Greater Sudbury Development Corporation – Canadian Business Journal (April, 2011)

Canadian Business Journal

The Greater Sudbury region is an important part of Northern Ontario. This picturesque area is abundant in resources–and revenue. The Greater Sudbury Development Corporation is an organization in place to help those important local businesses grow and prosper, as well as attract, assist, and retain other potential investors. Sudbury is known as a mining town, and is tipped to benefit even further from the up-and-coming global mining boom. As the mining sector flourishes, Sudbury is steadily diversifying its economy and building on its previous success. This issue, The Canadian Business Journal explores the successful developments that have occurred over the last few years in this Northern Ontario paradise.

Greater Sudbury is the largest city in Northern Ontario, and the region is a hub for industry, commerce, health services, transportation, retail, government services and education. With a valuable market of about 450,000 people within a 250 kilometre radius, Greater Sudbury boasts the highest retail sales per capita of census metropolitan areas in Ontario. It is also the most culturally diverse city in Northern Ontario, with bilingualism sitting impressively around 40 per cent.

Mining: the backbone of Sudbury

Mining, of course, is the major industry in Sudbury and numerous major mining companies have successful sites in Sudbury and have been incremental in the economic growth of the city. There are 18,000 people employed by the companies involved in the sector, across many areas including mine development and operations, engineering, construction, manufacturing, and environmental rehabilitation. Mining is the backbone of Sudbury—creating an incredible $3.9 billion in revenue annually. Recently, mining has experienced further upswing in Greater Sudbury and there are many new endeavours planned.

A particularly exciting project of interest for 2011 is Cliff Resources proposed plan for a new smelter for McFauld’s Lake. “As one of the largest, most experienced integrated mining complexes in the world, Greater Sudbury possesses the required critical mass of knowledge, skills and expertise in the mining supply and services field essential to supporting the development, construction and operation of this flagship opportunity,” says Scott Lund, CEO and Chair of the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation.

Lund is a proud proponent of Sudbury as the ideal location choice for the Cliffs Resources development. The company is currently involved with its “base case” analysis of both the Black Thor Chromite mine site at McFauld’s Lake and a proposed Ferrochrome production facility north of Capreol in Greater Sudbury. “The promise of 500 additional jobs would be an excellent fit with our community,” says Lund. “We are also targeting major mining companies in key markets such as Mexico, Chile, Peru and China as potential sources of new business, partnerships and investment opportunities.”

Support and collaboration

The community of Sudbury has valuable organizations and programs in place to further support the growth and development of the mining sector. Marc Boudreau is Chair of the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA), an organization supporting the supply and service organization and the role this plays in the overall economic development of the Greater Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins, and Sault Ste. Marie. These secondary industries, as they are known, provide a major economic boost to the region—more than $5 billion in revenue last year. The supply and service industry also provides about 15,000 jobs to the community.

“Our plans are to leverage the collective power and that means that we need to learn to work together. We’re looking at developing a model where we can create clusters in an expedient manner,” says Boudreau. “This is one thing the City of Sudbury recognized. They have programs that are directly related to helping the city diversify. The SAMSSA is strong and it is important that we recognize that so we can have the right programs and have a stronger Northern Ontario. That is what it is all about.”

There are other initiatives in place to further support the development of Northern Ontario as a leading investment locale. The Northern Ontario Growth Plan was implemented in 2011 by the provincial government to better provide for this important region. “We extend our appreciation to the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry for its leadership in the co-ordination of this strategy,” says Boudreau, who attributes this plan as an important part of the overall collective power.

Sudbury Regional Hospital: vision of academia

Northern Ontario has definitely experienced an era of prosperity in recent years, and not only in mining. A major boost to economic development has been the Sudbury Regional Hospital, a major health care provider to more than 530,000 people across northeastern Ontario. This facility employs over 3,700 and offers a range of medical services to the community. It is also on its way to realizing its vision of a full academic health sciences centre, and is currently in collaboration with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and affiliated with Laurentian University in Sudbury, and Lakehead University of Thunder Bay.

President and CEO of the Sudbury Regional Hospital Dr. Denis-Richard Roy is convinced of the positive effects this will have on the health care system, arguing that the academic component of a health care facility gives patients access to the newest medicines and technological advancements. “The goal of the proposed 22,000 square foot medical learners’ space is to expand our research and teaching capabilities, which will enhance patient care and safety,” he says.

It also goes a long way when it comes to attracting and retaining health care professionals—something which can be a challenge for Northern Ontario. “Health care professionals want to go to a health sciences centre where there are lots of opportunities for research, teaching, and the ability to practice cutting-edge medicine,” Dr. Roy explains. “Academia is a state of mind, and we want to be a place where health care providers want to work, conduct research, teach, be taught and be encouraged to lead the way in delivering healthcare.”

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