How to sell a province with Vic Fideli

Ontario's Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade, Vic Fedeli sits down with us to chat industrial policy, EV battery plants, and how to attract business development. 

What sort of businesses is Ontario targeting?

“Advanced manufacturing, tech, and life sciences. Right now, it’s the EV business. That door opened a few years ago, but it's going to come slamming shut very, very shortly. Almost every business around the world is finding a place to land, and so it’s not going to last much longer. Six months, nine months tops, we'll be out of this business. I really mean that.” 

What mechanisms does the province have to attract development?

“We lower the cost of doing business. The first lever we pulled was cutting WSIB premiums in half. That’s $2.5 billion dollars in annual savings to companies. Then we reduced industrial hydro rates by 15%, that's $1.3 billion. Then we didn't go ahead with previously scheduled tax increases, that’s $465 million. The list goes on, and it’s now $8 billion a year saved.”

Which federal policy would you change to attract more business? 

“The carbon tax. It comes up every day when we’re dealing with overseas companies,  especially in the States, and they don't have a carbon tax. They have no idea what we're talking about. All they know is it's a new line item on their budget that they have to add, and we have to explain that there's a tax on everything that goes to the federal government.” 

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. Listen to the full conversation here.