BURLINGTON, ON – May 11, 2020 – Twenty municipal and regional governments, as well as key economic development partners from across the GTA and Niagara are pleased to announce the launch of the GTA Economic Development Alliance. The formation of the Alliance is in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the urgent need to collaborate, share knowledge and ideas, and pool resources to support the regional economy in its recovery from the global pandemic.
Founding partners out of the City of Burlington, Durham Region, and the City of Toronto identified the need for economic development offices to coordinate a united, focused effort on delivering research and developing programming to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19, as well as advocate for effective relief measures and create informed policy recommendations.
Currently, the list of partners has grown beyond the founding partners to include Aurora, Brampton, Georgina, Halton Hills, Halton Region, King, Markham, Milton, Mississauga, Niagara Region, Oakville, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Whitchurch-Stouffville, and York Region. The Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO), as well as the regional investment attraction agency Toronto Global are also included.
The group has identified four key pillars for collaboration, in supporting businesses to get back to business once the Province lifts the state of emergency declaration. They include research, advocacy, programming and innovation. Each pillar will have a leader, who will be responsible for executing the strategy. According to Clare Barnett, Director of Economic Development, City of Brampton, the initiative was a no brainer. “What started off as a check-in across municipal borders has evolved into an all hands-on-deck approach to supporting businesses and Brampton is very proud to be a part of it. After all, regardless of where businesses are located, or where municipal borders lie, we’re all in this together.”
The vision of the group is to be the champion for Ontario’s COVID-19 mitigation and business recovery through delivering effective economic development expertise and advocacy at the speed of business. According to Anita Cassidy, Executive Director of Burlington Economic Development, “We’re already seeing the detrimental effects of mandatory closures, lay-offs, borders closing, and supply chain disruptions on our local economies. We need to get ahead of what’s next, which is the start of a long journey to economic recovery.”
The group says that coordination and idea sharing will create opportunities to increase impact and improve support for businesses of all sizes and across all sectors. According to Simon Gill, Director, Economic Development & Tourism at Durham Region, “Great ideas can be made even better when you have a large group contributing. This group’s coordination can help to position our communities for economic recovery.” He added, “For example, we’re all doing research, and we’re all advocating to higher levels of government for effective relief measures. If we coordinate, we can be more effective.”
Manager, Marketing and Attraction, Burlington Economic Development
Sector Manager, Health & Life Sciences, City of Brampton