Fed and provincial govt, GTA investing $19.5 million in new Toronto Global investment-attraction agency

Several levels of government are collectively investing $19.5 million towards Toronto Global, a newly-established agency dedicated to attracting global investment in Toronto and the GTA.

The Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, will invest $6 million from its Investing in Regional Diversification initiative, while the Government of Ontario will invest up to $7.5 million. The remaining $6 million will be provided by the cities of Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, and the municipalities of Halton, York, and Durham.

Toronto Global will work to represent the entire Toronto Region and promote it to international investors. The agency’s advisors work with global businesses interested in expanding to Toronto by facilitating introductions to sector experts and governments, providing industry and economic benchmarking analysis, and conducting consultations with businesses making global business investment decisions.

The funding will be dedicated to marketing, outreach, business intelligence, and research to identify potential investors. Toby Lennox, former VP of strategy development and stakeholder engagement at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, will act as CEO and president of Toronto Global.

Mark Cohon, former commissioner of the CFL and former chair of the Ontario Science Centre, will act as Chair of the agency.

Toronto Global is part of a five-year, $218 million federal commitment to increase global investment through the Invest in Canada hub announced in November. Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the Invest in Canada hub during the Canadian government’s fall economic update.

“We’re creating a new institution, the Invest in Canada hub, whose job it will be to sell Canada to the world,” Morneau said at the time. “In a world where some believe that tightening borders is the right thing to do, Canada stands out as a place to be followed in terms of inclusion.”

During a press conference announcing the initiative, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains said that the decision to focus on Toronto is due to the fact that it generates 20 percent of the country’s GDP and is home to 40 percent of Canada’s business headquarters are in the city.

“Canada stands at a defining moment; we’re in a global innovation race. And we’re competing for talent around the world,” said Bains. “We’re also competing for global investment, and success will go to those that can attract global investment.”

This initiative is the latest of several investments the government is carrying out under its Innovation Agenda, which the government hopes will foster a more startup-friendly environment in Canada.