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About the Business Council of Toronto

Building a stronger future – together.
A sun setting on Toronto's waterfront.

The BCT is a group of influential executives focused on tackling the biggest challenges facing our region, like the productivity gap, climate economy and advanced manufacturing.

We go beyond the traditional “think-tank” model to action data-driven demonstration projects creating real change to the biggest problems facing the Toronto Region.

In establishing this Council, we came together and asked ourselves:

What if we harnessed the power of private industry to demonstrate impact and de-risk government investment and support evidence-based decision making?

What if we bet on ourselves and champion impactful demonstration projects to prove that investing in our region can improve the lives for all?

We’re spearheading essential work to prove to all levels of government that when we invest in ourselves, amazing progress happens.

A message from Giles Gherson

Pre-pandemic, Toronto was having a moment. We had become North America’s 4th largest city and fastest growing, with one of the most diverse economies on the continent.

But now, the Toronto Region faces a gaping chasm between our ambitions and our means, battling strong economic headwinds as we strive to compete in an increasingly volatile global economy. We're facing a tale of two cities. As a region, we have all the ingredients for success and yet, despite surging population growth, we are falling behind. The Toronto Region faces a large, growing productivity gap with competing US metros – our GDP is a shocking $72,000 less per worker than our peers. And the gap is widening. Over 50 per cent of our large companies are foreign-owned.

Their headquarters have a world of choice in where to invest next (and on which side of the border their supply chain is sourced). Our success is entirely reliant on businesses choosing to compete here. In a global labour market, quality of life provides a vital competitive edge, but our livability is starting to fray at the seams. Our fragmented planning approach and decades of underinvestment have brought us to a standstill – from the race for space between housing and employment lands to the chronic congestion halting the mobility of people and goods.

We have our work cut out for us. But we have a plan.

Together, we can make our region a better place to do business – and a better place to live. Our research revealed a key differentiating factor in how other competing metros have advanced productivity and competitiveness: the role of business. It is critical that influential leaders come together from across industries to work with government on key priorities. We need leaders to drive high impact demonstration projects to provide data-driven and evidence-based recommendations to both government and industry peers to unlock our economic and productive potential. Our convening vision is to deliver legacy impact. With our region’s most influential leaders at the helm, the Business Council of Toronto will work with government to drive action that will stand as a turning point for our economic and social prosperity.