By: Allan O’Dette
Over the past three months, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), in partnership with local chambers of commerce and boards of trade across the province, hosted a series of roundtables to discuss the economic benefits of the Darlington nuclear refurbishment project. Our members are facing increasingly fierce global competition for investment, markets, and talent. In order to compete, we must capitalize on each and every major economic development opportunity. The Darlington refurbishment presents such an opportunity.
The roundtable discussions were jointly hosted by the Clarington Board of Trade, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, the Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Port Hope and District Chamber of Commerce and the Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce in their respective communities, together with Ontario Power Generation.
Led by the OCC’s Vice President of Policy and Government Relations, Karl Baldauf, along with local chamber presidents, attendees had an opportunity to hear different perspectives on the project. Local Members of Provincial Parliament, Members of Parliament, and business leaders also attended the roundtable events. The purpose of these discussions was to ensure that local communities and businesses were well informed and equipped to take advantage of these economic opportunities, built upon the testimony and hard evidence from the participants. The events also spoke to the central reason for investment in this project: to ensure a reliable and affordable baseload of energy to power the province for a generation.
The discussions resulted in common themes emerging, including opportunities for “nuclear refurb clusters” to come together in key centres. In Peterborough, for example, multiple businesses as well as the local university and college have all developed an expertise in relevant fields, building sustainable jobs through the refurbishment supply-chain, which then empowered companies to expand their work in other areas.
While full transparency is necessary to ensure that the project remains on time and on budget, the Darlington refurbishment project is set to boost Ontario’s GDP by $15 billion dollars, and add up to 8,800 jobs every year of the project. The benefits of nuclear refurbishment not only spread across Ontario, they are also largely captured within the province. Ninety-six percent of the Darlington project’s direct expenditures will take place in Ontario. Capturing this spending within the province ensures that the associated multiplier effect benefits Ontario communities through increased consumer spending and activity in sectors like real estate, retail and related industries.
Many experts project that Ontario will lead Canada in economic growth in 2016. While Ontario’s economy is on a good path, challenges still remain. To continue on the path of economic growth, Ontario will need to capitalize on each and every major opportunity, while exploring new ways of differentiating ourselves from competitor jurisdictions. The Darlington Nuclear Refurbishment presents such opportunity and the province will benefit from the increase in economic growth for years to come.
Read more about these local roundtable event in the news: