TORONTO, ON, April 8, 2021 — The Toronto region must start planning now to address the gap in medium-term economic recovery strategies, says a new report from the Toronto Region Board of Trade. In Fast Forward: Sector Strategies for Accelerating the Toronto Region’s Recovery, the Board provides recommended medium-term economic recovery actions that government and businesses can take within the next 1-3 years – a timeframe that is perceived as being neglected by other recovery plans.
The Toronto region must start planning now to address the gap in medium-term economic recovery strategies, says a new report from the Toronto Region Board of Trade. In Fast Forward: Sector Strategies for Accelerating the Toronto Region’s Recovery, the Board provides recommended medium-term economic recovery actions that government and businesses can take within the next 1-3 years – a timeframe that is perceived as being neglected by other recovery plans.
“To date, governments have rightly focused on what was needed to get the region’s economy and society through the lockdowns and public health measures until the pandemic can be placed firmly under control,” says Leigh Smout, President of the World Trade Centre-Toronto and Co-Chair of the Board’s Sector Recovery work track. “What business leaders from across various sectors have told us is that now we must focus on medium-term recovery efforts. The sooner policymakers can establish trust and clarity for businesses, the sooner economic recovery can truly begin,” he adds.
The report dubs this lack of medium-term economic recovery planning as a “goldilocks challenge” because much of current policy is either focused on short-term emergency funding to bridge sectors in immediate peril or long-term plans for economic transformation that are lofty but remain abstract.
Fast Forward uncovers and identifies key trends shaping the region’s medium-term recovery in various sectors – such as travel, tourism, and leisure – which are facing uneven recovery trajectories. The report also discusses the challenges faced by sectors such as infrastructure, energy, health, financial, manufacturing, main street businesses, large retail, grocery, e-commerce, innovation and technology as well as post-secondary education.
Fast Forward at a Glance
Through this report, the Toronto Region Board of Trade puts forward six actionable recommendations to meet this “goldilocks challenge” of getting medium-term sector recovery in the Toronto region just right:
- Preserve Toronto’s global appeal by fighting for its local identity: Governments and business leaders should collaborate to create medium-term recovery strategies targeted at hard hit local sectors and keep local main streets vibrant.
- Give businesses the clarity that they need to invest and move forward: Governments should provide clear, proactive messaging about economic support programs and establish clear, two-way communication on safe return to work, travel and shared spaces.
- Encourage businesses to lean into the digital shift: Governments and business leaders should enhance digital connectivity across the region, and provide support to assess and improve digital maturity across industries.
- Shore up the diverse skills and talent that are Toronto’s greatest resource: Work must be done to measure, mitigate and reverse workforce trends that have disproportionately impacted women, and people who are racialized and/or living with disabilities.
- Improve livability and connectivity throughout the region: Governments should take steps to integrate Toronto’s existing transit infrastructure by creating a transit federation for the Toronto region.
- Be an aggressive champion for the Toronto region: Leaders must tell Toronto’s story to an international audience, and position the region as a trusted international destination for conferences, tourism, culture, and live events.
Smout notes that a strong and inclusive economic recovery is possible. However, he concludes that the speed and scale of that recovery will depend on the ability of government and business leaders to make smart, strategic, and coordinated investments aligned with the priorities laid out by sector leaders in this report.
Fast Forward builds on the Board’s Reimagining Recovery COVID-19 response efforts over the past year, particularly its work with Toronto Global and the City of Toronto to convene 11 leadership tables on sector-specific recovery as part of the Sector Recovery Plans work track. Its Steering Committee was CoChaired by Leigh Smout and Daniel Hengeveld, Vice President, Investment Attraction, Toronto Global.
About 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.
Andrew Perez, Media Relations Manager