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).
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.
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Permanent URL: www.oecd.org/gov/regional/toronto