January 26, 2016
Measuring Progress, Charting a New Course
Emerging Stronger is a five-year agenda aimed at spurring growth and prosperity in Ontario. It is the product of extensive consultation conducted by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Mowat Centre and Leger.
This fifth and final installment of Emerging Stronger looks back at the progress we’ve made over the past half decade, the challenges we still face as a province, and sets out a new consultation process, LeadON, that will help us chart an economic course for the next five years.
What We’ve Achieved Together Over the Last Five Years
Over the last five years, Emerging Stronger has identified a course of action aimed at making Ontario the best place in the world in which to live, work, and invest.
- Over the last five years, together, we’ve made progress:
- Ontario remains the North American leader in attracting foreign capital investment.
- The provincial and federal governments are reinvesting in infrastructure.
- Ontarians boast the highest levels of post-secondary educational attainment in the world.
- The Ontario government spends less per capita than any other provincial government.
- Successful industry supports have been renewed, including the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance (ACCA), which is enabling manufacturers to invest in productivity gains.
- Ontario’s world-class Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) model is delivering value for taxpayer dollars while creating export opportunities for Ontario businesses.
- Ontario’s new cap and trade system, if designed correctly, could position Ontario as a world leader in innovative green technologies.
- The Province has acknowledged a growing cost burden on businesses and is committed to reducing this burden through its Business Growth Initiative.
- The province has committed $1 billion in infrastructure funding for the Ring of Fire, the 100-year mining opportunity in Ontario’s far north.
- Ontario’s fiscal situation has only improved marginally; the deficit sits at $10 billion (up from last year) while the debt has risen to nearly $300 billion.
- Ontarians continue to pay more into Employment Insurance (EI) than the benefits or training they receive. Meanwhile, only 27 perent of unemployed Ontarians qualify for EI.
- Federal transfers, and the equalization program, continue to treat Ontario unfairly.
- Electricity rates in Ontario continue to rise and are negatively impacting our investment climate.
- Employers continue to underinvest in the skills of their employees: between 1993 and 2013, the amount that Canadian employers invested in employee training declined by 40 percent.
- The province is a laggard in terms of the number of patents it produces and in labour productivity. A recent Conference Board report card gives Ontario a “D” grade on both indicators.
- The new federal government has committed to reinstating the Long Form Census, but a lack of locally-refined labour market information poses a persistent challenge to workforce development across Canada.
- While the ACCA has been extended for another 10 years, Ontario continues to face challenges to the competitiveness of its advanced manufacturing sector, including the automotive sector.
- The commodity downturn is creating challenges for the mining sector and for Northern Ontario.
- While new programs show promise, Ontario continues to see its share of economic immigrants fall below the national average.
- The new federal government has committed to lifting visa restrictions on visitors from Mexico. However visitors from other high growth countries still face barriers to entry.
- Ontario businesses face new costs, unanticipated five years ago, including the new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan.
- Ontario has some of the highest journeyperson-to-apprenticeship ratios in Canada, a contributing factor to Ontario’s skills gap.
- While Ontario has taken meaningful steps to maximize the value of its public assets, it has yet to undertake much needed service delivery transformation.
The Mowat Centre
Ontario Chamber of Commerce