Collaborating for growth: Opportunities for Ontario

Released December 2016

In its 15th Annual Report, Collaborating for growth: Opportunities for Ontario, the Institute analyzes Ontario's GDP per capita compared to ten similar peer jurisdictions. 

The analysis reveals that Ontario continues to experience a ‘prosperity gap’ – GDP per capita is $2,740 below its peer jurisdictions. To achieve greater prosperity, government, businesses, and Ontarians must collaborate to leverage the province’s strengths and grow its high-wage, innovative, export-oriented industries. 

This report takes a deep-dive into four industries with high-growth potential in the province. Industries were chosen that are high-wage, high performing, innovative and export-oriented: Finance and Insurance, Life Sciences, Metal Ore Mining, and Motor Vehicle and Parts Manufacturing. While Ontario has many strong industries that meet this criteria, the Report focuses on these four. Each of the industries is examined using a strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats (SWOT) analysis:

  • The Finance and Insurance industry accounts for nearly 10 percent of Ontario's GDP.
  • Life Sciences drastically outperforms other industries in business R&D per worker
  • Metal Ore Mining enjoys exceptionally high GDP per worker and average weekly wages
  • Motor Vehicle and Parts Manufacturing is responsible for the most export value.

The threats that may hold the province back are a weak capital investment strategy, and a potential ‘skills gap’.

The Report recommends that the government of Ontario:

  • Encourage high-quality, experience-based educational programs in postsecondary institutions
  • Increase training in emerging technologies and digital literacy in postsecondary institutions and the workplace
  • Incentivize venture capital investment for later-stage funding through tax credit programs
  • Pursue alternative financing options for emerging startups such as flow-through shares
Topics: Economic policy, growth, and strategy, Government investment and innovation, Business growth and innovation