The Toronto Region Board of Trade’s policy agenda champions the policy priorities of its 13,500 members, in order to advance the prosperity and economic competitiveness of the Toronto Region. The Board is widely considered to be one of the Toronto Region’s most influential thought leaders and regularly engages all three levels of government, produces independent evidence-based research, convenes industry leaders, organizes strategic events, and maintains continuous policy intelligence.

Our Goal:

To catalyze and enable growth and global competitiveness across the Toronto Region.

We accomplish this by:

  1. Enabling a competitive business environment.
  2. Advocating for the physical, digital and social infrastructure needed to facilitate growth.
  3. Strengthening the region’s access to diverse talent through increasing affordability and accessibility.
  4. Harnessing the best expertise and thought leadership to influence the regional agenda.
  5. Demonstrating value to members through a policy agenda that enables their business operations and facilitates growth.

Strategic Areas of Focus:

The Board's policy initiatives are shaped by three strategic areas of focus:

To ensure seamless alignment across multiples sectors and maximize impact, our policy initiatives fall at the intersection of these areas of focus:

  • Business Competitiveness
  • Energy Transition
  • Housing Affordability
  • Infrastructure & Land Use
  • Innovation Economy
  • Talent Ecosystem
  • Transportation
  • Trade Expansion

Policy Committees

The Board’s policy committees form the backbone for our ambitious policy agenda. The committees are comprised of industry leaders who volunteer their expertise and influence towards initiatives that will make the Toronto region the most competitive and sought-after region in the world. The committees strategically focus on high impact policy themes: business competitiveness, energy transition, housing affordability, the innovation economy, and infrastructure (transportation & land use).

Business Competitiveness Committee

Serda Evren (Chair) and Kevin Teslyk (Vice-Chair)

The Business Competitiveness Committee advocates for programs and policies encouraging regional economic growth, enhancing commercial development, supporting global trade and attracting investment.

Committee Focus:

  • Support the recovery of regional businesses from COVID-19
  • Advocate for the removal of trade barriers domestically and internationally to lower costs and streamline compliance for businesses
  • Promote the Toronto Region as an attractive place to invest and do business ​

Initiatives Include: Fiscal policy advancement, regulatory reform, and internal trade augmentation​

To learn more, click here

Energy Transition Committee

 Paul Harricks (Chair) and Faisal Kazi (Vice-Chair)

Sustainably energy is vital to the continued growth and success of the Toronto region. The Energy Transition Committee develops policy positions and advocates for a sustainable, reliable and affordable energy system in the Toronto region, enabling business growth and securing our place as a leading low-carbon jurisdiction.

Committee Focus:

  • Support the recovery of the energy sector and broader economy from COVID-19
  • Advocate for sustainable, reliable and affordable energy systems
  • Explore and enable innovations in urban energy, including cleantech commercialization

Initiatives include: Industrial energy policy, and a clean energy transition

To learn more, click here

Innovation Economy Committee

Salim Teja (Chair)

Business innovation will play a key role in ensuring the Region’s global competitiveness. The Innovation Economy Committee develops policy positions that support the Innovation Corridor, improve technology infrastructure, and assist government facilitation of rapid industrial advancement, adaptive capacity, and development of nascent industry.

Committee Focus:

  • Support the recovery of the innovation sector and broader economy from COVID-19​
  • Determine coordinated approaches to utilize R&D investments to catalyze innovation and strengthen Canadian businesses
  • Identify key barriers to scaling by tech firms and activate initiatives which address regional technology issues​
  • Further data and privacy policies which can enable innovations that benefit society and public safety

Initiatives include: Industrial innovation policy, bridging the digital divide, procurement reform, and operating & regulatory frameworks for data by design

To learn more, click here

Housing Affordability Committee

Jay-Ann Gilfoy (Chair)  

The region’s livability is critical to its global competitiveness and long-term success. The Housing Affordability Committee supports and advocates for the intentional development of diverse, affordable and well-located housing, which will enable further economic and demographic growth in the Toronto region.

Committee Focus:
  • Support the recovery of the building sector and broader economy from COVID-19
  • Advocate for the development of diverse, affordable and well-located housing
  • Advocate to reduce costs and delays in the development and construction process so that all units can be built more affordably

Initiatives include: Missing middle advocacy, workforce housing policy, and advocating on provincial and municipal initiatives related to housing supply

To learn more, click here

Talent Ecosystem Committee

Hillary Marshall (Chair) and Pamela Snively (Vice-Chair)

The Talent Ecosystem Committee recognizes that robust and diverse talent is what drives the world’s leading urban regions. The committee facilitates the development of a diverse, competitive, inclusive and resilient talent ecosystem in the Toronto region.

Committee Focus:

  • Support the recovery of jobs across all sectors as well as the recovery of post-secondary institutions from COVID-19
  • Help develop policies that further streamline economic immigration and maximize the skills of immigrants, with a focus on community integration and city building
  • Address member recruitment and retention challenges through effective policy recommendations at every government level
  • Promote government and employer policies that reflect diverse and inclusive talent development

Initiatives include: Recruiting & retaining a diverse workforce to​ strengthen economic growth​, tackling youth unemployment, talent based immigration​, and filling the skilled trades gap

To learn more, click here

Infrastructure Committee (Land Use & Transportation):

Stephen Dyck (Chair) and Godyne Sibay (Vice-Chair)

Plans for infrastructure, land use and transportation networks have not kept pace with the tremendous growth of the Toronto Region. To tackle these challenges, the Infrastructure Committee focuses on a strategic and integrated approach to improving the region’s physical and digital infrastructure.

Committee Focus:

  • Support recovery of the transportation network and broader economy from COVID-19
  • Advocate for the development of an integrated transportation system that enables the economic and demographic growth of the Toronto region
  • Catalyze an integrated regional perspective on the designation and protection of employment lands
  • Facilitate the development of transit-oriented communities, including employment us

Initiatives include: Fare and service integration, regional rail, optimizing infrastructure construction, employment lands, and transit-oriented communities

To learn more, click here