Capital Context: Enjoy a Prosperous Future
OTTAWA IS BUILT on unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe territory. The peoples of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation have lived on this territory for millennia. Their culture and presence have nurtured and continue to nurture this land. We honour the peoples and land of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation. We honour all First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and their valuable past and present contributions to this land.
The Ottawa Board of Trade is the voice of business and a key advocate for economic growth in the Nation’s Capital. Our mission is to create a thriving world class business community, one that drives community prosperity and cultivates an inclusive, sustainable city. To that end, we routinely bring together business and community leaders to align our vision, optimize our resources and ensure our collective work moves Ottawa to its full potential as the best capital city in the world.
On June 6, 2022, we partnered with the Ottawa Business Journal to present the 2022 City-Building Summit: Reimagine Ottawa. Over 200 leaders gathered at the historic Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park to engage in a community conversation about how to leverage our many strengths to build forward better. Local, regional and national experts contemplated the various ways that our vibrant city, a thriving cosmopolitan, an international community, has grown and adapted over the past several years. And how it must continue to innovate in the wake of the severe adversity faced over the past two years.
We are well positioned to do so. Ottawa is more than the capital of Canada, the seat of our federal government and home to 130 foreign embassies – it is Canada in One City. Rich in history, tradition and legacy, Ottawa also features leading edge businesses, including a thriving tourism industry that draws people from across Canada and around the world into our city.
We have top rate educational institutions – including the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Algonquin College, and La Cité. Our health and research facilities are second to none. This issue features the brilliant work and future of The Ottawa Hospital, The Royal, CHEO, and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
Several high impact projects are on the horizon, including a new addition to the Civic campus of The Ottawa Hospital, ongoing upgrades to Ottawa’s Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, and expansion of the light rail system. More are planned, including enhanced sporting and entertainment facilities in Lansdowne Park and new projects by the National Capital Commission.
Ottawa is a thriving global tech hub with decades of disruptive technology innovation, expertise, and capabilities. Anchored by more than 1,750 technology companies that employ more than 74,000 highly skilled people, Canada’s Capital boasts the highest concentration of tech talent per capita in North America. With the most educated workforce in all of Canada, our top tech talent spans many of the entrepreneurs, SMEs, and multinationals from every corner of our city. It also includes the next generation of innovators emerging from our post-secondary institutions. These innovators are leading the world in sectors such as software, life sciences, communications technology and 5G, aerospace, defence and security, smart mobility, and smart cities. And they are developing innovative technology solutions and applications for some of our greatest global opportunities and challenges, helping to create a cleaner, more connected and productive and equitable world.
The global pandemic has both accelerated existing trends and taught us new lessons about the future of work. The development of leading-edge technologies – some locally – has provided employees with flexible new options of working from home. Employers continue to explore return to office strategies that will support their employees’ well-being as well as build culture, innovation, and productivity.
Another key lesson strongly reinforced by the global health crisis was the need to view our local businesses and the community as full partners. Economic progress entails much more than just financial growth. People matter. Their culture and passion are equally important drivers of success. Our community’s economic well-being is intimately tied to the physical and mental health, and public safety of every employee, resident, and visitor.
Community and business leaders must continue working together to build a vibrant, sustainable future with long-term benefits. We are fortunate to live in a city where elected officials, business and community leaders are committed to such a high level of collaboration.
Local community and business leaders are skilled at proactively planning rather than merely reacting to events – skills that are required now more than ever to address serious challenges facing our cities across Canada, such as the need for affordable housing.
One particular advantage that we enjoy, as a mid-size city, albeit one of Canada’s largest cities, is the potential to be nimbler and more flexible in responding quickly to major new consumer and workplace trends.
The Best Ottawa Business Awards, including the 2021 winners featured in this issue, attest to the depth of strong leadership in Ottawa. The brilliant group who make the annual lists of Ottawa’s Forty Under 40 promise that local businesses will remain in capable hands well into the future.
Our city has many positives to offer contemporary leaders who are attracted to work-life harmony, including easy access to surrounding natural beauty, as outlined in the infographic on these pages. This adds to the high quality of living and enhances the desire of residents to build and enjoy a prosperous future for themselves and their families.
Sueling Ching is the president and chief executive officer of the Ottawa Board of Trade.