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Ontario in the Creative Age

May 24, 200924 May 2009

Culture and the Creative Economy

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For Ontario to become a “world leader in the creative age”, this report argues that building prosperity for all Ontarians will require “drawing more broadly on the creative skills of our people and workforce, developing stronger clustered industries, and harnessing the creative potential of current and future generations”.

The report finds that service industries now dominate the economy. In particular, “over the past twenty-five years, the creativity-oriented occupations have increased from 26 percent of the province’s work force to 30 percent”. The report argues that, as a consequence, the economy has shifted from an emphasis on physical skills and repetitive tasks to human intelligence, analytical skills, collaborative skills and judgment. Human creativity is becoming “the ultimate economic resource. The ability to generate new ideas and better ways of doing things is ultimately what drives innovation to raise productivity and thus living standards.”

Currently, Ontario ranks “well behind a set of peer regions in North America and slightly behind the best global peers in economic output per person”, partly because Ontarians’ “creative skills are less developed than those of the world’s leading jurisdictions”.

According to the report, governments, businesses and individuals all have a role in making the shift to a more creative economy. In order to harness the creative potential of Ontarians, the report recommends that, by 2030, the province become “the world’s first jurisdiction where creativity-oriented occupations account for half of all jobs”. The report also argues that Ontario should be marketed as “the creative province”. In order to build the province’s talent pool, Ontario should attempt to ensure that a larger proportion of young people have a college or university education. The report argues that new social safety nets are required in the new economy, including early childhood development, investment in skills development and “wage insurance for longer tenure workers”. Finally, to “build province-wide geographic advantage”, Ontario should invest in the connectivity between regions and ensure that the “mega-region” is as strong as possible.

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