COVID-19 presents enormous challenges to all aspects of life, including our businesses.

Before the onset of COVID-19, Ontario’s exports were growing consistently, but since then, many of our industries have been hit hard. In response, Ontario is promoting local businesses, and working hard on becoming self-reliant as a province.

Despite these challenges, the COVID-19-induced slowdown is perhaps an opportunity to realign exports to engineering goods and Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-enabled services. Canadian businesses are equipped to scale up quickly to become the most viable new source for engineering goods. Ontario, with its leadership in automobile components and engineering goods, could lead this revolution. Additionally, several manufacturers have been able to pivot to producing personal protective equipment (PPE). In fact, Ontario and the federal government just announced a joint investment of $23.3 million each to expand manufacturing capacity of medical-grade N95 masks in Brockville.

With around 200 languages spoken by its residents, Ontario is a great place to do business and a terrific business partner. The total employment in Ontario rose 5.9 per cent in June, after three months of decline, reflecting early signs of stabilization and recovery.

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan helps Canadian businesses by incentivizing trade and providing access to emergency capital. Ontario has budgeted $3.7 billion to support people and jobs, and another $10 billion in support through tax and other deferrals. The provincial government launched the $50 million Ontario Together Fund to support the development of proposals submitted by businesses and individuals through the Ontario Together web portal and help businesses retool their operations to produce PPE and develop technology-driven solutions and services for businesses to reopen safely and confidently. These all steps are preparedness not only for today but also for any future disruptions.

In this new normal, every facet of our life has changed — from how we live and work to how we shop and interact with our community. Working together and lateral thinking can help us be more resilient. In these trying times, let’s reinvent our strength and convert this adversity into an opportunity by doing what it takes to be nimble. Together, we are stronger!