Honourable Sandra Pupatello – Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Trade – OMA Conference Speech in Windsor, Ontario

Good evening everyone. I hope you enjoyed the tour of the Windsor Salt Mine and your round at the Canadian Salt Golf Challenge. Mining and golf, now there’s a tourism package in the making!

The mining industry is very important to Ontario’s prosperity.  Our province is a major global player in mining and has produced $300 billion in metals over the last century. In 2007 alone, the value of mineral production in Ontario exceeded $10-billion.

Exploration spending this year is expected to exceed $600-million.  Over 1,000 companies employ more than 22,000 skilled people in this province.  Hundreds of Ontario companies supply the industry with everything from contract mining services to custom equipment design.

The expertise supplied by people in the Ontario mining industry supports economic growth across the province, throughout Canada and around the world.

Toronto is the mine-financing capital of the world and the hub of mining research. 

The Toronto Stock Exchange is home to 44 per cent of the world’s mining companies.

More mining companies are listed on the TSX and TSX Venture exchange than on any exchange in the world. 

They include more than 1,100 mining companies valued at $143 billion.

Ontario accounts for almost half of Canada’s total exports.

In fact, most of the minerals mined in Ontario are destined for the export market, like many other Ontario products.

After all, we are an export-driven economy.

Our government understands the challenges the mining industry faces. This includes the slowdown in the U.S. economy; the effects of a strong Canadian dollar; high oil and energy prices; intense competition from lower-cost countries; heightened security issues at the border; and also the ability to attract skilled labour.

Despite these challenges, Ontario’s economy has shown great resilience. Consumer spending and business investment experienced growth in 2007. Unemployment is low at 6.5%. Since October 2003, Ontario has created 442,800 new jobs.

The Government of Ontario is committed to helping the mining industry rise above the challenges.

Ontario’s economic foundation remains strong, with ongoing strategic investments in education and skills for our people, a high-quality health-care system, reliable modern infrastructure, and a broad range of sectors.

It is critical to sustain recent measures on improving competitiveness and to boost jobs, investments and growth, such as with the Alberta Oil Sands initiative, the reduction of trade barriers, infrastructure expenditures, and national regulatory systems.

We work closely with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) on ways to help mining companies succeed.  My ministry provides $180,000 annually through MNDM to help Ontario mining companies to boost their export sales, and to attract foreign companies to invest in mining operations in Northern Ontario.  We also help Ontario companies promote their mining equipment at marketing shows abroad.  

These efforts support growth in Ontario’s mining industry. We work with Ontario companies every step of the way to establish and expand in international markets.

There were only three International Marketing Centres (IMCs) when the McGuinty government first took office.  Now there are ten.

IMCs are a valuable source of on-the-ground support in key markets. They provide expert advice and information, and they connect people and companies with the right contacts and networks, both in Ontario and in the export market.

For example, my ministry promotes Ontario’s mineral expertise globally, and one of the ways we do this is through our International Marketing Centres and our in-market trade consultants.

Ontario has the market access, connections and experience to help mining companies grow. We have cultural and business connections with the U.S., Europe and Asia that smooth the way for international trade, investment and project partnerships.

Ontario’s international presence is bolstered by business missions that open doors and build key contacts.

My job is to sell Ontario to the world as a premier investment destination and trading partner.  I have been to India, China, Mexico, Alberta, to do just that.  The Farnsborough Air Show in the U.K. is on my schedule next month. 

I also want to take this opportunity to talk about the Alberta Oil Sands. Our government recognized early on that doing business in Alberta’s energy sector represents tremendous opportunities. I’ve been to Alberta four times over the past year and a half to meet with key players in the oil sands project.  I also introduced many Ontario companies to these players so they could make deals and form partnerships.

These included mining company representatives. The manufacturers who accompanied me to Alberta realized three things in a hurry:

1. The projects are huge;
2. The work will last for years to come; and,
3. The competition is fierce.

Oil patch buyers are looking for business partners that bring more to the table than core manufacturing and mining capabilities. They’re looking for value-added solutions – perhaps via technology and automation applications, environmental products and turn-key solutions.

In many cases, the way to deliver that extra value is through bidding for work as a partnership. That’s why buyer-seller forums in Alberta and Ontario are so important. Ontario companies are filling the gap by supplying much-needed expertise and skills.

This doesn’t mean we are sending skilled workers from Ontario to work in Alberta — far from it. When the ink has dried on the contracts signed by Ontario companies, the work is carried out here in Ontario. Once the products are completed, they are brought to Alberta, delivered and installed.

First Nickel Inc., for example, is a successful Canadian mining, exploration and development company.  Its main business is centered in the world-class Sudbury Basin.  Bill Anderson is First Nickel’s President and CEO.  He says “Ontario is a great place to do business.”  And I wholeheartedly agree with him.

As you can see, our government is committed to an integrated, five-point plan for a strong economy that includes:

• keeping taxes competitive;
• partnering with industry;
• boosting innovation;
• investing in education and skills training; and,
• investing in infrastructure.

Here are some examples of what we’re doing to deliver direct benefits to you.

COMPETITIVE TAX RATES

We’ve eliminated the Capital Tax retroactive to January 1, 2007, for manufacturing and resource firms.

We’ve also made significant cuts to the Business Education Tax.

NEXT GENERATION OF JOBS FUND

A $1.15 billion fund covering investment, innovation and growth in most sectors of our economy.

Companies can expect to get a decision for funding from our government within 45 days of receiving a complete proposal. In most cases, 20 percent of funding will flow upon signing of the agreement, typically as a conditional grant.

ADVANCED MANUFACTURING INVESTMENT STRATEGY (AMIS)

This program has been significantly re-tooled so that it is now more relevant to smaller companies and in a way that has greater impact on a project’s financial viability.

Thresholds have been lowered and the loan component has been raised.

Information on NextGen and AMIS is a few clicks away at www.ontariocanada.com.

ONTARIO MANUFACTURING COUNCIL

MEDT is spearheading the new Ontario Manufacturing Council – bringing together industry and government leaders to chart a strategic vision for Ontario manufacturing.

The Council will maximize the industry’s potential by identifying the most effective industry and government policy mix in investment, innovation, trade, market development, energy efficiency, environmental technologies, human resources and regulatory issues.

CANADIAN MANUFACTURERS AND EXPORTERS (CME) Q4 INVESTMENT

The recent Ontario budget contained a $25 million investment for manufacturers and exporters.  The focus will be on small and medium-sized companies.

The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters will be working with companies to promote lean manufacturing, eliminate waste, and improve productivity and competitiveness.

Looking ahead, we will continue to strengthen Ontario’s economic fundamentals. We will work with Ontario companies to extend their global reach.

We will work hard to build partnerships between industry and government to add value to the products and services Ontario sells to the world.

Thank you and have a successful conference.
Keynote Speech for Sandra Pupatello

Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Trade

to the

Ontario Mining Association Conference

June 9, 2008

Hilton Hotel
Windsor, Ontario

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