London has an economic advantage built upon our health care, education, agriculture, technology, sports, and arts and culture sectors and that is why the Forest City is poised to take a bold step into a prosperous future.
We’re ready for this next step because of hard-working Londoners who show up to work every day and create new businesses and opportunities that set the stage for us to thrive together. All of this makes London a smart place to invest today and tomorrow.
London is the best managed mid-sized city in Ontario. For 40 years we have been one of the few Canadian communities with a Aaa credit rating and while on council I worked to safeguard that legacy. That is why our finances are strong. Council has reduced the city’s debt by $209 per household over a five-year period, while increasing reserves by $270 million.
Yet we have to acknowledge the real issues in our local economy. The London Poverty Research Centre reports, “only about half of working Londoners have secure or stable employment,” and we have to come together to solve this issue. This is why we need strong leadership over the next four years.
We are fortunate to have low unemployment, yet we are challenged to meet the increasing demand within the skilled trades. This challenge is why I will work with the provincial government, along with our local colleges and unions, to increase the numbers of apprentices. We have to leverage the expertise of our education and training institutions to meet the demand of London’s economy. It is critical for the city to work alongside these partners to create initiatives which attracts, trains and retains talent. We need these investments in our people because they will strengthen our economy and attract future growth.
We have to recognize the strength of our geographic advantages to create economic resiliency. One opportunity should come in the area of food security. Creating a strong, regional food terminal, and a predictable supply chain for agri-businesses, will provide Londoners with substantial and ongoing opportunities.
It isn’t city council’s place to directly create employment, but rather to create the conditions for meaningful growth. We also have many challenges that must be addressed in order to ensure our competitiveness.
I have the leadership and belief in Londoners to tackle our critical economic issues and create opportunities for all. I know that London can reassert our competitive advantage and position itself as one of the safest places to invest in Canada. Most importantly together we can create a community where everyone prospers and everyone matters.