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The U of L was named the Research University of the Year 2012 in the Undergraduate Category

The University of Lethbridge was the first university in Western Canada to establish a Native American Studies degree program (1975) and department.

 Home Business Key Industries & Sectors Core Industry
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Core Industry

Lethbridge’s economy benefits from the healthy mix of businesses that are anchored to our community. The industry diversity in our city fosters a healthy business environment and also creates potential for future enhancement and development opportunities. The momentum that is built by key organizations within our six identified core industries, contributes to the continued success of many of our businesses. While existing sectors continue to thrive and grow, new and emerging sectors add strength and vitality to business success in the future.

Read more about these core industries and some of the largest employers and award-winning organizations within the city and surrounding area:


Lethbridge has a long history of being an agricultural production, distribution and service centre. Our proximity to producers, markets and water has resulted in the phenomenal growth of some important value added processing facilities. In addition to the current staples – meat, grains, sugar beets, potatoes – new niche products or new global markets for existing products could become the next "big thing." Agriculture is the main industry in southern Alberta and plays an important role in the city’s retail, wholesale and service sectors. Over 120 established processing businesses in southern Alberta produce food and/or feed for local consumption and export. There is great opportunity in this sector for the development of a corrugated cardboard company.

Excellent infrastructure and a well-educated and trainable workforce makes Lethbridge even more attractive to firms in this industry. Lethbridge is home to several key and award-winning companies:

  • Lethbridge Research Centre is one of the largest of Canada’s 19 Agriculture and Agri-food research facilities. The Lethbridge Research Centre has a long history in agricultural research in the region. It is the sector’s largest employer with 625 employees, including 54 research scientists.
  • FritoLay (www.fritolay.com) is the second largest agri-food employer in the region with 300 employees. FritoLay won an Alberta Emerald Environment Award in 2009 for their Performance with Purpose (PwP) initiative. Frito Lay has proven that by reducing energy, water and waste costs by approximately $500,000 annually, they can do the right thing for the environment and see an economic benefit.
  • Maple Leaf Pork (www.mapleleaf.com) is the third largest employer in this sector with 296 employees.
  • McCain Foods (Canada) (www.mccain.ca) has 14 production facilities and 4,000 employees across Canada. The McCain plant just east of Lethbridge is the region’s fourth largest agri-food employer with 275 employees. In 2007 McCain was named one of 50 Best Managed Companies in Canada by the National Post newspaper.
  • Richardson Oilseeds(www.richardson.ca) is the sector’s fifth largest employer with 210 employees. They are also among Canada'a top 50 best managed businesses.
  • Bayer Crop Science (www.bayercropscience.ca) in 2009 was named one of the Top 100 Canadian employers, top ten employers for young people, as one of Canada’s Greenest employers.  

Other key companies include:

  • Maple Leaf Potatoes
  • P & H Milling
  • Black Velvet
  • Green Prairie
  • Lucerne
  • Sakai Spice
  • Sunrise Poultry
  • Sunnyrose Cheese  

Aviation and Aerospace

The Lethbridge County Airport has a significant amount of available land for expanded industrial use. Opportunity exists within this sector for airport development and service enhancement. A current initiative is in place to facilitate the addition of more frequent flights and the addition of other related businesses (hospitality and aircraft maintenance). Key companies already doing business in this sector are:

  • Pratt & Whitney Canada (www.pwc.ca) has plants in Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Alberta. The Lethbridge plant employs 130 and assembles and tests the PT6 helicopter engine. Currently 700 airlines use Pratt & Whitney engines and there are 45,000 PWC engines in use worldwide.
  • Lethbridge County Airport (www.lethcounty.ca) is committed to maintaining the airport as a self-sustaining entity with no County moneys going toward operations or capital improvements. A number of manufacturing plants and air service businesses are currently located at the airport. The Airport Marketing Enhancement Initiative is three year project to bring more business operations to the airport.
  • Integra Air (www.integraair.com) began in 1998 to offer more flexible air service between Lethbridge and Edmonton. As the small airline grew from one 10 seat plane to adding charter flights and service to Fort McMurray. A new service is "Hot Shot" or last minute cargo delivery.  

International Manufacturing Cost Index - Aerospace, Automotive, Metal Components
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Rating index assumes the United States as a baseline of 100%.


Competitive Alternatives: KPMG's Guide to International Business Location, 2012 Edition.

Environmental Products and Services

Wind turbines, solar heating, geothermal technology and biofuels have had a history of development in southern Alberta. While sustainable energy is part of the equation, solutions for other renewable and non-renewable resources like water, forest products, and metals are also required. Partnerships within this sector create opportunity to build on our leadership in providing these solutions. Since 2006, the Southern Alberta Alternative Energy Partnership (SAAEP) has encouraged local growth and development within this sector. With individuals and businesses looking for alternative energy options, there remains a continued demand to expand this industry within our region. The development of wind farms with new transmission capacity is underway and has potential for tremendous expansion and growth. Key companies already engaged in this sector are:

  • Kyoto Fuels Corporation (www.kyotofuels.com) Kyoto Fuels will be commissioning its 66 million litre biodiesel facility in the near future. Biodiesel will improve air quality by reducing emissions and will help mitigate climate change. The biodiesel industry will provide new opportunities to producers and the agriculture industry.
  • EnviroFoam (www.envirofoaminsulation.com) is a closed cell urethane spray foam insulation made from soybean oil and recycled plastic bottles. It uses Zero Ozone Depletion Substance blowing agent. A building insulated and sealed with EnviroFoam will use 50 to 80% less energy. According to the 2003 NRC Survey of Household Energy Use, the average 2000 sq. ft. home can reduce its GHG emissions by 4.1 tonnes, the equivalent of taking 676 SUVs off the road.

Other key companies include:

  • ECB
  • BFuel
  • EnergySmart
  • Wind Energy Companies 

For more information about environmental initiatives in Lethbridge, visit the alternative energy section of our website.

Supply Chain and Logistics

Located at the junction of the CANAMEX corridor expansion (by 2027); there is great opportunity for Lethbridge to become a major logistics or distribution centre. Key industries such as Agri-food processing, have benefited from recent expansion of cold storage facilities and packaging manufacturers. Several companies are already enjoying the accessible, effective transportation routes that are already in place:

  • H & R Transport (www.hrtrans.com) Since it began in 1955, H&R Transport has grown from a company of three to the sector’s largest employer with 927 employees. The company now moves goods across North America. It was named one of 50 Best Managed Canadian Companies in 2006.
  • CP Rail (www.cpr.ca) From the construction of the High Level Bridge or Viaduct in Lethbridge in 1909 to the continued movement of grain and other goods to western coastal sea ports -- CP Rail has had long involvement in southern Alberta. In 2009 CP Rail won best diversity employers.
  • Exel (www.exel.com) supply chain analysis and design and management, Exel has 500 facilities and more than 40,000 employees across Canada, US and Latin America.

Other key companies include:

  • Lethbridge Trucking
  • Versacold
  • JK Trucking
  • Fernie Cartage Ltd.
  • Hi-Way 9 Express Ltd.  


Made in Lethbridge. From specialized trailers to aircraft engines, Lethbridge is home to a range of small to medium sized manufacturers. Oil and gas equipment, and home manufacturers also benefit from cost-effective manufacturing of products and supplies. Automation and robotics, Lean manufacturing and Kaizen practices contribute to the continued success of these businesses and our highly diversified local economy. Heavy manufacturing is a significant industry in Lethbridge, not only in terms of job creation and employment but also in the economic impact it has on the city. A competitive tax structure, excellent proximity to markets and a highly dependable workforce has allowed a diversified manufacturing base to thrive and grow in Lethbridge. Key businesses include:

  • Kawneer(www.kawneer.com) the largest employer in this sector with 295 employees.
  • Charlton and Hill (www.charltonandhill.com) is the second largest employer in this sector with 260 employees. They are family run company and a historical part of the community.
  • Triple M (www.triplemhousing.com) is the third largest employer in this sector with 250 employees.
  • Regent Home Systems Inc. (www.regenthomes.ca) employees 240 people ands is the fourth largest employer in this sector.
  • Southland Trailers (southlandtrailers.com) is the fifth 5th largest employer in this sector with 100 employees.
  • Cummins (westerncanada.cummins.com) was named one of 50 best managed companies in 2004.
  • Meridian Manufacturing (www.meridianmfg.com) Group is the innovator and largest producer of smooth-wall hopper bins with four strategic offices and manufacturing facilities in North America. Meridian is a Platinum member (winners that maintain Best Managed status for a minimum of six consecutive years) of Canada’s 50 best managed companies.

Other key companies include:

  • BCT Structures
  • DA Electric
  • Ducan Industries
  • Flexahopper Plastics Ltd.
  • Haul All
  • Lethbridge Iron Works
  • Ring Containers
  • Varsteel  

International Manufacturing Cost Index - Electronics & Chemicals
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International Manufacturing Cost Index - Aerospace, Automotive, Metal Components
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Rating index assumes the United States as a baseline of 100.0%


Competitive Alternatives: KPMG's Guide to International Business Location, 2014 Edition

Information and Communications Technology

With two post-secondary institutions, Lethbridge is a smart city, with a highly-talented workforce fostering the development of new ideas. Economic Development Lethbridge is facilitating the creation of a Technology Commercialization Centre in collaboration with Western Economic Diversification, the City of Lethbridge and Iunctus Geomatics Corporation. 

The Lethbridge Technology Commercialization Centre (TCC) is a new technology transition facility designed to attract, incubate and develop new and established technology companies to achieve commercialization of products and services. The Centre will have an Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) focus with a specific emphasis in geospatial imaging.  
  • Iunctus Geomatics Corporation (http://www.terraengine.com) Iunctus Geomatics Corp. is the leading supplier of optical satellite imagery in Canada and the operator of the first commercial ground station in Canada. They provide a wide range of geomatic products and services for clients in rapidly growing and high demand areas such as land use planning, sustainable resource management, disaster management, urban planning and flight simulation. 
  • Blue Sky Spectroscopy (www.blueskyspectroscopy.com) is a 100% Canadian-owned company specializing in the development of custom infrared single-pixel and imaging spectrometers and radiometers for remote sensing. They are heavily involved in Canadian space research.
  • Alberta Terrestrial Imaging Center(http://www.imagingcenter.ca/) has 11 employees, including five research scientists, two from the University of Lethbridge, and two carrying out their graduate degrees in remote sensing. ATIC's expertise is in research and development of optical remote sensing, image calibration and validation, and image information extraction from hyperspectral and multispectral data.

International Software Design Cost Index
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Economic Development Lethbridge
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Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada   T1J 2L1

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