- Stephen Lecce, MPP
Ontario Strengthening Competitiveness to Attract Investment
TORONTO — The Ontario government has introduced legislation that, if passed, will strengthen Ontario’s competitiveness by consolidating a new investment-ready mega site in St. Thomas. The proposed legislation builds on the province’s efforts during the Job Site Challenge, which was designed to attract large-scale advanced manufacturing investments that have the potential to create hundreds of new jobs across the province.
“Our government is leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to attract new investments that will create more good-paying jobs and strengthen the economy,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Creating more shovel-ready mega sites will help Ontario remain competitive as the province competes for major global investments.”
A critical factor for securing new investment opportunities is having suitable industrial sites ready for companies to build on. In November 2019, Ontario launched the Job Site Challenge to create an inventory of investment-ready mega sites. As part of this initiative, municipalities, economic development agencies and industrial property owners put forward large tracts of land of between 500 and 1,500 acres that could support large-scale manufacturing operations.
A site in St. Thomas and Central Elgin that is approximately 1,500 acres has been identified as one of the most investment-ready mega sites in Ontario. However, with the land divided between two municipalities with different permitting requirements, potential investors could face red tape and delays from unncessary duplication. If passed, the proposed legislation will adjust the municipal boundaries so the site resides fully in St. Thomas, speeding up construction timelines and ensuring that the site is truly shovel-ready for potential investment.
“Our government is taking concrete action to build on our record of attracting jobs and investment,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We are taking a collaborative approach across government and with our municipal partners to cut red tape and ensure the benefits of economic growth are enjoyed across the province.”
Ontario continues to work with municipalities across the province to identify other large-scale industrial sites that will be needed to support the province’s growing pipeline of strategic manufacturing and industrial projects.
The Job Site Challenge was part of Driving Prosperity: The Future of Ontario’s Automotive Sector, the government’s plan to strengthen the auto sector’s competitiveness. The program was Canada’s first mega-site initiative, modeled after successful mega site programs in the U.S.
In 2021, manufacturing accounted for almost 660,000 jobs in Ontario and more than 10 per cent of the province’s Gross Domestic Product.
Ontario is also an ideal destination for advanced manufacturing sectors such as aerospace, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, agri-food and information technology manufacturing.
Ontario’s new investment attraction agency, Invest Ontario, was established to pursue investments that create jobs and new revenue streams for Ontario, with an initial focus on the advanced manufacturing, technology and life science sectors.