Ottawa 2.0 – The Flint Michigan of Canada’s High Tech World?
The Citizen published an article on the key role Nortel has had on the Ottawa high tech market, noting that there are no replacements for Nortel waiting in the wings to step-in to the void.
Here is a list of potential impacts on the City of Ottawa in a post-Nortel scenario:
- Ottawa will increasingly rely on the Federal Government for our local economic future (3Q08 city reports put 75% of Ottawa’s economy as being linked to the presence of the Federal Government in Ottawa)
- Ottawa economy will decline in size and associated tax base which will lead to reduced city services and programs due to:
- A steady reduction in the numbers of new knowledge-based companies (Doyletech has identified over 450 local companies started in Ottawa that can trace their roots back to Nortel) – which have traditionally supported very well-paying jobs
- A reduction in the number of service companies related to knowledge-based companies (and Nortel), e.g. legal, accounting, recruiting, manufacturing, technical contracting, retail
- An increase in office vacancy rates (vacancy rate has already risen from 5.6 to 6.2% in last 12 months)
- Ottawa economic growth prospects will decline as the city becomes increasingly less attractive for knowledge-based multi-nationals to locate/expand in Ottawa due to declining size and skills of the local workforce brought about by:
- Continued emigration of knowledge-workers out of Ottawa (Stats Canada reports have highlighted the lost high tech capabilities and workforce emigration away from Ottawa - 2 in 5 laid off tech workers left Ottawa)
- Continued reduction in base of knowledge-workers with current experience (Stats Canada reports have highlighted that 4 of 5 laid off tech workers did not find work in tech)
Ottawa may soon be the “Flint Michigan of Canada” when it comes to high tech.
Of course, there are always career opportunities available in ceramics and pottery.