TORONTO, May 22, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario government's "Open for Business" initiative is producing positive results according to the Toronto Financial Services Alliance, as the report on the dialogue with the financial services sector under the government's Business Sector Strategy was made public today.
Tasked with finding quick solutions to five priority issues identified by the sector, the Ontario government has acted on three already and committed to seek ways to address two other complex challenges.
Janet Ecker, President and CEO of the Toronto Financial Services Alliance, thanked "the government for its strong efforts and continued support to keep Ontario among the world's top financial services centres".
"This kind of government-industry collaboration is proving an important 'proof point' for new investors that the Toronto region offers a strong value proposition for financial services jobs," she said. "We look forward to continuing to work closely with the government on this and other initiatives that protect and strengthen that position."
"Collaboration and openness are key to the Ontario government's agenda," said Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, Dr. Eric Hoskins. "We value our partnership with the TFSA, and will continue to work productively with the financial services industry for optimum results."
Following meetings between industry representatives and the government over a two-month period, the government has taken steps to deal with three industry issues:
- Acknowledging that there is no regular forum where Ontario's financial sector organizations, Ministry of Finance officials and provincial regulators can meet for the purpose of identifying barriers to the sector's growth and opportunities to support Ontario's economy, the government, working in partnership with the TFSA, has committed to establish the Ontario Forum for Financial Services Engagement;
- The Ontario Ministry of Finance has agreed to participate in any potential working group led by the federal government to review tax and regulatory issues related to alternative financing (Islamic financing), which, the TFSA believes, could represent a significant opportunity for Canada's financial sector; and
- The Ontario government is pursuing the opening of an international marketing centre in Sao Paulo, and financial services have been identified as one of the sectors of priority for both trade and investment activities to be undertaken in Brazil.
"Expanding Ontario's presence in Brazil recognizes the important economic role this country plays in South America and the rest of the world," said Dr. Hoskins. "We want Ontario to be considered as a great place for Brazilian companies to invest, as well as a source for high-quality goods and services—in financial services and other sectors of opportunity."
TFSA members, who will participate in the newly formed Ontario Forum for Financial Services Engagement, also welcomed the results of the consultation process under the "Open for Business" initiative.
"Ontario's leadership in launching this forum signals the government's recognition of the many economic benefits the sector delivers - in jobs, economic activity, and individual savings - and its commitment to keeping it strong," said IFIC president and CEO Joanne De Laurentiis.
"The Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC) looks forward to participating in the Open for Business initiated annual cross-financial-industry/cross-regulator forum focusing on bigger-picture challenges and opportunities facing the financial industry and broader economy, with the goal of attracting more businesses - and jobs - to Ontario," said Ian Russell, IIAC President and CEO.
Work remains to be done, however, on the final two priorities identified by the Toronto Financial Services Alliance - both related to the automobile insurance industry. To try to resolve the outstanding issues, the Ministry of Finance will invite key auto insurance stakeholders to participate in stakeholder roundtables on catastrophic impairment and will continue to move forward with initiatives to reduce the backlog of mediation cases and improve the arbitration system at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO).
A full copy of the report is available at:
About the TFSA:
The Toronto Financial Services Alliance is a public/private initiative whose mandate is to enhance and promote the long-term competitiveness of Toronto as a top ten global financial services centre. Its membership encompasses core financial services companies - banks, brokerages, investment fund managers, insurance companies - as well as partner sectors - accounting, law and education. The TFSA was created in 2001 by the financial services industry, in partnership with the City of Toronto. With the federal and provincial governments now joining the partnership, TFSA has created the Global Risk Institute to leverage the sector's reputation in risk management and the Centre of Excellence in Financial Services Education to capitalize on its talent advantage. For more information, please check our website at www.tfsa.ca.
SOURCE: Toronto Financial Services Alliance
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