Remarks by Mark Lievonen, President – Aventis Pasteur at the Toronto Industry Network Council Lunch
Thursday, October 28, 2004.

Thank you very much Mike, for your kind introduction.

Mayor, members of council, ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to welcome you to the Toronto industry network lunch and I should say at the outset that the network is delighted to be able to host this function in the very heart of our city’s government. The purpose of this get together is to forge closer links between the industrial manufacturers and decision-makers of this city. You may have already met some of the many senior executives, workers and association representatives who are putting a face to industry in Toronto.

While you are here, please take a look at the wide group of products made in Toronto on the display table. It is quite amazing to consider the huge range of goods made by this city’s industrial sector.

On behalf of all of us at TIN, I would like to acknowledge all the help provided by heather McCallum of the protocol office in making this event possible. Further, I want to say we have appreciated the opportunity to interact with various city departments, particularly with the staff at economic development and finance.

As you know, Aventis Pasteur and its predecessor, Connaught Laboratories, have been part of this city’s fabric for more than 80 years. Ours is a multinational company developing and producing vaccines here in Toronto for the world. We have more than 1,000 highly skilled and trained employees at our north york facility which is in councillor Mike Feldman’s ward.

Aventis Pasteur is in a very competitive, highly regulated business. Our company in Toronto faces major competition daily. Part of our continued success is the environment and synergies our city provides. The fact that we are able to partner with the University of Toronto and York University in researching and developing new products is of critical importance. Further, our employees appreciate a rich urban environment that welcomes and nurtures.

I have mentioned this word “competitiveness”. I think it is a word that applies to all of us here today. The Toronto industry network has just released a paper on the competitiveness of the city of Toronto and its impact on investment decisions faced by many companies resident in Toronto or looking to locate here. We define industry to include not only manufacturing products but also head offices and warehousing/distribution facilities.

According to city data, Toronto employs some 1.25-million persons of which industrial manufacturing accounts for about 170,600 jobs. Since 2000, the city has lost 38,110 jobs, 20,500 of which were in manufacturing, while our population continues to grow. Where are the new people finding work?

Although Toronto offers a critical mass of location, a good work force and an infrastructure that, for the most part, functions reasonably well, so do other jurisdictions starting with York Region across the street from Aventis. How competitive is Toronto with other jurisdictions?

Let’s take a look at several key factors that affect Toronto's ability to compete.

Firstly, employment is very important. As mentioned previously, the city has lost a significant number of industrial manufacturing jobs to the 905s and elsewhere. This impacts our quality of life as people, living in Toronto, have to travel greater distances to work. The network believes strongly that this trend must be reversed so that more people can work and live in our great city.

Secondly, the taxes industry pays in this city are not in line with taxes levied in many other jurisdictions starting with the Toronto region. One can claim all sorts of reasons for this but the real issue is one of value. Is the industrial sector getting value for taxes paid? for example, most industrial companies in Toronto use relatively few municipal services, most of which are paid for directly. We believe that lower industrial taxes will help retain existing companies and proved a critical tool to attract new ones. However unpopular it may seem, it is important to balance the property tax classes sooner rather than later.

Thirdly, transportation is a vital component in making Toronto more competitive. For example, one of our members reports that a truck delivering to customers in the west end from his east Scarborough plant could make three deliveries in one day 20 years ago. Now it can only manage one delivery on our congested roads. We believe the city’s transportation plans should encourage more rail transport and increased industrial use of the port lands since both rail and water are efficient and environmentally friendly transportation modes. Further, it is very important that people working in our facilities have public transit as a viable and attractive option for getting to and from work.

And lastly, I cannot impress upon you how important it is to have stability and predictability in the policy and regulatory environments of our governments. Dramatic changes in policy without consultation cause uncertainty and mistrust. This really impacts on critical decisions we have to make concerning re-investment or initial investment in Toronto. The stability of our industrial neighbourhoods, that have been under attack for some time now, is essential for manufacturing in Toronto.

You should know that we were very pleased with council’s decision earlier this year not to levy development charges on new industrial construction. This certainly helps us and is an important tool in attracting new industry. We were part of the consultative process and we were glad to have the opportunity to make our views known.

It is important that the city consults with its stakeholders in a meaningful and productive fashion as it shapes its future through policy development. In your deliberations, we encourage you to ask the simple questions, “What will be the effect on industry? Has industry been consulted?” We have a great deal of expertise and experience that we are happy to share. We want to work with you to make Toronto a better place.

Thank you.