The following is a statement from Giles Gherson, President & CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade in response to the release of the Ontario Financial Economic Statement.
As the economy shows signs of slowing, today’s Fall Economic Statement (FES) contains real measures to attract and secure investment in the competitiveness and livability of our region, to ensure our next generation inherits a stronger economy. Often, when the economy slows, our governments and businesses pull back investment, rather than use it as the time to put the pieces in place to ensure we can take advantage when the economy rebounds.
Today’s FES recognizes that the key to a strong economy is ensuring that Ontario’s businesses and workers are productive. Our economic growth has not kept pace with our province and region’s population growth with significant consequences. This is no longer sustainable. It’s vital that we take urgent steps to increase Ontario’s productive capacity to drive future economic growth, livability, and prosperity.
We applaud the creation of the Ontario Investment Bank (OIB) and will look for further details about the mandate and priorities of the new agency as they become available. The stated goals of the OIB are important: Ontario badly needs to enable private investment to help shoulder the cost of the Province’s ambitious $185 billion capital plan. This level of investment is needed to make up for decades of underinvestment in infrastructure and productive capacity. Ensuring this new organization is set up to help deliver on this promise will be critically important.
Some other areas that will help drive competitiveness and business growth in the Toronto region include:
- Supporting Invest Ontario with $100 million in additional funds to bring technology-enabled manufacturing to the province. This will help address the highly competitive environment where the U.S. government and states like Michigan and Ohio are spending billions of dollars to attract high-value investments along with their well-paying jobs.
- Fare integration makes the best use of our existing and forthcoming transit infrastructure, which the Board has championed for more than a decade. When implemented, this will remove unnecessary barriers for people who need to travel across the region, including workers that employers want to hire.
- The region’s housing crisis is exacerbating our talent and livability challenges, particularly in the Toronto area. The announced fund to support water and wastewater infrastructure could help get new housing built. This fund will be particularly helpful if it enables the build-out of Transit Oriented Communities to ensure the government is making the best use of its infrastructure investments.
- Critical mineral exploration is key to ensuring Ontario can capture the EV, battery production and clean tech value chains. Enhancing the flowthrough share tax credit will help attract investment in this fast-emerging part of Ontario’s economy, but more will be needed to compete.
About The Toronto Region Board of Trade
The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential business chambers in North America and is a catalyst for the region’s economic agenda. We pursue policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region and facilitate market opportunities with programs, partnerships and connections to help our members succeed – domestically and internationally.
Jason Chapman, Manager, Communications & Media Relations