Québec and Ontario Working Together to Fuel Innovation and Growth

QUÉBEC, Sept. 22, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - Québec and Ontario held their seventh joint meeting of cabinet ministers in Québec City today, building on a long history of productive partnership between them. The meeting was an opportunity to continue the governments' progress in the areas of innovation, economic growth and climate change.

A new step in accelerating the growth of information and communications technology was taken today as Premier Philippe Couillard and Premier Kathleen Wynne announced a new Memorandum of Understanding that will see Québec and Ontario strengthen their cooperation in the development of Artificial Intelligence. Building on existing investments, the agreement will boost the provinces' competitive advantage in the field of AI by expanding opportunities for collaboration in research, talent attraction, skills development and business growth.

Together, Ontario and Québec will support advancements in the design and commercialization of innovative technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, speech recognition, fraud detection, and medical imaging and diagnosis. Increasing support for the provinces' already leading-edge advanced technology sector will further attract investments and talent from around the globe while creating highly skilled jobs across Québec and Ontario. The two cabinets discussed the need to deepen understanding of potential social and other impacts of artificial intelligence. Today's announcement also brings a new dimension to the provinces' ongoing high-tech collaboration, particularly in the field of digital communication - 5G networks. 

Earlier in the day, the Premiers signed an agreement on climate change with Governor of California Jerry Brown, which reflected the importance of working with U.S. partners. Cabinet ministers also discussed how to sustain and improve relationships with Canada's most important trading partner, building on efforts by Québec and Ontario throughout this year. Special focus was put on NAFTA and Softwood lumber, as negotiators for Québec and Ontario were in attendance to brief both cabinets on the latest developments and next steps in negotiations.

Previous joint meetings between Ontario and Québec have led to advances on common goals of growing the economy, attracting businesses and investments, and protecting our shared environment.

Through their joint meetings of cabinet members and work year-round, Québec and Ontario have strengthened their long-standing relationship, creating opportunities and greater prosperity within the provinces — and across Canada.


"The 21st century is bringing a wave of change around the world that we are just beginning to appreciate. In this context, we have begun a profound transformation in Quebec, which is based on the innovation, creativity and know-how of Quebeckers. In Montreal, the artificial intelligence sector is growing and partnerships such as the one announced today allow us to better share knowledge and strengthen our leadership role." 

Philippe Couillard, Québec Premier

"Every time the governments of Ontario and Québec meet, we make real progress on the things that matter most to people and businesses across our provinces. I am so pleased to continue our long tradition of working together, sharing resources and ideas on common opportunities and challenges, such as innovation, climate change and economic growth. Our relationship is strong and, in turn, our commitment to cooperation strengthens Canada as a whole."

Kathleen Wynne, Ontario Premier


  • The Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms and Ontario's Vector Institute are key players in the emerging field of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
  • The Québec government will dedicate $100 million over the next five years to create a cluster in artificial intelligence. Ontario is investing $50 million in artificial intelligence through the Vector Institute, which in turn helped Vector attract over $85 million in private sponsorship.
  • Trade in goods and services between Québec and Ontario has grown by nearly 11 per cent over the past ten years, from $75.8 billion to $84 billion.
  • Ontario and Québec form Canada's largest economic region and are responsible for more than half of Canada's total GDP and interprovincial trade.



Accomplishments of Ontario-Québec Joint Meetings of Cabinet Ministers

Québec and Ontario held their seventh joint meeting of cabinet ministers today in Québec City.

Sharing much more than just a border, Québec and Ontario have sustained a partnership older than even the federation itself. Since 2008, the provinces have enhanced that ongoing partnership, using these joint meetings of cabinet ministers to advance their shared priorities of growing the economy, creating jobs, attracting business and investments, fighting climate change, and making sure the people of Ontario and Québec have every opportunity to get ahead.

Together, Québec and Ontario are influencing the policy agenda for the country, building business, research, and cultural connections, and preparing for the economy of the future.

The partnership between Ontario and Québec is grounded both in a rich history and in the provinces' shared vision of a fairer, better future.  Modern, prosperous, successful societies are inclusive and seek each other out. Ontario and Québec look forward to continuing to grow together, as governments and as communities.

Key outcomes of Ontario and Québec's joint meetings to date include:

Climate Change

For nearly a decade, Ontario and Québec have worked together to advance the global fight against climate change across Canada. Beginning with the Provincial-Territorial Cap and Trade Initiative in 2008, they played a major part in bringing provinces and territories to commit  to foster a transition to a lower-carbon economy, including through Ontario's announcement of its plan to introduce an emissions cap program  and its interest in linking it with Québec's. Through their actions and leadership, including during the Québec City Summit on Climate Change  and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, both partners inspired Canada's position in the December 2015 Paris Agreement negotiations.


Together, Ontario and Québec form Canada's largest economic region and are responsible for more than half of Canada's total GDP and approximately half of all interprovincial trade. Ontario and Québec have worked closely together to encourage economic growth, setting an example Canada-wide. In 2009, the provinces signed the Ontario-Québec Trade and Cooperation Agreement, to expand Ontario-Québec trade, remove red tape, improve labour mobility, and support a sustainable, thriving business climate in both provinces. The Agreement introduced a new collaborative approach focused on transparency and partnership. The provinces continued to build upon this strong foundation, introducing significant enhancements in 2015 and 2016 to further increase access to public procurement.

International Trade

Ontario and Québec are strongly aligned in their support for free trade and open procurement. Premier Wynne and Premier Couillard have both actively engaged with business and political leaders across the U.S. to advocate for the trade and business partnerships that support growth and opportunities across North America. This spring, Ontario and Québec worked together to successfully neutralize New York State's proposed "Buy America" legislation that would have threatened jobs and businesses in both provinces.

At today's joint meeting, Ontario and Québec are continuing their work together to strengthen trading relationships across Canada and the U.S.  Raymond Bachand, John Gero, Raymond Chretien and Jim Peterson — Québec's and Ontario's special advisors on NAFTA and softwood lumber — led a discussion on the current state of Canada-US relations, which provided an additional opportunity for strategic alignment between the provinces heading into the third round of NAFTA renegotiations on September 23.


Through improvements to the capacity of the electricity transportation infrastructure and enhanced access to clean and renewable electricity, Ontario and Québec have taken great strides independently and together to modernize electricity systems in both provinces.

Ontario and Québec have worked closely to help make electricity more affordable and reliable , while continuing to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by leveraging Québec's clean hydro power. Starting with the 2014 agreement to share provincial energy surpluses, in 2016 the provinces reached a historic electricity trade agreement that will reduce electricity system costs for Ontario consumers by about $70 million over the course of the agreement and reduce electricity sector GHG emissions by approximately 1 million tonnes per year.

Building on this agreement, Hydro-Quebec and Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator are continuing discussions on future opportunities for collaboration that would benefit people in both provinces.


The methods by which goods and services are designed and produced are continually evolving. Rapidly detecting new trends and understanding the evolution of markets is essential to stay  competitive and to be able to assist our businesses, our workers and our citizens in adapting rapidly to new technologies.

Ontario and Québec are leaders in the advanced technology sector, grounded in a joint commitment to workforce readiness and partnership in the public, private and academic sectors. In 2016, Ontario and Québec signed an agreement supporting the development of digital testbed infrastructure for the 5G network, which will help businesses stay at the cutting edge of technology. Significant progress has been made over the last year to advance the 5G project. Québec and Ontario are working together with the federal government on an operating level Memorandum of Understanding to establish a common reporting framework and ensure economic benefits are equally distributed between the provinces.

Announced today, the provinces are also now intensifying collaboration in the field of artificial intelligence to advance research, attract international top talent and global investment, create good jobs and accelerate Canada's standing as a world-class technology centre.

Sustainable Development

Québec and Ontario are strong partners when it comes to protecting their shared environment and advocating for sustainable development. Connected by the St. Lawrence River Basin and the Great Lakes, the provinces have undertaken a number of initiatives to protect our shared waterways and aquatic ecosystems. Recognizing the value in maintaining sustainable development in other sectors, particularly transportation, energy and forestry, collaborative efforts have resulted in joint processes/agreements to address pipeline project proposals through the region, promote sustainable forestry management practices and enviro-friendly alternatives through the creation of an electric vehicle charging corridor between the two provinces.

Furthermore, the signing of the Ontario-Québec Environmental Cooperation Agreement at last year's joint meeting highlights the close cooperation between the two provinces. This agreement brought all previous agreements and areas of cooperation under one umbrella, enabling a more coordinated approach to the protection of our shared environment. Ontario and Québec have been in close collaboration since the agreement was signed, expanding our cooperation on climate change, water management and air quality management. In particular, a spills notification process has been approved that helps coordinate efforts on emergency response to spills as well as prevention and management efforts.

Collaboration and the sharing and exchange of information in other areas including environmental laboratory cooperation; contaminated soil management; environmental compliance and enforcement; and pesticides management is also occurring regularly.  

The Francophonie

Ontario is home to the largest number of Francophones living outside Québec. With the 2014 Declaration on the Canadian Francophonie, the provinces agreed to work together to preserve the vitality of Francophone communities and foster connections across the country. This includes supporting cultural representation and maintaining quality services for Francophones, such as Radio-Canada. Québec played an active part in the 2015 celebrations marking 400 years of the French presence in Ontario, including Premier Couillard's address to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on May 11, 2015. Québec also supported Ontario's successful bid for observer status with the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF). Last Fall, Ontario and Québec signed a new cooperation agreement on Canadian Francophonie.

By 2020, Ontario will open the first Franco-Ontarian University, with governance "by and for" the French-speaking community, to meet the growing need for French-language postsecondary education programs — particularly in central and southwestern Ontario.

Today, Premiers Wynne and Couillard reaffirmed the importance they attached to increasing Francophone immigration by mandating their responsible ministers to pursue actions at the federal-provincial-territorial level, including a new symposium between governments and francophone communities, and a new joint meeting of immigration ministers and those responsible for La Francophonie.


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