Ontario is looking to create more shovel-ready mega sites to compete for major manufacturing investments. PHOTO courtesy Universal Robots.
The Ontario government has introduced legislation it says will strengthen Ontario’s manufacturing competitiveness by consolidating a new investment-ready mega site in St. Thomas.
The proposed legislation builds on the province’s efforts during the Job Site Challenge, which was designed to attract large-scale advanced manufacturing investments that have the potential to create new jobs across the province.
“Creating more shovel-ready mega sites will help Ontario remain competitive as the province competes for major global investments,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
A critical factor for securing new investment opportunities is having suitable industrial sites ready for companies to build on. In November 2019, Ontario launched the Job Site Challenge to create an inventory of investment-ready mega sites. As part of this initiative, municipalities, economic development agencies and industrial property owners put forward large tracts of land of between 500 and 1,500 acres that could support large-scale manufacturing operations.
A site in St. Thomas and Central Elgin that is approximately 1,500 acres has been identified as one of the most investment-ready mega sites in Ontario. However, with the land divided between two municipalities with different permitting requirements, potential investors could face red tape and delays from unnecessary duplication. If passed, the proposed legislation will adjust the municipal boundaries so the site resides fully in St. Thomas, speeding up construction timelines and ensuring that the site is truly shovel-ready for potential investment.
“Our government is taking concrete action to build on our record of attracting jobs and investment,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We are taking a collaborative approach across government and with our municipal partners to cut red tape and ensure the benefits of economic growth are enjoyed across the province.”
In 2021, manufacturing accounted for almost 660,000 jobs in Ontario and more than 10 per cent of the province’s Gross Domestic Product.