February 19, 2015 – Mayor John Henry opened his address to over 200 business leaders in attendance at the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce annual Mayor’s State of the City Address by speaking to key challenges facing the city, including: high electricity prices in Ontario, which is affecting the manufacturing industry and places a strain on small businesses; the need for provincial funding to assist with Highway 407 East Extension related road works; and ensuring the future of the automotive sector in Oshawa to protect jobs, spin-off industries and our post-secondary partners.
The event, hosted by BMO Bank of Montreal for the 23rd consecutive year, was held February 18th at the Quality Hotel & Conference Centre and Mayor Henry thanked the Chamber and its businesses for their valuable contributions to the local economy. “The Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce plays an integral role in our community,” said Mayor Henry. “To our business leaders, thank you for your commitment to our community and confidence and investment in Oshawa.”During his keynote address The Mayor stressed that cooperation and partnerships between all levels of government and stakeholders is essential to finding solutions to these challenges.
Mayor Henry shared good news stories from municipalities across the Region. Oshawa’s highlights included:
• more than half a billion dollars’ worth of building permits issued in 2014 and six new building records, including highest year ever on record;
• 35 new business openings in Oshawa last year;
• recognition from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business for fostering entrepreneurship, with Oshawa ranking 6th in Ontario for entrepreneurial policy;
• Oshawa ranked 7th most affordable in a BMA Municipal Study comparing average property taxes across 26 municipalities;
• Oshawa reported the greatest increase in average household net worth in all of Canada, according to Environics;
• Oshawa ranked a Top 10 community in Canada for new residents; and,
• the City’s Director of Economic Development Services, Cindy Symons-Milroy, recognized as one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers of 2015.
Mayor Henry also spoke to initiatives for the year ahead that will guide Oshawa’s growth as a diverse and innovative city for business, research and education, including: supporting existing and new businesses; fostering innovation, new business start-ups and creativity; and taking advantage of new growth opportunities in key sectors.
“I am looking forward to the year ahead and the many exciting new developments, initiatives and collaborations that are planned and underway for our local economy,” said Mayor Henry. “Cooperation and partnerships between all levels of government, within our community, and among everyone here today is crucial in the years ahead and to our continued success.”
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