Premier Announces Details of Business Mission to Middle East
Mission Will Lead to New Agreements and Partnerships
Premier Kathleen Wynne's business mission to Israel and the West Bank in May will focus on establishing Ontario as a top innovation and knowledge economy partner and investment destination for businesses.
Premier Wynne announced details of the mission at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, where she was joined by representatives from the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) -- a provincially funded, not-for-profit research centre that maximizes the impact of neuroscience and promotes Ontario as a world leader in brain research, commercialization and care. The OBI's foundations were laid during the 2010 Ontario mission to Israel.
During the May 15-20 mission, the Premier will visit Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the West Bank, including Ramallah and Bethlehem. She will meet with business leaders, innovators and government officials to strengthen ties and encourage new investments and partnerships in Ontario.
Ontario and Israel are leaders in the life sciences field, and the mission will provide opportunities for both regions to learn from each other and create new partnerships. The business delegation accompanying the Premier to Israel will include Ontario companies pursuing trade opportunities in Israel, institutions seeking to collaborate with Israeli firms on research and development projects and innovation leaders who want to work with Israel on cutting-edge technological projects. Several Ontario institutions will also accompany the Premier to the West Bank to build on key relationships in innovation and education.
Israel is a priority market for Ontario for trade and research. Ontario and Israel have had a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in place for over a decade to promote industrial research and development collaborations. The MOU has helped to connect over 680 Ontario and Israeli researchers, generate 15 industry-led R&D projects and leverage more than $16 million in outside funding.
Building new relationships and helping businesses compete globally are part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
- In 2015, two-way trade between Ontario and Israel was valued at over $900 million, making Israel one of Ontario’s largest trading partners in the Middle East.
- Ontario’s life sciences sector is the largest in Canada and employs more than 61,000 people in approximately 1,900 firms. In 2012, Ontario’s life sciences sector generated more than $38 billion in revenue.
- In 2013, Ontario provided $100 million over five years to the OBI to expand its research into neurodegeneration, including Alzheimer's disease and depression, and continue its research on cerebral palsy, autism and epilepsy.
“I look forward to strengthening our political, economic and cultural ties on my first mission to the Middle East. We share many of the same priorities — including an interest in developing a strong innovation economy that can produce the next generation of technological and life-science breakthroughs.”