The Toronto Region Board of Trade’s policy agenda champions the policy priorities of its 11,500 members, in order to advance the prosperity and economic competitiveness of the Toronto Region. The Board is widely considered to be one of the Toronto Region’s most influential thought leaders and regularly engages all three levels of government, produces independent evidence-based research, convenes industry leaders, organizes strategic events, and maintains continuous policy intelligence.

OUR VISION

To make Toronto one of the most competitive and sought-after business regions in the world.


OUR MISSION

To be a catalyst for a vibrant, globally competitive Toronto Region business community.


OUR BRAND PURPOSE

To connect businesses to what they need to succeed.

 

Three priority pillars, inspired by member feedback:

ADVOCACY

Represent the competitiveness needs of the Toronto Region business community.

GROWTH

Provide the tools, resources and support programs that help businesses meet their goals.

NETWORKING

Introduce businesses to peers and partners that can help them advance.

2022 Strategic Areas of Focus:

Building on Strategy 2024

In addition to the business as usual priorities identified by members, The Board will focus efforts to solve for challenges as it relates to the movement of goods and building a globally competitive low carbon economy. 

Areas of Focus

  • Pearson Logistics Zone – Addressing current and emerging infrastructure issues in Canada’s 2nd largest employment area
  • The Climate Economy – Positioning Toronto for a globally dominant role

Area of Focus

What are We Solving For

Movement of Goods and Logistics Infrastructure

To provide solutions for the efficient movement of goods into, out of, and throughout the Toronto Region.

Climate Economy

To solve for the electrification infrastructure and cleantech adoption necessary to lead in the climate economy.

 

Policy Priority Themes: Business Growth and Competitive Region

BUSINESS GROWTH

Purpose

Enabling economic opportunities for businesses by improving market access, technology adoption, and access to human capital.

Areas of Focus

  • Strengthening human capital to bolster economic growth and competitiveness 
  • Enabling domestic financing and adoption of home-grown technology
  • Opening domestic and international markets for businesses in the Toronto region

TOPIC

WHAT ARE WE SOLVING FOR

Innovation - Technology Adoption; Digital Readiness

Increasing investment to catalyze adoption & commercialization of innovation

Addressing lagging digital readiness as compared globally

Talent/Workforce

Significant challenges in talent acquisition and retention – including labour shortages and lack of access to applied skills training

Competitiveness, Market Access

Lack of market access and diversification in businesses’ trade partners


COMPETITIVE REGION

Purpose

Championing long-term housing affordability, and connected low-carbon infrastructure, informed by integrated place-based economic planning.

Areas of Focus

  • Advancing solutions for the availability and affordability of housing options 
  • Accelerating regional electrification infrastructure to enable a net-zero economy
  • Catalyzing globally competitive regional transportation system

TOPIC

WHAT ARE WE SOLVING FOR

Housing Affordability – Missing Middle

Increasing the affordability, availability, and variety of housing options and types for workers and families across the region

Transportation and Transit

Improving the Toronto region’s fragmented, congested, and time-consuming transit system, and supporting development in key growth areas like the waterfront

Infrastructure – Connecting Housing and Employment

Develop a more strategic approach to locate both future housing expansion and new industrial and office-based jobs across a growing region

Policy Committees

The Board’s policy committees form the backbone for our ambitious policy agenda. The committees are comprised of industry leaders who volunteer their expertise and influence towards initiatives that will make the Toronto region the most competitive and sought-after region in the world. The committees strategically focus on high impact policy themes: business competitiveness, energy transition, housing affordability, the innovation economy, and infrastructure (transportation & land use).

Business Growth, Competitiveness and Recovery Committee

Strategic Priority Theme: Business Growth 
Serda Evren (Chair) and Kevin Teslyk (Vice-Chair)

Committee Mandate

  • Support recovery of regional businesses from COVID-19
  • Advocate to improve the global standing of the Toronto Region as an attractive place to invest and do business
  • Advocate for the removal of trade barriers to lower costs and streamline compliance for businesses, both international and within Canada
  • Advocate for streamlined regulation and removal of red tape to increase the region’s competitiveness and improve opportunities for SMEs

Objectives

  • Advocate for a supportive, collaborative government policy climate at all levels of government
  • Track key variables on the Toronto Region’s standing as an attractive place to invest and do business
  • Catalyze support for smart regulations that make it easier to conduct business
  • Maintain political and public attention on the need to address interprovincial trade barriers as part of economic recovery
  • Support efforts to maintain a vibrant central business district rebounding from the impacts of COVID-19
  • Aid facilitation of an economic environment conducive to FDI, and inter-provincial investment
  • Augment discussion of efficient local taxation and enablement of place-based economic development (e.g Pearson)

To learn more, click here

Energy Transition Committee

Strategic Priority Theme: Competitive Region 
Rob Blackstein (Chair) and Faisal Kazi (Vice-Chair)

Committee Mandate

  • Contribute to the reduction of direct emissions in Toronto and Ontario
  • Support the scale-up and commercialization of locally developed cleantech solutions to position local innovators for success in global markets

Objectives

  • Solve for the conditions that will accelerate cleantech adoption
  • Define the cross-sectoral ecosystem
  • Identify barriers and solutions for the build-out of electricity generation and charging infrastructure at scale
  • Advocate for policy changes and investment necessary to strengthen the region as a net-zero leader

To learn more, click here

Innovation Economy Committee

Strategic Priority Theme: Business Growth
Derek Newton (Chair) and Pamela Snively (Vice-Chair)

Committee Mandate

  • Address lagging regional digital readiness as compared globally by increasing tech adoption and reducing barriers to bolster business competitiveness and ability to attract investment
  • Catalyze adoption & commercialization of innovation to provide a necessary customer base for local innovators

Objectives

  • Remove barriers to digital readiness and increase adoption of home-grown technology by firms within the region
  • Increase government procurement of home-grown technology and increase digitalization of government processes and practices
  • Improve supports for small, innovative businesses thereby promoting scale-up
  • Unlock data-driven innovation by identifying and removing constraining barriers

To learn more, click here

Housing Affordability Committee 

Strategic Priority Theme: Competitive Region

Committee Mandate

  • Attract and retain regional talent by improving the supply and affordability of housing available to workers and families
  • Advocate to Ontario Government and provincial parties to adopt proposed approach

Objectives

  • Develop and advocate for a provincial approach to missing middle solutions
  • Identify regulatory and legislative changes needed to increase opportunities for first-time homebuyers
  • Ensure proposed solution(s) help achieve net-zero emissions objectives and reduced socioeconomic inequality

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Talent Ecosystem Committee

Strategic Priority Theme: Business Growth
Blaine Woodcock (Chair)

Committee Mandate

  • Solve for challenges in talent acquisition and retention including lack of access to applied skills training
  • Aid economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by addressing labour shortages and restoring full capacity to hard-hit sectors

Objectives

  • Address shift in skills and impact of digital transformation on the workforce
  • Catalyze better utilization of immigration pathways
  • Harness existing talent pool including wrap-around supports to build resilience
  • Facilitate global approaches to labour shortages, including private sector programs and public/private partnerships

To learn more, click here

Infrastructure Committee (Land Use & Transportation):

Strategic Priority Theme: Competitive Region

Stephen Dyck (Chair) and Godyne Sibay (Vice-Chair)

Committee Mandate

  • Increase the ease of traveling across the region by transit, especially across municipal boundaries
  • Developing infrastructure using proven technologies that facilitate local and cross-regional travel to reduce congestion, improve the movement of goods and people, and bolster economic growth and productivity
  • Make transit accessible to all residents and improve access to talent for employers and jobs for workers
  • Meet infrastructure needs of growing regional population

Objectives

  • Strengthen the resilience of the Toronto Region’s supply chains
  • Implement policies and infrastructure needed to support efficient growth of ecommerce deliveries
  • Enhance the region’s freight rail infrastructure
  • Propose a framework to categorize different types of employment lands, grounded in EBI’s Business Districts framework and insights from research and stakeholder and member engagement
  • Define which current and prospective industrial employment areas require ongoing land use protections
  • Define which current and prospective office-based employment areas would benefit from integrating residential uses, and what sorts of guardrails and policies will be required (e.g. ratios, targets, etc.)

To learn more, click here