The Council of the Great Lakes Region hosted its fourth Great Lakes Economic Forum in Montréal, Québec from May 03-05, 2018. The Council’s Great Lakes Economic Forum brings together hundreds of leading industry executives, senior government officials and policy experts, academics, and change agents from the nonprofit sector who have a stake in growing the economy of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Region, safely and sustainably, and improving the well-being of the Region’s citizens.
Wayne with Tracey Ramsey, Vice-Chair of the Canadian Parliamentary Standing Committee on Trade at the Great Lakes Economic Forum evening social event.
The fourth Great Lakes Economic Forum brought together leaders from all levels of government, business, academia and the nonprofit sector in the Great Lakes Region, for two and half days of though-provoking discussions and intimate networking with Regional leaders in order to find new ways of harnessing the Region’s economic strengths and assets, improving the well-being of the Region’s citizens, and protecting the environment for future generations.
The mandate of the Council of the Great Lakes Region is to collaborate with the many successful organizations already working in the region to highlight, enhance and support their projects. The Council also looks to inform state, provincial and federal decision makers in both countries about the region’s long-term economic, social, and environmental goals. Finally, the Council is also working to play a leadership role in connecting private, public, and not-for-profit actors across the region, cultivating a strong regional voice to promote shared interests and solutions to our common challenges.
IITIO Chair, Wayne Garnons-Williams, presented in two sessions during the conference. In the plenary session on Day One, Wayne was on a panel with legislative and Indigenous leaders from the region, including Member of Parliament Vance Badaway, Ohio State Representative Michael Sheehy, and John Dickert, President and CEO, Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.
On Day Two of the fourth Great Lakes Economic Forum, Wayne co-led a breakout session on the Great Lakes Indigenous economy with Nadir Andre, Partner at the Montreal office of Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG).
The Great Lakes region, spanning eight states and two provinces, is both an economic powerhouse and a globally significant bio-region and freshwater resource. As the region continues to grow and prosper, it is crucial that business, government, academia and the non-profit sector work jointly to understand and limit the impact of climate change in the Great Lakes, while seeking new ideas and technologies that will help accelerate our transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy.
Specifically the Great Lakes Region consists of Ontario and Quebec in Canada, and Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota in the United States of America. The Great Lakes region is the economic engine of North America, accounting for over 30 per cent of both economic and employment activity between the two countries. In fact, if the region were its own country, it would have the world’s third largest economy, behind the U.S. and China.