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Cities grow Ontario

New report examines the importance of cities to Ontario’s economy

A new report by researchers from the University of Toronto with colleagues from across Ontario examines the important role cities play in generating prosperity in the province of Ontario.

With the ongoing provincial election campaign, Cities Grow Ontario: Urban Challenges and Prospects, is meant to draw attention to the role of cities in generating Ontario’s prosperity and the impact that urbanization has across the entire province.

While not advocating or evaluating any specific party’s platform or ideas, the report provides some clear and specific information about how people and things are distributed across Ontario’s metropolitan/suburban and small town/rural areas. And, as “creatures of the province”, the success of cities and metropolitan areas which disproportionately generate the lion’s share of economic activity depends heavily on provincial policies and political decisions.

The report shows how population, education, and significant sections of the Ontario economy are concentrated in a small number of city and urban areas, while political power and other specific industries are more spread out over the province. Ontario’s cities are where the action is and that activity influences the entire province.

For example, cities and suburbs are home to more than their proportional share of jobs. In cities, both individuals and companies are more productive, creative and innovative. Cities have more trained and educated people. And, they earn more money, not just because the cost of living is higher. Cities generate provincial and federal tax revenues in amounts greater than their proportion of the population. As Ontario’s cities grow and prosper, the entire province benefits.

The impact of urbanization reaches across the entire province. While cities and suburbs do raise challenges and issues beyond their borders, they also create benefits enjoyed by the entire province. Truly, cities grow Ontario.

The report is a product of a collaborative effort of the following organizations:

  • Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
  • University of Toronto Cities Centre
  • The Urban Studies Programme at Innis College, University of Toronto
  • The Program on Globalization and Regional Innovation Systems at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
  • The Centre on Governance, University of Ottawa
  • The School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University
  • The School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, University of Waterloo
  • The City Institute at York University.
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