Ministry overview

Ministry’s vision

The Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade’s (MEDJCT) mandate is to help grow Ontario’s economy by creating a competitive business climate for:

  • Starting and growing a business;
  • Retaining and attracting investment;
  • Creating jobs;
  • Supporting technology and innovation
  • Addressing regional disparities; and
  • Seeking out strategic trade opportunities, both domestically and internationally.

The ministry is committed to helping businesses of all sizes grow — from large multinationals to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in strategic sectors such as automotive, aerospace, life sciences, digital technology, advanced manufacturing, chemicals, steel, clean technologies, fintech and cybersecurity. Entrepreneurs and small businesses play a critical role in communities across the province by creating jobs, supplying larger companies and contributing new ideas, processes and resources to the economy.

The ministry supports businesses as they innovate and compete in today’s ever-changing global economy. By supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups the ministry can help them translate ideas into products and services. By ensuring businesses have access to a highly skilled workforce, which includes working with Ontario companies to understand their talent needs and programs to attract skilled international talent, the ministry’s programs help create a competitive business climate in Ontario.

Promoting and developing the venture capital sector in Ontario is important to help high-potential companies access the capital they need to grow and prosper. The Ontario Capital Growth Corporation (OCGC) is the venture capital agency of the Government of Ontario. It was created to promote and develop the venture capital sector in Ontario. OCGC investment activities have resulted in over $300 million invested in high-potential technology companies, including globally recognized Shopify and ecobee.

The ministry is committed to ensuring Ontario is a global leader in job growth and a premier destination to start a new business and that all regions should share in prosperity.

The ministry is working to ensure that Ontario’s interests are well-represented in all

trade matters and negotiations to support the growth of new jobs and attract investment to the province.

The ministry continuously engages domestic companies and actively pursues foreign investors to make sure they have the necessary tools and business environment to invest and prosper in the province. As part of this work, the ministry actively promotes Ontario’s competitive advantage to the world to show that it is a premier destination for investment and trade.

COVID-19 response

The ministry plays a strategic, leadership role in developing economic relief and recovery measures to support businesses as a result of covid 19. This includes leading cross-government analysis of sectoral and stakeholder issues, and providing a forum for coordinated, economic actions, with OPS, federal, provincial and municipal partners.

In March 2020, the ministry took on a key role in Ontario Together, an initiative launched by the Premier to help Ontario source critical supplies, technologies and innovations to support its response to covid 19. Staff applied their expertise assessing over 6,000 submissions from across Ontario to the Critical Supplies stream, Innovation stream and Ideas stream. The ministry staff review applications which focus on meeting the province’s needs and successful applicants are identified for potential funding or to source necessities.

Application deadlines and notification dates for the Regional Development Program have been extended to assist applicants in meeting timelines. For instance, ministry staff are working with companies that received funding through the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program to assess what changes may be required to their project plans in terms of scope and schedule. Staff are also working with external partners, such as Regional Innovation Centres, Small Business Enterprises Centres and others, to understand what changes may be required to their delivery schedules in response to covid 19.

The ministry is also closely following the talent challenges that Ontario small businesses are facing as a result of covid 19 to ensure that any new programming or initiatives respond to these needs, including collaborating with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

The ministry has provided support to potential suppliers of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) to determine business readiness and overseeing the domestic procurement process in collaboration with ministry partners. This has included the tracking and analyzing of domestic production capacity, and potential capacity, to ensure local sources of PPE are available in the event of another pandemic.

In response to covid 19, Ontario’s international network of Trade Investment Offices have supported the province’s procurement efforts by sourcing and verifying international suppliers of PPE and medical supplies and providing insight and intelligence on geopolitical impacts.

The ministry has also begun significant policy work in relation or Regulation 82/20 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (Closures of Places of Non-Essential Businesses). In addition to the policy work on this Emergency Order, the ministry worked with partner ministries to develop online FAQs to inform the public about the temporary measures we’re taking to help stop the spread of coronavirus (covid 19) in Ontario.

Ministry Programs

The ministry delivers a range of programs, services and tools to support businesses, drive innovation and promote Ontario as a source of high-quality goods and services and as an ideal location to invest in and grow.

There are nine priority areas:

1. Job creation

Creating and protecting jobs is at the core of the ministry’s mandate. Supporting a globally competitive business climate, by reducing red tape and unnecessary regulations, makes Ontario an attractive place to invest and create jobs. The ministry provides some business support programs to help companies modernize and create jobs. The ministry works directly with established Ontario small and medium enterprises to understand their unique opportunities and challenges and helps support economic growth and job creation by helping companies to export goods and services and diversifying sales globally.

COVID-19 response

Application deadlines and notification dates for the Regional Development Program have been extended to assist applicants in meeting timelines. For instance, ministry staff are working with companies that received funding through the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program to assess what changes may be required to their project plans in terms of scope and schedule. Staff are also working with external partners, such as Regional Innovation Centres, Small Business Enterprises Centres and others, to understand what changes may be required to their delivery schedules in response to covid 19.

The ministry is also closely following the talent challenges that Ontario small businesses are facing as a result of covid 19 to ensure that any new programming or initiatives respond to these needs, including collaborating with Ministry Labour, Training and Skills Development.

2. Entrepreneurship and business growth

The ministry is committed to accelerating the launch and growth of start-ups and supporting entrepreneurs as they work to expand, grow and succeed in the knowledge-based economy. Start-up programs position Ontario businesses to overcome commercialization challenges, help them attract talent, capital and customers to grow and succeed in international markets.

Scaling up SMEs by increasing exports and diversifying export markets is fundamental to the competitiveness and growth of Ontario’s economy. Supporting companies to export goods and services and diversifying sales globally is another way the ministry supports economic growth and job creation.

3. Investment attraction

The ministry works to promote Ontario as a premier destination for investment attraction and expansion, providing specialized services for companies looking to come to Ontario as well as helping those companies make valuable connections. This includes business and market intelligence, lead generation, trade and investment analysis, site certification, helping businesses navigate government and helping to tailor a full complement of government supports and services to a company’s specific needs. By working directly with international and domestic businesses, as well as with community and regional partners, the ministry generates, advances and secures investment opportunities across the province.

COVID-19 response

There have been economic uncertainties that are major concerns for Ontarians across the province and for citizens around the globe. The global outbreak has changed how we can do business and foster new international partnerships. But what has not changed is Ontario’s commitment to building bridges and not barriers to trade.

As we begin to open our economy, the ministry will be working to rebuild a strong and competitive business environment in Ontario. Prior to the outbreak, the ministry’s efforts to create a climate for economic growth at home, by lowering the costs of doing business and reducing red tape, positioned Ontario as a top location for investment and trade.

The ministry will continue to engage with industries and sectors to understand the economic impacts and potential ways to support them.

4. International representation

In global markets, the ministry raises awareness of the benefits of coming to Ontario – a place where businesses grow and thrive. The ministry works to secure new trade and investment deals; lead and manage Ontario’s network of international offices; drive job creation by facilitating business partnerships with global markets through the delivery of inbound and outbound commercial delegations; and promote and advance Ontario’s economic interests through the delivery of minister-led international missions.

Ontario’s international network includes:

  • 15 international Trade and Investment Offices around the world that work to raise the commercial profile of Ontario internationally.
  • An office in Washington, D.C. that builds government-to-government and stakeholder relationships, advocates for Ontario’s economic interests in the U.S., and leverages opportunities through the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement.

COVID-19 response

covid 19 has had a significant impact on Ontario companies’ interprovincial and international sales and operations. Travel has virtually ceased, and major trade shows and other international business development events are being postponed with others being cancelled entirely.

Ontario’s economy relies heavily on the export of goods and services which accounted for one-third of our GDP in 2018. One in five jobs depend on trade and it is critical that the province continue to support exporters at this difficult time, particularly as plans for economic recovery are developed.

In response to covid 19, Ontario’s international network of Trade and Investment Offices supports the province’s procurement efforts by sourcing and verifying international suppliers of Personal Protective Equipment and medical supplies and providing insight and intelligence on geopolitical impacts.

5. International and interprovincial trade policy

The ministry ensures that Ontario’s interests are well represented in all trade matters by leading Ontario’s engagement on new and evolving trade negotiations and other trade policy issues; leading implementation and compliance activities for trade and investment agreements involving the province; and leading trade dispute management for the province, including representing and supporting the province’s interests in any trade disputes involving Ontario.

Given the immense value of Ontario trade with the U.S., the ministry actively advances Ontario’s strategic interests in all U.S. trade-related matters, including the Canada – United States – Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) and “Buy American” policies in U.S. states.

The ministry continues to strengthen Ontario’s trade diversification by implementing and assessing Ontario’s trade strategies to increase exports, increase exporters and diversity markets by leveraging Canada’s strategic international trade and investment agreements, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

The ministry advances Ontario’s economic and policy interests in matters concerning interprovincial trade and leads Ontario’s commitment to break down interprovincial trade barriers through various ongoing trade enhancing initiatives, including implementing and strengthening the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) and leading Ontario’s efforts to reinforce bilateral trade ties with other provinces.

COVID-19 response

There have been economic uncertainties that are major concerns for Ontarians across the province and for citizens around the globe. The global outbreak has changed how we can do business and foster new international partnerships. But what has not changed is Ontario’s commitment to building bridges and not barriers to trade.

As we begin to open our economy, the ministry will be working to rebuild a strong and competitive business environment in Ontario. Prior to the outbreak, the ministry’s efforts to create a climate for economic growth at home, by lowering the costs of doing business and reducing red tape, positioned Ontario as a top location for investment and trade.

The ministry will continue to engage with industries and sectors to understand the economic impacts and potential ways to support them.

6. Regional and sector support

The ministry works to support regional and sector-specific growth through a variety of initiatives and areas of activity. The ministry leads engagement with regional economic stakeholders to better understand priorities, issues and opportunities to influence policy, planning and program development. Sector experts with deep industry experience and expertise deliver support and services to high-potential mid-large size businesses, attracting investment opportunities to Ontario and helping existing businesses grow and thrive in strategic sectors such as automotive, aerospace, life sciences, digital technology, advanced manufacturing, chemicals, steel, fintech and cybersecurity.

In addition, the ministry leads and develops strategies for priority industries and sectors in partnership with industry, key ministries, and other key stakeholders, including the development and implementation of the Driving Prosperity Auto Plan and the proposed life sciences plan. The strategies have been informed by extensive stakeholder engagement, including Minister-led regional roundtables in September 2019 and have led to the establishment of new core ministry programming, such as the Ontario-Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP).

To ensure that businesses across Ontario have the talent they need to grow, the ministry is also focused on working across government and with businesses to identify and address business talent needs.

7. Technology and innovation

The Province continues to focus on creating the conditions for growth by driving business and technology innovation. Ontario’s innovation and technology sector are a key source of employment, economic growth and provincial GDP. This sector has emerged as an important source of well-paying jobs. Employment in certain areas of the technology sector have grown rapidly across Ontario. The ministry supports business partners such as Regional Innovation Centres, who offer business support services to the tech sector, including market intelligence, sector specialists, talent and capital services.

The ministry supports other innovative projects and platforms including Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Quebec and Ontario for Research and Innovation (ENCQOR) and Next Generation Networks (CENGN).

To fuel the growth of Ontario’s most promising technology companies, the Ontario Capital Growth Corporation (OCGC) provides venture capital. OCGC was created as the venture capital agency of the government to promote and develop the venture capital industry in Ontario. OCGC’s $330 million in investments have leveraged over $3 billion of growth capital into a portfolio of promising companies.

8. Red tape and regulatory burden reduction

The ministry plays a leading role in supporting one of the government’s core commitments by reducing red tape and regulatory burden to lower the high cost of doing business in Ontario, and to make Ontario companies more competitive and demonstrate that Ontario is open for business.The ministry is responsible for attracting, retaining and expediting business investment by working across government to reduce regulatory impediments.

COVID-19 response

Provides support to making Ontario open for business including improving the quality of interactions with businesses, reducing administrative and regulatory burden and ensuring a competitive business climate in the province.

Leading the ministry’s covid 19 policy work in relation to Regulation 82/20 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (Closure of Places of Non-Essential Businesses).

Delivered a regulatory pause submission website for Ontarians to recommend changes to the compliance framework that will support efforts related to re-tooling and fiscal pressures related to covid 19.

Provided advice and analytical support on minimizing potential regulatory burdens on business from regulatory proposals.

Development of regulatory agreements with other Canadian jurisdictions in order to reduce administrative burden for businesses and foster economic growth, regulatory harmonization and trade across Canada.

Provides support to potential suppliers of critical personal protective equipment to determine business readiness and overseeing the procurement process in collaboration with ministry partners.

Tracking and analyzing domestic production capacity, and potential capacity, to ensure local sources of personal protective equipment are available in the event of another outbreak.

Provides critical updates corporately to ensure an accurate picture of current personal protective equipment inventory.

9. Regulatory modernization

The ministry leads cross-government regulatory innovation, to modernize compliance activities to better protect the public by streamlining inspection services. Also, the ministry advises partners on regulatory modernization approaches including alternatives to regulation; and advances risk-based approaches to prioritizing regulatory activities and decision-making, while driving a stronger customer service culture. Additionally, the ministry is implementing the Small Business Success Strategy to position Ontario small businesses to compete successfully, both within the province and globally. The objective is to make it easier for businesses to succeed and to foster a robust, economic climate.

COVID-19 response

Oversees the development and implementation of Ontario’s Small Business Success Strategy, which supports recovery from the economic challenges created by the covid 19 outbreak.

  • In Fall 2019, the government made a commitment to help small businesses grow and succeed across all industries and communities through the Small Business Success Strategy. The strategy launched on March 11, 2020.
  • As the covid 19 outbreak is having a significant impact on small businesses and entrepreneurs across Ontario, the strategy will pivot to respond to current problems and long-term competitiveness challenges. The revised strategy proposes a two phased approach:
    1. Relief and Recovery: actions to support small businesses with their immediate needs; mitigate the impacts of reduced revenue or temporary business closures; and actions designed to help small businesses recover.
    2. Success: actions to support growth, competitiveness and sustainability of the small business economy and address long-term competitiveness challenges.

2020-21 Strategic Plan

covid 19 is having far reaching economic impacts which are of major concern for Ontarians. Across the province and around the world, the global outbreak has changed how we do business and foster new international partnerships.

As the economy begins to open the ministry will work to rebuild a strong and competitive business environment in Ontario. Prior to the outbreak, our efforts to create a climate for economic growth at home by lowering the costs of doing business and reducing red tape positioned Ontario as a top location for investment and trade. Ontario will continue to engage with industries and sectors to understand the economic impacts and potential ways to support them.

The ministry has launched a new $50 million Ontario Together Fund to help businesses provide innovative solutions or retool their operations in order to manufacture essential medical supplies and equipment to stop the spread of covid 19.

The Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade is committed to working with business to ensure a stable and competitive economy that protects workers and creates jobs, opportunity and growth. The ministry is modernizing its programs and shifting its focus on core priorities to ensure efficient delivery of programs to stakeholders. We are focusing our efforts to support businesses that have a direct impact – reducing red tape and regulatory burden and creating a competitive environment where business can thrive, creating good jobs for the people of Ontario.

The ministry looks forward to the continued integration of the Small Business and Red Tape Reduction (SBRTR) in the coming year, as well as seamlessly linking the government’s strategy on trade, investment and competitiveness with SBRTR’s strategy on small business and red tape reduction. SBRTR has an ambitious mandate to streamline and modernize outdated, overly complex and duplicative regulations and to improve regulatory compliance process.

The ministry’s number one priority is ensuring Ontario is open for business – that means creating and protecting jobs, supporting businesses, and increasing investment and trade so Ontario’s economy can grow and thrive.

For 2020-21, the ministry had an operating expense allocation of $579.3 million for programming compared to $653.3 million in 2019-20, representing a reduction of 11 per cent.

The overall budget for the ministry’s operating activities has decreased by a net of $74 million from 2019-20, primary due to a reduction in time limited investments from the Jobs and Prosperity Fund and Auto Assemblers.

Key MEDJCT operating transfer payment programs include:

  • Jobs and Prosperity Fund - $137.5 million
  • Commercialization and Innovation Network Supports - $30.1 million
  • 5G/Next Generation Networks - $30 million
  • Auto Assemblers Investments - $15 million
Table 1:  Ministry Planned Expenditures 2020-21 ($M)
ItemAmount
Ministry Administration23,447,200
Statutory Appropriations529,565
Economic Development and Investment236,434,100
Strategy and Policy9,186,500
Start-ups and Scale-ups21,733,300
International Trade40,562,200
Innovation247,468,500
Capital Expense4,000
Total579,365,365
Table 2: Ministry Allocation of 2020-21 Base Spending ($M)
ItemAmount
Operating Expense*579,361,365
Capital Expense*4,000
Total Expense579,365,365
Operating Assets10,001,000
Capital Assets2,000

* Excludes the following Consolidation Adjustments:

- Consolidation Adjustment - Ontario Capital Growth Corporation

Ministry Organization Chart

  • Minister, Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade - Hon. Victor Fedeli
    • Chief of Staff – Rahul Bedi
    • Deputy Minister, Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade/Small Business and Red Tape Reduction– Giles Gherson
      • Director, Communications - Jonathan Leigh
      • Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Services - Todd Kilpatrick
        • Director, Business Planning and Finance - Muneeb Chaudhary
        • Director, Service Management and Facilities - Nelson Janicas
        • Director, Strategic Human Resources - Annette Azzopardi
      • Assistant Deputy Minister, Economic Development Policy – Jennifer Block
        • Director, Strategic and Corporate Policy – Sirad Mohamoud
        • Director, Economic Data Analytics – Richard Kikuta
        • Director, Economic Development Policy – Tiffany Mah
        • Director, Regional Economic Development – Derek Burgess
      • Assistant Deputy Minister, Industry and Sector Strategy - Trevor Dauphinee
        • Director, Automotive Industry – Tom Bedford
        • Director, Advanced Manufacturing Industries – Joe Veloce
        • Director, Advanced Technologies – Andrew Guy
        • Director, Sector Strategy - Stephanie Appave
      • Assistant Deputy Minister, Trade and Investment - David Barnes
        • Director, Foreign Direct Investment Services - Jenarra Desouza
        • Director, International Trade Engagement – Matthew Gordon
        • Director, International Trade and Investment Strategy – Rakhi Lad
        • Executive Director, International Trade Engagement - Hugo Cameron
      • Assistant Deputy Minister, International Representation and Promotion – Alexandra Sutton
        • Director, International Business Growth – Corie McDougall
        • Director, Marketing and Creative Services - Maureen Hall
        • Director, International Representation – Christina Critelli
        • Director, Inbound Business Development – Carla Tsambourlianos
      • Assistant Deputy Minister, Business Partnerships and Programs – Anne Bermonte
        • Director, Program Transformation – Franca Sacchetti
        • Director, Funding Administration – Clara Chan
        • Director, Training Programs – Enrico Di Nino
        • Director, Business Services – Lynn Groulx
        • Director, Scale Up Services – George Cadete
        • Director, Talent and Entrepreneurship/Commercialization and Scale Up Networks – Lyn Doering
        • CEO, Ontario Capital Growth Corporation – Steve Romanyshyn
      • Assistant Deputy Minister, Regulatory Modernization and Business Relief – Victor Severino
        • Director, Regulatory Innovation and Service Transformation – Patricia Bishop
      • Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy and Planning – Kevin Perry
        • Director, Red Tape Policy and Business Relief – Robert Tom Kaszas
        • Director, Inter-Jurisdictional Harmonization and Regulatory Assessment – Richard Caine
        • Director, Special Projects – Tim Lewis

Agencies, Boards and Commissions

Ontario Capital Growth Corporation

The Ontario Capital Growth Corporation (OCGC) was established to receive, hold, administer and otherwise deal with the interest of the Government of Ontario in the limited partnership known as the Ontario Venture Capital Fund LP. As manager of the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund, OCGC is responsible for acquiring, managing and otherwise dealing with a portfolio of investments in businesses that the corporation considers to be emerging technology businesses. Additionally, OCGC is able to participate in the formation of funds, acquire interests in the funds, and to hold, administer and otherwise deal with those interests, where each fund meets the following criteria:

  • receives funding directly or indirectly from, among others, one or more of the following; the Government of Canada, the corporation, and private sector entities
  • promotes the creation of a globally competitive venture capital industry, increasing the supply and effective deployment of early-stage investment capital and increasing the supply of top-performing fund managers to manage venture capital investment in Ontario and Canada
  • invests in one or both of the following; other funds that supply venture capital to companies, and innovative companies that require venture capital
  • managed by a private sector fund manager and perform any additional objectives specified by the Lieutenant Governor in Council

OCGC has purchased limited partnership interests in the Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund LP, ScaleUP Venture Fund I LP, Yaletown Innovation Growth LP, and is committing funds towards expected limited partnership investments through a Life Sciences Venture Fund initiative.

COVID-19 response

Similarly, the ministry continues to make and oversee venture capital investments into innovative companies. The Province is looking at areas of need and is considering programming to help Ontario’s innovation ecosystem get through the current economic crisis.

Detailed Financial Information

Table A1: Combined operating and capital summary by vote
Votes/ProgramsEstimates
2020-21
$
Change from Estimates
2019-20
$
%Estimates
2019-20 *
$
Interim Actuals
2019-20*
$
Actuals
2018-19*
$

Operating Expense

Ministry Administration Program23,447,2001,277,6005.822,169,60022,169,60026,812,836
Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Program555,384,600(75,273,300)(11.9)630,657,900614,490,700779,106,153
Less: Special Warrants000000
Total Operating Expense to be Voted578,831,800(73,995,700)(11.3)652,827,500636,660,300805,918,989
Special Warrants000000
Statutory Appropriations529,56522,3784.4507,187507,187319,406
Ministry Total Operating Expense579,361,365(73,973,322)(11.3)653,334,687637,167,487806,238,395
Consolidation Adjustment - Ontario Capital Growth Corporation(1,551,900)28,769,300(30,321,200)(26,359,800)(24,455,921)0
Consolidation Adjustment - General Real Estate Portfolio08,721,900(8,721,900)(8,721,900)(7,928,890)0
Operating Expense Adjustment - Cap and Trade Wind Down Account Reclassification0002,320,93800
Total Including Consolidation & Other Adjustments577,809,465(36,482,122)(5.9)614,291,587602,085,787776,174,522

Operating Assets

Ministry Administration Program1,000001,00000
Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Program50,000,00040,000,000400.010,000,00010,000,0005,166,247
Less: Special Warrants000000
Total Operating Assets to be Voted50,001,00040,000,000400.010,001,00010,000,0005,166,247
Special Warrants000000
Statutory Appropriations000000
Ministry Total Operating Assets 50,001,00040,000,000400.010,001,00010,000,0005,166,247

Capital Expense

Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Program3,000003,000012,440,727
Less: Special Warrants000000
Total Capital Expense to be Voted3,000003,000012,440,727
Special Warrants000000
Statutory Appropriations1,000001,00000
Ministry Total Capital Expense 4,000004,000012,440,727
Consolidation Adjustment - General Real Estate Portfolio00(2,908,088)000
Total Including Consolidation & Other Adjustments4,000004,00009,532,639

Capital Assets

Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Program2,000002,00000
Less: Special Warrants000000
Total Capital Assets to be Voted2,000002,00000
Special Warrants000000
Ministry Total Capital Assets2,000002,00000
Ministry Total Operating and Capital Including Consolidation and Other Adjustments (not including Assets)577,813,465(36,482,122)(5.9)614,295,587602,085,787785,707,161

* Estimates, Interim Actuals and Actuals for prior fiscal years are re-stated to reflect any changes in ministry organization and/or program structure. Interim actuals reflect the numbers presented in the 2020 Ontario Budget.

For additional financial information, see:

http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/english/budget/estimates/

http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/english/budget/paccts/

https://budget.ontario.ca/2020/marchupdate/index.html

Or

For information please contact:

Business Planning and Finance Branch
Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

Tel: 647-289-4932

Fax: 416-327-4239

Legislation

Statutes administered by The Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

Community Small Business Investment Funds Act, 1992, S.O. 1992, c. 18 in respect of Part III.2 and in the application of the provisions of Part I, Part IV and the regulations to or in respect of an investment corporation registered or previously registered under Part III.2

Ministry of Economic Development and Trade Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M.27

Ontario Capital Growth Corporation Act, 2008, S.O. 2008, c. 19, Sched. O

Burden Reduction Reporting Act, 2014, S.O. 2014, c. 12, Sched. 1

Development Corporations Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. D. 10

Partnerships for Jobs and Growth Act, 2014, S.O. 2014, c. 12, Sched. 2

Reducing Regulatory Costs for Business Act, 2017, S.O. 2017, c. 20, Sched. 4

Water Opportunities Act, 2010, S.O. 2010, c. 19, Sched. 1, in respect of Part II

Attracting Investment and Creating Jobs Act, 2012, S.O. 2012, c. 10

Glossary of Terms

AMC - Advanced Manufacturing Consortium

AVIN - Autonomous Vehicles Innovation Network

C/AV - Connected and Autonomous Vehicle

CENGN - Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks

CLB - Canadian Language Benchmark

CPTPP - Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership

CUSMA - Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement

ENCQOR - Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Quebec and Ontario for Research and Innovation

EPDP - Economic Development Policy Division

FDI - Foreign Direct Investment

FOI - Freedom of information

GSIC - Government Services Integration Cluster

HQP - Highly Qualified Persons

I3 - IBM Innovation Incubator Project

IAF - Investment Accelerator Fund

IO - Infrastructure Ontario

KPI - Key Performance Indicators

MEDJCT - Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

MTO - Ministry of Transportation

NAFTA - North American Free Trade Agreement

O-AMP - Ontario Automotive Modernization Program

OCGC - Ontario Capital Growth Corporation

ODOE - Other Direct Operating Expenses

OJB - Open for Jobs Blueprint

ONE - Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs

OPCD - Office of the Provincial Controller Division

R&D - Research and Development

RIC - Regional Innovation Centres

RTDS - Regional Technology Development Sites

SBEC - Small Business Enterprise Centres

SHRB - Strategic Human Resources Branch

SMA - Strategic Mandate Agreements

SME - Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

MCU - Ministry of Colleges and Universities

T&ID - Trade and Investment Division

TIO - Ontario’s Trade and Investment Offices

VC - Venture Capital

Appendix

2019-20 achievements

The Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade supports a strong, innovative economy that can provide jobs, opportunities and prosperity for all Ontarians.

Modernizing business supports

The government committed to undertaking a review of all business support programs to determine their effectiveness, value-for-money and sustainability. The review found that the business support programs were not aligned with the priorities of the current government, were fragmented across multiple ministries, and lacked sufficient evidence to measure their value.

The OJB is recognized as one of six high-priority cross-cutting (“Smart”) initiatives having significant potential to modernize programs, improve outcomes and service delivery, and increase efficiency across government as it relates to business supports.

In 2019-20, MEDJCT developed and released the following policy tools to support business support programs and services:

  • Business Supports Definition – a single definition of business supports that can be adopted across government
  • Business Success Framework – a framework/tool that will help ministries assess and guide re-design of business support programs and services
  • Business Success Metric – developed to enable accountability for the outcome of business support programs & services including comparability, and identification of efficiencies and best value for money
  • Operational and Governance Model – a coordinated operational and governance model to bring alignment, collaboration and accountability across all ministries that offer business supports

Regional Development Program

In December 2019, the ministry launched the Regional Development Program as part of its commitment to transform business supports to deliver value for money for taxpayers and create sustainable opportunities for businesses and communities across the province.

The Regional Development Program is the first program to launch as part of the business supports transformation initiative. The program takes a new, coordinated approach to supporting business growth in eastern and southwestern Ontario communities by:

  • making it easier for small- and medium-sized businesses to qualify by reducing the job creation threshold from ten to five
  • expanding financial support to eligible municipalities, industry groups and economic development organizations for projects that could lead to long-term regional sustainability and advance local priorities
  • enhancing support to companies for training and access to talent through funding and complementary services
  • simplifying applications through system improvements which will save time and resources

Under the new program, businesses and communities can get financial support through the Eastern Ontario Development Fund and Southwestern Ontario Development Fund and guided access to a range of complementary services and supports, including advisory services, assistance with compliance and approvals, accessing skills and training supports, and information on tax credits.

  • the ministry is piloting using set intake periods – the first intake began on December 2, 2019. Projects are compared against program objectives and other potential projects to ensure that limited funding is directed to the projects with the largest impacts and to communities that will benefit most
  • the Regional Development Program is part of Ontario’s plan to build smarter government and protect our core programs and services
  • existing business support contracts approved prior to June 2018 are being honoured. MEDJCT disbursed over $225 million in business support program funding in 2019-20. Performance requirements, such as a specific number of jobs created, and a specific amount of private money invested, are in place to make sure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely.

COVID-19 response

The ministry is providing key advisory services and support to Ontario small and medium enterprises as they face the impacts of covid 19 and will continue to do so throughout the recovery period. In addition to supporting businesses that may need to pause due to covid 19, the ministry is also working with businesses that have submitted to the Ontario Together portal to provide key emergency supplies. The ministry’s advisors are working with these companies to better understand their readiness to supply and to support them in solving any barriers they may face, such as regulatory or supply chain issues.

As part of these efforts, the ministry is working closely with MENDM, MNRF and OMAFRA to serve SMEs across all sectors and regions of the province.

Regional and sector support

Engaged with regional economic stakeholders across the province to better understand regional priorities and issues.

Provided regional economic data, analysis and policy advice on regional economic issues, trends and stakeholder issues.

Undertaken a Regional Review to support the Business Supports Transformation initiative, which will identify evidence-based options to transform service delivery. This initiative will help develop a coordinated and integrated network that provides Ontario businesses and entrepreneurs with the supports they need, where they need them.

Conducted a regional inventory and mapping exercise focused on municipal economic development organizations and service delivery organizations.

Worked with partner ministries on cross cutting regional economic development policies and programs. Some examples include: Provincially Signiant Employment Zones led by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Regional Transportation Strategies led by the Ministry of Transportation and various funding programs led by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, Ministry of Energy Northern Development and Mines and the Ministry of Infrastructure.

The ministry engaged with regional economic stakeholders across the province to better understand regional priorities and issues and to communicate new programs and services to stakeholder to help drive growth and prosperity across all of Ontario’s regions.

The ministry is undertaking a Regional Review to support the Business Supports Transformation initiative, which will identify evidence-based options to transform service delivery. This initiative will help develop a coordinated and integrated network that provides Ontario businesses and entrepreneurs with the supports they need, where they need them.

To further understand and enable the ministry to respond more effectively to regional economic disparities, the ministry developed and maintains a regional lens to help ensure that ministry programs reflect and address specific regional economic needs.

COVID-19 response

In early March, activated the Business Climate Assistant Deputy Ministers’ and the Business Climate Deputy Ministers’ Committees to lead a coordinated government-wide approach to reviewing, developing and as appropriate, implementing actions and response measures to support Ontario businesses and sectors impacted by covid 19.

Engaged senior leaders from all ministries that support economic responses in real-time discussions on economic impacts and emerging trends.

Adopted a sectoral lens to track business stakeholders’ issues and impacts of covid 19, as well as identify high potential relief and recovery measures that can be implemented by government.

Facilitated cross-government analysis of issues and coordination of emergency relief and recovery measures with OPS, federal, provincial and municipal partners.

Contributed data, analysis and stakeholder input to support development of responses to address immediate and longer-term economic impacts of covid 19 based on the severity of economic impacts to Ontario businesses and sectors.

Business growth and retention

As a result of the ministry’s work with 4,230 established Ontario small and medium enterprises with tradeable goods and services, the Business Advisory Services branch facilitated more than $447 million of new investment in the province, which contributed to 1,665 jobs created and 7,107 jobs retained.

Continued work with established firms to understand business needs and regional growth opportunities and to build the capacity of small and medium sized enterprises to scale and grow. Tailored advice, expert analysis and practical recommendations are geared to help businesses become more productive and competitive. Through this work with businesses, the ministry also harnesses local and regional business intelligence that can inform policy and program design decisions that impact SME growth.

A total of 457 surveys of SMEs were completed in 2019-20 on topics ranging from talent/ labour, accessing capital, market development, assessing organizational strengths and identifying opportunities for improvement and navigating/addressing regulatory challenges.

Over 2019-20, the ministry engaged key sectoral stakeholders (ICT, Automotive, Aerospace, Advanced Manufacturing, Steel, Chemicals, Clean Technology, Life Sciences, Financial and Business Services) With a lens of ensuring continued growth, the ministry produced and maintained detailed and informed understanding of Ontario’s critical and emerging sectors to provide robust analysis and advice on issues affecting key sectors and companies.

Examples include:

  • the impact of Section 232 tariffs on the Automotive, Aluminum and Steel industries
  • the successful transfer of Bombardier’s Q400 aircraft program to Longview Aviation
  • engagement with the solar panel manufacturing sector on U.S. 201 tariffs
  • engagement with the fabricated, structural steel sector on U.S. anti-dumping and countervailing duties investigations;
  • in partnership with the federal government, commissioned a third-party strategic review of Ontario’s steel sector
  • federal changes to the Patented Medicines Pricing Review Board
  • engagement on strategic investment opportunities
  • leading the province’s covid 19 engagement with multiple priority sectors

The ministry advances emerging sectors through targeted actions such as convening the sector during cybersecurity month to discuss important issues for their sector, namely – Privacy by Design, artificial intelligence, emerging trends, talent, quantum and the General Data Protection Regulation.

The ministry also engages regularly with other levels of government and local economic development organizations on sector focussed economic development opportunities such as investment attraction, cluster development, intelligence sharing and emerging technologies.

In March 2020, consultations were held with key stakeholders in the life sciences sector to build on Ontario’s strengths in health and life sciences, support businesses operating in Ontario and to strengthen the ecosystem. In addition, the ministry engaged with organizers of the AdvaMed MedTech 2020 conference, which will be held in Toronto for the first time in October 2020.

The ministry engaged with regional economic stakeholders across the province to better understand regional priorities and issues, including partnering with regional leadership groups to support the development, refinement and identification of opportunities to support regional strategy documents within government.

Enhancing business growth capacity and readiness

The Business Capacity and Readiness Branch led the development and delivery of 18 seminars and workshops attended by 590 participants, which were delivered either in-person across Ontario or virtually via a webinar format. Topics covered included: Leveraging Data and Artificial Intelligence to SME Manufacturers, E-Commerce Readiness, Leveraging E-Commerce to Grow Exports, Automotive Technology Adoption, Smart Manufacturing, New Exporters to Border States, and Export Readiness targeted to various American, European and Asian markets. The seminars were held across Ontario including Barrie, Brampton, London, Toronto, Whitby, Windsor and in Buffalo.

The Business Capacity and Readiness Branch was also the Co-Chair of the Canada-Ontario Export Forum in 2019-20 and supported the delivery of over 25 events led by other economic development partners such as the Toronto Regional Board of Trade – Trade Accelerator Program, Advanced Transportation Manufacturing Summit, and Latin America Export Forum.

The Division successfully designed and launched a new Project Navigation function to enhance the effectiveness of the Ministry’s business support programs by providing Ontario SMEs with customized assistance to access a portfolio of multi-ministry complementary supports and services.

Entrepreneurship

The Entrepreneurship Services Unit and the Partnerships Unit reviewed and streamlined the Regional Innovation Centre (RIC) metrics for the RIC 2020 transfer payment agreements. The updated list of metrics is reduced by over 60 percent and consists of 25 metrics. Reporting frequency for quarterly metrics was changed to semi-annual to reduce the reporting burden on RICs. The revised metrics will provide the ministry with the necessary information to effectively evaluate program performance, policies and expected outcomes. As a result, program data can support future evidence-based decision-making.

The ministry entered into a new streamlined three-year transfer payment agreement with Small Business Enterprise Centres. The new agreement has reduced the previous number of agreements, burden of reporting and cumbersome metrics collection, all while maintaining the same integrity and oversight.

The performance measurement framework under this new agreement ensures data accountability and reliability and provides the ability for the Ministry to effectively evaluate program performance and support future evidence-based decision making.

The ministry through the Ministry of Francophone Affairs provided funding from the Government of Canada’s Canada-Ontario Agreement for $120,000 over four years beginning in 2019-20. The purpose of this grant is to increase the delivery of French-language services and/or support the development and vitality of the francophone community with a focus on francophone entrepreneurs. French language services grant an opportunity for SBECs in Designated Bilingual Areas to apply for a $10,000 grant to increase French language services and resources for the francophone entrepreneurship community.

Investment Accelerator Fund

By venture capital industry standard measures, the Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) is achieving best-in-class performance. As of 2019-20, the IAF’s portfolio has increased to over 160 firms, or about three times the size of a comparable private firm. Every $1 invested by the IAF leverages another $17 for its portfolio firms, leading to over $1 billion in capital invested in Ontario companies.

Ontario Capital Growth Corporation

The Ontario Capital Growth Corporation (OCGC) investments continued to perform well in 2019-20 on all measures: returns on investment, leveraging additional funds, and generating jobs and R&D. The most recent estimate of the value of OCGC’s portfolio shows an increase in value of 31 percent over originally invested capital. The OCGC was positively reviewed by the Agency Review Task Force and the ministry’s EY Business Support Program Review. The agency continues work on a life sciences venture capital fund initiative, and an initiative whereby OCGC will select and invest in several more venture capital funds.

IBM Innovation Incubator Project

IBM I3 is a public-private partnership between the government of Ontario, the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and IBM Canada.

The province’s $29 million investment leveraged matching contributions from IBM and industry to provide $67 million worth of support to Ontario SMEs.

I3 provides Ontario companies with technological resources such as supercomputing and big data analytics tools, physical space and specialized expertise to be more competitive, access skilled talent and grow their businesses.

The project is on track to benefit more than 500 companies and create more than 2,600 jobs in Ontario by 2020.

I3 has achieved all program targets and is now closed for intake.

The program is currently delivering services to existing projects and will be completed by March 31, 2021.

Driving prosperity: The future of Ontario’s automotive sector

In February 2019, the government announced a $10 million investment over three years toward the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP) as part of the government’s Driving Prosperity: The Future of Ontario’s Automotive Sector plan to boost competitiveness in the auto and manufacturing sectors. O-AMP provides matching funding to support process improvements at small and medium-sized Ontario automotive suppliers through adoption of leading-edge technology and/or the adoption of Lean manufacturing practices. The program was launched in September 2019 and in its first application intake committed over $4.1 million of funding to projects at 50 companies that was matched by over $11.6 million of private funding and will create or retain 278 high-value automotive sector jobs.

Also, under the Ontario government’s Driving Prosperity: The Future of Ontario’s Automotive Sector plan and in partnership with the Ministry of Transportation, the government has increased its investment in the Autonomous Vehicles Innovation Network (AVIN) by $5 million, to a total of $85 million to reinforce Ontario’s advantage in the rapidly evolving and converging auto and technology sectors. Through resources such as R&D funding, talent development, technology acceleration, business and technical supports, and demonstration grounds, AVIN provides critical support to help Ontario-based connected and autonomous vehicle companies gain a foothold in the marketplace. It allows innovative Ontario firms to leverage large corporate partners to develop globally competitive, made-in-Ontario technologies to shape the future of transportation and mobility while developing talent for jobs of the future.

Of the 390 prototypes made through these partnerships, 35 have made it to the commercialization stage.

Autonomous Vehicles Innovation Network

The Autonomous Vehicles Innovation Network’s (AVIN) support for start-ups and SMEs in Ontario’s growing connected and autonomous vehicle sector includes project funding requiring matching from private-sector sources. Matching contribution levels under the original program guidelines allowed program funding to cover up to 50% of eligible project costs up to $1 million.

Following the announcement of the Driving Prosperity automotive plan, program contributions toward projects were adjusted to 33% of eligible project costs for the Autonomous Vehicle R&D and the new WinterTech program streams, which increased value for money for the investment of public funds. Matching levels for the Talent Development program stream remain unchanged.

In 2019-20, AVIN achieved the following milestones:

  • WinterTech Development Program launched with four projects approved for a total of $1.6 million and leveraged over $3.2 million in total partner contributions
  • funded 17 AV R&D partnership projects between SMEs and large organizations, with $8.4 million and leveraged $22.4 million in industry-matching contributions
  • sponsored 37 talent development projects, supporting 36 internships and 1 fellowship with $395,000, and leveraged over $900,000 in industry-matching contributions
  • 12 SMEs participating in the Demonstration Zone at Stratford to support vehicle integration projects, with three additional vehicle integration projects currently under development

Advanced Manufacturing Consortium

The Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (AMC) makes it easier for businesses to access world-class equipment and expertise to solve factory floor and production line challenges.

Since its launch in April 2017, AMC has worked on more than 450 projects with industry, helping more than 200 companies. It has leveraged over $50 million in cumulative project funding and has helped commercialize more than 130 products, processes and services.

Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Quebec and Ontario for Research and Innovation (ENCQOR) and the Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN)

ENCQOR and CENGN are foundational to the new Broadband and Cellular Strategy and Action Plan, helping to ensure that Ontario will remain open for business for generations to come. In 2019-20, ENCQOR met or exceeded its key targets and milestones. Testbeds are now in service at Invest Ottawa, Communitech and MaRS hub sites and communicating between all five Ontario and Quebec hubs. Anchor firms have exceeded employee targets by 50%. In addition, over 180 SMEs have been supported through ENCQOR programming to date.

Ontario’s Business Support Network

Ontario’s business support network is aimed to support Ontario’s businesses seeking to start, grow or scale. Through this network, Ontario offers a range of province-wide programs and supports to assist entrepreneurs starting and growing new companies — from local businesses to technology-based companies aspiring to become global leaders.

Member organizations include: 17 funded Regional Innovation Centres (RICs), 47 Small Business Enterprise Centres (SBECs), Ontario Centres of Excellence, MaRS and Communitech.

Regional Innovation Centres support the growth of high-potential, innovation-based firms by delivering services and programming on a regional basis that help entrepreneurs and innovators in all parts of our province clear commercialization hurdles and attract the talent, capital and customers they need to grow and succeed.

Two of the larger RICs (Kitchener-Waterloo’s Communitech and Toronto’s MaRS) also bring together innovation-focused companies of all sizes and co-locate them under one roof with service providers, academic partners, capital providers, and resources to fuel job creation and company growth. These innovation spaces, Communitech Hub and MaRS Core, act as centres for innovation in their respective regions.

Small Business Enterprise Centres operate locally, in collaboration with municipalities and regional partners, to support small businesses (fewer than 10 employees) through services such as seminars/workshops, mentorship and training, as well as funding opportunities through the Summer Company and Starter Company Plus programs.

26 Senior Business Advisors strategically located across all regions of southern Ontario to support the overall growth of small- and medium-sized firms that produce tradable goods and services.

The network focuses on helping Ontario’s innovators and entrepreneurs to:

  • create new jobs
  • leverage investments
  • serve clients through training, expert advice and mentorship

Based on the 2019-20 results obtained to date, SBECs assisted in starting of 4,966 new businesses, expanding of 1,579 businesses resulting in creation of over 8000 new jobs.

MaRS Business Acceleration Program

The Business Acceleration Program (BAP), which is administered by MaRS on behalf of the province, supports the growth and development of regional innovation ecosystems across Ontario. BAP delivers technology-company acceleration programming funded by MEDJCT across Ontario through each of the 17 RICs. BAP helps to create, share and integrate coordinated entrepreneurship services to support the delivery of specialized BAP programming by the RICs including market intelligence, specialized mentorship and entrepreneurial education. Together they help innovation entrepreneurs develop the skills and opportunities they need to move successfully into the global marketplace.

Ontario Centres of Excellence

MEDJCT’s delivery partner for academic-industry commercialization programs, the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) works with universities, colleges and teaching hospitals across Ontario to accelerate the commercialization of new technologies. OCE focuses on ensuring that the economic benefits of leading-edge research that is conducted in Ontario, is realized in Ontario. Research underway at publicly funded universities, colleges and research hospitals can be transformed into technologies and services that enhance quality of life and help build a globally competitive, job-creating economy in Ontario. Specifically, OCE supports:

  • industry-academic collaborations
  • commercialization of academic intellectual property (IP), and development and adoption of emerging technologies (including advanced technology platforms)
  • early-stage projects where the probability of commercial success and investment return on innovation are substantial, but where the risks are high enough to deter private investment

Red tape and regulatory burden reduction

Played a leading role in supporting one of the government’s core commitments by reducing red tape and regulatory burden to lower the high cost of doing business in Ontario and to make Ontario companies more competitive, so they can create and keep jobs. Including:

  • government announced, Unleashing a Competitive Ontario by Cutting Overregulation strategy. It set two ambitious targets: to save Ontario companies at least $400 million per year in the cost related to complying with regulations; and to reduce the number of regulatory requirements affecting businesses
  • provided independent policy advice on reducing the regulatory burden, to support and inform government decision-making on a high volume of priority files. This included playing a critical role in developing an insurance reform package, making sure employers have access to the skilled workers they need and providing certainty about property taxes for businesses
  • helped individual businesses resolve regulatory challenges. The Business Relief Unit has worked directly with over 110 companies and 35 stakeholder groups and/or industry associations to help them overcome their regulatory obstacles. This work has been pivoted to streamline regulatory barriers related to covid 19 and effectively deliver change. Received a Golden Scissor award honourary mention from the Canadian Federation of Business for the work of the BRU
  • launched the Job Site Challenge, a new land development tool designed to increase Ontario’s economic competitiveness by identifying large parcels of shovel-ready industrial lands across the province. The Ministry will be collaborating with economic and regulatory partner ministries to institute a new streamlined development approval framework that will streamline the government-to-business experience and reduce regulatory burden on strategic investment projects

Regulatory modernization

The Office of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction has been integral to leading the following regulatory modernization efforts:

  • the Compliance Modernization Strategy, one of this government’s Smart Initiatives, has made progress to enhance information sharing and inter-ministerial collaboration to focus regulatory delivery on outcomes and according to risk assessments and data
  • through Compliance Modernization, ministries would be engaged to ensure regulatory barriers to job creation, including prolonged approval processes and unnecessary consultations, are removed. This would include improved service standards across government ministries
  • the Compliance Modernization Strategy is advanced through two strategic working groups, which identify and implement small, high-impact solutions that will modernize Ontario’s regulatory delivery and compliance activities
  • a key pillar of the Compliance Modernization Strategy entails fostering a modern, smarter regulatory culture and practices, with a view to reducing burden on responsible businesses. SBRTR is supporting this objective, in part, by working with ministries to mandate a robust Regulators’ Code of Practice
  • all regulators will be required to embed the Code into their operational plans, policies and procedures, to ensure the highest standards of professionalism and the latest best practices in regulatory delivery
  • launched a dedicated option has been added to the Business Information Line (1-888-745-8888) for businesses to provide feedback on interactions with Ontario inspectors and auditors. The feedback received will help improve interactions between government and businesses and other regulated entities, so they are more predictable and efficient. This initiative also supports the objective of ensuring the highest standards of professionalism are the basis of all interactions with business. Passage of Bill 132, Better for People, Smarter for Business Act. This package of over 80 actions cut red tape and modernized regulations to make life easier for people and businesses, including the agriculture and transportation sectors

International and interprovincial trade policy

To deliver on the government’s priorities of advancing Ontario’s interests in international and interprovincial trade to drive business growth and create jobs, the ministry has:

  • launched negotiations with U.S. states related to Strategic Investment and Procurement Agreements. These agreements seek to secure improved access to government procurement opportunities for businesses and identify key actions to enhance and promote overall trade and investment. Worked to identify and track any trade policy measures introduced globally that could impact Ontario’s ability to source medical supplies needed to tackle covid 19 and undertaken advocacy with the federal government to possibly mitigate identified measures of importance to Ontario
  • led a robust and comprehensive implementation plan to ensure Ontario was ready to implement and capitalize on the benefits of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Since implementation, Ontario’s January exports to CPTPP countries have grown from $550 million to $614 million in CAD
  • advocated on behalf of Ontario’s interests in ongoing trade negotiations, including the Canada-Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay) FTA negotiations
  • strengthened Ontario’s interprovincial trade ties with the rest of Canada by taking a leadership role in implementing the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). Examples of key activities include:
    • chairing CFTA negotiations to incorporate rules on financial services – Ontario’s top interprovincial export – into the Agreement to ensure financial service suppliers can operate on a pan-Canadian basis free from restrictive barriers
    • led efforts to modify the CFTA to allow federal, provincial, and territorial governments to independently remove unnecessary restrictions to internal trade, in addition to narrowing Ontario’s energy exceptions to support oil and gas pipeline development within the province

Investment attraction

Through the first three quarters of fiscal year 2019-20, the Trade and Investment Division focused its efforts on developing 74 foreign direct capital investments with an estimated collective value of $4.1 billion CAD and the potential to create 3976 direct jobs in Ontario. An additional 116 new opportunities are currently being advanced.

As part of the Investment Ready: Site Certified Program, eleven Certified Sites have been fully or partially sold to investors establishing or expanding their businesses in Ontario, totaling approximately 444 acres of investment ready lands in the province.

Through fiscal year 2019-20 the ministry facilitated 40 community outreach meetings to generate interest in the Investment Ready Program, leading to 6 pre-consultation meetings with prospective applicants.

International representation

The ministry focusses to raise awareness in global markets of the benefits to coming to Ontario where businesses grow and thrive. The ministry has worked to secure new trade and investment opportunities through the delivery of inbound and outbound commercial delegations and the delivery of international missions.

On June 20, 2019, up to 8 Agents-General positions were established through Order-in-Council. Two Agents-General were also appointed for Chicago and Dallas respectively. Agents-General will work within Ontario’s established international network, serving as the government’s primary representative in select markets, providing strategic advice and promoting Ontario’s commercial interests to drive job creation.

In 2019-20, 309 Ontario companies participated in 36 Export Business Missions to global markets, reporting over $555.5 million in export sales opportunities identified. Participating companies reported an average 91% satisfaction rating. $188.5 million in actual sales for Ontario companies was reported during the 6, 12- and 18-month follow-ups in 2018-19.

The effort to build awareness of Ontario internationally was supported by an ongoing, integrated, content-based marketing campaign that includes web, social media, public relations, trade shows and events and advertising. In 2019-20 it resulted in almost 360,000 InvestInOntario.com pageviews and a total of 1,765 leads. Of special note, the ministry’s international advertising campaign pilot, which targeted potential investors in advanced technology sectors within the U.S. and U.K., significantly outperformed the previous year’s campaign on all measures, including a 28 precent increase in reach and a 39% increase in leads generated. The International Invest in Ontario newsletter, was deployed 11 times throughout the year to a growing database of subscribers (up 29% from last year), yielding a total reach of over 55,000 and industry-exceeding open and click-through rates of 28 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

Domestically, marketing and promotion efforts focused on recruiting participant for export business missions, seminars and webinars. This was done primarily through targeted email blasts supported by social media. The export business mission newsletter, InfoExport, was deployed 4 times in 2019-20 for a total of 50,574 emails sent with a 20.72 per cent open rate. 21 geo-targeted emails for seminars and webinars were sent out in 2019/20 for a total of 241,092 emails sent with an open rate of 20.64 per cent. Those emails generated 1,317 registrations.

COVID-19 response

Pre-covid 19 Inbound Business Delegations had planned for 50 inbound business missions in 2020-21 and 10 Ontario-based industry events to foster trade and investment connections for Ontario companies and communities. These missions and events were estimated to generate over $50 million in potential sales and investment opportunities for Ontario companies.

This plan has been altered significantly to respond to the covid 19 outbreak that has fundamentally ceased international travel preventing physical business delegations from visiting Ontario. Major domestic industry events have also been cancelled, postponed, or pivoted to online delivery.

Table 3: Ministry Interim Actual Expenditures 2019-20
Item Ministry Interim Actual Expenditures 2019-20 ($M)
Operating Expense *637.17
Capital Expense*0
Staff Strength (as of March 31, 2020)**623.95

* Interim actuals reflect the numbers presented in the 2020 Ontario Budget.

** Ontario Public Service Full-Time Equivalent positions.

* Excludes the following Consolidation Adjustments:

  • consolidation adjustment: Ontario Capital Growth Corporation
  • consolidation adjustment: General Real Estate Portfolio