TORONTO: The Ontario government’s first True North Free Trade Forum brought together over 900 businesses, government and stakeholder organizations from across Canada to explore ways to increase interprovincial trade in Canada. Expanding the reach of business will help create more jobs, strengthen economic resiliency across the country and lay the foundation for a strong recovery from COVID-19.
“COVID-19 is having a significant impact on Ontario’s economy and on the country as a whole,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
“Bringing together businesses from coast to coast to coast to help them expand their reach and get their products to customers across Canada is critical in order to protect our economy and jobs. Now, more than ever, we need to strengthen interprovincial trade to support our collective economic recovery.”
The keynote speakers were Stephen Poloz, former Governor of the Bank of Canada and Mark J. Barrenechea, CEO of OpenText.
Business leaders and economic experts from across Canada also participated in the forum and discussed emerging opportunities in three key sectors critical for Ontario’s economy: energy, life sciences and healthcare, and food and beverage.
The forum also explored areas that can benefit from greater provincial and territorial collaboration, including technology, supply chain, logistics and transportation.
Forum participants underscored the need for a pan-Canadian solution to restore nation wide supply chains that are being affected by the pandemic. With global supply chains continuing to face disruptions, maintaining strong internal trade networks will contribute to Ontario’s and Canada’s economic recovery and growth.
This supports our reputation as a resilient and reliable place to do business in the global marketplace. The forum was a fully virtual experience supported by the ministry’s new Digital Export Market Development Initiative (DEMDI). It was designed to help businesses adapt to the changing global marketplace.
The DEMDI supports Ontario exporters by investing in in-market resources, digital tools and online platforms to continue to facilitate business connections, partnerships and investment opportunities from coast to coast to coast and around the globe.
The DEMDI is an essential tool to extend the reach of Ontario’s businesses and support economic recovery through national and international trade.
• Ontario has the most export-driven jobs in Canada with one in five workers, or 1.4 million people dependent on trade.
• Ontario exported C$145.1 billion of goods and services in 2019 to other provinces and territories and imported C$111.5 billion, resulting in two-way trade of C$256.6 billion and a trade surplus of C$33.6 billion.
• In 2019, Ontario’s services exports to other provinces and territories amounted to C$108.8 billion on their own, accounting for 42 per cent of Ontario’s total internal trade of goods and services.
• Some of Ontario’s top interprovincial exports are: financial and insurance services; wholesale traded goods and services; and professional services.
• Ontario top interprovincial imports include: mineral oil, oil and gas products; agri-food and beverages; and transportation services.