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Ontario lacking in export attitude, Ontario exports official says.

North Bay- Ontario's economy can be bolstered by exporters, but the reality is "Ontario does not have an export attitude." Companies are content to keep exports to the Great Lakes States and consequently this is "hurting our economy," says Andre Quenneville, manager of marketing and communications with Ontario Exports, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

"Ontario exporters have grown lazy living within a days drive to the single-largest market in the world," says Quenneville.

Approximately 93 per cent of Ontario's exports go to one customer - the U.S. And about 43 per cent of that total is in one sector - automotive.

"You see how precarious our economy has been," says Quenneville. "We know there are about 15,000 small- to medium-sized enterprises in Ontario that have the capacity to export, but only about 16 per cent of them actually do so. So there are a wealth of companies out there who either don't know how (to export) or don't feel the need to."

The 2001 Ontario Global Traders Awards for the Northern Region held its fourth annual event in North Bay on April 11, recognizing the economic contributions of exporters across the North.

Although Global Traders has experienced "steady growth" since its inaugural event in Sudbury in 1999, which garnered about 20 nominations, the number of nominations received for the 2001 event - about 40 - is not reflective of the number of companies actually exporting, says Quenneville. What the numbers do reflect are a greater need to raise awareness on the value of exporting beyond southern borders, he adds.

"We (hold the event) to use the inspirational stories of the successful exporters out there to spread the word and raise awareness, to let (companies) know there are opportunities in the world markets,"

In addition to the awards ceremony, sponsored by the Export Development Corp., the province also encourages exporting through other vehicles, such as virtual trade missions. This venue has proven to be "very successful and very popular," says Virtual trade missions are government sanctioned and provide opportunities for exporters to be matched with a buyer in another country at a minimal cost to the exporter.

The 2001 Global Traders Awards recipients include: John Baird, managing director of the Canadian Association of Mining Equipment and Services for Export, Regional Award in Leadership; Quality Hardwoods Ltd., Award of Merit in Leadership; Topex Inc., Honourable Mention in Leadership; Ebert Welding Ltd., Regional Award in Innovation; Ontrak Control Systems Inc., Award of Merit in Innovation; and WipWare Inc., Honourable Mention in Innovation.

Market Expansion Awards for product/service were presented to: Quality Hardwoods Ltd., Regional Award for product; Ebert Welding Ltd., Award of Merit for product; Norfab Building Components Ltd., Honourable Mention for product; R.L. Tomlinson Drafting and Blueprinting Inc., Regional Award for Service; McIntosh Engineering Ltd., Award of Merit for Service; and HLS HARD-LINE Solutions Inc. Honourable Mention for Service.

Filtrec North America and Main Filter Group received a Partnership Award in the Regional Award category, while Prestige Glass International Inc. received a Partnership Award Award of Merit.

Holly-anne Houle, a student in the tourism and travel program at Cambrian College, received the Student Achievement Award Award of Merit. Houle undertook a 12-week placement in Tamil Nadu, India where she explored the possibility of establishing a French-language learning centre. Her experience led to the creation of a unique French language link between Canada and India and a French-language centre was created in Tamil Nadu, which has created a market for Canadian businesses and educational institutions.
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Article Details
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Author:Huhtala, Sari
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:May 1, 2002
Words:584
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