Author: Trevor McPherson MBOT President and CEO
It was March 11, 2020, when Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stepped up to the microphone for the World Health Organization’s media briefing and declared that the COVID-19 outbreak that his team had been monitoring had reached the level at which it could be classified as a pandemic. At the time, there were more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4291 people had lost their lives to the virus. It truly seems like a lifetime ago. We are all aware of the significant impact that the virus has had on all of us. Most of us could not have anticipated that we would still be in the battle against this invisible foe some nineteen months later. For businesses across Mississauga, particularly small businesses and those in close contact industries, the impact has been devastating.
From the beginning of the crisis, the Mississauga Board of Trade (MBOT) has been focused on advocating for much-needed government supports, fair and evidence-based mitigation efforts, and on providing our members with timely information and resources to help them through. In short, we have been appropriately focused on the “here and now”. While these efforts will continue for MBOT, we must think about our economy and our community in the context of a post-pandemic world. Many have talked about the prospect of a “post-pandemic boom”. Those jurisdictions that are best prepared for new growth opportunities while building the resilience required to withstand future economic shocks will have the most to gain. We can’t be in the locker room while everyone else is on the field; The stakes are simply too high, and the competition will be fierce.
To be successful, we need to come together as “Team Mississauga” and build on the incredible assets we have in our city. Mississauga is home to globally competitive, knowledge-based industries from life sciences to advanced manufacturing, top-notch educational institutions, a highly educated and diverse talent pool, and a superior quality of life. Our potential is unlimited if we align our efforts. The pandemic itself has taught us what is possible when we come together for common purpose. Let’s not lose this valuable lesson, but rather let it inform our efforts moving forward. Together, we have a unique opportunity to strengthen our interconnectivity and shape a post-pandemic future that benefits everyone.
At MBOT, some of this work has already begun. For well over a year, MBOT has been convening leading employers through the Mississauga Economic Recovery Group (MERG) with a view to developing innovative solutions to address talent shortages and protect supply chains from disruption, to cite just a couple of examples. This coming December, MBOT’s Board of Directors will embark on a strategic planning process to inform our priorities for the next 3-5 years. There will be opportunities for our members and community stakeholders to be engaged.
As the new President and CEO of MBOT, I’m excited for the future of Mississauga. While COVID-19 is not yet in the rearview mirror, the time to chart our future path is now. It’s up to all of us.