s key sectors!

Supply-chain working group

The Transportation and Logistics sector has a strong base in the Town of Milton, representing 10% of all businesses in Milton and 11% of all jobs. This hub of Transportation and Logistics businesses support the continuous growth of other key sectors in the Town, particularly advanced manufacturing, and thus are an essential part of the Town’s growing economy.

The development of the Supply Chain Working Group is a local extension of the Milton Chamber’s Regional Supply Chain Council, which focuses on challenges that the sector is facing, along with information sharing and networking. Town of Milton, in partnership with the Milton Chamber of Commerce and DSV Global Transport and Logistics hosted a kick-off Supply Chain Milton Chapter Meeting in October of 2022.

“We have a great opportunity here in Milton, to leverage the cluster of supply chain and logistics businesses in the Town to continue to grow and enhance the sector with the support of the Town of Milton and the Milton Chamber of Commerce.”

-Martin Roos, Chapter Chair and Managing Director of DSV Canada.

The success of the 2022 pilot meeting has confirmed continuation of bi-annually meetings to discuss burning topics in the Supply Chain and Logistics industry.

Leading Milton’s Temporary Patio Program through third successful season

The Temporary Patio Program started in June 2020 to support restaurants recover and adhere to public health guidelines. The success of the program led to Milton Council supporting another season in 2021. The participating restaurants reported an increase in annual revenue that aided in their economic recovery and increased local employment opportunities at the end of the 2021 season. The success of the first two seasons enabled Council to support a return of the program in 2022 to permit interested restaurants to set up patio dining on sidewalks, on-street parking spaces and on private property within parking spaces and walkways.  

There was a decline in the number of businesses participating in the program in the 2022 season fuelled by industry wide labour shortages. Nationally, the restaurant industry is short 170,000 workers. Milton restaurants are not immune to this and as a result 60% of the restaurants that participated in the 2021 season had to opt out of the program for 2022. 100% of the restaurants that were unable to participate in the 2022 program wanted the program to continue so they could participate when the labour market has recovered.

For the 2022 season, 12 applications were received with a nice mix of six applications on private property and six applications on public property. The applications for patios on public property were required to modify their site plans to comply with Ontario Traffic Council’s guidelines, which provide best practices as well as recommended set-ups for patios requiring the use of on-street parking spaces. Staff continued offering concierge level support to all applicants and additional support was provided for applicants that were required to modify their site plans. Staff focused on educating applicants, providing access to resource and creating opportunities for collaboration to reduce expenses for applicants. The 2022 season concluded with 100% of participating restaurants requesting the program continue in 2023 to assist in their economic recovery.

Laurier student UX study

As Wilfrid Laurier University continues its efforts to establish the Laurier Milton Campus, opportunities are being explored to leverage the connection between the University and the local community in improving services. In 2022, Milton was among the organizations selected to participate in Laurier’s User Experience Design Program. The project team, composed of students in a capstone course, undertook an evaluation of the temporary patio program and proposed improvements that could potentially inform the development of a permanent program. The project team employed a user-centered approach that involved reviewing the program’s website and application process, as well as soliciting feedback from applicants and staff. By prioritizing the user perspective, the team aimed to ensure that the program is responsive to the needs of its users.

Empowering entrepreneurial ambition

One of the six guiding principles in Milton’s new Economic Development Strategy highlights the need to nurture a culture of innovation in Milton’s thriving entrepreneurial community. The work completed in 2022 focused on re-igniting and creating new partnerships to ensure Milton’s entrepreneurs have access to programs and services that help start and scale businesses.

Collaborative Partners in 2022 included:


With nearly 70% of businesses in Milton being classified as a micro-business, meaning they have fewer than five employees, there is a need for a strong supportive ecosystem. Smaller organizations lack the resources, networks and support systems of larger corporations creating an opportunity for Milton Economic Development  to implement initiatives, services and programs that can help smaller businesses thrive and grow. In 2022, the initiatives, services and programs included the MEV Innovation Centre, Digital Main Street and the Temporary Patio Program. 

MEV Innovation Centre

The MEV Innovation Centre is a strategic initiative designed to create a collaborative and connected ecosystem for entrepreneurs to thrive. By providing social capital, resources and opportunities, the centre empowers entrepreneurs to build strong businesses and make a positive impact on the local economy. In 2022, Ecosystem Informaticcs  Inc. (ESI), a green innovation company based in Milton specializing in air quality management solutions joined the centre as a company in residence. As a result of joining the centre, ESI was able to take advantage of its resources by participating in workshops and increasing their networking opportunities, resulting in valuable relationships that will be leveraged as they scale. The MEV Innovation Centre is committed to continuing this works and fostering a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Successful applications for funded projects

Digital Main Street

The Town of Milton Economic Development team launched a third round of Digital Service Squad (DSS) in July 2022 to offer support and guidance for local small businesses who were looking for assistance with their digital transformation. Digital Main Street provides support in three ways, through the Digital Service Squad (DSS) – experts who provide guidance on increasing your online presence, Grant funding and the ShopHERE program. Over 660 of Milton’s small business owners have inquired about some facet of the Digital Main Street program. 

Digital Main Street - Milton by the Numbers



Total # of inquiries



Total hours of support provided by DSS



DTG Grant approvals




DMS Home-based Business Support 2022

Home based


Total # of inquiries



ShopHERE applications



Digital Service Squad

The Digital Service Squad (DSS) helps small businesses receive targeted support to get started or grow their digital presence. Milton’s squad relaunched in July 2022 and by the end of the year assisted 155 small businesses. Over 980 hours of support were delivered to small businesses in the less than six months. On average each business received 6.35 hours of dedicated support. In October, the Milton DSS hosted a series of workshops that provided over 30 small business owners with invaluable information and actionable resources to boost their online presence. Another round of the Digital Marketing Workshops is scheduled for the week of January 23, 2023.

Digital Transformation Grant (DTG 4.0)

The Digital Transformation Grant (DTG 4.0) provides $2,500 to use towards hardware, web platforms, digital advertising, digital tools or other areas that would improve a business’s online presence. Small businesses meeting eligibility criteria were contacted and assistance was provided in applying for the Digital Transformation Grant (DTG 4.0). Out of the 32 eligible applicants, 100% received funding, for a total of $80K in funding for Milton small businesses in 2022. Combined with 2021 (DTG 3.0 funding) for a total of $125K in just over one year. 

CanExport 2022 – Funded Research Project through Community Investment Fund

Economic Development division was successful in a CanExport grant application, with the investment directly supported the hiring one new temporary staff resource to build essential internal capacity within Milton’s Economic Development team allowing Milton to move forward immediately with the implementation of a number of special projects related to Investment Readiness.

This grant contributed to the following activities in 2022:

  • Development of new marketing plan to further drive the marketing efforts required of the new economic development strategic plan.
  • Launch of Milton’s New Data Centre, including sector profile and site selection tool.
  • Salesforce pilot project support to ensure all data collected from lead generation activities are tracked, including timely follow-up and aftercare.
  • Expanded Milton’s FDI network and attraction efforts by assisting in Milton’s first collision-style event, as well as building and strengthening relationships with key partners.
  • Analyze and report on key performance metrics and track FDI projects to capitalize on emerging opportunities and support regional FDI partner initiatives.

Digital enhancements & research

Developed new GIS planning tool – Milton’s Data Centre

Milton’s Data Centre Labour Force Heatmap, 2022.

Milton Economic Development recently made an investment in GIS Planning – ZoomProspector, known as Milton’s Data Centre. This powerful GIS platform provides location analysis for site selectors, businesses, community partners, and internal staff to research, analyze, and drill further into Milton-based data.

Features include:

  • Interactive site selection tool displaying available industrial and commercial properties in Milton.
  • Community profile data including Milton demographic, businesses, occupation, labour force, and consumer expenditures with a range of analytics tools to explore.
  • Visualize dynamic and interactive maps, charts, infographics, and reports with the ability to adjust radius, pinpoint a specific neighbourhood, and drive time.
  • Save, share, and download reports, custom maps, property cards, charts and infographics with just a click of a button.

Providing enhanced access to research & key data analysis

Statistics Canada released 2021 Census of Population in seven increments from February – November 2022. Milton Economic Development provided an in-depth analysis of Milton and comparable municipalities. Ensuring Council have early access to the most up to date analysis is an organizational priority and aligns with the Service Innovation focus area within the Council Staff Work Plan (Build and enhance data and information to assist Council and staff in evidence-based decision making).

Policy advocacy

Through regular input and engagement with our local business community, it was identified that a number of policy issues could be supported to improve local business conditions for recovering businesses. These efforts included:

  • Technical Advisory Committee participation for Milton’s new Official Plan.
  • Transportation Technical Advisory Committee/ Metrolinx to advocate for advancement of Milton's integrated transportation needs and priorities.
  • Continue in the support of stronger Local 5G Network Enhancements to Connectivity through Regional Working Group securing pilot projects for Milton neighbourhoods.
  • Providing guidance and informational sessions on Milton’s local growth policies in support of economic resiliency and future growth plans for the regional official plan review (ROPA). Offered expertise and recommendations on the development of longer-term strategy.

Through 2022 the Economic Development team participated in policy advocacy work and represented the Town on a number of local and regional committees, such as:

  • GTA Economic Recovery Alliance Working Group
  • Milton Economic Development Advisory Group
  • Peel Halton Workforce Board
  • Halton Region Tourism & Retail Committee
  • Milton Chamber of Commerce Government Relations Group
  • Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster (AMS) Halton Working Group
  • Auto Mayors Group
  • Halton Digital Access Strategy- Implementation Team
  • Halton Climate Collective
  • Future of Cities Adjudicator

Building Possibility: Trend report

A year-at-a-glance (industrial, commercial, institutional development)

Milton Economic Development plays a vital role in supporting sustainable development and further growth. We work to create a balanced and diversified tax base for capital projects that improve the quality of life in the community.

Non-Residential Development in 2022

Non-residential development


Number of permits issued

1.5 million sq. ft. approx.

Square feet in ICI building permits (2021: 2.1 million) 

$ 108,423,227

Total ICI construction value ( 2021: $315,567,515)


of Milton’s total weighted assessment is non-residential

Source: Town of Milton Building Department & Development Finance Department, 2022

Milton Industrial Market 

Milton industrial market

Industrial vacancy rate


Industrial inventory sq. ft.

23,420,442 sq. ft. (Q4 2022) 21, 518,919 sq. ft. (Q4 2021) 21,144,665 sq. ft. (Q4 2020)

Industrial under construction

3,313,152 sq. ft. (Q4 2022) 1,151,468 sq. ft. (Q4 2021) – 1, 230,956 sq. ft. and 498,450 sq. ft. (Q4 2020)

Average net lease rate/per sq. ft.

$18.11 (Q4 2022) $11.95 (Q4 2021)  $9.08(Q4 2020)

Average asking sale price/per sq. ft.

$344 (Q4 2022) $ 338.90 (Q4 2021) $278.30 (2020)

(Source: CBRE, GTA Industrial Market Report Q4 2022)

Development activities & growth area updates

There continues to be a shift in focus to flexible office space, hybrid work and remote options for employers which continued to have significant impact on Milton’s Office Attraction Strategy in 2022. Milton’s Milton Education Village and Transit Station Area will play an important role in the evolution of suburban office and hybrid work options, as well as local talent retention and future opportunities for business attraction in Milton.

Future office development

The Pandemic has created a significant shift in the way that people work, and thus the need for office space has also changed considerably. Industry is still adapting to a world post-pandemic, however major players in the real estate market such as Cushman and Wakefield and CoStar have issued articles regarding the future of office space. These articles are utilizing words such as “shifting opportunities”, “repositioning” and “repurposing” when discussing the future of existing office space (Cushman and Wakefiled, 2023). Notably, Cushman and Wakefield predict that there will be a significant demand for newer, prestige office space, which can be adapted to the new hybrid work environment, where older office building that do not permit the same flexibility will need to be repurposed. With the Professional, Scientific and Technological Sector highlighted as one of the Town’s key sectors, it will be important to monitor closely how this sector operates going forward, and what that means for the future of office space in Milton.

Industrial development pipeline

Oxford Properties breaks ground on C$825 million business park development in Milton

Milton’s economy remains diverse and strong despite the challenges of the last few years, with a steady pipeline for industrial development in the Derry Green Corporate Business Park and redevelopment opportunities in the 401 Business Park areas.

Economic Development staff, in partnership with Development Planning staff completed an analysis of the Derry Green Business Park in fall 2022 to assess completed, current and up and coming development opportunities and create a prospective development timeline for inventory. Over 5.2 million square feet of development is currently underway in Derry Green with another 1.5 million square feet expected to commence in the next 18-24 months. Uses include: Business Park/ Light Industrial, Business Park/ Service Commercial, Distribution and Manufacturing and developers include: Anatolia, Broccolini, Menkes, Orlando, Oxford and Remington.

Milton saw record demand for Industrial space in 2022, despite limited supply with availability dropping to a low of 0.8% in the North GTA West. It continues to be a tight market despite construction activity with nearly 80% of spaces being secured for lease pre-construction. Both land purchase prices and leasing prices for industrial space have seen steady growth, with the average land purchase price for industrial space (per square foot) sitting at $339, and average asking rent (per square foot) sitting around $16.87. In comparison, Oakville and Burlington market rent is $16.43 per square foot and purchase price per square foot is $316 - while the vacancy rates sit slightly higher at 1.1%.

In 2022, Milton continued to surpass its regional neighbours with higher real-estate rates but saw no drop in demand confirming the high desirability for Milton’s location within the GTA-west market.

Derry Green Tenants

  • DSV ­– North American Head Office – Global Transportation and Logistics Facility
  • Edgewell Personal Care, ULC – Distribution Warehouse Facility
  • Lululemon – Distribution Warehouse Facility
  • Princess Auto Distribution Warehouse (Relocating to expand to larger facility)
  • 511 Food Service
  • ROCKWOOL (Additional facility and further expansion of existing assets in Milton)
  • General Mills
  • Lowes

Milton Education Village update

A number of steps have been taken to advance the development of the Milton Education Village throughout 2022.

Schlegel Villages

Schlegel Villages has commenced their land development with a view of completing constructing on the first phase of their long term care facility in late 2023/24. This will bring much needed additional long-term care beds into the provinces healthcare system. The Schlegel Villages space will also include experiential learning space in partnership with Conestoga College. This will support the development of future healthcare professionals and create a seamless pathway from learning to employment.

Wilfrid Laurier University

The Town of Milton supported a Regional Official Plan Amendment which supports Wilfrid Laurier’s campus design concept. In order to establish a world class storm water management research facility, land outside of the existing Ministerial Zoning Order boundary was required to be brought into the overall planning concept.

This Regional Official Plan Amendment was considered and approved by Halton Regional Council in June 2022 and has allowed Laurier to move forward with finalizing its campus masterplan concept.

Laurier have begun to share its master plan concept via its website and is engaged in planning its academic program delivery and the first phase of its development on the MEV.

Conestoga College

Conestoga College have expedited their timeline for entering the Milton post-secondary market place through the purchase of a facility in the 401 Business Park area of Milton. Conestoga made a public announcement in the fall of 2022 that they are developing their newly purchased Parkhill building into an interim campus space from which they will offer a range of academic programming. This is currently under redevelopment with a plans to open in early 2024.

Concurrently, Conestoga are in the process of developing their own campus master plan for the MEV and have publically announced their first intended build would be a 7/8 floor building which they plan to operate in 2027/28.

Innovation Collective

Milton Economic Development partnered with key innovation leads from Conestoga College, Wilfrid Laurier University, Haltech and Halton Region to create the Innovation Collective in 2021, formally committing to a project that could lead to a new, cutting-edge Town-University-College-Innovation Hub, centrally-located within Milton.

With this agreement in place, the Innovation Collective partners kicked off 2022 tackling the development of a strategy, seeking opportunities for Provincial and Federal funding, and beginning the creation of a unique multi-faceted offering in Milton to enhance regional innovation, business acceleration, local entrepreneurial supports and academic excellence.

To assist the Collective in this work, the Economic Development brought on a consultant from the Planning Group to facilitate the development of an action plan to guide the groups’ direction and activities over the next several years.