Allan O'Dette
November 22, 2017

It’s been six months since I had the honour of becoming Ontario's first Chief Investment Officer at the Ontario Investment Office (OIO). The OIO was established a year ago with a clear mandate to retain and expand business in Ontario, facilitate scale up and growth, and attract high value foreign direct investment.

There was a great deal of thought that went into its creation. It really started with a simple question: What is the difference between being good and being exceptional? I’m sure many would agree that personalized customer service is the way to go. We’ve always done a good job at marketing Ontario’s competitive business costs, innovation leadership, exceptional quality of life, global market access and tailored incentive programs. But this didn’t explain to a business owner or investor who to contact or how to navigate the business landscape. What seemed to be missing was the human dynamic – the fact that there are actual faces behind the exterior of government who are here to help. This helped define our mission and our structure as a whole.

We are developing a best-in-class concierge level organization that supports the needs of business owners and investors, providing tailored insights and business intelligence, building relationships across supply chains and helping to navigate across all levels of government. We’re aiming to change the narrative and help investors to think differently about Ontario, Canada; to understand what makes us stand out from other jurisdictions. Ontario is a vibrant hub of business-oriented, entrepreneurial-minded individuals that boasts an abundance of highly-educated and diverse talent, both homegrown and from away, who are driving transformational change and contributing significantly to Canada’s economic future.

The OIO team brings public and private experience acquired both locally and internationally, and an approach to business as unique and diverse as Ontario itself. And, our team is a true representation of Ontario’s ecosystem – talented, collaborative and innovative in every way possible.

On several occasions, I’ve seen what the OIO team is capable of, most recently with the bid for Amazon’s second North American headquarters. With the OIO facilitating efforts between the Canadian, Ontario and municipal governments, as well as regional and academic partners, the province’s collaborative ecosystem was fully activated. Our participation in the bidding process exemplified the values of the OIO – a bias for action, sense of urgency, and a problem-solving orientation.

With Business Concierge Services and the OIO’s mandate in mind, our goal is to deliver a customer-centric organization. We’re striving to become outstanding problem solvers who remove obstacles and enable businesses to operate efficiently in the province, and over time, increase the amount of foreign direct investment. Equally important to us is to build a world-class business retention and expansion program that caters to our homegrown and multinational businesses already established and operating in Ontario. Ultimately, our aspiration is to leave no room for doubt that Ontario is the best destination in the world to invest in.

With a number of projects in the pipeline, new FDI opportunities on our radar, and the OIO team in place, I feel we’re on the right course. I’m really excited about the coming months and confident that I'll be sharing great success stories in the near future. This is truly Ontario's time.

Continue to watch this space for more insights from the OIO team and myself.

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