Closing the Prosperity Gap

Released December 2002

Ontario is at a crossroads in its economic development. The province can be satisfied with being a solid player, or it can aspire to be one of the handful of outstanding economic regions in the world setting.  This challenge was issued by the Ontario Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress, a group of industry and academic leaders appointed by the Premier and chaired by Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management.

In Closing the Prosperity Gap, The Task Force shows that, compared with the peer group of US states, Ontario has a prosperity gap of nearly $6,000 per person in the province. “We can’t be satisfied with that performance when we know that these states draw on essentially the same resources as we have and achieve much higher per capita GDP - which translates into higher wages and a higher standard of living,” said Martin.  “As a society, it’s as if we stop one step short of the effort and investment required to raise our performance to match their results.”

The Task Force urged Ontarians to seek a place among the leading regions and presented four recommendations to Ontario stakeholders to begin the process of achieving this goal:

  • Raise their aspirations to eliminate the widening prosperity gap over the next decade
  • Increase investments to raise productivity and ensure our future prosperity such as investing in post-secondary education and machinery and equipment
  • Provincial and Federal Government to explore ways to achieve breakthrough tax reform
  • All levels of government to recognize the importance of cities in Ontario’s economic progress

The Task Force also presented its agenda for continuing its research work over the coming year that will explore further initiatives to raise prosperity and living standards across the province.

Topics: Economic policy, growth, and strategy, Government investment and innovation, Business growth and innovation, Clusters, Social policy