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Ontario and Illinois Forge New Economic Partnership to Boost Trade and Investment

TORONTO — In a significant move to bolster economic ties and rebuild Ontario’s economy, Premier Doug Ford and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a groundbreaking Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today. The agreement aims to enhance trade, attract investment, and foster collaboration across key sectors including automotive, agriculture, energy, and advanced manufacturing.

The MOU, finalized during a high-profile meeting in Toronto, underscores the commitment of both regions to deepen their economic partnership. With total trade between Ontario and Illinois valued at over $29 billion CAD in 2023, this agreement marks a new chapter in a longstanding relationship.

Strategic Economic Collaboration

Premier Ford emphasized the importance of strengthening ties with key trading partners like Illinois as part of Ontario’s broader economic strategy. “As we attract game-changing investments in our economy, it has never been more important for us to develop and deepen our relationships with other like-minded jurisdictions. This agreement, along with the others we’ve signed with U.S. states, is going to help boost trade, attract investments and create better jobs with bigger paycheques on both sides of the border,” said Ford.

Governor Pritzker echoed these sentiments, highlighting the shared values and economic goals of both regions. “Building on our firm trade relationship and shared value set, this Memorandum of Understanding is an opportunity to further solidify the economic and cultural bond between Illinois and Ontario. Deepening those ties will help each of our respective governments create jobs and opportunity for our people, drive long-term growth, and meet the challenges of the coming years.”

Key Initiatives and Areas of Focus

The new MOU sets out a roadmap for economic cooperation through several strategic initiatives:

  • Business Missions and Market Information: Regular business missions and market information sharing to facilitate trade and investment.
  • Investment Promotion: Targeted efforts to attract investments in automotive technologies, agriculture, advanced manufacturing, life sciences, energy, and information and communications technology (ICT).
  • Emerging Technologies: Collaboration on emerging technologies that are transforming industries.
  • Skills Training: Sharing best practices in skills training to prepare workers for in-demand and technology-intensive jobs.
  • Procurement Cooperation Council: Establishment of a council to share procurement policies and create opportunities for suppliers in both jurisdictions.

Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade, stressed the importance of these initiatives. “With supply chains inter-linked across North America, it’s more important than ever for Ontario and Illinois to partner on our shared economic goals to remain globally competitive. The MOU identifies tangible areas where we can work together to our mutual advantage.”

Economic Impact and Future Prospects

Ontario and Illinois already enjoy a robust economic relationship, with Ontario being Illinois’ second-largest export market and Illinois ranking as Ontario’s fourth-largest export market in the U.S. In 2023, Illinois was also the fifth-largest source of foreign direct investment into Ontario, with investments valued at $155 million CAD.

Ontario’s broader U.S. trade strategy has already seen similar agreements with Michigan, Nevada, and Indiana, reflecting a comprehensive approach to enhancing cross-border economic activity. Ontario’s total trade with the U.S. reached around $500 billion CAD in 2023, underscoring the province’s critical role in North American trade.

Earl Provost, Ontario’s Agent-General in Chicago, highlighted the historical ties between Illinois and Ontario. “Illinois and Ontario have a deep economic and political history. This MOU is a reflection of those strong ties.”

As Ontario and Illinois embark on this renewed partnership, the focus will be on leveraging shared strengths and creating opportunities that drive economic growth and job creation on both sides of the border. This MOU represents a significant step forward in Ontario’s efforts to rebuild its economy through strategic international partnerships.

For more updates and details on the Ontario-Illinois MOU, stay tuned to GTA Today.

Samantha Deschamps

Samantha Deschamps serves as the Queens Park Reporter, offering insightful coverage of provincial politics with depth and accuracy. With a keen understanding of legislative intricacies, Deschamps provides invaluable perspectives on matters affecting Ontario. For inquiries or feedback, contact Samantha at

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