Seven years after being launched in Chicago, the premier Great Lakes Economic Forum is returning to the city to showcase the region’s socioeconomic and environmental strengths and assets, and engage regional public, private, and non-profit sector leaders on strategic global, continental and regional issues impacting the Great Lakes economic region’s long-term competitiveness and sustainability.

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From Partnership Flows Sustainable Prosperity.

The Forum provides an ideal venue for visionary leaders from the binational Great Lakes economic region to share insights about how to create a stronger and more dynamic culture of collaboration in harnessing the region’s economic strengths and assets, improving the well-being and prosperity of its citizens, and safeguarding the environment.

So, if you want to play a leading role in seeking the change required to build the future economy of the binational Great Lakes economic region today, then you need to be in Chicago for GLEF2022, the region’s premier business and policy forum. Other distinct advantages of participating in and sponsoring the Forum include:

  • Connecting with key players from government, business and academia in the Great Lakes economic region
  • Promoting your brand and message to this elite audience
  • Learning about policy trends and cutting-edge research
  • Hear from thought leaders and experts on important issues that will affect the region—and your business
  • Making your voice heard among decision-makers attending the Forum
  • Engaging in an inclusive, binational economic agenda to deepen cross-border and cross-sector collaborations that drive systemic change
  • Helping to strengthen the region’s competitiveness and sustainability
  • Having influence over public policy by developing a unified regional voice on key issues

If it were a country, the Great Lakes economic region would be the third largest economy and twelfth largest nation in the world.

Built on a foundation of hard work, discovery, ingenuity, perseverance, and renewal, the United States and Canada, along with the eight U.S. states and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, must seek new ways to work together more effectively in today’s climate of global commerce, investment, innovation, and labor mobility.

The theme of this year’s conference – Powering Forward in the Great Lakes Economic Region: Our Prosperity. Our Sustainability. Our Future. – signifies the importance of the region’s binational economic strengths, revival, and ability to lead the new global economy. More importantly, it underscores the critical importance of working collaboratively, across key sectors and the border, to build action plans that will ready the region to compete and win in the new global economy.

Plenary and concurrent panels will cover a wide range of important sector dialogs and working group discussions, such as:
  • Fifth annual State of the Great Lakes Economy Outlook
  • The Age of Disruption: Taking Advantage of our Binational Innovation Ecosystem
  • Filling the Jobs Gap: Deepening Collaboration between Learning Institutions, Business & Government
  • Shifting to a Clean Energy Future: Creating a Path Forward
  • Great Lakes Ready: Supporting Small Business Growth & Exports
  • Changing Global Food Systems: Growing More Great Lakes Food Sustainably for a Hungry World
  • Smart Freight: A Connected, Adaptive & Resilient Great Lakes Transportation System
  • In the Driver’s Seat: Reinventing the Great Lakes Auto Sector and Defining the Future of Mobility
  • Reaching New Heights: Building a Globally Competitive Great Lakes Aerospace & Space Sector
  • Risky Business: Managing Climate Change Risk. Building Resiliency. Taking Action
  • Great Lakes Circular Economy Partnership: A New Path to Sustainability and Economic Growth
  • Smart, Sustainable Great Lakes: Building Prosperous, Livable & Connected Cities
  • Global Great Lakes: Capturing our Share of World Tourism
  • Smart Border Management: People, Infrastructure, Shared Systems, and Preclearance


Established in 2013, the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) is an independent, member-driven, non-profit corporation that was launched to think strategically about the Great Lakes economic region and its future success. The Council achieves this mandate by building innovative collaborations between the private, public, and non-profit sectors that drive systemic change, convening interactive events and sector dialogs that stimulate conversations and ideas that harness the region’s strategic strengths and assets, conducting insightful research and generating sensible policy solutions, and creating a stronger regional voice on socioeconomic and environmental issues that matter most to the region.

For more information about CGLR and the issues below, visit

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.



The Great Lakes region is home to more than 105 million people.


The Great Lakes contain a full fifth of the world’s surface fresh water supplies.


The region’s GDP is USD $6 trillion, or roughly 28% of combined U.S. and Canadian economic activity.


The region supplies 51 million jobs, or nearly 30% of the combined U.S. and Canadian workforce.


The future of the Great Lakes economic region, while full of promise, has never been more uncertain in the midst of so many complex and sweeping global changes. GLEF2022 therefore will bring together leaders from all levels of government, business, academia, and the non-profit sector to decipher key trends and find new ways that this binational region can collaborate and capitalize on the region’s strategic advantages.


Thought leaders and decision makers from around the Great Lakes region will ensure lively,
thought-provoking discussion during the Forum.

Great Lakes Leaders Dinner & Awards Ceremony

The dinner and awards ceremony are an opportunity for stakeholders in the Great Lakes economic region to come together and shine a spotlight on individuals, companies and organizations from both sides of the border and across all sectors—public, private, and not-profit—who are making important contributions to the economic success and sustainability of the region.

Register for the Great Lakes Economic Forum

Registration for the 2022 Great Lakes Economic Forum has now closed.

Current Sponsors

Exclusive Media Partner
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Strategic Event Partners
  • sponsor-environmental-law
  • sponsor-greatlakeschamber
  • sponsor-ontariochamber
  • sponsor-pyxera
  • sponsor-usbcsd
  • sponsor-canadian-american-business-council
  • sponsor-wilson-center-canada-institute
  • great-lakes-and-st.lawrence-cities-initiative
  • canada-united-states-law-institute
  • michigan-economic-center
  • michigan-economic-center
  • michigan U.S Chamber of Commerce
  • Center For Automotive Research
2022 Event Sponsors
  • sponsor-toyota
  • sponsor-hopa-port
  • sponsor-university-of-illinois-system
  • sponsor-university-of-windsor
  • sponsor-federal-bridge-corporation-limited
  • sponsor Ontario Canada
  • sponsor Intersect Illinois
  • sponsor Canada Wordmark
  • sponsor Bruce Power
  • sponsor Power Sustainable
  • sponsor Illnois Department of Commerce
  • sponsor the Joyce foundation
  • sponsor sc Johnson
Wi-Fi Partner
  • sponsor-CMC English Left Alig

Past Sponsors

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  • sponsor-canada


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For all general inquiries, including press, sponsorship, tickets and registration, or to get more information about our speakers, please contact us at 613-668-2044 or