Municipal Monitor Q1 2017 | Page 26

A Case Study of Markham and Brampton

BENEFITS OF Diversity :

A Tale of Two Cities

A Case Study of Markham and Brampton

By Sarah B . Hood

Diversity can be a strength — and the Ontario municipalities of Markham and Brampton are proving the truth of this idea . So what are they doing right ?

Markham “ Markham thrives because we are an immigration receptor ,” says Stephen Chait , Markham ’ s director of culture and economic development . “ We ’ re very fortunate that we ’ re able to accommodate ambitious people who come from overseas and choose to live in Markham . They bring with them an extraordinary amount of talent .”
Recent census figures ( 2011 ) give Markham ’ s population as 301,709 . More than half its residents ( 171,875 ) report a mother tongue other than English or French . Chinese languages make up three of the four top reported mother tongues . According to Statistics Canada ’ s 2013 National Household Survey , Markham is Canada ’ s most diverse community , with more than 70 per cent of its residents being members of visible minorities .
As a high-tech industry node , Markham and its businesses are competing with the world for top employees . “ A city with a global perspective inspires innovation from diverse communities and enables investment and entrepreneurship ,” says Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti .
That perspective was reflected in Markham ’ s Economic Competitiveness Strategy ( Markham 2020 ), launched in 2008 as a blueprint to shape Markham as a leading community in the knowledge-based economy . Richard Florida , one of North America ’ s foremost urban experts , hailed the document , saying , “ I see economic strategies all over the world . This is certainly the tightest , the smartest and the best one I ’ ve ever seen .”
The global approach has paid off handsomely . Known as Canada ’ s hightech capital , Markham has grown to be the proud home of 1,000 information technology and communications companies that generate 37,000 jobs , as well as more than 400 Canadian head offices .
Ensuring a prosperous future means creating a place that ’ s attractive to the international talent pool . “ Our employers seek the support of the
24 Q1 2017 www . amcto . com