At the opening of the Canadian Pavilion.

France, Belgium, Russia, the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Hong Kong are just a few of the countries in attendance at BIO International 2017 competing directly with Canada, Ontario and Mississauga to attract life sciences businesses. Each of these jurisdictions is doing its best to attract these companies to their country, which is why Canada has to do all we can to showcase our value proposition. The same is true of Mississauga.

Today I had the opportunity to attend the Biotech Canada breakfast meeting where we discussed Canada’s advocacy and attraction strategy here at BIO 2017. You can read more about the strategy, here: Our value proposition focuses on our talented workforce, along with our high quality of life, stable government, predictable regulations, as well as access to the entire North American market and through the Canadian-European Trade Agreement (CETA), the European market of over 500 million people.

Mississauga has a similar value proposition. Our residents consistently rate our quality of life among the highest in Canada; we’ve been named the safest city in Canada for 17 years; we have stable government and a low tax environment; and we work closely with our local business to help them succeed. Add to this our proximity to Toronto Pearson International Airport, our 7 400-series highways, our highly talented work force, our two post-secondary institutions (UTM and Sheridan College) and the country’s second largest life sciences cluster, featuring over 430 companies, and Mississauga becomes a very attractive destination to start or expand a life sciences business. Here is an overview of Mississauga’s life sciences cluster:

As you can see, our companies are varied and in many sectors of the industry. Through our newly launched 5 year life sciences strategy, we’re looking to grow this sector and continue to diversify our business compliment.

This background, combined with Mississauga’s consistent presence at BIO, were big factors in the great reception we received at the opening of the Canadian Pavilion. Mississauga received special recognition for our dedication to the life sciences sector and for being a leader helping Canada attract more business. We are well-known across the country and internationally. This recognition and stature did not happen by accident; rather it was part of a long-term, coordinated strategy to invest in the life sciences sector. This investment of time and effort has clearly paid off.

I was proud to join provincial ministers from PEI, Quebec, Ontario, and Alberta, as well as Mayors Jeffrey (Brampton) and Iveson (Edmonton) for the opening of the Canadian Pavilion.

Canada has the second largest delegation at BIO 2017 outside of the United States with over 800 delegates – businesses, academics, governments, and many more. Canada’s presence at this conference is without comparison, but directly beside the countries I named at the outset.

I had the opportunity to meet with many of Mississauga’s life sciences companies, including Novo Norodisk, Intrinsik, Therapure, and some new companies looking to make Mississauga their new home. I will do this again tomorrow. By attending this conference and meeting with our local companies, Mississauga sends a strong signal that we not only support them, but understand the industry and the challenges they face. This is important when these companies are making business decisions, especially in a globally competitive marketplace. Having confidence in the city in which they are located, as well as a strong working relationship and support from the Mayor and Council, and the Economic Development Office, is often critical to growth and expansion, as well as retention of many life sciences firms.

Along with opening the Canadian pavilion and meeting with companies, I also had the opportunity to join the CEO of Invest Ontario, Allan O’Dette, for a visit to the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation. They produce new therapies to target many cancers as well as regenerative medicines. It was an instructive tour and a glimpse into the future of new medicines for cancer and other rare diseases.

As mentioned in the report on Day 1 of the conference, many of Canada’s trade commissioners from around the world are here at BIO 2017. I took the opportunity to meet with our Japanese Trade Commissioner, Katsuko Kuroiwa about strengthening ties between Japan and Mississauga. As I’ve discussed many times, Mississauga is home to 99 Japanese companies. There are about 300 Japanese companies in all of Canada, and Mississauga is home to one-third of them. We are proud of our relationship with Japan and look to build upon it. Ms. Kuroiwa indicated that Japanese firms like Mississauga because of our stability, our predictable and healthy regulatory environment, and the safety and quality of life we offer. Furthermore, with the recent political changes in the United States, Canada is fast becoming an attractive destination to expand into North America.

I spoke at length with Ms. Kuroiwa about the opportunity to attract investment from Japanese life sciences companies.  You can read more about this meeting, here: It was reassuring to hear from Ms. Kuroiwa about the high regard Japanese businesses have for Mississauga and our reputation as a destination for business. Moreover, she went on to say that the City of Mississauga’s Economic Development Office Win the Human Race campaign is one of the most thorough and informative that she has seen. Today’s meeting was an opportunity to keep Mississauga top of mind with our Japanese Trade Commissioner and lay the ground work for a future investment mission to Japan.

Mayor Crombie, EDO staff, meet with Ms. Katsuko Kuroiwa, Life Sciences Trade Commissioner, with the Embassy of Canada in Japan.

Tomorrow we will host a meeting of over 35 CEOs and senior executives at many of Mississauga’s life sciences companies to discuss our life sciences strategy and hear their feedback on how as a City, Mississauga can do more to assist them. As well, we will be discussing industry trends and how we can adapt to meet changes in the industry.

After two days at BIO 2017, I am confident that Mississauga’s strategic direction with respect to life sciences is the right approach and will pay dividends in the long term.