U of T’s research and equity initiatives address business concerns in Ontario

Released on February 1, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s (OCC) 7th annual Ontario Economic Report (OER)  finds that businesses are looking for support and  investments in workforce talent development  to overcome economic uncertainty.    

Despite COVID-19 restrictions easing in the past year, the OCC’s survey revealed that business confidence hit a record low in 2022. Only 16% of organizations reported feeling confident in Ontario’s economy – down from 29% in 2021.   The report draws on over 1,900 responses to the Ontario Chamber’s annual Business Confidence Survey (BCS).   

Labour shortages were a concern for more than half of respondents. When asked what government can do to support their resilience and growth, investing in workforce development initiatives (retraining, micro-credentials, and education) was one of the top two policy priorities identified.    

With more than 250,000 postsecondary credentials awarded every year, universities and colleges in Ontario play a critical role in ensuring the province has the talent required to navigate the future economy.    

While economic concerns are in focus in the Report, employers and organizations continue to be committed to advancing the foundations of a resilient society, including addressing climate change, reconciliation, and mental health.  When asked whether sustainability or climate action is a priority, two-thirds of respondents agreed.  

This sentiment is higher among post-secondary institutions (76%) and non-profits (70%). With respect to reconciliation, post-secondary institutions, non-profits, publicly traded companies, and businesses with diverse leadership were significantly more likely to report taking action.  

Another top 10 priority for employers is improving access to employee health and well-being programs, with 78% of employers agreeing it is important to their organization’s success.   

These findings resonate with U of T’s efforts in recent years, which include: 

Learn more about U of T’s ISI portfolio.   

Read the OCC’s interactive report. 

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