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Job growth continues in Ontario

April 4 2003 - March saw the creation of another 17,100 new jobs in Ontario, which means that 71,000 new jobs were created in the first quarter of 2003 and a total of 1,105,000 net new jobs since 1995. Across the rest of Canada there was a net loss of 2,900 jobs in March.

Job gains in March were mainly in the service sector, including 13,500 new jobs in health care and social assistance, and 12,200 new jobs in accommodation and food services.

While Canada's unemployment rate fell marginally to 7.3% (from 7.4% in February) Ontario's unemployment rate continued on a downward trend to 6.5%.

"Ontario's economic plan continues to promote new jobs and new growth," said Finance Minister Janet Ecker. "By cutting taxes and focusing on prudent fiscal management, Ontario can expect continued growth and prosperity in 2003 and 2004, with more new jobs and more take-home pay for families."

"Ontario's stellar job creation record contrasts with what's happening in other parts of Canada and the United States. We remain the job creation engine of Canada," said Ecker. "We are confident that lower taxes will continue to promote jobs and growth."

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One million new jobs created in Ontario since 1995

November 19 2002 - Finance Minister Janet Ecker announced recently that 20,300 net new jobs were created in Ontario during October 2002, bringing the total to 1,008,000 over the past seven years.

According to Janet Ecker, Ontario's one million net new jobs account for 46.5% of the national total since 1995. Job growth in Ontario during that period was 19.6%, compared to 7.8% in the US.

"There continues to be new hope and opportunities for people as we promote new growth and new jobs," said Ecker. "We have put sound fundamentals in place in Ontario to promote growth and prosperity and we are well positioned for the future."

Around 80% of the new jobs have been full-time positions. In fact, full-time employment grew by 20% in Ontario, compared with about 13% for the rest of Canada. The Ontario manufacturing sector has seen a 29% increase in employment over the last seven years, compared with a 16% increase in the rest of Canada. And jobs in the professional, scientific and management services industries have shown rates of growth of more than 50%.

"We are encouraged by the province-wide nature of the job creation and the fact that the jobs have been evenly distributed among men, women and our youth," Ecker said. "Everyone benefits from job growth."

But an Ontario Task Force said that bold initiatives are needed to close Ontario's prosperity gap. The Ontario Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress is a group of industry and academic leaders appointed by the Premier and chaired by Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management.

"A recurring theme in our research and deliberations is that Ontario's economic performance is very respectable compared to most other regions in the world. But our research shows that, compared with our peer group of US states, Ontario has a prosperity gap of nearly $6,000 per person in the province. The Task Force believes we can't be satisfied with that performance when we know that these states draw on essentially the same resources as we have and achieve much higher per capita GDP - which translates into higher wages and a higher standard of living," said Martin. "As a society, it's as if we stop one step short of the effort and investment required to raise our performance to match their results."

The Task Force recommends that:

* Ontarians raise their aspirations to eliminate the widening prosperity gap over the next decade.

* Investment in post-secondary education and machinery and equipment should be increased. Martin observed that post-secondary education is a key predictor of productivity and prosperity and that overall per capita spending, especially in universities, in the US peer group was double that in Ontario. He also noted that Ontario's investments in machinery and equipment are generally lower than in the US. "The key question for Ontarians is whether we are investing adequately for our future prosperity or are using it for current consumption" said Martin.

* Taxes should be reformed reform. Task Force research shows that Ontario's taxes, from all levels and sources, are higher than those in a cross-section of the peer group states. These factors inhibit the entrepreneurialism and innovation necessary to raise output and performance.

* All levels of government should recognize the importance of cities in Ontario's economic progress. "We continue to be struck by how powerful cities are in driving productivity and prosperity for all Ontarians. Ontario has a lower percentage of our people living in urban settings than in our peer group," said Martin. "Let's make sure we're not standing in the way of the natural flow of people to our cities."

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