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OECD Territorial Reviews: Toronto, Canada 2009

image of OECD Territorial Reviews: Toronto, Canada 2009

OECD's Territorial Review of Toronto, Canada.  It finds that the Toronto region is one of the chief economic powerhouses of Canada, generating almost one-fifth of national GDP and 45% of Ontario’s GDP. The region is home to 40% of Canada’s business headquarters and is a main manufacturing hub, with major automotive, biomedical and electronics companies. Toronto is also one of the most diverse metropolitan regions in the world: half of its population is foreign born and it hosted 40% of all immigrants to Canada during 2001-2006.

Nevertheless, the region’s current economic development model is under pressure and its economic performance has been mixed in recent years. From 1995 to 2005, GDP per capita and GDP growth rates were below the Canadian average while its annual economic and labour productivity growth were lower than the average for OECD metropolitan regions. During this period, population growth boosted demand in the construction, sales and retail, professional and financial services sectors. However, the recent decline in the area’s manufacturing jobs has illustrated the structural difficulties of some traditionally strong areas, such as the automotive and electronics industries.

This Review proposes a new sustainable competitiveness agenda to enhance productivity, focusing on innovation, cultural diversity and infrastructure, as well as on green policies. To implement such an agenda, the Review proposes improving the current governance framework by intensifying strategic planning at the level of the Toronto region.

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Executive summary

Toronto’s competitiveness is important for the whole of Canada. With more than 5 million inhabitants, Toronto is Canada’s largest urban centre, and one of its chief economic powerhouses. The Toronto region is widely estimated to generate almost a fifth of Canada’s GDP and 45% of Ontario’s GDP, and is home to 40% of the nation’s business headquarters. The Toronto region is also Canada’s main immigration node, with an intake of around 40% of all the immigrants to Canada during 2001-2006. The region hosts a number of clusters with national and world-wide relevance, including in finance, automobile production and life sciences, as well as other prosperous and dynamic sectors in entertainment and communication technologies. As such, the Toronto region creates economic spillovers that benefit other parts of the Province and the country through interprovincial trade, labour market mobility and business links.

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