Disruptions ahead: The making of a dynamic and resilient Ontario economy

Released November 2015

How will Ontario remain dynamic and resilient in the face of disruption?

Volatile commodity price shocks and innovative technologies are challenging the province’s ability to remain economically viable and globally competitive. In Disruptions ahead: The making of a dynamic and resilient Ontario economy, the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity assessed how disruptions influence key industries in Ontario. 

The Institute analyzed two types of disruptions: fluctuating oil prices and innovative technologies. Contrary to popular belief, the Institute’s research showed that Ontario’s economic performance is not strongly related to oil prices. Compared to peer provinces, key sectors are less dependent on oil.

On the other hand, innovative technologies like mobile internet, the Internet of Things, Big Data, and cloud computing are influencing the work of both the private and public sectors. Car sharing, enabled by smartphone adoption and telematics technology, jeopardizes the demand for automotive parts and vehicles that Ontario produces. Further, the province’s insurance industry is being disrupted by the Internet of Things applications that collect Big Data to analyze client behaviour. Lastly, peer-to-peer lending challenges traditional financial sector models by providing flexible access to capital and customized interest rates.

Innovative technologies are also disrupting delivery models in the education and health care sectors. Here, Massive Open Online Courses and telemedicine are taking advantage of new technologies, which challenges cultural attitudes and makes public services more accessible and customizable.

To help navigate disruption and ensure that Ontario remain dynamic and resilient, the Institute recommends that Ontario fosters an environment that invites innovation and change by:

  • Supporting the industrial shift from goods- to service-production.
  • Facilitating the export of services.
  • Encouraging cross-industry collaboration within the private sector.
  • Ensuring education and labour market policies are appropriate and effective.
  • Modernizing public health care through the use of innovative technologies.

Topics: Economic policy, growth, and strategy, Government investment and innovation