Canada Report: Ahead of the Curve in Returning to Pre-Recession Conditions
Sound decision-making by Canadian banks and businesses has resulted in the nation's weathering the global economic downturn better than most and putting it in a position to grow more rapidly.
Steve Stackhouse-Kaelble (Fall 2011)
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Economy watchers at Royal Bank of Canada see healthy recovery in the country's most populous province, Ontario. Stats from the Ontario Ministry of Finance indicated strong job growth in the fourth quarter last year - an annualized rate of 3.8 percent, among the best numbers in at least four years. And the first part of 2011 was continuing to look healthy, enough to lead economists to declare that the losses of the recession have been almost entirely recovered now. Compare that to the sluggishness south of the border, and it seems like a miracle. But considering that Ontario claimed some 60 percent of all new Canadian jobs in the first part of 2011, it's not a surprising result.
What that means is a healthy rebound in consumer spending, along with encouraging strength in the housing market. Adding further encouragement is the demand for Ontario-made motor vehicles. Output of cars and trucks in the first quarter of this year was up 20 percent over the same period a year earlier. Work at Ontario's assembly plants was subsequently slowed by supply-chain disruptions linked to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, but those issues were expected to be only temporary.
There are countless strong stories to share, and Ontario adds more almost daily. Among the most recent, the province is supporting Centra's new facility that will develop innovative manufacturing processes for airplane fuselage, landing gear, and wing and flight control components. The streamlined manufacturing facility will feature automated finishing and assembly lines using eco-friendly equipment and processes. The planet benefits - and so do 108 people claiming new jobs there. Another example: With the province's help, Dana Holding Corp. is adding 102 jobs to help it create leading-edge battery cooling systems for hybrid and electric vehicles.
Looking to the future, Ontario recently inked a deal with Cisco to develop initiatives that will help drive key economic-development goals and support technology R&D. The province and the tech giant have planned a long list of partnerships supporting education, health and wellness, energy, IT innovation, and the development of so-called "smart+connected" communities.
"There is enormous potential to build a solid R&D springboard in Ontario," says Nitin Kawale, president of Cisco Canada. Ontario's Minister of Economic Development and Trade Sandra Pupatello calls the deal "a vital part of our economic strategy to help Ontario turn the corner."