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Good morning ladies and gentlemen,

It’s my pleasure to be here with you here today.

Please let me convey my sincere congratulations to Dave Donaldson and Mark Sutcliffe on behalf of all of us at Ottawa City Council.

I know these two individuals will keep the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce at the forefront of economic development and innovation in the nation’s capital.

In the past year I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Chamber as well as with both Dave and Mark in their respective roles in the community.

Dave continues to be instrumental in the growth and success of Algonquin College – an institution that only continues to climb higher while attracting scores of local and international students.

And Mark continues to do things like complete marathons, host TV shows, radio shows and run a community newspaper.

Well I’m very happy to have the opportunity to deliver some brief remarks about economic development and the year ahead.

Let me begin with a short recap of what we were up to in 2011…setting the stage for what I think will be an exciting year of tangible, measurable progress.

The City has put forward an ambitious economic development plan that will see $5.5 million in annual funding targeted to various economic development projects and initiatives.

I want to thank the Chamber for their cooperative approach as we have spent many weeks working with OCRI to ensure the Chamber and Invest Ottawa complement one another – not compete with each other.

One of the major elements of this plan is the transformation of OCRI into a more focused organization called Invest Ottawa to pursue strategic economic development in the nation’s capital.

I can’t emphasize enough that this isn’t a simple rebranding exercise…

It’s about a new way of thinking.

It’s about sharper focus to achieve clear goals.

The establishment of Invest Ottawa sends a strong signal to our stakeholders that economic development is taking a front seat at City Hall as we compete on a world stage for jobs, growth and opportunity.

Invest Ottawa will help build confidence in our own ability to attract jobs and investment to our community.

The job loss headlines of the last few months are more than sufficient to convince us that we need to take our economic development destiny in our own hands – the days of relying on the Government of Canada to be the primary engine of this community’s growth are behind us.

Under the leadership of Bruce Lazenby, the focus of Invest Ottawa will be to attract investment and expand and retain existing businesses in Ottawa in key industry sectors, including green energy, aerospace and defence, photonics, life sciences, digital media and film and television.

We have also created a Major Events Office in partnership with Ottawa Tourism to attract and support large-scale cultural and sports events that have significant positive benefits for our local economy.

This will bring greater attention to our third largest industry in Ottawa…promoting the nation’s capital as a premiere destination for world-class events.

  • World-class events like the 2012 NHL All-Star game that Ottawa is fortunate to host in just over a week from now
  • The 2012 JUNO Awards at Scotiabank Place on April 1, 2012
  • The 2013 IIHF World Women’s Championships.
  • And The City is also in the process of bidding to host the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which would bring the world’s best female soccer players to the capital.

The formula is simple:

Bid more.

Win more.

Host more.

Events like these not only bring a lot of tourism dollars into our city, but also put Ottawa on the world stage through media and television coverage, enticing even more people to come visit the nation’s capital.

The addition of the stunning new Ottawa Convention Centre, which opened its doors in 2011, to Ottawa’s landscape is a significant factor in Ottawa being awarded premiere national and international events.

Another part of our renewed focus on economic development includes upping the stakes on attracting more film, television and new media industries to Ottawa.

In this vein, Invest Ottawa recently hired a Commissioner to lead the newly established Film, Television and Digital Media Office at Invest Ottawa where the Office will be responsible for the continued development, retention, competitiveness and enhancement of these industries.

And with this renewed focus we can expect to see more feature films and television series shot here.

In fact this week I, along with Deputy Mayor Steve Desroches and Councillor Bob Monette met with stars Michael Keaton and Michelle Monaghan as well as the production crew on the set of Penthouse North, which is filming throughout the City.

These sorts of film productions bring in a lot of money, they employ our residents and we want to see more of them!

Our city’s Economic Development Branch has also received approval for $1.5M in capital funding for a film, television and digital media studio, which is the key to the vitality and growth of the film sector here in Ottawa.

The City has also launched a highly successful grant program to assist Business Improvement Areas.

In 2011 alone, 16 grants were made to BIAs totalling approximately $100,000 and levering an additional $100,000 investment by the BIAS themselves.

This renewed focus…this new energy….is how we will respond to an ever-changing and highly competitive economic climate, while creating the conditions for success and continued prosperity for our great city.

Before I close, I’d like to take a minute and highlight a very exciting event taking place on February 9th at the brand new CE Centre.

Through the City’s partnership with the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and the Ottawa Business Journal, we are hosting a Light Rail Trade Show to support our local businesses so they can get involved in the single biggest infrastructure project in our city’s history.

The Light Rail project will generate $3 Billion in economic activity and create 20,000 person years of labour.

From Construction to professional services to technology, there will be a lot of action for our local entrepreneurs and businesses.

We want to ensure that the three shortlisted consortia, comprised of world-class firms with extensive expertise in transit infrastructure projects, have an opportunity to be exposed to the high quality goods, services and expertise that Ottawa-area contractors and suppliers can offer.

Ottawa businesses, labour unions, and educational institutions, among other organizations are invited to participate in the trade show and to interact and engage with the project’s consortia.

If you’re a business looking to register, you can do so through the Ottawa Chamber’s website.

So in closing, I would like to reaffirm my desire to continued success working with the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and its members.

As I said last year in my first speech to the Chamber as Mayor – my door is always open to you.

Economic development in the nation’s capital is a team effort.

It requires all of us to share ideas, to leverage resources and work together.

I’m here for the Chamber, just as I know you’re here for the business owners and entrepreneurs of our great city.

Thank you for allowing me some time to speak with you this morning.

And again, congratulations to Dave Donaldson and Mark Sutcliffe.

Thank you. Merci.