The Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce welcomes the federal government announcement that a Canada Port Authority (CPA) has been created to operate the Port of Oshawa, a move that marks the end of a bygone era and one that will attract investment to Durham Region and create jobs. “The creation of this CPA brings to an end one era in Canadian transportation while ushering in another,” Minister of Finance and Oshawa-Whitby MP Jim Flaherty said at a February 10 news conference at the Quality Hotel & Conference Centre in Oshawa.
The Port of Oshawa is the last port in Canada to be overseen by a harbour commission. Though the country’s 17 other ports became CPAs between 1999 and 2001, Oshawa couldn’t make the transformation because of an ongoing land dispute that was finally dealt with in a 2010 settlement agreement between the City and the federal government.
Flaherty lauded the work of commissioners who served at the helm of the Oshawa Harbour Commission since its creation in 1960. But the time for change is overdue. “CPA status will bring certainty and stability with respect to the port’s long-term direction, which will help attract investment to the region, support economic growth and create jobs,” he said.
The Chamber believes Oshawa’s deep water harbour offers significant economic benefits to existing business and has the potential to attract new businesses to Durham Region and it supports industrial, recreational, commercial and residential uses. Over the past decade, the Chamber has shared that position with numerous transport ministers.
According to a recent study, the Port of Oshawa currently generates $23 million in economic activity and supports 294 jobs. But it’s about to get a bigger slice of the pie: Port authorities across the country benefit from private sector investment in port infrastructure with new and expanding marine terminals and new equipment, Flaherty said.
CPAs operate at arm’s length from the federal government and are directed by an independent board of directors. Collectively, they handle about $162 billion worth of goods annually—that’s about a quarter of all the trade Canada does globally.
The economic impact of CPAs exceeds $30 billion a year. “The Port of Oshawa is about to get in on the action across the country in terms of trade and job creation,” Flaherty said.
The long-awaited announcement “heralds a renaissance in the life of the port by providing our current and prospective port users the certainty needed for continued growth and investment,” said Gary Valcour, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Oshawa Harbour Commission.
“We look forward to the challenges and the successes to come as the Oshawa Port Authority develops the port of Oshawa to its full potential as a true economic engine and a fundamental pillar in the infrastructure of the region,” he said.
“After over a decade of uncertainty the residents of Oshawa, and Durham Region as a whole, can look towards a bright new future for Oshawa’s waterfront,” stated Bob Malcolmson, CEO of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, adding “the possibility of new investment and economic growth in the harbour area is at the brink of realization. The Chamber is confident; businesses will see the blossoming opportunities surrounding our deep water Harbour.”