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 Okotoks and help you answer the following fundamental questions.

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

What is the business climate in Okotoks?

We have compiled the most important aspects of Okotoks’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 Okotoks and assistance available to Okotoks businesses.

Business Tax

The majority of Okotoks businesses do not pay business tax* and are only required to acquire a business license. The annual business license fees start at $140 for Home occupation and for store front/offices start at $185 (level 1 for up to 5 FTE’s). There are 5 levels, with level 5 being the highest rate category (50+ FTE’s) at $480 per year.

*Only professional businesses, such as doctors and lawyers, etc. pay business tax. The business tax rate of .0300 will be applied against each dollar of business assessment shall be levied against all businesses or professions assessed under the provisions of Bylaw 8- 95 of the Town of Okotoks. Not having to pay business tax combined with the Alberta favourable tax environment makes Okotoks an excellent choice for your business.

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Propert Taxes
Residential & FarmLand Non-Residential
General Municipal 0.4066% 0.5774%
Recreation Facilities 0.0400% 0.0568%
Cultural Facilities 0.0105% 0.0149%
Infrastructure Recapitalization 0.0500% 0.0711%
Okotoks Public Library 0.0192% 0.0192%
Westwinds Communities 0.0121% 0.0121%
Foothills School Division 0.2591% 0.368%
Total 0.7975% 1.1199%
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Development applications (residential & non-residential)

A development permit is required for most forms of development within the Town. The Land Use Bylaw outlines the types of development allowed in each land use district and the rules and regulations governing those uses. Not all proposed development requires a development permit. Smaller sheds, fences and decks may not require a development permit. Section 1.2.1 of the Land Use Bylaw outlines developments that do not require a development permit however it is best to confirm with Planning Services whether you need a permit for the development you are considering.

To date, the Town of Sylvan Lake 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:

Building permits issued (residential & non-residential)

A building permit is required for most forms of development within the Town. Considering making some changes to your home, please review the relevant information guidelines to determine whether you will require a building permit for your construction project.

Minimum, median and maximum wage estimates for a range of occupations in the larger Calgary Region are displayed on the Federal Government Job Bank website.

The wages are specific to an occupation and provide information on earnings of workers at the regional level. Wages for most occupations are also provided at the national and provincial level. In Canada, all jobs are associated with one specific occupational grouping which is determined by the National Occupational Classification (NOC).

LEED® Building Incentive Program: The Town of Okotoks viewed the development of several new Town buildings as a fantastic opportunity to set a ‘green’ building precedent in our community and create an incentive / rebate program for the construction of environmentally sustainable commercial and institutional buildings.>

Residential Water Conservation Rebate Program: Rebates are available for Town of Okotoks residential property owners and renters up to a maximum of $200* per household for approved water conservation purchases.

Energy Efficiency Rebate Program: The Town is proud to be offering a rebate program that takes homeowner energy education further, encouraging homeowners to have a comprehensive professional home energy audit completed on their home. The energy audit will result in the production of factual report with step-by-step recommendations for homeowners of where they should invest their money to achieve a more energy efficient home and save money on their utility bills over time.

NO business tax for majority of businesses, except for professional businesses, such as doctors and lawyers, etc.

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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Okotoks Economic Development

5 Elizabeth Street, Okotoks, AB, T1S 1K1
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