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ISBN Number: 9789264079403
Toronto is one of the chief economic powerhouses of Canada. The Toronto metro-region is Canada’s biggest metropolitan economy. It generates almost a fifth of national GDP, and 45% of Ontario’s GDP. It is home to 40% of the nation’s business headquarters.
Toronto is an international centre for business and finance. Toronto is also a main manufacturing hub with major companies in the automotive, biomedical and computers/electronics sectors. the Toronto region is one of the most diverse metropolitan regions in the world. Half of its population is foreign born versus 28% in cities like New York and London. It hosted 40% of all immigrants to Canada during 2001-06.
The Toronto region is challenged by recent developments. The Toronto region has had a mixed economic performance. GDP per capita and GDP growth rates are below the Canadian average. It has had lower annual economic and labour productivity growth than the average of OECD metropolitan regions over 1995-2005 (see chart below). It also witnessed sharp decline in manufacturing (10% of jobs have been lost since 2002).
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The Toronto region’s current economic development model is under pressure. Population growth boosted demand in construction, sales and retail, professional and financial services. However, the recent decline in the area’s manufacturing jobs has illustrated the structural difficulties of some of its traditional industries, such as the automotive and electronics sectors.
This review therefore proposes a new agenda for sustainable competitiveness, in order to enhance productivity. This agenda could focus on innovation, cultural diversity and infrastructure, and apply a green lens to policies. This could solve challenges such as mixed scores on innovation output indicators, under-utilisation of immigrants’ skills and relatively underdeveloped public transport infrastructure. To implement such an agenda, the review proposes improving the current governance framework by intensifying strategic planning at the level of the Toronto region.
Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, launched this publication at the International Forum of the Americas Forum for Global Cities in Toronto, 9 November 2009. Read his speech.
- Toronto is one of Canada’s chief economic powerhouses: 5 million inhabitants, 40% of nation’s business headquarters, almost a fifth of Canada’s GDP and 45% of Ontario’s GDP [Chap. 1.1.1].
- It is Canada’s main immigration node: hosting 40% of all immigrants to Canada during 2001-2006 and one of the most diverse cities in the OECD (half of population foreign born) [Chap. 1.1.1].
- But mixed economic performance, with GDP per capita and GDP growth rates below the Canadian average. Lower annual economic and labour productivity growth than average OECD metropolitan regions over 1995-2005 [Chap. 1.1.2]. Sharp decline in manufacturing (10% job losses since 2002).
- Rather mixed scores on innovation output indicators.
- How to make better use of R&D spending by improved coordination between universities and the private sector [Chap. 1.2.1].
- Under-utilisation of skills of immigrants, which is an asset in the high-tech economy [Chap. 1.2.2].
- Traffic congestion problems (70% of commuters use cars), poorly integrated regional transit services and relatively underdeveloped public transport infrastructure [Chap. 1.2.3].
- Lack of regional co-ordination with regards to economic development, social integration and environmental sustainability [Chap. 3.2].
- Boost innovation, by focusing on niches, university-firms linkages and cluster development and by phasing out subsidies [Chap. 2.1].
- Addressing obstacles to the acknowledgement of foreign skills, for example by bridging education programmes and internships [Chap. 2.2].
- Tackle transportation challenges by creating incentives for reducing car use, access to additional revenue sources, longer term funding commitments by federal government for investment [Chap. 2.3].
- Apply a green overlay to the Toronto region’s competitiveness agenda [Chap. 2.4].
- Intensify strategic planning at the level of the Toronto region [Chap. 3.2].
How to obtain this publication
Readers can access the full version of OECD Territorial Reviews: Toronto, Canada 2009 by choosing from the following options:
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Permanent URL: www.oecd.org/gov/regional/toronto