Empowering Ontario’s innovation economy

I had a proud moment the other day when I read that Toronto is punching above its weight, adding 22,500 tech jobs from 2015 to 2016—more jobs than San Francisco and New York combined.

It’s just one more sign that Ontario’s economy has a bright and innovative future. 

Last year, Ontario ranked third in North America in attracting over $4.5 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) according to fDi Report 2017.

That places our province behind only New York and California, which both have much larger populations. In fact, Ontario has been nominated twice since 2014 as being the top destination for foreign capital investment in North America by fDi Intelligence.

Why so proud? Let me explain.

For years, the Ontario government has been focused on supporting an innovation economy, recognizing that it brings sustainable jobs and, in turn, economic well-being.

However, it’s not just adding this government program to that government fund and stir. It’s a complex web of infrastructure, people, and investment. And it takes time.

To set up shop anywhere, companies, especially innovative ones, need the right mix of talent. They need clusters of industry expertise. And they need infrastructure (physical, political and technological) to support their ground-breaking work.

Ontario has one of the most educated workforces in the world. Over 67% of adults here have a post-secondary education. In turn, this attracts global talent to come and work here, too.

Much of that is due to the consistently great work being done by Ontario’s K-12 school boards and 44 colleges and universities in preparing students to be citizens of a 21st-century digital society.

Many of our education community are using video conferencing, blended learning and online collaboration tools to engage students in new types of hands-raised-high classroom learning.

Our library system is an extension and great democratizer of those learning opportunities, acting as community hubs to bring digital access and literacy to even remote areas. 

In our research institutes and hospitals, expertise is developed and cutting-edge ideas are explored. Advanced computing supports modelling to speed up discovery and robust networks transport the ever more demanding file sizes required for collaborative diagnostics.

Finally, companies bring these new ideas to market cheaper and faster here in Ontario than other jurisdictions with its extensive network of incubators, accelerators and research parks.

It’s no wonder companies set up shop here when one realizes that Ontario is home to the second-largest industry clusters in North America for IT, biomedical research and financial services, to name a few.

It all comes down to the integrated elements of Ontario’s innovation ecosystem. And ORION touches them all. We’ve been working hard to connect this intricate web and the global grid of like-minded expertise.

We work hard to support Ontario’s innovation economy, and it’s nice to see our efforts add up to job creation across the province.