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Supporting Ontario's Innovative Companies

In October 2003, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, in partnership with a number of prominent Ontario transportation companies, attended the 22nd annual PIARC (Permanent International Association of Road Congresses) World Road Congress held in Durban, South Africa. As a leading jurisdiction in road safety and innovation, this was an excellent opportunity for both the MTO and Ontario transportation companies to showcase their knowledge and expertise.

With over 3000 attendees from over 120 countries, the conference assembled the world's leading transportation experts from industry and government. The Congress provided direct access to decision-makers from around the world, professionals looking for "ready-made" transportation solutions. During the week, companies were provided numerous opportunities to not only showcase expertise and products, but also to connect with potential customers from around the world. In a recent follow-up meeting with the Ministry of Transportation, Ontario companies discussed the many contacts they made, and the potential new markets that are now open to exploration. Six Ontario transportation companies are now pursuing worldwide contacts in many fields, including engineering, pavement management and the high tech design and manufacturing of automotive and industrial equipment. One company summarized the experience: "The cost of participating in PIARC was less than the cost of advertising in trade magazines, and gave much broader exposure."

Team Ontario was led by MTO's Carl Hennum, Assistant Deputy Minister of Operations, and Ministry of Economic Development and Trade's Bill Saunderson from Ontario Exports Inc. Six transportation companies from throughout the province joined the trade mission: Applanix, Cansult, Heat Design Equipment, John Emery Geotechnical Engineering, Matco Industries and Road ware. These companies brought expertise from various fields, including surveying, specialized products such as infrared asphalt heating equipment, the design of electronic modules and deep experience in transportation infrastructure. Over 2000 pieces of promotional material were handed out to attendees by Team Ontario.

As part of its mandate, the MTO Policy Coordination Office provides assistance to Ontario companies in their pursuit of international projects. This assistance includes leading teams to international conferences, such as the PIARC World Road Congress, meeting with delegations from around the world, including Asia and Europe, and providing letters of support when Ontario companies bid for contracts on international projects.