Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Ontario Chamber of Commerce

February 19, 2008 11:16 ET

Transit Expansion Could Mean Ontario Jobs With Made in Canada Policy

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 19, 2008) - TTC expansion plans and other public transit and transportation infrastructure investments could create jobs to boost Ontario's ailing manufacturing sector if governments supported minimum domestic content levels, similar to those used by the rest of the G7 nations and China.

"We're missing a critical opportunity to create jobs, tax revenue and boost local communities," explains Len Crispino, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC). "Governments around the world leverage their investment in public transit to stimulate job creation and they do so without violating international trade rules, including the World Trade Organization or NAFTA. It's time we started supporting our manufacturing sector remembering that every dollar in manufacturing output in Canada, stimulates three dollars in economic activity."

The "Buy America Act" in the United States for example, imposes strict regulations for local content. Depending on the type of infrastructure project, 60% to 100% of all components used to manufacture vehicles must come from the U.S. and all final assembly must be performed in the U.S. State governments can impose additional local content requirements. China requires 70% local content for urban mass transit and mainline railways while the European Union enforces a 50% domestic content requirement. In each case, global manufacturers have responded by setting up production facilities in these countries.

"Large public transit procurements like the TTC plan to purchase new light rail vehicles, a $1 billion contract, could stimulate 400 jobs per year for five to six years," estimates Mary Long-Irwin, President of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, where Bombardier Transportation is the city's largest industry and third largest private sector employer. "If we're serious about being leaders in the transportation sector, then we need a Made in Ontario/Canada policy."

A Made in Canada policy for publicly tendered transportation infrastructure projects is one of the planks of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce's economic stimulus package, a package presented to Finance Minister Dwight Duncan last week as part of the OCC's pre-budget submission to the Ontario government.

The OCC represents over 57,000 businesses through 160 local Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade, and has been Ontario's business advocate since 1911. Its advocacy and policy initiatives focus on six areas key to the economic well-being of the province: health; education; energy; finance & taxation; transportation & infrastructure; and border issues.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Chamber of Commerce
    Amy Terrill
    W: (416) 482-5222, ext. 241 or C: (416) 605-8205
    amyterrill@occ.on.ca