The Task Force met on May 29, 2013 and received presentations from Fed Dev Ontario, Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations, Metrolinx, Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and the Thunder Bay CEDC.
Chaired by Marolyn Morrison, Mayor of the Town of Caledon and Councillor for the Region of Peel, the Task Force received the following presentations and updates: 

Federal Economic Development Agency (FedDev) for Southern Ontario Update
Yanning Peng, Acting Director and Adam Flores, Senior Policy Analyst, Intergovernmental and Stakeholder Relations, FedDev

FedDev Ontario presented an overview of its past and current stimulus funding programs and discussed some of the newly announced program funding from the 2013 Federal Budget. The 2013 federal budget has renewed a $920 million commitment over 5 years with a new $200 million Advanced Manufacturing Fund to renew the Eastern Ontario Development Program.   Funding will focus on global competitiveness, commercialization of innovation and research to promote southern Ontario as a prime location to do business. The next round of funding has yet to be defined. The agency held a series of stakeholder roundtables throughout southern Ontario in summer 2012 and spring 2013.  

Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations (CACTUS)
Cathy Edwards, Executive Director, Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations
CACTUS aims to improve media literacy and supports the use of media centres in libraries as a means to do that. It argued Federal policies are obsolete in this area with no digital strategy in place. CACTUS educates consumers and helps improve Canadian access to media services such as local video and television as well as production, training and equipment access. The presentation addressed challenges and opportunities to improve local media infrastructure and better equip residents to participate in the digital economy.

Metrolinx Update
Daniel Haufschild, Director of Policy and Planning, Metrolinx

Metrolinx provided an overview of its recently released investment strategy. The strategy addresses the need for dedicated revenue sources to improve transit and transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The dedicated funding required is $2 billion annually.  

Under the Metrolinx proposal it would come from the following sources:

  • HST – 64% of the total would come from a 1% increase to the HST yielding $1.3 billion within the GTHA. 
  • Parking Levy on Businesses – 15% of the total – $350 million
  • Gas Tax – 15% of the total – $350 million
  • Development Charges – 5% of the total – $100 million.
Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI)
Jamie Pitts, Team Lead, Information, Research and Evaluation Unit, Ministry of Citizenship & Immigration

MCI delivered a presentation that addressed immigration in Ontario in the context of the current labour market. Labour market and demographic projections indicate that Ontario’s future economic prosperity will depend on a supply of skilled immigrants. Since 2001 immigration to Ontario has decreased by 34%. Ontario has fewer high skill employee immigrants than any other province. Regional gaps are now emerging. A provincial session will be held in September to discuss this issue further.  

Advantage Northwest: Mining Readiness Strategy 
John Mason, Project Manager, Mining Services, Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission

The City of Thunder Bay in partnership with the Fort William First Nation and the Thunder Bay Economic Community Development Commission has initiated a Mining Readiness Strategy to address and strategically plan for growth in the Thunder Bay and northwestern Ontario region. John Mason with the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission gave an overview of the strategy which will help guide northwestern Ontario in capitalizing on the many opportunities that growth in mineral exploration and mining development could bring to the region.

AMO Conference 2013 
There will be a concurrent workshop on economic development at this year’s AMO Conference in Ottawa. The workshop will explore coordinating municipal land use planning with economic development activities that can help create communities that are great places to live, work and play. The session is tentatively scheduled to be held on the morning of Tuesday, August 20 from 10.30am to 11.45am at the Ottawa Convention Centre.

The next task force meeting will be held on September 13, 2013.

If you have any ideas or thoughts for a potential conference/workshop session or discussion items for future task force meetings, please contact Matthew Wilson at AMO.