Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Economic Development and Growth Steven Del Duca today released the following statement recognizing Ontario’s position on the shortlist of locations for Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2):
“The Government of Ontario welcomes the news that Amazon has placed the Toronto Region on its shortlist as a potential site for HQ2, with the promise of as many as 50,000 ongoing and well-paying jobs. Of the more than 238 bidding cities across North America, Toronto stands out as an ideal destination with its talented and educated workforce, leading research and educational institutions, competitive investment climate, outstanding quality of life and vibrant, diverse communities.
Innovation drives today’s rapidly changing economy, and Ontario is leading the way. Globally recognized technology companies have already taken notice of what Ontario has to offer. Apple, Google, IBM and Amazon already conduct R&D in Ontario. Whether it is a world-leading tech company expanding into new markets or an Ontario-based company piloting new and innovative projects, our province sets companies up for success.
Ontario’s greatest strength is our people, and that’s exactly what we communicated directly to Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos. Diverse, educated and innovative — they are exactly the kind of talented, motivated people companies like Amazon need to stay ahead of the competition.
As a government, we know our people have what it takes to help companies like Amazon grow, and we are doing everything we can to ensure they are ready for these opportunities. We are providing free tuition to hundreds of thousands of students, increasing the number of STEM graduates by 25 per cent, and graduating 1,000 applied masters in Artificial Intelligence within five years.
Taken together with a plan that expands medicare by making prescription medications free for everyone under 25, creates 100,000 new child care spots and raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour, we are building an Ontario where workers and businesses can truly thrive in this changing global economy. No competing U.S. city comes even close to offering this level of talent, nor can they measure up in the ways we are supporting both workers and businesses, be it through universal public health care, a strong system of publicly funded education, expanding access to quality and affordable child care or the magnitude of our commitment to public infrastructure.
Our fair, diverse and inclusive communities foster knowledge sharing and forward-thinking attitudes unparalleled with other regions across North America. And our world-class research institutions and generous R&D tax incentives make Ontario an ideal place to develop innovative new technologies and ideas.
This recognition of our province and Toronto’s many strengths confirm that our plan for a fairer, better Ontario is working. We are building a province where there are more jobs, more investment and every opportunity for success.
To help support Toronto Region in the next stage of this process, we have asked Ed Clark, in his capacity as Business Advisor to the Premier, to chair the government’s response. Clark, former Group President and CEO of TD Bank Group, will help to guide the bid in collaboration with Toronto Global, federal and local governments, and all other involved business and community stakeholders.
We also want to acknowledge the remarkable work of the other Ontario communities that submitted bids to Amazon and, in the process, helped to strengthen the profile and reach of our province’s many strengths.
Independent of the outcome, we will continue to foster a culture of innovation, and be a supportive, enthusiastic partner to all companies looking to do business in Ontario.”