Review the Business Climate

How it's done

The business climate is the general economic environment that local businesses operate in. Reviewing and understanding the local business climate provides valuable insights about the economy, costs, risks, and incentives that may impact the success of your business. This activity will guide you to better understand the business climate in Olds and help you answer the following fundamental questions.

What is the business climate in Olds?

We have compiled the most important aspects of Olds’s business climate as an interactive dashboard below. This dashboard provides valuable economic, resident, household, dwelling and development indicators that may influence the success of your business.

Save Image
Download Data


Save Image
Download Data
Save Image
Download Data

Resident Indicator Population Growth Chart

Save Image
Save Image
Download Data

Save Image
Download Data
Save Image
Download Data
Save Image
Download Data


Save Image
Download Data
Save Image
Download Data
Save Image
Download Data

Save Image
Download Data
Save Image
Download Data

What costs and assistance should I know about?

Whether you have a new or existing business it is critical to be aware of costs, incentives and grants that impact your business. This dashboard provides you with a snapshot of the major costs of conducting business in Olds and assistance available to Olds businesses.

Alberta has one of the most competitive tax environments in North America, and is the only province that does not have a provincial retail sales tax. Alberta has no provincial capital or payroll taxes, and the Town of Olds has no local business tax.

Starting January 1, 2017, the small business tax rate in Alberta was cut from 3% to 2% - giving Alberta the second lowest small business tax rate in the country, tied with Saskatchewan. The Alberta government also offers additional tax credits to encourage capital investment into a wide variety of sectors.

Alberta Investor Tax Credit (AITC)

Capital Investment Tax Credit (CITC)

Specific information on Assessments and Tax in Olds can be found on the Town of Olds Property Tax web page by clicking here

Want to compare the mill rate between communities click here

Off-site Levies

The Town of Olds facilitates growth of the community through off-site transportation, water, sanitary, and storm water infrastructure that meet the needs of development, and accompanying charges that are fair and equitable, comply with legislative and regulatory requirements, and recover the full cost of the infrastructure in order to ensure a financially sustainable community.

To date, the Town of Olds has established various levies, development charges, and agreements to help fund off-site infrastructure costs. The establishment of new harmonized off-site levy methodology provides the Town with:

  • A repeatable process;
  • Rate continuity;
  • Insight into the cost of infrastructure required to support development;
  • The grants and other contributions that may be anticipated in defraying infrastructure costs; and
  • Infrastructure cost assignment to benefiting parties.
Development Charges

For the most up-to-date information on the development fee schedule click here.

Franchise Fees

Municipalities provide utility providers with access to Town land on which to locate utility infrastructure such as pipelines for natural gas or wires for electricity distribution. When utility providers run infrastructure on privately owned land, they have to pay rent. It is the same for publicly owned infrastructure. Utility providers are granted exclusive right to provide a utility service within a municipality. In other words, they are given an exclusive franchise to provide a particular utility service. Franchise agreements are common in the public utility sector, particularly with respect to the delivery of electricity and gas. Charges for public land and conditions for use of public land are documented in franchise agreements and the charges are referred to as franchise fees. The fees compensate the Town for direct costs, restrictions on planning and development due to utility rights of way, as well as inherent risks related to utility access.


The Mountain View Regional Water Services Commission owns and operates the Anthony Henday Water Treatment Plant, which is situated on the banks of the Red Deer River northwest of Innisfail. For more information about the Mountain View Regional Water Services Commission click here

Waste Water

The South Red Deer Regional Wastewater Commission operates a regional wastewater transmission system which brings untreated wastewater from its 6 Member municipalities to the City of Red Deer sewage facilities for treatment and disposal. For further information on the South Red Deer Regional Wastewater commission click here

For more information about water and sewer utility rates in the Town of Olds click here

Commercial Solid Waste & Recycling

Commercial solid waste and recycling is provided by competitive businesses in the area.

Solid Waste and composting facilities are managed by Mountain View Regional Waste Commission. For more information click here


Alberta’s retail utility market is competitive. Natural gas, green energy and electricity can be purchased locally from Mountain View Power which is community owned or one of many other retailers. For example, the City of Calgary owns and operates Enmax and the City of Edmonton owns and operates Epcor. Like Mountain View Power these service providers can provide service across the province. Regardless of who you purchase the retail commodity from, electricity distribution is maintained by Fortis and natural gas distribution by Atco Gas in our area. All services are directly billed by the energy retailer. For more information about energy services in Alberta and a full list of retailers click here

Alberta’s wage and salary rates are competitive with the rest of Canada and with the United States. When total compensation rates are compared, Alberta provides a significant cost advantage compared to the U.S., largely because of publicly funded health care.

Detailed wage and salary information for over 400 occupations in Alberta is available here.

Alberta is one of the most affordable places in Canada to live. Here’s a look at some of the financial benefits of life in Alberta.

Higher incomes

Families in Alberta typically enjoy a higher family income than other parts of Canada. Median total single-family household income is $141,754.50. Also, 50.1% of household incomes are equal to or greater than $125,000.

Lower cost of living

Alberta offers many cost-of-living advantages:

  • No provincial health-care premiums.
  • No provincial sales tax (PST). Residents in every other province pay up to 10 per cent in addition to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) paid by all Canadians.
  • Tax rebates and credits are available to further help with your finances.

You can compare how Canadians spend their incomes in major cities here.

Affordable housing

Owning your own home is more affordable in Alberta than in many other Canadian cities. Alberta housing prices are among the lowest when compared to equivalent cities in British Columbia or Ontario.

Every year, people from across Canada and all over the world choose Alberta as an ideal place to work and live. Alberta's high standard of living, diverse and welcoming communities, and beautiful landscapes make it a wonderful place to call home.

Businesses in Alberta benefit from:

No provincial sales tax

No payroll tax

No inventory tax

No machinery and equipment tax

No health care premiums

Free provincial health care insurance

Lower personal income tax rates

The lowest fuel tax among provinces

Small business income tax rate of just 2%

Corporate income tax rate of 12%

The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Alberta was created by government to administer the Workers Compensation Act for the province’s workers and employers. Funded by employers the WCB provides cost-effective disability and liability insurance for work related injury and illness. The WCB compensates workers for lost income and coordinates the health care and other services that may be required to recover from a work-related injury.

Learn More: Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta

Workers Compensation
Average Cost for All Manufacuring (per $100 Payroll) (Per $100 of insurable earnings) $0.24 - $2.94
Average Rate for Office Workers (Per $100 of insurable earnings) $0.13 - $0.25
Maximum Weekly Benefit (90% of maximum insurable earnings $98,700) $1,225.61

Source: WCB rates by sector and industry

The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) is the governing federal body for all legislation related to employment insurance (EI) in Canada. Businesses must deduct employment insurance from an employee’s insurable earnings if that employee is in insurable employment during the year. Insurable employment includes most employment in Canada under a contract of service (employer – employee relationship). There is no age limit for deducting EI premiums.

Learn More: Canada Revenue Agency, Employment Insurance for Employers

Employment Insurance
Taxable Base Annual maximum insurable earnings $51,300.00
Rate % Employer contribution rate 2.282%
Average Among Existing Employers Annual maximum employer contribution $1,170.67

Source: Payworks Payroll Legislation

  • Olds Soft Gels
  • ProAll International Manufacturing Inc.
  • Mountain View Credit Union
  • Olds College
  • Sobeys
  • Olds Encore/Sunrise Village
  • Mountain View Seniors Housing
  • Olds Hospital & Care Centre
  • Thinktank products Inc.
  • B&M Home Hardware
  • Westview Co-op
  • Chinooks Edge School Division
  • Hildebrand Motors
  • Mistras
  • Parkland Pipeline Contractors
  • Plains Midstream
  • Town of Olds
  • Westeel
  • Premier Tech Horticulture Ltd.

How do I use this information?

Having access to business climate statistics and information is one thing, but it's quite another to use data effectively and in a way that will benefit your business. This next section will help you do just that. Learn how to use this information to make better business decisions.

Monitor the local business climate

On-going assessment of the business climate is an essential part of operating a competitive business. In any business climate, there are numerous factors outside your control that will impact your business, both positively and negatively. The health of the economy impacts all businesses, but small businesses usually feel the effect of economic changes faster than big businesses. Improvements in the economy typically provide a rapid increase in new opportunities for small businesses, while an economic downturn can have a significant and prolonged negative impact.

Unfortunately, you can’t influence the economy, but you can monitor the business climate indicators provided above and then take the necessary actions to minimise risks to your business. Staying up to date with the business climate can also help you identify new opportunities that your business can take advantage of.

Know your costs

All industries are unique and incur different types of costs when starting or operating. Understanding these costs is essential when it comes to setting prices, budgeting and planning for growth or downturns. We’ve provided some of the local costs associated with taxes, development and labour that often get overlooked by businesses. There may be other municipal and provincial costs that apply to your business so we encourage you to contact us to find out more.

Where can I learn more about the business climate?

While we are providing you with a range of valuable information about the business climate, the fact is that there's much more available. In this section we provide you with links to other websites that will supplement our information and help to keep your finger on the pulse.

There may also be other municipal and provincial costs that apply to your business so we encourage you to contact us to find out more.

Get this research

Receive a PDF report of this research.

Get Report

Help us help you

Tell us how this page can be more helpful.

Tell us!

Contact us

Town of Olds
Larry Wright
Strategy and Technology Officer
Phone: 403-507-4803, Cell: 403-559-6451
4512-46 Street, Olds, AB, T4H 1R5

Olds Institute for Community & Regional Development/Everything Olds Information & Entrepreneurship Centre
Mitch Thomson
Executive Director
Phone: 587-796-0743, Cell: 403-559-4900
PO Box 4210, Olds, AB, T4H 1P8
#1, 5102 - 51 Street, Olds, AB