Although Ontario has seen relatively stable employment growth in recent years, economic growth and dynamism have not been evenly distributed across the province, especially when rural and urban areas are compared. Ontario’s economy is geographically concentrated in its major urban centres, particularly in the Toronto and Ottawa regions, where economic output and net job gains far outpace the rest of the province.

In light of structural economic changes and the knowledge economy’s tendency towards clustering and agglomeration, this trend of uneven growth and opportunity is likely only to continue. Policymakers are faced with a choice: redistribute the economic gains from some places to others or try to catalyse more market activity in undercapitalized economically-distressed places.

This policy paper from Ontario 360 aims to contribute to a set of options available to the government by analysing the U.S. experience with a new place-based policy called “Opportunity Zones” and its potential lessons for Ontario.

Read the full paper.