Abu Dhabi, Tuesday January 31, 2017, Four Seasons Hotel, Abu Dhabi

On the occasion of the visit by the Honourable Deb Matthews, Deputy Permier of Ontario and Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, the Honourable Michael Chan, Minister of International Trade and Mayor Linda Jeffrey, Mayor of Brampton, Ontario, the Embassy of Canada with the Canadian Business Council (CBC) of Abu Dhabi organized a business luncheon at the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi.

More than fifty-five (55) guests attended the luncheon; the list included Canadian and UAE government officials, Canadian company executives, UAE company executives and women leaders who play an important role in supporting CBC’s mission. CBC Platinum Sponsors, and selected CBC Gold Sponsors, received invitations to attend this event.

H.E. Masud Husain, Ambassador of Canada to the UAE

His Excellency Masud Husain, Ambassador of Canada in the UAE welcomed the guests, emphasized the importance of the Ontario Ministry delegation visit to the UAE and how it fits in the Embassy’s mandate to encourage the rapprochement between the two countries and optimize trade opportunities. He then introduced H.E. Minister Chan who made a few remarks on how happy he was to visit the UAE and the warmth of its people. He also mentioned that the delegation is very keen to promote more investment by the UAE in the province of Ontario.

H.E then introduced the Honourable Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier of Ontario and Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development. She said: “It is a pleasure to be here in the company of so many influential business leaders to talk about a place I really love, Ontario”. She went on to define her and Minister’s Chan visit a trade mission to strengthen economic political and cultural ties between Ontario and the UAE. She described the UAE as “this super modern economy set in one of the most ancient corners of the world”. The development initiatives in this region have resulted in a 31% increase in trade from the previous year. Then, she spoke about Ontario and the reasons why it is an ideal place to invest: Toronto is Canada’s largest city and its economic engine. It has unparalleled access to the $20 trillion North American Free trade market. Moreover, the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) has given Ontario a tariff-free access to the $18 trillion European market.

Honourable Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier of Ontario and MInister of Advanced Education and Skills Development

Ontario is today the second largest Information and Communication Technology (ICT) hub in North America, being at the cutting edge of technology; for example, it produced GIS software, IMAX film technology and the Blackberry. In 2012, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the UAE Minister of Economy signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with MaRS to develop strategic partnerships in innovation. MaRS Discovery District in Toronto is one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs. Ontario boasts a talented workforce with 67% of its population having a postsecondary education. Seven of the ten largest companies in the world conduct R&D in Ontario (Apple, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Intel, Cisco). In the first half of 2016, Ontario had stronger GDP growth than Canada, US and almost all other G7 countries. Its many banks and financial institutions are solid and safe and did not falter during the 2008 recession. Deputy Premier Matthews concluded her speech by saying that, for all the reasons she mentioned, Ontario is an ideal place to start a new business or expand an existing one, OpenText being an example of a software company that started in Ontario and made it big with 8,000 employees worldwide. “There are so many opportunities for us to collaborate in key areas” she said.

From left to right: Mr. Jack Matar, Honourable Michael Chan, Honourable Deb Matthews and H.E. Masud Husain

The luncheon went on until 1:45 pm in the warm ambience of the upscale Four Seasons Hotel. H.E. Masud Husain thanked the Ontario Ministry, The Honourable Deb Matthews and the Honourable Michael Chan, Mayor Jeffrey, the CBC and the guests for attending the luncheon.