Skip to content


An Economic Renaissance in the Great Lakes Region

From the news headlines these days you could be forgiven into thinking that the Great Lakes region had entered an economic time machine.

At the dawn of this century there wasn’t much to celebrate in the manufacturing sector of the region. The glory days appeared distant, with shuttered factories and jobs losses putting political and business leaders on the defensive. How the times have changed, and quickly. The Great Lakes region is, once again, taking its rightful place as the manufacturing heartland of North America.

In the auto sector, alone, Ontario and neighbouring Great Lakes states have attracted major investments from big employers like General Motors, Ford, Honda, Toyota, Rivian, LG, Stellantis and many others. These are substantive investments and reflect the bi-national region’s growing importance in the automotive industry’s shift towards sustainable and innovative transportation solutions.

There is still much to be done, however. Overshadowing, and perhaps limiting, this miraculous economic turnaround are important issues that need to be better understood and resolved. The 2024 Great Lakes Sustainable Growth Forum offers the perfect opportunity for these discussions. This year, the Forum is being co-hosted by the Council of the Great Lakes Region and the Toronto Region Board of Trade.

Featured Speakers

A sampling of the experts, leaders and dignitaries speaking at the upcoming Great Lakes Sustainable Growth Forum.

  • His Excellency the Honourable Bob Rae

    His Excellency the Honourable Bob Rae

    Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations

  • Ravinder Gill

    Ravinder Gill

    Managing Director and Head of Sustainable Finance, RBC Commercial Banking Group

  • Claude Griffin

    Claude Griffin

    Executive Director, US Business Council for Sustainable Development

  • Michelle Salim

    Michelle Salim

    North America Advanced Recycling Commercial Manager, ExxonMobil

Toronto last hosted the Forum in 2016, and much has changed since then, not the least of which is the turn-around in the manufacturing landscape of the region. It is against this backdrop that the forum will explore an impressive array of topics: everything from the state of the Great Lakes economy to the impact of upcoming USMCA/CUSMA negotiations; from the challenges facing marine transportation to the importance of efficient supply chains; from Great Lakes water quality to the regenerative agriculture revolution … and much more. If you are an importer or exporter in the Great Lakes region, you need to know how your business will be impacted. If you’re interested in sustainable development and improving environmental stewardship of the region, then you’ll want to be here also. Whatever your interest in the Great Lakes region, there will plenty of speakers and presenters highlighting how to make it an better place to live and do business.

Featured Speakers

  • Doug Porter

    Doug Porter

    Chief Economist and Managing Director, BMO

  • K.N. (Guna) Gunalan

    K.N. (Guna) Gunalan

    Senior Vice President, AECOM

  • Lisa Frizzell

    Lisa Frizzell

    Vice-President of Communications, Nuclear Waste Management Organization

  • Baxter Hunt

    Baxter Hunt

    Consul General – Toronto, U.S. Government

Get your tickets today

A barge passing through a raised bridge on the great lakes.

Contributed by:

  • Victor Severino

    Victor Severino

    Vice President, Partnerships

    Victor J. Severino is VP of Partnerships at the Toronto Region Board of Trade. During his three-decades long OPS career, he held several assistant deputy minister positions in the Cabinet Office and ministries of infrastructure and economic development where he led policy portfolios in international and internal trade (as chief negotiator), business supports, red tape reduction, regional economic development, and land use planning. He was also instrumental in standing up N95 respirator and medical grade nitrile gloves facilities in Ontario.