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Projected population growth

The Sault will grow by almost 10,000 people, primarily from people coming and settling down here to fill new jobs and replace retiring Baby Boomers.


Projected increase is from 73,400 residents in 2016 to 83,300 residents in 2036.

Net change from in-migration: increase of 18,000 people.

Net change from births: decrease of 8,000 people.

Need: 4,000 new homes.


Population distribution in 2016, based on the Canada census:

  • 0 to 14 years: 14%.
  • 15 to 64 years: 63%.
  • 65 years or older: 22%.


Population distribution in 2036, based on projections:

  • 0 to 14 years: 16%.
  • 15 to 64 years: 59%.
  • 65 years or older: 25%.

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Projected employment growth

Health and social services will continue as the top employer in the Sault. Manufacturing jobs will drop slightly but still be one of the top sectors.


Top sectors in 2016, based on the Canada census:

  1. Health and social services.
  2. Retail trade.
  3. Manufacturing.
  4. Accommodation and food.
  5. Government.


Top sectors in 2036, based on projections:

  1. Health and social services.
  2. Retail trade.
  3. Manufacturing.
  4. Accommodation and food.
  5. Education.


Projected increase is from 31,000 jobs in 2016 to 36,900 jobs in 2036, for a total change of approximately 6,000 jobs.


Change in job numbers by sector:

  • Health and social services: increase of 1,200 jobs.
  • Business services: increase of 1,100 jobs.
  • Construction: increase of 700 jobs.
  • Accommodation and food: increase of 600 jobs.
  • Professional, scientific and technical services: increase of 600 jobs.
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation: increase of 600 jobs.
  • Education: increase of 600 jobs.
  • Wholesale trade: increase of 200 jobs.
  • Retail trade: increase of 200 jobs.
  • Finance, insurance and real estate: increase of 200 jobs.
  • Manufacturing: decrease of 300 jobs.


Note: Other sectors change by less than approximately 100 jobs. 

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Projected land needs

The Sault has enough land to accommodate new industrial and institutional development, but will need more land for commercial development.


Commercial land needs

Retail floor space needed: 599,000 square feet.

It's projected that about 59% of the city's vacant retail floor space will be reused by 2038. (Approximately 195,000 square feet based on the 2011 to 2017 yearly average.)

Additional land needed: 15 hectares.


New non-retail commercial (such as offices and hotels) jobs: 3,000.

Land needed: 105 hectares.


Vacant land available for commercial development: 37 hectares.

Total commercial land need: deficit of 83 hectares.


Industrial land needs

New industrial jobs: 800.

Land needed: 110 hectares.

Vacant land available for industrial development: 543 hectares.

Total industrial land need: surplus of 433 hectares.


Institutional land needs

New institutional jobs: 1,600.

Land needed: 52 hectares.

Vacant land available for institutional development: 55 hectares.

Total institutional land need: surplus of 3 hectares.


Note: Available vacant land amounts are current as of April 2019. 

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Files for Download

Sault Ste. Marie 20 Year Projections at a glance (pdf)

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Sault Ste. Marie 20 Year Projections at a glance - text only version (docx)

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Shape the Sault - Land Needs Information Package - Sep 2019 (pdf)

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Shape the Sault - Housing Community Profile Sep 2019 (pdf)

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Dillon Consulting Report - Population Projections and Land Needs Analysis (pdf)

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January 2019 Council Presentation - Population Projections (pdf)

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Commercial Vacancy Map 24"x36" (pdf)

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Media Coverage on these Projections

We shared our 20-year population and employment projections to City Council on January 28, 2019. Thanks to local media outlets for sharing this information.