On behalf of our partners, Toronto Global is incredibly honoured to have received the silver award at UNCTAD’s 7th World Investment Forum in Geneva from the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies and the World Bank Group. This report, titled Shaping Our Future, was recognized as an international best practice of Investment Promotion Agencies advocating for reforms to improve the investment ecosystem for foreign investors.
Shaping Our Future does exactly that. It’s not a report, but rather a playbook, that identifies three transformations with ten concrete actions to create the economic conditions to achieve a stronger, more secure, and competitive region for local and international businesses alike.
Toronto Global is accepting this award on behalf of a number of critical partners, including the Toronto Region Board of Trade and the Economic Blueprint Institute, who led the initiative; regional municipalities, business leaders, and key economic development stakeholders across the Innovation Corridor; and Deloitte Canada – all coming together to construct the playbook in the midst of a global pandemic. As transformative as the ten game-changing actions are (and they truly are), the report was recognized for our collaboration as a region not only to produce this report under one collective voice, but on our commitment to work together to implement the recommendations for the benefit of the entire region. We are doing this together.
Without question, the pandemic presented the region with enormous economic challenges, which served to exacerbate existing societal flaws and inefficiencies. However, it also presented an opportunity – an opportunity to address those challenges at their core and to reimagine a recovery that would allow the second largest IT cluster in North America, the “Innovation Corridor,” to come back even stronger.
The reason we are being recognized with this award is because, as a region, we did not let that opportunity pass us by. The steering committee for Shaping Our Future included city managers, key policy makers, business leaders, and economic experts, representing a cross-section of the 34 diverse municipalities across the Innovation Corridor. These were people on the front lines dealing with the pandemic, who recognized this unprecedented chance to do things differently.
While the Innovation Corridor economy is interdependent and regional – generating nearly two-thirds of Ontario’s GDP, and a quarter of Canada’s GDP – until now, planning for its growth is not. Shaping Our Future sets us on a path to change that.
The actions put forward in this playbook are ones that have a regional lens. From high-capacity regional broadband and seamless, fare-integrated transit across municipal boundaries, to the development of a regional economic development strategy and a regional affordable housing strategy, these actions address both pre-existing pain points exacerbated by the pandemic and position the Corridor for the future. The time is now to no longer act as a collection of cities and municipalities, but as a region that thinks and functions as one economic zone.
What is even more exciting is that this collaboration is continuing more than a year after Shaping Our Future was released. The same city managers who participated on the steering committee are working together to move forward on implementation – together, as a team. We’ve also seen significant funding commitments from the government to support critical transformations around regional transportation and broadband. Taken together, this progress will only strengthen our regional value proposition for investment.
Toronto Global is delighted to accept this award on behalf of the extensive team that has made regional collaboration a priority as we reimagine recovery. The future is ours to shape.