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Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management · Michael Rychlewski

Minister Victor Fedeli on EVs, entrepreneurship and development

Apr 20, 2023

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Hon. Victor Fedeli, Ontario's Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade, addresses MBA students at Ivey Business School

Ivey Communications

Over the past 5 years, Ontario has attracted more than $17 billion in automotive investments, including the Volkswagen gigafactory scheduled to be constructed in St. Thomas. This success story was proudly highlighted by the Hon. Victor Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade, to Ivey’s newest cohort of MBA students this week.

Speaking to Professor Romel Mostafa’s Macroeconomics for Business Decisions class, Minister Fedeli addressed the historical challenges Ontario has faced when attracting businesses and investments to Canada’s largest province, and how his government sought to confront these difficulties head on. His remarks covered Ontario’s plans to create a competitive business environment by cutting red tape and attract new investments to the province. He specifically touted the auto sector as an area for growth, citing the recent increase in electric vehicle demand as a prime opportunity for the Ontario government. The province is also home to the ‘Ring of Fire,’ a region in northern Ontario rich in critical minerals that are required for EV battery production. The recent Volkswagen announcement will be the auto group’s first ever overseas battery plant, a trend the Minister hopes to continue as more automakers are looking to Ontario for production opportunities.

Along with EV’s, Minister Fedeli spoke about how Government of Ontario initiatives such as the Ontario Made Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit announced in the 2023 Budget, and working to reduce the cost of doing business, may provide improved conditions for businesses to grow and succeed. Last year, Ontario saw 85,000 new businesses open and just last month, Ontario created 21,400 jobs – evidence of a red-hot labour market.

The Minister addressed MBA students while they were learning more about fiscal policy within the macroeconomic environment, providing an opportunity to connect classroom lessons to real-world examples. MBA ’24 student Deepti Sharma reflected on the Minister’s remarks, noting “it was great listening to Minister Fedeli speak about the Ontario government’s efforts in attracting new businesses and creating jobs in the province. We discussed the recently announced electric vehicle manufacturing plants in Ontario and how that will position Ontario in the EV manufacturing industry.” Deepti, who moved to London from India, previously worked in the financial services industry. Her motivation to enroll in Ivey’s MBA program was to learn more about business using practical, real-world scenarios. Ivey’s ‘Case Method’ and guest visits, like Minister Fedeli’s, allow for both theoretical and applied learning to collide.

Jonathan Soriano, MBA’24, thought Minister Fedeli’s comments to his class provided an insightful experience for students to witness elected officials take macroeconomic principles and apply them to government decision making. “The Minister highlighted key initiatives his government has implemented to make Ontario an economically attractive investment location. It was fascinating to hear about practical experiences that underscored the importance of understanding how to develop industry specific policy and its implications on the regional economy.” Hailing from Vaughan, Ontario, Jonathan completed both his undergraduate and master’s degrees in economics at Western University before returning home to join his family-owned automotive dealerships. He is pursuing his MBA at Ivey to develop more skills to eventually grow the family business from two dealerships into a prominent dealer group.

Professor Mostafa, who also serves as Director of Ivey’s Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management, previously hosted Minister Fedeli for a Q&A session following the 2019 Ontario Budget. Topics ranged from education, student loans, childcare, infrastructure, and immigration. This year’s discussion aligned well with the Lawrence National Centre’s own research initiatives exploring Canada’s competitive advantage in key sectors, including the EV space. 

The Minister’s visit to London included a tour of Ivey, a meet-and-greet with Western University entrepreneurs from the campus accelerator, and a keynote address at the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) Annual Conference.