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 Cochrane and help you answer the following fundamental questions.

  1. WHAT is the business climate in Cochrane?
  2. WHAT costs and assistance should I know about?
  3. HOW do I use this information?

What is the business climate in Cochrane?

We have compiled the most important aspects of Cochrane’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.






Median Age





Average Household Size


Household Size Distribution


Household Type






Dwelling Type


Dwelling Construction Period


Home Ownership





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 a business in Cochrane and assistance available to Cochrane businesses.

No business tax

There is no business tax in Cochrane, but businesses do pay tax on the property they own. The taxation year runs from January to December. Annual tax notices are mailed at the end of May while payment is due by the end of June. More information can be found here.

Property tax

The taxation year runs from January to December. Tax rates will be updated each year in May once the tax bylaws approved by Town Council. View Cochrane’s current tax rates here.

Off-site levies are charged for the purpose of reimbursing the Town for the capital costs associated with new developments where subdivision of land is required. More information on Cochrane’s off-site levies can be found here.

If you have questions or want to know more about the new rate structure, please contact us on 403-851-2500.

Cochrane’s wage and salary rates are competitive with the rest of Canada and with the United States. When total compensation rates are compared, Cochrane and Alberta provides even more of a cost advantage compared to the U.S., largely because of publicly funded health care. A summary of the average hourly earnings for the Calgary CMA is shown in the table below.

Industry Average hourly wage
rate in 2015
Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction $44.80
Utilities $45.62
Construction $31.12
Manufacturing $23.35
Wholesale Trade $31.99
Retail Trade $20.00
Transportation and Warehousing $30.97
Information and Cultural Industries $28.47
Finance and Insurance $32.69
Real Estate Rental and Leasing $27.27
Professional Scientific and Technical Services $40.66
Administrative and Support $21.97
Health Care and Social Assistance $30.24
Arts Entertainment and Recreation $22.68
Other Services(except Public Admin) $24.25
Public Administration $37.97

Businesses in Cochrane benefit from:

No provincial sales tax

No payroll tax

No inventory tax

No machinery and equipment tax

No health care premiums

Lower personal income tax rates

The lowest fuel tax among provinces

Provincial small business income tax rate of just 2%

Starting Jan. 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.

Provincial corporate income tax rate of 12%

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 (Know your industry). 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.

Make the most of assistance

Getting good advice and adequate financing are two of the most challenging aspects of starting and operating a business. Here’s the good news – the find additional resources activity lists a large number of programs and organizations that can provide the help you need to start, grow and fund your business.

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.

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Contact us

Mike Korman
Manager, Economic Development

Rob Kalinovich
Economic Development Officer

101 Ranche House Rd, Cochrane, AB, T4C 2K8