Media Release: Addressing Regional Imbalances Critical to Ontario’s FutureIndustry report outlines strategies to unlock the economic potential of communities across the province
THUNDER BAY, September 13, 2019
This week, the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) to release a new report, The Great Mosaic: Reviving Ontario’s Regional Economies.
“We know that Ontario, including the Northwest region, has what it takes to succeed in the modern economy,” says Charla Robinson, President of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce. “This report describes how governments of all levels can work with industry to unleash the potential of Ontario’s regional economies.”
“We are only as strong as our weakest link and our ability to prosper depends on the strength of our different regions. Economic and population growth rates in the Greater Golden Horseshoe and Ottawa have far surpassed those in other areas of the province,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Our communities – and the province as a whole – risk falling behind if we do not leverage the rich and diverse competitive advantages of our local economies.”
The Great Mosaic: Reviving Ontario’s Regional Economies examines the opportunities and challenges faced by different communities across the province and offers a framework for thinking about the present and future of Ontario’s regional economies.
The OCC’s report makes 17 recommendations to strengthen the well-being of Ontario’s regions. Key takeaways include:
The most cost-effective way to drive economic development is to cultivate talent, trade, and infrastructure. Governments should make it a priority to upgrade transportation and energy networks, modernize their regulations and business supports, offer dynamic education and training opportunities, and encourage labour mobility.
Building regional capacity for innovation is fundamental to productivity and growth. This means improving commercialization and technology adoption, strengthening regional innovation centres, expanding broadband internet access, and facilitating cluster development.
Modern governance of economic development should empower a wide range of stakeholders. Regional collaboration, economic reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and the use of data are all critical to mobilizing local assets.
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