"A strong natural resources sector in Ontario provides skilled jobs for northern communities, including Aboriginal communities, and helps to ensure a prosperous economy. At a time when Ontario is facing a skills mismatch, our next government must take bold action, working with the natural resource and northern communities, to address current challenges and provide a pathway forward for industry leadership in the global marketplace." said Rocco Rossi, Ontario Chamber of Commerce President and CEO
The need to develop this strategy was the primary recommendation that emerged from today's landmark meeting, which was convened at the Timmins Chamber of Commerce to stimulate thinking on priorities and opportunities for growth in Ontario's resource sector. It included the following participants:
- Mayor Steve Black, Timmins
- Rocco Rossi, President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce
- Paul-Emile McNab, Director, Business Development & Strategy Initiative, Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business
- Chris Hodgson, President & CEO, Ontario Mining Association
- Bill MacRae, Vice-President Operations, Ontario Prospectors Association
- Tom Laughren, Director Corporate Responsibility, Tahoe Resources Canada
- Derek Nighbor, President & CEO, Forest Products Association of Canada
- Kevin Edgson, President & CEO, EACOM Timber Corporation
- Nick Stewart, Manager of Policy, Research & Communications, Timmins Chamber of Commerce
With the resources sector keen to engage with government on solutions to address some of the unique challenges facing Northern Ontario, the scope and breadth of the issues will require collaboration from several provincial ministries. By developing a natural resource strategy, government would ensure coordination of efforts across ministries, stakeholders and communities.
To that end, the group is recommending that the incoming government consider the following as part of a broader natural resource strategy:
- Reduce Energy Costs
- Address Regulatory and Administrative Burden
- Improve Skills Training and Talent Availability
- Build Capacity in Aboriginal Communities
- Support Northern Ontario Infrastructure
Resource companies are well-positioned to work with the government to build the capacity that will support Aboriginal entrepreneurship and community participation in the resource economy.
"The resource sector is important to Timmins and the rest of the Province. These industries provide good family-supporting jobs in our communities and can bring prosperity to the North. Municipalities and Indigenous communities want to participate and benefit from a strong resource sector. We will look to the incoming government to work with us on a strategy that unlocks barriers and supports growth in the industries" said Timmins Mayor Steve Black.
A government ready for bold action can strengthen Ontario's position in the global economy. Today's participants encourage all parties to consider the role a strong resources sector can play in a prosperous Ontario and will work with the next provincial government to develop a resource strategy for the benefit of all Ontarians.