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December 4, 2001
Council endorses plan to form Financial Services Alliance
City Council is teaming up with business leaders in a high-level alliance to
make Toronto's financial services sector more competitive.

Council today endorsed the terms of reference for a Financial Services Alliance
led by chief financial officers from financial services firms, affiliated
industries and academic institutions. The City's representatives will include
the mayor or his designate and the chair of the Economic Development and Parks

"The private and public sectors need to work together to help Toronto's
financial services sector hold its ground against rival cities and adjust to a
world-wide restructuring of financial services," said Deputy Mayor Case Ootes.

The alliance's mandate is the development of an action plan to advance common
goals and priorities for the long-term competitiveness of the sector. The
purpose of the strategy is to sustain the strength of one of Canada's and
Toronto's most important economic engines.

"The financial services sector employs 10 per cent of Toronto's work force,
generates 22 per cent of its gross domestic product, and is a major source of
business and jobs in such industries as information technology, new media,
accounting, and legal and consulting services," said Rick Egelton, Senior
Vice-President and Deputy Chief Economist for the Bank of Montreal.

Supporters of the initiative say that all Canadians have a stake in the success
of Toronto's financial services sector. Toronto competes on Canada's behalf
with other financial centres worldwide. Foreign competition threatens Canada's
capacity to finance the growth of its businesses and the economy.

"Giving up ground to foreign rivals would threaten the livelihoods of more than
half a million Canadians who work in financial services. Oil drillers in
Alberta and fishers in Newfoundland could lose access to financing, and crucial
national industries such as software development and e-commerce and would lose
a major source of business," said Deputy Mayor Ootes.

"A Financial Services Alliance is key to ensuring Toronto's position in the
face of world-wide trends. Seneca College is proud to be a supporting partner
in this important initiative," said Dr. Rick Miner, President of Seneca College.

An advisory committee is already up and running. Next steps involve
establishing a leaders forum. Working groups will develop specific action plans
to enhance the sector's competitiveness; to identify ways to develop the
sector's labour force; to recommend new government policies; and to increase
the public's knowledge of the sector's importance.

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