On Friday, November 9th, the who’s who of Durham’s business, civic, labour, non-profit, Aboriginal and academic communities came together for the fourth biennial Durham Economic Prosperity Conference to discuss opportunities for growth focusing on “Sharpening Durham’s Competitive Edge”. The Durham Economic Prosperity Conference has maintained its reputation as the go-to forum for decision makers from across the Region. Pictured are, left to right, Greater Oshawa Chamber President Geoff Michie of RBC Dominion Securities, Hon. Gary Goodyear and Dr. Colin Carrie, MP, Oshawa.
The one half day “think tank” Conference opened with a keynote address by the Hon. Gary Goodyear, Minister of State of Science and Technology and Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), forums and interactive panel discussions included Jianwei Yu, Consul (Commercial) Consulate General of the P.R. China in Toronto; Jeffrey R. Izzo,
Chief of Political and Economic Section Consulate General U.S. Department of State; Dr. Ron Oberth, President, Organization of CANDU Industries (OCI); Carlos Gomes, Senior Economist, Scotia Capital; Mathew Wilson, V.P. Policy, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME); John Cruickshank, Project Manager, Alliance of Ontario Food Processors (AOFP); Matt Crossley, Director of Canadian Engineering, General Motors of Canada; George Hanus, President & CEO, Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA); Kathy Weiss, Region of Durham, Economic Development & Tourism and Dave Hare, Chair, 2012 DEPC Committee. The luncheon speaker was Dr. Christine Kaszycki Assistant Deputy Minister, Ring of Fire Secretariat, Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.
During his address, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario Gary Goodyear, thanked conference participants, saying how impressed he is that the theme of the conference was economic prosperity for the Durham Region. “It is about developing solutions and uncovering new opportunities for economic growth, said Minister Goodyear and “the very fact that you are here today to talk about these things is quite encouraging to me.”
Highlights included commentary from Jeffrey R. Izzo, Chief of Political and Economic Section Consulate General U.S. Department of State on the implications of the U.S. election for Ontario. Jianwei Yu, outlined how China is Ontario’s second largest trade partner after the United States and that China’s continuous demand for commodity helped moderate the economic downturn in Ontario. More importantly, the Chinese investment in Ontario has amounted to more than $6 billion and that would in turn translate into job creation and economic growth. Mr. Yu encouraged Durham Region to take China into consideration when it is considering how to sharpen its competitive edge.
“The community leaders attending the conference want to drive change in how we do business in Durham Region and to discuss opportunities for growth focusing on “Sharpening Durham’s Competitive Edge” said Bob Malcolmson, CEO of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce.
“Durham is facing challenges,” Malcolmson continued, “we fundamentally believe that Durham can emerge stronger from the current economic and fiscal climate. But it is up to us to follow through on our commitments.”
The Durham Economic Prosperity Conference (DEPC), introduced in 2006, is a partnership between the Region of Durham, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce and has been an unprecedented success. Every second year forward thinking leaders from across the Region meet to discuss the most pressing issues facing Durham Region.
The Conference will culminate with a written report generated and sent to all participants and all levels of government for follow up on the initiatives identified in the report. Partnerships and alliances are often formed to act on specific collaborative projects and initiatives identified at the Conference.
Power points presentations, speaker bios, transcripts and video from the Conference can be found at www.durhamprosperity.org.