Martin Prosperity Institute releases recommendations for Ontario to become world leader in the creative age

    Roger Martin and Richard Florida call on Ontarians to embrace the promise
    of the global economic transformation underway and to harness its
    potential for building shared prosperity for Ontarians

    TORONTO, Feb. 5 /CNW/ - Despite the current economic environment, Ontario
is well positioned to compete and prosper in the ongoing global economic
transformation. While the economic environment has worsened in the past year,
the current upheaval only accelerates the longer-term trends - especially the
shift from more routine-oriented to creativity-oriented jobs. Yet Ontario can
do more to ensure it is a globally competitive jurisdiction. That is the key
conclusion from the report released today, Ontario in the Creative Age.
    The report is presented in response to the request made last March by
Premier Dalton McGuinty to Roger Martin and Richard Florida. Together with
their research team, these two undertook a study of the changing composition
of Ontario's economy and workforce and have provided recommendations to the
Province on how to ensure our economy and people remain globally competitive
and prosperous. Roger Martin is the Dean of the Joseph L. Rotman School of
Management at the University of Toronto and Richard Florida is the Director of
the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School.
    "It's fair to say that none of us saw the current economic upheaval
coming and that we are releasing our report today in a much different
environment than when we started," said Martin. "But the current upheaval only
accentuates longer-term trends being faced by Ontario and all advanced
    The trends highlighted in the report include the transformation in how
people work in our economy. We are moving to an economy that values people's
creativity, especially analytical and social intelligence skills. These skills
demand reasoning in uncertain environments to make good decisions and
capabilities to understand other people and to work in team settings.
According to Florida, "Routine-oriented occupations that draw primarily on
physical skills or abilities to follow a set formula can be done more cheaply
in emerging economies and will have trouble surviving in advanced economies."
    At the same time, Ontario is undergoing a transformation in what its
industries produce. Nearly 80 percent of Ontarians work in organizations such
as financial institutions, retailers, law firms, schools, and hospitals -
whose main output is a service.
    The province is also becoming more urbanized. According to Florida, "the
concentration of people and firms in city regions drives productivity,
innovation and prosperity, as the great Jane Jacobs long ago noted. A handful
of cities - from London through Kitchener-Waterloo through Toronto and Ottawa
together comprise one of the world's largest economic mega-regions that helps
make Ontario one of the most advanced and productive jurisdictions on earth."
    Martin and Florida conclude that Ontario has significant advantage on
which to build broad, sustainable prosperity. The province has a highly
skilled workforce, world leading businesses and industries, excellent post
secondary institutions, great cities and regions, and a culture that values
openness, diversity, and social cohesion.
    Yet, they found that Ontario faces some challenges in strengthening its
capabilities for competing in the creative age. Ontario has a good share of
workers in creativity-oriented occupations, but they are not as highly
rewarded as in leading U.S. states. While the province has an excellent mix of
clustered industries, they do not compete adequately on the basis of
creativity. The Province is highly tolerant and diverse, but is not able to
translate this openness to the level of prosperity that ought to follow. It
has a strong mega-region, but does not connect the province well enough for
the creative age.
    Martin and Florida urge Ontario to build on its strengths while
addressing these challenges. In the report they recommend actions by Ontarians
in four strategic areas. They conclude that "by undertaking strategic efforts
and investments in these four key areas, Ontario can move to the very frontier
of global competitiveness, ensure a new era of broad and shared prosperity for
all its citizens, and become a model for Canada, North America, and the
    First, Ontarians must harness their full creative potential. We should
aim for the Province to become the first in the world with half our workforce
in the high-value, high-paying jobs of the creative economy by 2030. At the
same time, we must make all our jobs more creativity-oriented. We must
reinforce the development of our clustered industries to compete more on the
basis of distinctive advantage than on low cost or replication of what is done
    Second, the Province should aspire to be the world's most talented
jurisdiction. We need to raise the percentage of our young people in colleges
and universities so that we have the talent base to fill the 70 percent of new
jobs in the coming decades requiring post secondary education.
    Third, Ontario needs to establish new social safety nets. Currently, we
aim to provide material benefits for those in need, but we have to provide
greater opportunity for our citizens to engage their full creative talents, in
sync with the creative age. For example, let's aim to be the first
jurisdiction to implement early childhood development for those in high-risk
circumstances. Such investments in life-long skills can help ensure that
Ontario has broad participation in creating and sharing prosperity.
    Fourth, Ontario must build province-wide geographic advantage. We have a
strong economic core, but we need to improve the connection of the cities,
towns and regions across the province - linking our older, industrial
communities and disconnected rural areas to the mega-region. There are many
ways to improve this connectivity from light rail to local transit hubs, but
the key is to increase the speed and velocity with which we move goods, people
and ideas to compete with the world's other leading mega-regions.

    The complete report can be downloaded directly from:

    Recommendations in Ontario in the Creative Age

    Harness the creative potential of Ontarians

    -   Increase creativity in all jobs
    -   Be the world's first jurisdiction where creativity-oriented
        occupations account for half of all jobs
    -   Strengthen creativity skills through our education system
    -   Market Ontario as the creative province
    -   Make diversity a cornerstone of economic prosperity

    Broaden our talent base

    -   Make Ontario the talent province
    -   Strengthen our managerial capability

    Establish new social safety nets

    -   Make early childhood development a high priority
    -   Invest in skills development for recent immigrants
    -   Consider wage insurance for longer tenure workers

    Build province-wide geographic advantage

    -   Make the mega-region as strong as it can be
    -   Invest in connectivity

    About the Martin Prosperity Institute

    The Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto's Rotman
School of Management is the world's leading think-tank on the role of
sub-national factors - location, place and city-regions - in global economic
prosperity. We take an integrated view of prosperity, looking beyond economic
measures to include the importance of quality of place and the development of
people's creative potential.
    See for further information.

For further information:

For further information: James Milway, Executive Director of the Martin
Prosperity Institute at (416) 673-8582

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