O'Dette outlines 'Emerging Stronger'

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The Tillsonburg District Chamber of Commerce welcomed guest speaker, Allan O’Dette, president and CEO for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), during a breakfast meeting at the Carriage Hall, Thursday morning.

O’Dette was in town to discuss the OCC’s economic vision for the province, ‘Emerging Stronger’, a platform to help make Ontario’s economy more competitive and prosperous.

“There is a significant skill shortage in the province right now and in communities across Ontario,” said O’Dette. “We all need to do a better job at embracing diversity – in embracing newcomers to make them feel welcome so they can come with skills to help us grow and build our communities.”

Attracting skilled labour and diversity were two key areas O’Dette addressed, speaking to Town of Tillsonburg officials, local organizations, business leaders and business owners.

‘Emerging Stronger’ is a five-year strategy launched in January, 2012 and highlights five priorities to help grow Ontario’s economy.

The include fostering a culture of innovation and smart risk-taking in order to become a productivity leader, building a 21st century workforce through workplace training, utilizing newcomers skills and apprenticeship reform, restoring fiscal balance by improving the way the government works, taking advantage of new opportunities in the global economy, and lastly, identifying, championing and investing in the province’s competitive advantages.

“At the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, we’ve been advancing economic ideas, strategies and policies for a long time,” said O’Dette. “One of the areas that we’ve put back squarely on our agenda is agriculture and opportunities in food processing. Agriculture represents by many measures, the second-largest component of Ontario.

“Food and food processed in Canada has among the highest reputation of any country in the world, and we have an opportunity to take advantage of that,” O’Dette continued.

The next five years will be important in reaching the goals and priorities set out by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s strategy ‘Emerging Stronger,’ said O’Dette.

“The challenges are significant across the entire province. The reason for the platform is so that the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, along with its affiliate 160 chambers of commerce and boards of trade across the province, could be the catalyst - be the group of community leaders that bring people together to focus on the key things we need to do.”

O’Dette referred to ‘collective ambition’, an agenda by which Ontario can emerge stronger, as a competitive, modern 21st century economy.

“We can stay, live and work here and raise our families and our grandkids, it’s that simple,” he concluded.




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