Graphic of Ontario in dark purple-indigo
Policy brief, Innovation, Economy & prosperity, Ontario 360, Munk School

How Ontario’s Mid-Sized Cities Can Thrive: A Toolkit for Economic Development

Even before the pandemic, there was growing recognition of place-based differences with respect to economic growth, investment and jobs across Ontario. As the 2019 Fall Economic Statement observed:

“There are some areas of the province that have not fully recovered from the global economic downturn over a decade ago. In order for Ontario to be a global leader in job growth and the premier destination to start a new business, all regions of the province should share in prosperity.”[1]

The government’s recognition of these geographical disparities was followed by a communique from the Council of the Federation (comprising the country’s provincial and territorial premiers) in December 2019 which committed to “taking the necessary steps to address regional disparities across the country.”

This paper examines a “regeneration toolkit” for an economic development strategy regarding mid-sized cities, and applies it’s lessons to four Ontario cities that have experienced the economic and social consequences of de-industrialization in recent decades.