Health & Community Leaders Talk: Keanin Loomis

Ontario's health research hospitals make our province healthier, wealthier, and smarter

Health & Community Leaders Talk: Keanin Loomis

The HWS campaign is a platform for collaboration. That’s why this blog series is co-authored by community and health leaders from across the province to share their insights on why health research matters for Ontarians and our economy. Keanin Loomis, President and CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, shares his insights on how Hamilton’s health research sector is collaborating with—and attracting—key business partners to commercialize health products and drive a diversified economy. Thank you, Keanin, for adding your voice to the HWS conversation.

Who are you?

Name: Keanin Loomis
Community: Hamilton
Organization & Title: President and CEO, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce

Keanin Loomis, President and CEO of Hamilton Chamber of Commerce

Health Research and Business: Collaborating on a New Economic Future for Hamilton

Known more for our industrial legacy, the Hamilton renaissance is being driven by an economy that, according to the Conference Board of Canada, is this country’s most diversified.

The abundance of intellectual and institutional assets associated with our healthcare and academic partners at Hamilton Health Sciences, St. Joseph’s Health Care, McMaster University and Mohawk College give our economy a strong foundation in the growth industries that are “eds” and “meds”. The combined forces of healthcare and academia in Hamilton has led to a prosperous health research community that’s impacting health on a local and global scale.

While there is downward pressure to control costs, there is upward pressure to embolden Hamilton’s world-class researchers and clinicians to create better innovations that will help improve care while reducing costs. And with the efforts of key leaders in Hamilton’s anchor institutions, an entire network of community stakeholders is being mobilized in support.

There is a strong, and necessary, relationship to be nurtured between Hamilton’s life science research institutions and the local and global businesses that are capable of commercializing their discoveries. Research hospitals and health-focused academic institutions produce scientific and technical knowledge, but they must build partnerships and tap into other resources, like innovation incubators, as they navigate the pathway towards commercialization.

This is happening now in Hamilton. The knowledge infrastructure needed to create health-related ripple effects throughout the Hamilton economy is coming into place. Watch Building a WEALTHIER Ontario: Hamilton’s Story to learn more.

  • Hamilton Health Sciences, employing around 11,000 professionals in Hamilton, is one of the three largest hospital systems in all of Canada. St. Joseph’s isn’t far behind, employing 7,500 professionals in our city.
  • Both institutions, with their formidable clinical trial activity and lab infrastructure, are highly ranked research institutions producing world-class research, in partnership with McMaster University and Mohawk College.
  • All those institutions are working with the Hamilton business community, including the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, the City of Hamilton’s Economic Development Department and Innovation Factory, Hamilton’s regional innovation centre, to create the ecosystem necessary to encourage commercialization.
  • The stakeholders are working to create a brand, and then tell our community’s story better to the potential partners and funders needed to fuel commercialization and build channels around the world.

With all these necessary ingredients coming into place, Hamilton’s life sciences sector is poised to create new, sustainable economic and social wealth in our community and beyond while driving the future of health care. That’s how Hamilton is contributing to a healthier, wealthier, smarter province.


Stay tuned on our blog for more Health and Community Leaders Talk posts and share your insights on Twitter with #onHWS. To learn more about why health research matters for Ontario and how you can support it, download the Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter Policy Platform and check out our other blog posts and videos.


Building a WEALTHIER Ontario: Hamilton’s Story

Building a WEALTHIER Ontario: Hamilton’s Story

As key drivers of Ontario’s knowledge-based economy, research hospitals contribute to a wealthier province by creating innovative, cost-effective products, establishing spin-off companies and partnerships, attracting investment from at home and abroad, and generating high-level jobs.

Across the province, communities are moving towards knowledge-based economies, and Ontario’s research hospitals are helping them get there. To illustrate that transformation, we took a focused look at the city of Hamilton. Traditionally known as Ontario’s steel town, the city has seen significant growth and renewal as a result of its health research sector. And, in the words of Mayor Fred Eisenberger, that growth feeds on itself.

“Once the ball starts rolling, it just doesn’t stop”

In our Wealthier video, Mayor of Hamilton, Fred Eisenberger, explains that the health research sector has led to a spillover effect on the economy—and the community.

The city’s success in health research has led to the growth of its educational institutes. Mohawk is now ranked as one of the top colleges in Ontario with many programs geared towards applied science, and McMaster’s medical school continues to climb on Canada’s top ten list, attracting more and more bright minds. And as Hamilton’s two research hospitals—Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare—continue to create more high-level jobs, the city is able to retain those bright minds and attract new ones.

Outside the walls of health research, the sector is having a spillover effect on the community, generating a vibrant arts scene, lots of cafes and shops, and more people living and working in revitalized neighbourhoods.

The story of Hamilton offers just one example of the impact that research hospitals are having on communities in Ontario. Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto, and London can all speak to similar growth and spillover. In ten years, we can only imagine what that spillover will look like for these communities, and for the province of Ontario.

Quick Facts: Ontario’s Research Hospitals

  • Employ 18,000 researchers and research staff
    • That’s more than twice the number employed at Ontario’s research-based pharmaceutical companies
    • That’s half of the number employed at the assembly plants of Ontario’s big 5 automotive companies
  • Support 41,000 jobs across Ontario
  • Invest $1.4B in health research annually
  • Commercialized 350 new health products in the last four years
  • 14% of research investment comes from private industry
  • Every dollar spent on health research generates three dollars of economic output


Discover more about how Ontario’s research hospitals contribute to a wealthier Ontario, and how you can support them, by downloading the Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter Policy Platform.