Sunday, June 23, 2024

Economic recovery: France wants to reconnect with Ontario

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Alan Binder
Alan Binder
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His two-day visit began on Monday with a meeting with Prime Minister Doug Ford and a few members of his cabinet, including Attorney General Doug Downey, Minister of Tourism and Cultural Industries Lisa MacLeod, and Parliamentary Assistant for Francophone Affairs Natalia Kosendova.

Ms Rispal noted that nearly 270 French companies have been established in Ontario, contributing thousands of well-paid jobs to the province’s economic fabric. The diplomat added that many companies have moved their headquarters from Montreal to Toronto in recent years.

I suggested to Mr. Ford that the French and Ontario business community meet, for example, once a year. He seemed to be fond of the idea.

Quote from:Karen Rispal, Ambassador of France to Canada

Ambassador Karen Rispal, accompanied by Consul General Theodore Alexis, met Prime Minister Doug Ford for the first time. Also present at the meeting were Doug Downey (left), Lisa McLeod and Natalia Kosendova (right) of the company.

Photo: Prime Minister Doug Ford’s office

They also discussed French investments in Ontario, such as building a flu vaccine factory near Toronto, and recognition of a French diploma by the province, which will help alleviate fluid shortages. French-speaking teachers in Ontario schools.

We also spoke with Mr. Ford about the student exchange. French students are the third group of students coming to Ontario, says the ambassador, who wants to attract more Canadian students to France.

green recovery

As part of her visit, the Ambassador awarded the Palm Academic Medal to two professors and a veteran. She also spoke with students from Lycée français de Toronto about environmental issues, such as COP26.

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I don’t think we’re doing enough, says Karen Rispal. We have all adopted legislation on plastics, the circular economy and how materials are recycled, but I think more needs to be done and we must particularly fund this transition.

While the Ford government invests heavily in public transportation, the ambassador believes that key French players can help the province power its grid and facilitate this environmental transformation, Areas of expertise that will continue to grow, from her point of view.

Karen Rispal, Ambassador of France to Canada.

Karen Rispal, France’s ambassador to Canada, has returned to Toronto for the first time since the start of the pandemic on an economic mission.

Photo: Radio Canada/Keith Burgess

On the trade front, Ontario and France exchanged more than $3.2 billion in goods and services last year. This number will continue to grow as our regions identify new partnerships and build upon our shared history and culture.The Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

During this first meeting with the French ambassador, Doug Ford also reiterated the province’s commitment to welcoming new arrivals and minimizing risks so that these qualified immigrants can find work in their field of training.

France is also Canada’s 12th foreign investor, with direct investment jumping to $17.7 billion at the end of 2020.

Labor shortage, a major issue

A shortage of workers, all sectors combined, will be the biggest pitfall in a business recovery, particularly in the tourism and restaurant industries, which have been hit hard by the pandemic, according to Ms Rispal.

I think a lot of people have thought about their career plans and the lifestyle they wanted to follow. Many people now prefer to work from homeas you say.

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On Tuesday evening, the diplomat spoke with several heads of French companies founded in Ontario – including pharmaceutical company Sanofi, cement company Lafarge and banking groups Société Générale and BNP Paribas – as part of a celebratory evening at the prestigious Royal York Hotel.

Many assert that the health crisis is complicating the retention of their employees.

Our main goal at the moment is to retain our employees as much as possible, to make sure they are happy at work.

Quote from:Fabian Marino, Vice President of Industrial Affairs, Sanofi Canada

We must continue to develop this contract of trust with our employees and provide them not only with a short-term future but also stimulating long-term prospects., confirms Nicola Krantz, CEO of Corby Spirit and Wine, a subsidiary of Pernod Ricard, which specializes in the production and distribution of wines and spirits.

Thales, a French electronics group specializing in aerospace, defense and ground transportation, has about 2,000 employees in Ontario. Its spokeswoman, Kara Salsi, says the company’s Canadian subsidiary has a record number of job openings.

The labor shortage across all of our activities in Canada is a real challenge for Thales, as well as other companies in the engineering, high-tech and artificial intelligence you say.

We are redoubling our efforts to recruit at all levels.

Quote from:Kara Salsi, Vice President, Strategy and Government Relations, Thales Canada
Kara Salsi, Vice President, Strategy and Government Relations, Thales Canada.

Kara Salsi, vice president at Thales Canada, says the labor shortage is weighing on the company’s operations.

Photo: Radio Canada/Spencer Gallishan Lowe

The French-Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Ontario says it is supporting its members, while maintaining close contact with the Ontario government, to identify solutions to the labor shortage.

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Founding director Riva Walia believes the pandemic has allowed Ontario to attract more investors and companies, who have been seeking to bypass immigration restrictions imposed in the United States.

She said, “We often talk about Ontario as the gateway to the Americas. Many French companies choose to set up their headquarters here. Our business community continues to grow.

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