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Ontario and Michigan Strengthen Economic Ties

New agreement will support increased trade and job creation in both jurisdictions

July 25, 2023

Ontario and Michigan Strengthen Economic Ties

Ontario and Michigan are building on their longstanding economic relationship through a new partnership that will increase trade, attract investment and encourage job creation in both jurisdictions. The new Economic Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will support joint initiatives in priority areas, such as electric vehicles and related supply chains. These initiatives could include joint trade promotion and missions, new post-secondary exchange programs, and efforts to identify opportunities for strategic partnerships that will help businesses compete internationally.

The agreement was signed July 25, 2023, by Premier Doug Ford and Governor Gretchen Whitmer during a virtual ceremony. They were joined by Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

“Ontario and Michigan share deep economic ties as partners, neighbours and friends,” said Premier Ford. “This agreement will help open even more opportunities to work together and drive further economic growth. As we navigate global uncertainty, now is the time to strengthen this important relationship to build our economies, further integrate our supply chains and create good-paying jobs on both sides of the border.”

“As home to the busiest border crossing for goods between the U.S. and Canada, Michigan and Ontario have deeply shared economic interests on issues from future mobility to agriculture,” said Governor Whitmer. “Canada was the top destination for Michigan exports last year, putting $27 billion into our economy and creating thousands of jobs across our state. Today’s Memorandum of Understanding will reaffirm our partnership and foster greater collaboration on trade, technology, cybersecurity, agriculture, and more. Let’s continue to work together to grow our economies, invest in our people, and usher in a bright future.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Ontario and Michigan share the busiest border crossing in North America and are each other’s largest trading partner with total trade valued at over CAD $80.6 billion last year. Under the new Ontario-Michigan MOU, the two jurisdictions will work together to identify opportunities for strategic partnership and joint trade promotion, improve access to information and facilitate more efficient border crossings. In addition to collaborating on electric vehicle adoption and related supply chains, other priority sectors include advanced technology, cybersecurity, agriculture and rural development, alternative clean fuels and travel and tourism.

As part of the MOU, Ontario and Michigan will establish a Procurement Cooperation Council. The council will support an open dialogue on government procurement, improving transparency and engagement on government purchasing for businesses from both jurisdictions.

“Strengthening our relationship with our partners in Michigan will help create the right conditions to ensure that businesses in both jurisdictions, including those in our auto sector, remain globally competitive,” said Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “As we continue to build Ontario’s end-to-end electric vehicle supply chain and other priority sectors, we look forward to working with Michigan on initiatives to help businesses grow and create more good-paying jobs.”

The agreement with Michigan is part of the Ontario government’s strategy for trade with the U.S. As part of the strategy, Ontario is pursuing additional agreements with other U.S. states to improve access to investment and government procurement opportunities in the U.S. for Ontario businesses.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario and Michigan have the largest trade relationship between any Canadian province and U.S. state. In 2022, over eight per cent of the annual trade between the U.S. and Canada was between Ontario and Michigan.
  • Last year, total trade between Ontario and Michigan was valued at CAD $80.6 billion, with imports from Michigan totalling $31.3 billion. The trade relationship between the two jurisdictions supports thousands of jobs on both sides of the border. The Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit is the most active border crossing in North America.
  • Combined, Ontario and Michigan are responsible for approximately 22 per cent of North America’s automotive output. The state and province share a highly integrated automotive supply chain, with vehicle parts crossing the border several times before rolling off the assembly line in finished vehicles.
  • On August 18, 2021, Ontario and Michigan signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the implementation of a cross-border testing environment that will further support the commercialization and adoption of auto and transportation technologies in Ontario.
  • In 2022, Ontario was the top export destination for merchandise trade for 15 U.S. states and ranked second for 12 U.S. states.


“Michigan and Ontario’s foundation as strong trading partners will surely benefit from this agreement. We are confident that this agreement will encourage similar collaboration with other jurisdictions to strengthen economic security.”

– Maryscott Greenwood
Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian American Business Council

“What’s good for Ontario is good for Michigan and what’s good for Michigan is good for Ontario. We commend Premier Doug Ford and Minister Victor Fedeli for their leadership in recognizing the potential of this partnership. By capitalizing on the diverse strengths of both Ontario and Michigan, this agreement can accelerate economic recovery, attract new investments, and create more resilient supply chains that will benefit businesses and workers alike.”

– Rocco Rossi
President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce

“This MOU creates a structure to explore every aspect of this unique relationship and create more economic opportunity to the lasting benefit of Ontario and Michigan.”

– Earl Provost
Ontario’s Agent-General in Chicago

Additional Resources


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