Mayor Crombie’s State of the City of MississaugaOur City. Our Future.
Mississauga Board of Trade, April 18, 2023
Jump to section
Good afternoon, Bonjour, Aaniin Boozhoo, Wacheya.
I would like to thank Deanne Hupfield for joining us today and for showcasing her rich, Anishinaabe culture.
Trevor McPherson and the Mississauga Board of Trade team – a big thanks to you and our growing business community for the opportunity to provide today’s address and of course, to all our event sponsors for generously hosting us today.
I also want to acknowledge my dedicated, hard-working Council colleagues who are joining us.
In Mississauga, we are led by our Acting City Manager, Shari Lichterman, and her team of Commissioners and staff who keep our city moving and are one of the major reasons why Mississauga is not only an attractive place to invest but to live, work and play.
Not to brag, but we’ve also been named by Forbes as one of Canada’s best employers four years in a row.
And, of course, our new Director of Economic Development, Christina Kakaflikas, and her entire team for their work to support and grow Mississauga’s business community.
Nothing we achieve would be possible without our dedicated staff at the City of Mississauga and Region of Peel.
On that note, please join me in welcoming Chair Iannicca and congratulating our new Region of Peel CAO, Gary Kent who is joining us today.
It fills me with great pride to see so many Board of Trade members and business owners in the room today.
Despite a challenging few years, we continue to see increasing business investment and growth across our city.
This is thanks to your perseverance, your drive, and your passion – and, of course, a lot of hard work.
As we usher in 2023, I’m proud to say that the state of Mississauga remains stronger than ever.
Over the past year, we hit a pretty monumental milestone – are you ready for this?
We are officially home to more than 100,000 businesses – and growing.
We are the fifth fastest-growing hub for new investment in the country, despite being the seventh largest city.
We’re punching above our weight.
Isn’t that incredible?
Mississauga continues to be ranked year over year as one of the best places to live and do business in the country.
We are an economic powerhouse for the province and home to the second-largest economy in Ontario.
We know this doesn’t happen by accident and not without a lot of hard work and consistent good decision making by all.
From staff to Council and of course, from each and every one of you here today.
We are grateful to have so many amazing things going for us – from our highly diverse and highly skilled talent pool, to our strategic location on the innovation corridor, and our proximity to Pearson International Airport.
Whether I’m talking to the Prime Minister, Premier, Ministers, Mayors, MPs, MPPs or international delegations from around the world, I never stop selling Mississauga as a unique world-class destination for businesses looking to locate and scale-up.
And, I know that many of you are doing the same because this is single-handedly the best city to live, learn, work and invest in the country.
Am I right?
REMEMBERING HAZEL MCCALLION
I want to start off by acknowledging that while the room is full, there is one person noticeably missing.
Earlier this year, we lost our matriarch, the architect of our city, former Mayor Hazel McCallion.
She lived a life with purpose and built this city in her vision.
As you all know, Hazel was my mentor and my friend, and she would never miss an opportunity to get out and support our city’s business community.
If she was still with us, she’d be sitting right there enjoying her lunch, making new friends and, dare I say, providing feedback on my speech.
In honour of Hazel, a life of purpose and a life well lived, we have left a seat open at the head table for her, because we know that she’s still very much with us today in spirit.
And while the city will not be the same without her, together, we will forge ahead and look to the future because that’s exactly what she would have wanted us to do.
CHARTING OUR FUTURE – AN INDEPENDENT MISSISSAUGA
As we honour her life and legacy, and as we approach Mississauga’s fiftieth anniversary, it’s clear – it’s time for Ontario’s third largest city to take matters into its own hands.
We are no longer a young, suburban city.
We stand tall, we stand proud, and we are ready to take on the future.
A city capable of independence.
This is something Hazel not only recognized needed to happen but something she helped champion during her time as Mayor.
And long afterwards too.
Even in her final days, when I asked what should be next, she firmly said, independence – it’s time for Mississauga to stand on its own two feet, and frankly, it’s long overdue.
If big cities like London, Brantford, Windsor, Kingston, Guelph, and Chatham-Kent can do it, so can we and frankly, so can Brampton.
If we are going to be prepared to respond to the challenges before us – whether it’s affordability, housing, transit, or providing our business community with the support they need to grow and thrive, we need to be right-sized and nimble.
We also need to strike a new deal for cities with our provincial and federal partners, one that recognizes our growing role and the demand that has been placed on cities to respond to issues from homelessness, climate change, mental health and more.
As business owners, an independent Mississauga would make your lives easier, reduce confusion over who does what, drive efficiencies, and reduce duplication, especially when it comes to getting shovels in the ground.
Mississauga has already gained a reputation in Peel Region as a city that is well run and efficient.
In last year’s budget, we identified $3.5 million in savings, and over the past twelve years, have saved taxpayers over $77 million without impacting service levels.
We’ve projected that an independent Mississauga would save taxpayers a billion dollars over the next decade.
This is a great start, and I anticipate we will further capitalize on our strong fiscal record as a free-standing city of the future.
Let’s put the numbers aside for a minute.
And talk about who we are.
Our identity and pride in our city are one of the main reasons Mississauga has gained a reputation as an international destination for businesses looking to locate, scale up and thrive.
You see it on the faces of small business owners in Streetsville, Malton, Port Credit, Cooksville, Clarkson, downtown Mississauga and every point in between.
And in larger, family-owned businesses like Mother Parkers, who have called Mississauga home for over 70 years, and who continue to innovate and expand their footprint as they source, blend, and roast over 11 million cups of coffee a year in our city.
A city that is quickly transforming and is a hub for jobs and growth.
We are a net importer of jobs, with over 69,000 workers commuting into our city to work each day.
A city that not only bounced back from the pandemic but thrived, gaining over 6,700 net new jobs through new investment and business expansion.
A city with endless potential that is driven by innovation and entrepreneurship.
A place that welcomes people from across the world with open arms and hearts, a city that takes pride and gives thanks to the people who build, run and care for our city.
A city with a name that is steeped so deeply in our roots that we proudly share with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, a name that cannot be simply rebranded or replaced.
A City of Peel would put this all at stake.
I hope you will join me in saying no to amalgamation and a City of Peel, if the topic is raised.
Because this is who we are and who we are meant to be.
This is our Mississauga.
A city that I’m proud to be Mayor of, that our residents and businesses are proud to call home…
A city that puts the “M” in “MBOT” and whose name and identity, I will fiercely protect.
This is our home and we ain’t going anywhere!
INNOVATION IN ACTION
Together, we have built an identity and a brand that holds some serious weight and is known worldwide as a place where people want to be and where businesses want to lay down their roots.
If the first 49 years are any indication of what we are capable of, I can say with great confidence that the next chapter in our city’s history will be even more transformative.
In the next thirty years, Mississauga will grow exponentially, home to more than 1 million people and 600,000 jobs.
We are a global hub for innovation and talent, a place where entrepreneurs and changemakers not only come up with the big ideas, but where they commercialize and bring them to market.
Where innovation isn’t just an idea or a far-fetched concept, it’s a reality.
We are already seeing innovation in action here in Mississauga.
We are proud to be home to over 180 R&D and corporate centres of excellence led by our private sector partners, from the National Research Council to the Baylis Medical Innovation Centre, Roche Canada and many more.
And here at the City of Mississauga, we are also making innovation a mindset, and as the saying goes, “it all starts with an idea.”
With the launch of our first innovation hub IDEA Square One next month, the City of Mississauga has officially dropped a pin on Canada’s innovation corridor.
Situated in the heart of downtown, the hub will connect businesses to top talent in high-demand fields thanks to TriOS College, who is building a talent pipeline to support our key sectors, including technology, supply chain, and logistics.
And thanks to the EDGE at Sheridan College, which was made possible thanks to a great deal of advocacy from our City and Sheridan, and support from our provincial and federal partners, over 400 students have brought their ideas to market.
With a key part of their success being their ability to break down barriers for young entrepreneurs and make their programming accessible to diverse communities.
Tapping into this talent will be critical for the future success of our city and will build a pipeline of talent to our hub.
It will be home to a team of experts ready to mentor and connect talent to opportunity while providing a creative space for entrepreneurs to spark ideas, scale-up and commercialize.
A place where future global leaders like home-grown IMAX and SOTI will get up and running.
And while our bricks and mortar building isn’t launching until next month, we’re already supporting companies like HDAX Therapeutics, a local start-up from UTM, whose breakthrough medicines improve the lives of patients undergoing chemotherapy.
And The Lean Suite, who thanks to IDEA, has been able to scale up and pitch its digital AI tool, which identifies efficiencies right on the manufacturing floor to a broader network of new investors.
These are just two of the nearly 1,500 small businesses we’ve helped support since the hub was announced less than a year ago.
And, with the ink barely dried and the ribbon not yet cut, we’re already planning for what’s next.
It is not enough to revel in the now.
We always need to be one step ahead of the competition.
Which is why we are looking to expand our footprint to the south, by bringing the Lakeview Innovation District to life.
1.8 million square feet of opportunity that will create over 9,000 jobs in Cleantech, Life Sciences, and ICT.
We recently launched consultations that will help shape the District as an anchor on our innovation corridor and help position Mississauga as a global leader for entrepreneurship and innovation within the region.
Tapping into its potential, if we get it right, will help us compete globally amongst the most innovative countries in the world, from Switzerland to Sweden, the U.K. and Germany.
ATTRACTING INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT
A country that also sees the potential in our city, with more than 120 German companies calling Mississauga home.
That’s more than any other city in Canada.
This is not only something we can be incredibly proud of but also poses a significant opportunity for further investment and expansion here in Mississauga.
Which is one of the reasons why I led an investment mission to Germany last fall.
To visit the headquarters of Mississauga-based companies like Eberspächer, Pilz, Karcher and Drager to not only thank them for doing business here but explore new opportunities for growth in our city.
Here at home, I’ve also made it a priority to strengthen this bond, meeting Mississauga based companies like Bosch, who are part of our thriving ICT sector and have called our City home for nearly 50 years.
During this time, they have grown their Mississauga HQ from one line of business to three, developing cutting-edge AI video and surveillance technology that is helping their customers run their businesses safer, smarter, and more efficiently.
With future expansion plans on the horizon, this is one of many examples of innovation in action here in Mississauga.
GROWING OUR BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Innovation is also key in helping us grow and diversify our business community, especially across our key sectors.
As the second-largest employment hub in the GTA that’s home to nearly half a million jobs, we are quickly outpacing other cities thanks to our competitive edge – our highly skilled and diverse talent.
Mississauga will continue to be known as a smart, sustainable city that not only embraces new technology but develops it.
In the last year alone, we grew by over 5,800 businesses, the largest increase since the pandemic.
The buzz this year, without a doubt, has been on our growing Life Sciences and ICT sectors, with global firms from around the world making some pretty significant investments in our city.
We’ve seen a huge surge in global tech companies opening up shop over the last couple of years, including Infosys and HCL Technologies.
They join Cognizant, rounding out the top three India-based tech companies that have chosen Mississauga to expand their business.
Combined, these investments will create nearly 1,000 new jobs and support hundreds of businesses worldwide as they support the acceleration of digital transformation in a post-pandemic world.
We’ve also seen the growth of Erthos, a women-led cleantech business recently awarded a Forbes 30 under 30, who are advancing our sustainability agenda by eliminating the use of single-use plastics with their plant-based, compostable products.
We’ve seen our tech sector directly support the growth of our Life Sciences industry with the addition of Billennium IT’s North American headquarters to our city, which will create 100 skilled jobs in AI and business intelligence.
We know the key to unlocking the true potential of this sector is to not only build a talent pipeline with our partners at the University of Toronto Mississauga, through programs like their Pharma Challenges and Opportunities Certificate, but work with leaders in the business community to fill gaps we know exist – such as the absence of wet lab space.
That’s why we couldn’t be more thrilled to be opening our first research campus, The Core Mississauga.
With over 400,000 square feet of best-in-class lab and advanced R&D space, it will help Life Sciences organizations flourish not only in the Sheridan Research Park but across the innovation corridor.
It will be a place where scientists not only come up with life-saving treatments but where they commercialize and develop them into innovative products.
This investment could only be outdone by biopharma giants AstraZeneca, who doubled down on Mississauga, injecting an additional half a billion dollars into our city to launch a new rare disease research hub that will create 500 new jobs and expand their R&D footprint globally.
All eyes are on Mississauga as an epicenter for jobs and innovation that is not only fueling economic growth across Mississauga but beyond.
PEARSON EMPLOYMENT ZONE
And key to unlocking our potential across the corridor will be advancing the growth of the Pearson Employment Zone, the second-largest employment hub in Canada, home to more than 400,000 jobs and thousands of businesses in advanced manufacturing, transportation, life sciences, auto, logistics, and more.
Many of these industries were hard hit by the pandemic and are still on the road to recovery.
Key to enhancing our global competitiveness as a city and region will be addressing the real challenges facing businesses in the area, from a lack of transit options to low vacancy rates and gridlock that is costing businesses time and money.
At the heart of it all is Pearson International Airport, which employs 50,000 people and moves $40.2 billion worth of goods airside each year.
Thousands of businesses rely on the success of the airport, which is why we are equally invested in their recovery.
Thanks to their focus on innovation and support from our federal partners, the airport nearly doubled its passenger count last year, inching closer and closer to their pre-pandemic rates.
By putting innovation front and centre, Pearson has created a more seamless passenger journey, rolling out pre-booking security clearances and exploring the use of biometrics to help travellers move through the airport more quickly.
Similarly, they are working to attract tenants like Bombardier, who share their vision and commitment to innovation, to work and fly alongside them on Canada’s busiest runways.
Investments like these have massive spin-off effects for companies like Cyclone Manufacturing, who provide supply parts for global heavyweights like Boeing and Airbus and contribute to our growing aerospace sector, the largest in the country.
BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE CITY
As we work to unlock new opportunities for growth not only in the Pearson Employment Zone but across the region, we must keep sustainability front and centre.
Mississauga is home to one of the largest transportation and logistics hubs in the GTA, and the demand for cleantech solutions and green energy is growing by the day.
The potential to be home to a hydrogen hub truly excites me.
And I can’t think of an area in the city better to support it than Pearson Airport, who I know is busy exploring a hub to service their airside vehicles and one day, grow to support neighbouring businesses.
A hub that could be supported by none other than Cummins, a Fortune 500 company whose footprint has doubled in our city over the past five years, thanks to their innovative hydrogen fuel cell products.
The very products we hope to use in our innovative hydrogen bus pilot with industry partners – a first of its kind in Canada that’s only possible with the support of our provincial and federal partners.
We will continue to press forward to make this a reality.
As a city, we are pursuing more aggressive climate change goals and are looking to fast-track our plans to reach net zero.
We are committed to building a city that will be healthy today and resilient for future generations to come.
A city that, under Council’s leadership, will chart a path forward to net zero by 2050.
A city with parks, green spaces, and clean air for your kids and grandkids to enjoy and future generations too.
The science is clear. We need action and innovation, and we need it now.
This means working to green our vehicle fleet, which accounts for 75% of our emissions, our single largest source.
We have a plan, and with our federal and provincial partners, we are making historic investments in our efforts to transition to a zero-emissions fleet.
I’m proud to say that by the end of next year, nearly 60 percent of our MiWay buses will be hybrid-electric.
But it’s not enough to green our fleet.
We need to get people out of their cars and onto transit.
To do this means making transit cheaper, faster, and a better option.
Transit only competes with the car when it can beat the car.
This is one of the many reasons we are launching a pilot to make MiWay free for kids under twelve and $1 a day, all day for seniors.
And making it easier for people who don’t usually take transit to hop on with the tap of a credit card.
While working with the province to advance fare integration across GO Transit and the 905, 416 transit agencies, along with piloting e-scooters as first-and-last-mile solutions.
We must hold ourselves accountable.
I’m proud of the bold actions we are taking as a city to achieve our climate targets.
While our focus on innovation and sustainability will be key in driving our economy and ensuring the long-term success of our city, we cannot forget the importance of investing in the driving force behind it – our creative industries.
Creativity is the driving force that spurs and feeds innovation – it’s what keeps our innovation ecosystem thriving.
It also helps us attract new business investment and talent here at home and around the world.
We are seeing our downtown, Cooksville, Streetsville, and our waterfront communities quickly become epicentres for performing arts, galleries, theatre, and live music, which as a champion for culture, I’d love to see across more areas of our city.
It’s also no secret Mississauga has made its mark as Studio City North.
Soon to be home to 9 studios and 23 sound stages, we are now the second busiest filming location in Ontario, with over 70 productions from The Handmaids Tail, Good Sam, and The Boys, filming in locations across our city.
Trust me. This is about much more than star power – it’s about the nearly 50,000 jobs and $3 billion in economic spin-off the film and television sector contributes to Ontario’s economy every year.
Which is why we are naturally seeing secondary industries like On the Move Catering who have built their business on feeding film crews along with Cinelease, a leading light and grip rental company, who recently chose Mississauga to open their second Canadian location.
37,000 square feet of opportunity that are creating jobs and helping support the further growth of our bustling film and television industry.
I don’t know about you, but Ryan Reynolds surely passed up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to locate his new production studio in our city.
In all seriousness, Ryan, our door is always open.
In the meantime, we are also busy penning the next song in the album, that is Mississauga.
With the launch of our first-ever Music Strategy, we will put our pin on the map as an internationally-recognized incubator for top talent and a national destination for live music.
With the launch of our new Live Music Grants, we’re getting one step closer to the likes of Nashville and Austin, the music capitals of the world.
These grants will invest in local musicians and venues, drive more big-ticket acts to our city, and spotlight incredible home-grown talents like Luna Elle and STORRY, while creating jobs, fueling tourism, and drawing people back into our city.
A pipeline of fresh, local talent that will only continue to grow thanks to Metalworks’ new artist residency program and free music industry boot camps for youth.
As we work to grow this $27 billion industry across the province, we continue to call on our business community to join us in getting creative,
I’m so glad to see the launch of the Creative City Award, a category proposed by the Mississauga Arts Council and heartily supported by MBOT, which is recognizing businesses for extending their cultural values outside the office, engaging employees in everything from art installations to live performances and more.
Investing in the arts is good business.
Now, while we are filled with great pride about all the incredible things before us, as a growing city in demand, we aren’t without our fair share of challenges.
Challenges like the cost of living, which is stretching people thin and pushing more and more low-income earners to the brink of homelessness.
We have seen a dramatic rise in new clients to the food bank, a surge in demand for supportive housing – a mark of shame for all of us.
Know that we are listening and doing what is in our power and pocketbooks to make a difference.
Our housing plan, “Growing Mississauga,” will help the province not only meet but exceed its goals of building 120,000 new homes in Mississauga over the next decade by accelerating our well-laid plans.
We’re aiming to build in 10 years what we had planned for in 30.
I do not want us to become a city of mega towers with unlimited height, especially along our transit corridors.
As we grow, we will do it responsibly and intensify where it makes sense.
We will find ways to reimagine our malls, build more family units, help seniors downsize, and make it easier for residents looking to renovate or maximize the footprint of their homes.
We can help cut red tape and speed up approvals but at the end of the day, we can’t build housing.
Cities can put their foot on the gas, but we need fuel in order to cross the finish line.
Bottom line is that we cannot do this alone.
That’s why we need everyone to step up, including the building and development community and the federal and provincial governments, to ensure that incentivizing growth isn’t done on the backs of cities.
We know builders are feeling the same pressures as many of you when it comes to inflation, financing, and supply chain issues that are driving up the cost of doing business and making it difficult to recover and compete.
This is a massive undertaking and will only succeed if the provincial and federal governments join us as partners by providing the proper funding for infrastructure.
Funding for roads, more than $1.2 billion for transit, fire stations, community centres, parks, and so much more needed to service these new homes.
As well as expediting much-needed transit projects like all-day two-way GO Transit on the Milton Line, extending rapid bus transit along Dundas and Lakeshore Road, and the downtown Loop of the Hazel McCallion LRT, among others.
120,000 homes in 10 years is an ambitious target and one I think we can only meet as an independent Mississauga, a city that is “right-sized” to run efficiently and develop creative solutions to the unique challenges before us.
As a city in demand that is about to welcome hundreds of thousands of new residents, we need to do what we have always done in Mississauga – welcome them with open arms and build the houses they need in order to call our city home.
Recognizing these growing pressures, our business community continues to not only step up but show up for the people of Mississauga.
Through the Mayor’s Holiday Food Drive, we raised over $1.9 million dollars and nearly 650,000 pounds of food, a record high, and it’s thanks to the generosity of businesses like Nissan, BDO Canada, and PointClickCare, among so many others, that we were able to not only meet but exceed our goals.
MHI Aerospace raised an astounding $40,000 to support the soon-to-be-completed Malton Youth Hub, which will provide a safe space for at-risk youth to learn, play and thrive in Mississauga.
We saw Musket Transport, Cyclone and Polimex collect essential aid and supplies to send back to Ukraine while Roshel hired over 80 newcomers displaced by Russia’s invasion to build and ship armoured vehicles that are being used on the frontlines.
Work has already begun to get shovels in the ground to build Canada’s largest hospital thanks to the Orlando Corporation, the largest industrial real estate developers in our city…
Who donated $75 million dollars to Trillium Health Partners, which will help support two floors dedicated to mental health. Investments we know are so very much needed.
And, we are seeing the impact that social enterprises like Sitti Soaps and Cooks Who Feed are having both here at home and across with world, with taglines like “You Glow, they Grow” and “Aprons that Fight Hunger,” these Mississauga Made businesses have built their business on giving back.
These are only a few examples of the generosity we’ve seen from our city’s business community, who, despite their own challenges, continue to do extraordinary things for our city.
THE NEXT CHAPTER
I could talk about all the great things happening in our City for hours, but I won’t do that as we all have important places to be.
All that’s to say – we have a lot of important work ahead of us.
On the eve of our fiftieth anniversary, it’s Mississauga’s time to shine.
If this year was any indication of what we are capable of, it’s clear, we are ready to stand on our own two feet.
You have my word that Council and staff will continue to support our business community every step of the way as we work to drive Mississauga forward.
As we grow, we will be a city that embraces technology, adapts to change, runs lean and efficiently, and keeps sustainability front and centre of everything we do.
An independent city of the future that is a hub for jobs and talent.
A city where innovation isn’t just a buzzword. It’s happening right in front of your eyes.
A beacon of light and hope that is known in every corner of the world.
A city that not only welcomes newcomers with open arms but a city that values their expertise and positions them for success.
Mississauga – this is our city, this our future.
It’s time to show ‘em what we’ve got!