Ontario economic leaders say infrastructure deficit can't wait: survey



    NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ON, Nov. 12 /CNW/ - Collective action and
stewardship of the province's resources, are vital if we're to address some of
the key issues facing the Ontario economy and secure a prosperous future.
That, according to leaders in business, labour, academia and government.
    In a survey of 358 economic leaders from across the province, the Ontario
Economic Summit (OES), an initiative of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce,
gauged the urgency of four key components of stewardship of the economy:
infrastructure, competitiveness of Ontario communities, international
stewardship in the areas of global health and environmental sustainability and
foreign acquisitions of Canadian businesses.

    Infrastructure
    91% of those surveyed indicated that infrastructure was the most critical
issue to be addressed today with roads and transportation considered the most
important element (41%), followed by the US/Canada border (19%). Ontario's
economic leaders overwhelmingly (80%) believe infrastructure issues will
become increasingly important for Ontario's economy in the future and more
than half (57%) consider it the responsibility of the public sector.

    Community Competitiveness
    Infrastructure also rated highly in terms of factors impacting community
competitiveness with such things as availability of serviced land, local
research and local roads and transportation topping the list. Two key barriers
to community competitiveness were identified by respondents: lack of
coordination and/or communication between stakeholders (36%) and lack of
leadership (30%). 90% of respondents consider community competitiveness to be
a joint responsibility between the public and private sector.

    Foreign Acquisitions of Canadian Companies
    The issue of foreign acquisitions of Canadian companies concerns more
than half of all respondents (58%) with no consensus on the solution. 35%
believe government should modify the tax regime to allow Canadian owned
companies to be more competitive, while 24% believe Canadian companies must
develop better long term growth strategies and 19% suggest an increased
investment in research & development.

    Ontario's International Stewardship Role
    On the international front, environmental sustainability was rated as the
most important issue by almost half (49%) of Ontario economic leaders,
followed by global health at 15%. Ontario's economic leaders expect more
organizations to adopt environmentally sustainable practices (84%).
    Full survey results will be presented at the Ontario Economic Summit
which takes place in Niagara-on-the-Lake from November 13 - 15. The Summit is
the foremost forum for influential leaders in the province to share knowledge
and insights, and collaboratively seize new opportunities to move the
provincial economy forward.
    Additional information may be found at www.occ-oes.com including the
current agenda and a list of Summit partners and sponsors.

    The Ontario Economic Summit is an initiative of the Ontario Chamber of
Commerce.




For further information:

For further information: Amy Terrill, (416) 605-8205 (cell),
amyterrill@occ.on.ca


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