Move more civil service jobs out of Toronto – it worked in Peterborough – by Rosemary Ganley (Peterborough Examiner – August 31, 2017)

Coming back from a Northern Ontario Business conference one day in 1986, Premier David Peterson asked his fellow passengers, including me, in the government aircraft: “Is there anything tangible that we can do to help northern and other regional communities that are suffering economically?”

I was at the time deputy minister of Northern Development and Mines and I said, “We could help them by transferring a lot of government jobs out of Toronto, which is booming, and into places that need them.” This prompted a series of meetings with him and senior Queen’s Park staff, the result of which was a decision to proceed with a number of transfers, including my ministry (to Sudbury).

Two years later I had moved to the Ministry of Natural Resources. I was informed that the MNR head office was also to be transferred and we should decide quickly on our preferred destination. The following day, my executives and I selected Peterborough and our recommendation went to the Premier and cabinet.

The result of that decision and the flurry of activity that followed can be seen in the attractive Robinson Place at the corner of Water and Charlotte streets.

With the defeat of the Peterson government there were voices in the Legislature and elsewhere calling those initiatives into question. It is to the great credit of local politicians such as Sylvia Sutherland that they lobbied so effectively to keep the momentum going.

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