Mississauga, Ontario’s indefatigable mayor, Hazel McCallion, never misses an opportunity to promote the business advantages of her well-run city, and the BIO event was no exception.

She was at the Ontario pavilion when the province’s premier appeared, and she was the first to arrive the next morning at fDi’s breakfast briefing on biotech corporate location trends (where she also collected a North American City of the Future award on behalf of the city).

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Tekada coup

Her visit to Atlanta follows a recent project win in the life sciences arena: Takeda, one of Japan’s largest pharma companies, has decided to set up a major operation in Mississauga, which, the mayor says, is Canada’s third largest biotech hub after Montreal and Toronto.

“They are going to be hiring people, so it is helping to offset the economic downturn in other sectors of the economy,” she says. “What is very encouraging is that the biotechnology base in Mississauga is still hiring people, unlike other sectors.”

Biotech support

The mayor, in office since 1978, is a strong supporter of the sector, but there is also help from the federal and provincial governments. “They are putting money into R&D and that is helping the situation, so the biotechnology companies in Canada, in Ontario and in Mississauga have some confidence in the future,” she says.

Confidence in Canada

“I believe Canada will come out on top because the economic downturn has not affected Canada in the same way as it has affected the US and other parts of the world. Companies are looking to Canada because of the security that exists in our country and the financial system. There is a lot of international confidence in our country.”