April 1, 2016 – The Greater Oshawa Chamber was honoured to have the Hon. Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure as the keynote speaker at its Annual General Meeting at the Oshawa Golf & Curling Club on March 30.
Mr. Duguid provided insight into the economy of Durham Region and Ontario specifically addressing the auto industry, the nuclear energy industry, jobs and infrastructure and stating he “sees this region as a crucial part of
Notes From Oshawa Speech March 30, 2016
- I really do see this region as a crucial part of Ontario’s economy past, present and future.
- When you think of the past, a large part of the Ontariosuccess story was written right here in Oshawa—by generations of skilled, dedicated workers and forward-thinking entrepreneurs.
- People like Colonel Sam McLaughlin.
- Outside of Oshawa, most people don’t know that Sam’s family fortune was built on making carriages.
- At one time McLaughlin Carriage Works was the largest manufacturer of horse-drawn buggies and sleighs in the British Empire.
- But in 1907, Sam took a huge riskand decided that the futurewas in…. “horselesscarriages”
- I’m sure in his day…..people thought he was crazy to shift his focus from the sure thing of the horse and buggyto the then disruptive automobile.
- Good thing for all of us that he did—giving a jump start to the Canadian auto industry and laying the groundwork for the General Motors commitment to this city, this province and this country.
- There’s no questionthat the auto sectorhas been a crucial componentof the Durhameconomy since that timeand a crucial componentto the Ontarioeconomic success story as well.
- But as everyone in this room knows, Durhamregioncontinues to be a very diverse and very advanced economy.
- Innovation flourishes here.
- It’s no accident that FDi put Oshawa close to the top of its list of “Cities of the Future” in North America.
- General Motors already knows it—that’s why it’s expanding its Global Innovation Centre, hiring 100 newly minted engineers.
- That Centre will drive GM’s efforts to be an industry leader in the connected car. It will also develop important disruptive technology in light weighting and clean tech.
- When it comes to talent…….UOIT and DurhamCollegeare supplying our economywith bright young leaderswith great ideas……
- UOIT’s research work on Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology is globally significant.
- And then there’s the nuclear power industry…..
- Durham Region has often been referred to as the heart of Ontario’s energy sector
- The refurbishment of the Darlington Nuclear Plantis a $12.8-billion-dollar project–the largest single infrastructure projectin the history of Canada.
- It will create almost 12,000 jobsevery year—most of themright here in DurhamRegion.
- I believe our nuclear industryis crucialto our energy, economic and environmental goals
- Nuclearpowersupplies halfof our baseload capacityin Ontario– it provides clean, reliable and affordable power- that is crucial to our social and economic well being
- There is no question, this sector has had some challenges, this past decade….
- The prolonged disentanglement and sell off of AECL,in my view, kept us on the sidelines for far too long
- Our nuclear sectoris now back in growth mode
- Unprecedented innovationis being driven throughour Government’ssupport of the refurbishment projectat Darlington
- The technologyand know-howthat evolve out of that projectwill be a huge global export opportunityfor Ontarioand Canada
- At the same time, countries like Chinaand India, cannot meet their energy needs in an environmentally responsible way, without significant investments in nuclear power
- This represents another huge opportunityworld-wide for our nuclear industry
- I sense a renaissance in this sector over the next few years and I believe it represents an enormous opportunityfor future growth and job creationfor our province and, in particular, Durham.
- At the same time…..I can’t help but think as well…..about the significant impact our government’s infrastructure investments are having in this region.
- As we were driving here this morning, I took a good long look at the work on the new interchange for highway 412—the link between the 407 and the 401. It’s almost done, scheduled to open this spring.
- And we’re really proudto be pushing ahead with the final phase of the 407 extension from Harmony Roadto Highway 35.
- This is a $1.2 billion dollar project that will notonly support local construction jobs, but deliver an important new highway link for the region.
- I have to give a big shout out to my friend Granville Anderson,the MPP for Durham, who has been a relentless championfor this project at Queen’s Park, as has Joe Dickson.
- So, if you ask me……when you consider our unprecedented investmentsin new highways…. Transit….. the nuclear industry…… and technology development…… you would have to be pretty cynicalnotto be excitedabout the economic future of Oshawaand Durham Region.
- That being said, we know there are challenges ahead.
- We know there has yet to be a product mandate confirmedfor our OshawaGM plant. That creates uncertaintyfor those who work there.
- I want you to know that working with our partners to stabilize the future of the OshawaGM plantcontinues to be a key priority.
- Together with my federal colleagues we’ve had some very productive and positive meetings with GM’s CEO Mary Barra and the head of GM Canada Stephen Carlisle and their team.
- At every single meeting they acknowledge the excellence of our Ontariooperations—as well they should, given the baskets of quality awards our plants have won.
- While, this all gives me reason to be optimistic. There is still uncertainty until a new mandate is confirmed
- So, I want you to know we are fully engaged in this effort. GM is engaged. So is the federal governmentand so is Unifor.
- I do want to give a shout out to GM CanadaPresident Steve Carlisle. I know he was out of town today, otherwise he would have joined us.
- Steve has been the most accessibleand communicative leader at GMthat I have ever had the privilege to work with.
- He’s working hard to build a strong future for the Oshawaplant
- At the same time, he is very much a visionary in driving his company forward and making their Ontariooperations a global centre for innovation leadership.
- That’s exactly where all our companies need to be focussed. That’s a passionfor myself and a priorityfor our province.
- You know, Ontario’s economyis in a pretty good place right now
- Our economic development strategy has driven us to invest wisely in our talent, invest in record amounts in infrastructure and in creating dynamic climate for growth.
- UOITand DurhamCollegeare great examples of the successof our investments in our talent
- Ontario now has the highest level of post-secondary attainment in the industrialized world
- Our budget announced free post-secondary tuitionto students who come from lower income families.
- We are determined that money will never be a barrier to brilliance.
- We need to be at our bestto compete in this fiercely competitive global economy.
- To achieve that ….all Ontarians….regardless of incomemust have accessto post-secondary education…. Must have the opportunity to fulfill their potential.
- We will continue to investin building competitive infrastructureat an unprecedented rate.
- Our plan to invest a further $ 160-billion dollars over 12 years is the most significant infrastructure investment in Canadian history
- It will create and support more than 110,000 jobs every year.
- It means making some tough decisions and choices in order to find the revenues to invest in infrastructure…. But our Premier and our government are determined to make those investments.
- Durham Region needs transportation networks, like the 407 and the 412 connection…..to keep people and goods moving in a competitive way
- We need to keep building public transit, like the proposed extension of GO service to Bowmansville, that Granville Anderson and Joe Dixon never stop fighting for.
- The results of our efforts are clear:
- Ontario has been number one in North Americain attracting foreign direct investmentfor two yearsin a row
- We are leading our countryin economic growth and job creation. Our economyis expected to grow by 2.2% this year.
- We have generated close to 600,000 net new jobs since the global recession
- Almost all of those jobs…. 95% of them….are full time
- 75% of them are in above average income sectors.
- In today’s economy, we are doing well….but our eyes must be focussedon where the global economy is going….not where it is today.
- Technological innovationis disrupting every sector of our economyat an unprecedented pace.
- We must respond…. We must lead.
- Our new $400MBusiness Growth Initiativewill:
- Accelerate our investmentsin driving innovation…..
- Help our small disruptive companiesscale and grow
- And make Ontarioan easier placeto do business by reducing red tape.
- Almost every day someone comes up with an idea that changes everything.
- I’m a big hockey fan, so let me share an analogy from our national game.
- When a soft-spoken teenager from Parry Sound with a brush cut and bow-legged skating style broke in with your Oshawa Generals, he turned the game on its ear.
- You know who I’m talking about. There’s a public school named after him here in Oshawa.
- Before Bobby Orr……. defencemen stayed in their own zone…..rarely rushed…. and spent all their energy shutting down the other team’s stars.
- Through his transcendent talent, Orr proved that defencemen could be offensive, could open up the game into something more free-flowing.
- He disrupted hockeyin a way that was felt for generations and the game was never the same.
- We want Ontarioto be the Bobby Orr of world economies…….
- …..skating rings around our competitors and finding new ways of scoring that no one imagined before.
- To get there, we have to be constantly upping our game.
- The Oshawa Generals may have won more Memorial Cups than any other team, but every year there’s a new challenge.
- It’s the same in business.
- Here’s something to think about: it’s estimated that three-quarters of the firms listed on the S&P 500 indexwill be gone by the year 2027. That’s just 11 years away.
- Change…change at a dizzying pace…is a constant.
- We can’t just wait to adapt…….we must lead.
- Ontariois developing a reputationas a hotbed for innovation.
- The Torontoarea is rated 6thin the world in business start-ups.
- Ontario is 2ndto the Silicon Valleyin Information Communication Technology companies.
- Those emerging companiesare by their nature disruptors. And they’re getting noticed.
- Noticed by giant multinationalswho see their valueand make them huge offersto seize their disruptive technology.
- It’s a complement to our new entrepreneurs…….. but we would like to see more of these small firms grow into medium and large companies here in Ontario.
- We’re taking measures in our recent budget to help start-ups gain easier access to capital right here in our province……so they can scale up…… remain locally-owned……and continue to create good jobs and drive our growth.
- To continue our leadership in innovation……We’re making important commitments like the $50-million dollars at the Perimeter Institute that will help Ontariolead the second quantum computing revolution.
- We have a special focuson our traditional manufacturers. We want to help them to continue to adapt to continuous disruption.
- That’s why we’re investing $35-million dollars in the Advanced Manufacturing Consortium.
- Smaller companies developing disruptive products need the applied research talent our colleges can provide.
- So, we’re creating a new20-million-dollar fund to help smaller businesses link with our college research talent.
- And we’re making a $15M investment to support our auto parts sector in their efforts to modernize and go global
- While I’m excited about these new initiatives….. when I talk to Ontariobusiness leaders…. their top concerncontinues to be red tape and regulatory burden.
- I know there is nothing that drives businesses crazier…. while sapping our competitiveness…. than unnecessary red tape.
- A number of years ago we launched our Open For Business initiative.
- We’ve now become a global leader in reducing burdens, eliminating about 85,000 regulatory requirements.
- Ontariois leading local and national efforts to eliminate duplicationand harmonize standards and regulations.
- And just in case, you think we are not serious about reducing regulatory burden…. I recently signed a new lawin Ontariothat makes it mandatoryfor all future governmentsto report annuallyon their regulatory burden reduction results.
- While we continue to be seen as a global best practicewhen it comes to reducing red tape….. we remain thirsty for new ideas.
- In our efforts to search out new ideas, wecame up with a new initiative, modelled after a Great Britain project.
- And so, today, I’m pleased to announce a new project called the Red Tape Challenge.
- Our current programs have worked well, but they tend to engage mostly senior business leaders and associations.
- We wanted to reach out to our small business leaders and front line workerswhose experience and ideaswill be very valuable.
- And so, … we are launching this new Red Tape Challenge…..an online consultation platformthat will reach out to allOntarianswho wish to participate.
- We will tackle red tape one sector at a time, starting with our auto parts sector, followed by our food processing sector.
- We will use technologyin a crowd sourcing type of formatto help make Ontariothe easiest place in the worldin which to do business.
- All of this is part of our new Business Growth Initiative.
- Technological disruptionis driving radical changein our world at an exponential speed….. we can either lead that disruption or we’ll get run over by it.
- In Oshawa and across Ontariowe choose to not only be ready for the disruptors—we need to bethe disruptors.
- It’s not just about copingwith technological change, it’s about driving it.
- President John F. Kennedyhad some thoughts about this subject.
- President Kennedy once said: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are sure to miss the future.”
- In Oshawa, Durham Regionand throughout Ontariowe will embrace change
- we will seize the future and we will prevail and prosper in this new world economy.
- Together, we will build an economywe will be proud to pass onto our kids and grand kids.