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CGLR’s policy research and programs address regional concerns and strive to encourage regional collaboration, provide evidence to be used in regional decision-making, and offer concrete and practical solutions. CGLR works to integrate the economic and environmental agendas of the region. Research and programs are undertaken by working groups and are led by CGLR members.

Latest Project

Launching the Great Lakes Ready Initiative

The Council of the Great Lakes Region is proud to present to members the Great Lakes Ready initiative in partnership with the Magnet Export Business Portal.

In today’s climate of global trade and investment, companies that scale, innovate, export and attract investment are proven to be more successful. However, it’s not easy for small and medium-sized companies to understand where the business opportunities are, the risks involved with exporting, or how to get help with their growth and investment strategies.

A first-of-its-kind in North America, the Magnet Export Business Portal harnesses intelligent matching technology to help CGLR members navigate and identify relevant funding, events, trade missions and resources that can help you export your products or services.

Not exporting yet? Become a member of the Council and then create a Great Lakes Ready account to begin your export readiness journey. There are countless benefits:

  • Receive customized updates and information on export-related services, funding, resources and more
  • Learn of newly launched export opportunities and trade missions that match your business
  • Customize a dashboard and get information delivered right to your inbox

Magnet Export Business Portal

Match your business to the right trade missions, funding programs, events and more.

Great Lakes Ready is a free service available to CGLR members. The content you’ll receive is tailored to you, so there’s value here for both experienced or novice exporters!

For a quick overview of the Great Lakes Ready portal, watch this video:

Ready to get started?

It takes two minutes to sign up to the Great Lakes Ready Portal – and it’s free.

Sign up now

Connected, Adaptive and Resilient

A Multimodal Transportation Strategy for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Region

The region’s transportation connections are central to the economic competitiveness and prosperity of the region and the quality of life of 107 million people that call the region home. They will be just as critical to region’s future in a borderless global economy.

But parts of the region’s transportation have frayed. Aging infrastructure and capacity constraints stress the region’s transportation systems. Intensifying infrastructure problems is the legacy of silo-based planning. The region also face new and emerging technologies that will profoundly change how people and freight use transportation infrastructure and move through the region.

View this report

Research Areas

Water Levels & Climate Change

One of the key characteristics of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region is the highly integrated nature of its economy and environment. Many of the region’s key industries rely on its water.


Infrastructure Modernization

In an effort to eliminate infrastructure deficits and investment gaps in the Great Lakes region the Council of the Great Lakes Region will lead an effort to modernize infrastructure…


Travel & Tourism

Over the past six decades, tourism experienced continued expansion and diversification, becoming one of the largest and fastest-growing economic sectors in the world…



The rise of unconventional oil and gas and of renewables is also transforming our understanding of the distribution of the world’s energy resources.


Cross-Border Trade

Develop mechanisms to encourage cross-border trade by the region’s SMEs by increasing knowledge-sharing, reducing regulatory and capacity barriers, and engagement with the current round of consultations on Beyond the Border and the Regulatory Cooperation Council.


Workforce Development

Facilitate agreements and regulatory arrangements to mutually recognize certifications in the skilled trades across Great Lakes-St. Lawrence jurisdictions.



Create a forum to convene all government agencies working on security issues in the region to encourage increased coordination and communication.


Advanced Manufacturing

The Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Region is a mega-marketplace in the North American and global economy.


Multi-modal Logistics

The region is home to one of the world’s most inter-connected and integrated multi-modal systems, from the United States’ largest rail hub in Chicago to the vast network of airports, roads, pipelines, ports and waterways.


Border Management

The United States and Canada share the longest border between two nations in the world.


Regulatory Cooperation

The Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Region is home to 50% of Canadian and 20% of American manufacturing.


Economic Corridors and Clusters

Each year, the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Region contributes roughly USD$232 billion to United States – Canada trade.



Future Project Ideas

Several other promising ideas proposed at the launch event require further consultation. These suggestions include the following:

  • Engagement with the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Great Lakes Project
  • Development and promotion of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Region as a hub for food and agriculture, advanced manufacturing, and health services.
  • Building bridges in innovation between the research community and the private sector
  • Interoperability of infrastructure for natural gas vehicles
  • Regional transportation plan
  • Great Lakes auto sector/manufacturing integrated Economic Zone
  • Regional energy plan
  • Sustainability and competitiveness for Great Lakes shipping

Please provide us with your feedback on these projects. We hope you will engage with them as they evolve. CGLR’s network and its members will be essential to the success of all of these initiatives.

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