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February 2015 Supporting our Economy

​You know it's cold when a municipality is forced to cancel its annual polar dip due to chilly temperatures—as was the case earlier this month in the City of Orillia. Despite the chilly weather, I still love winter in Simcoe County. We have so much to offer, from skiing to snowmobiling, to winter festivals and museum camps, there's so much to do and see this time of year. And of course, as we embrace winter activities, we are also supporting our local economy.

When I was elected Warden in December, I stated that one of my key priorities is working with Council and staff to increase our role in regional economic development. We must develop and support strategies that create jobs, grow business, embrace entrepreneurship and generate new investments in the region. Strategic partnerships play an important part in our economic development strategy.

This includes our ongoing support of our post-secondary institutions, Georgian College and Lakehead University in Orillia, as they improve the entrepreneurial capacity in the region and support innovation and training through key initiatives and community-based programs. We are also supportive of their efforts to grow in our region, and we have reinforced our support of the Major Capacity Expansion plan that these institutions, in partnership, have submitted to the province.

We are also looking ahead and building strategies to adapt to changes in our labour market, so we can respond to industry demands today and into the future. For instance, our Economic Development Office is currently investigating ways we can support our area School Boards to encourage skilled trades as a viable career option through the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP). This is a terrific opportunity that includes co-operative education credits through work placements in skilled trades.

Immigration to our region also presents opportunities for area businesses. The Simcoe County Local Immigration Partnership is a community partnership focused on the development of settlement strategies for newcomers to the region. Improved economic immigration of immigrants presents a huge opportunity for local businesses to expand into global markets and hire skilled labour for an ever changing global business market. Learn more at immigration.simcoe.ca.

These initiatives, among others, have piqued my interest and I look forward to working with our municipalities, residents, businesses and stakeholders to help shape an even bigger and brighter future for our regional economy.

Learn more about our economic development strategy at edo.simcoe.ca.

Sincerely,

Gerry Marshall
Simcoe County Warden