Ottawa, with a population of 870,250, is the fourth largest city in Canada by population and the second largest city in Ontario by population. Ottawa is the largest of 31 municipalities that make up the Greater Ottawa-Gatineau Area - the fourth largest metropolitan area in Canada with a total population of 1.3 million in 2006. With two-thirds of the total population and 76 percent of the jobs, Ottawa serves as the region's economic engine and main generator of growth. The percentage of employed people working in Ottawa varies among each of the adjacent municipalities but is higher in the municipalities with direct freeway access to Ottawa. As of May 2011, there has been an increase of 1,900 jobs in Ottawa. Ottawa's robust economy centres on two major sectors - high technology and the federal government. Both sectors offer high-paying jobs in Ottawa for knowledge workers in a relatively stable economy. In 2001, the technology sector saw a downturn both in terms of employment and contribution to Ottawa's economy. However, according to the Ottawa website, advanced technology has shown signs of renewed growth over the last year. The federal government has seen sustained growth since 2001 and as a result, jobs in Ottawa continued to grow since then and employment has remained stable.
In the last year there have been a number of high-profile plant closures in adjacent municipalities (Pfizer, Nestle, Hershey, Boeing, Domtar) that have strengthened the dependence of adjacent municipalities on Ottawa's employment market. Ottawa is becoming a significant point of entry into Canada for immigrants, with Statistics Canada showing that immigrants to Canada tend to settle mainly in big cities. Immigrants who settle in Ottawa are attracted by high-paying professional jobs or post-secondary studies.