The COVID-19 pandemic curve is starting to flatten and Canada needs a plan to restart the economy

On April 6th the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Government of Canada launched the Canadian Business Resilience Network (CBRN) to help the business community prepare, persevere and, ultimately, prosper in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This network is a coordinated, business-led, inclusive campaign that has focused on providing businesses with the tools they need to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on them, our economy and communities across the country. Its goal is also to help businesses emerge from this crisis and drive Canada’s economic recovery.

We are now seeing the COVID-19 pandemic curve flatten; provinces and territories are allowing businesses to reopen, and Canada needs a plan to restart the economy.

The shutdowns to protect public health showed the complexity of the supply chains that keep our economy going. The gradual re-starting of our economy is equally complex and will require lead-in time for businesses to prepare. This includes understanding what public health rules will be in place and what businesses can expect. Getting the re-opening right will ultimately lay the ground for a sustainable recovery. 

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has identified five key areas that need to be part of the country’s strategy to reopen the economy quickly and safely.

Stakeholder Consultation

The crisis has shown the best policy is made when it widely draws upon the advice of civil society, including businesses both large and small across sectors. The conversations need to start now in a structured manner to ensure that governments at all levels are receiving the best possible advice to minimize unintended consequences.

International best practices

Industrialized economies around the world are beginning the domestic processes to restart their economy. We should use this opportunity to learn from what is working and what is not working in other comparable jurisdictions.

Interprovincial alignment

Both in good times, and through the pandemic, we have seen the perils of misalignment between provinces and territories. Companies that operate across provincial and territorial boundaries need to have clarity and consistency to minimize confusion and ensure as seamless a reboot as possible. Companies also need to have clarity on public health rules as well as access to PPEs to meet those public health guidelines.

Government financial assistance

Temporary financial support programs have been crucial to help some companies stay afloat through the pandemic. However, there is also a need to ensure sustainable public finances. What are the conditions that should guide how the already announced financial support programs are successfully concluded?

International trade

As a country dependent on the movement of goods and services to support the economy, it is crucial for Canada to stay plugged into the global economy. Border closures rolled out in response to COVID-19 have been justified to protect public health, but will be gradually rolled back. Companies will need certainty and lead-in time to fully re-engage with the global economy as these measures are lifted.

– Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy

Oakville’s businesses face COVID’S wrath

It’s been a tough month for Oakville’s business community. They’re struggling to navigate the economic implications of COVID-19 and many are concerned about the future of their business.

Consequently, the Oakville Chamber has been actively working with policy makers at all levels of government to provide economic relief measures for businesses during COVID-19. 

To avoid a collapse of our economy, the federal government announced a wage subsidy program to help cover three-quarters of employees’ salaries for businesses that have seen their revenue drop by at least 30 per cent due to COVID-19.  In addition, a $40,000 interest-free loan has been extended where $10,000 can be forgiven if certain conditions are met.

As one of the advocates for the significant increase to the initial 10 per cent federal wage subsidy announcement,  the Oakville Chamber, and business organizations across the Country, applauded the proposed Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy that would cover 75 per cent of salaries for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020.

As details emerged in the days following the announcement, we heard from members across our community who had concerns with the way the program had been designed and feared that the program would not be enough to save their business and keep their workers employed.

To that end, the Oakville Chamber has spent the last few weeks engaging with our membership to better understand their concerns, challenges and most importantly seek feedback on what types of support they need from our Federal Government. 

Business models differ from sector to sector.  Some are reliant on foot traffic, some are essential but are operating at a reduced capacity.  All of these variables mean that not all businesses will benefit from the measures introduced so far from the government.

Some smaller businesses don’t have the cash reserves to sustain them long term.  So, time is of the essence. Understandably, they are hesitant to take on more loans as they can’t predict what’s in store for them for the next six months. 

Furthermore, the criteria for businesses to access the 75 per cent wage subsidy remains an issue for some that do not qualify.  These include businesses with small profit margins that are being hurt by a revenue decline of less than 30%, as well as service firms that are invoicing but do not know when or if these invoices will be paid.

Businesses need to see immediate execution of government programs to protect jobs and avoid delaying recovery.  We urgently need to get these funds into the hands of employers. Every day that we delay these funds will lead to more businesses shutting down and more Canadians facing unemployment.

Together, with our network of Chamber’s across the country, the Oakville Chamber is calling on all levels of government to set aside planned tax increases, new regulations and unnecessary consultations that place a burden on businesses.

This is a situation without precedent for the global and Canadian economy.   Our federal government has been responsive to our calls to action and must continue to do so as we navigate this unprecedented time together.

– Faye Lyons, Vice President of Advocacy and Government Relations

COVID-19: Business Resources and Updates

This is the Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s central hub for business resources and updates regarding COVID-19. Please visit this page often as we continue to provide the most up-to-date information.

Oakville Chamber of Commerce

Canadian Business Resilience Network launches Small Business Relief Fund

(May 25, 2020)

The Canadian Business Resilience Network (CBRN) has announced the Small Business Relief Fund. It is a national initiative to provide small Canadian businesses with $10,000 grants to help in their COVID-19 recovery efforts. These grants are made possible by Salesforce. 

Applications for this grant opportunity will open June 1, 2020 and close June 12, 2020. 
Any business considering applying must hold a valid membership with a Chamber of Commerce, Board of Trade or any other business association that is a member of the CBRN.

Government of Canada partners with Canadian Chamber of Commerce to launch Busines Resilience Service

(May 25, 2020)

The Business Resilience Service (BRS) allows you to connect with experienced business advisors from across Canada for guidance on which government relief programs will be most appropriate to support your small- to medium-sized business, not-for-profit or charity on how to respond and reshape amid uncertainty.

The program, delivered to your organization free of charge, provides:

  • Guidance on COVID-19 financial support program options and eligibility
  • Direction on accessing the most appropriate support organizations
  • Help to make decisions to support recovery plans
  • Real time insights and feedback to policymakers

To access the BRS call 1-866-989-1080 to connect with a business advisor from the accounting profession. The service is available 7 days/week from 8am – 8pm ET (5am – 5pm PT).

Learn more.

May Events Update

(May 4, 2020)
As we continue to follow the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Canada, all May have been postponed or rescheduled. Please continue to monitor our website for updates. If you have any questions regarding tickets purchased or your participation in any of our upcoming events, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team at info@oakvillechamber.com – we are happy to assist you with any inquiry.


Recent Government Announcements

Government of Ontario extends Emergency Orders Until June 9thMay 27, 2020

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance now open for applicationsMay 25, 2020

Ontario Helps People Impacted by COVID-19 Get Back to Work and introduces Ontario Tools GrantMay 22, 2020

Ontario makes legislative changes to allow corportations to operate virtually and electronicallyMay 22, 2020

Canada Emergency Rent Relief Program Open for Applications May 25thMay 20, 2020

Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility Program (LEEFF) Open for ApplicationsMay 20, 2020

Government of Canada Expands Eligibility Criteria for Canada Emergency Business AccountMay 19, 2020

Government of Canada Extends Emergency Wage SubsidyMay 15, 2020

Canada Summer Jobs start rolling out to keep young people working during COVID-19May 15, 2020

Government of Canada announces support for research staff in CanadaMay 15, 2020

Reopening the Ontario Economy: Stage One – May 14, 2020
Premier Doug Ford announced that the Government of Ontario will begin Stage One of Reopening the Economy on Tuesday, May 19th. The government also announced additional seasonal services and activities will be permitted to open as early as Saturday May 16th in time for the Victoria Day long weekend.

The government also launched the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory has an up-to-date list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply personal protective equipment.

Before your business reopens, review the Government of Ontario’s sector-specific guidelines and posters to help protect workers, customers and the general public from COVID-19


If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to your business, read the Government of Ontario’s frequently asked questions or call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. Read the media release.

FedDev Ontario Launches Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
 May 13, 2020

Prime Minister announces Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility and Expansion of the Business Credit Availability Program
 May 8, 2020

Support for Business

Direct Financial Support for Businesses

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
The Government of Canada will provide eligible businesses, charitable or not-for-profit organizations that have experienced at least a 15% decline in revenue in March 2020 and a 30% decline in revenue in April and/or May 2020, when compared to the same month in 2019, with a 75% wage subsidy for up to three months. Alternatively, organizations would qualify if they can demonstrate a drop in gross revenues of 30%+ in these months against January and February of this year.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will cover employees’ salaries on the first $58,700 earned this year – to a maximum amount of $847 per week. The program will be backdated to March 15, 2020 and is designed to protect jobs and maintain the important link between employees and employers. 

Frequently Asked Questions for the Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers.

Learn more.
Before you calculate your subsidy, make sure you are eligible to apply.
After you apply for the wage subsidy, your claim will be subject to verification.

Use the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Calculator

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
The Government of Canada is providing businesses with interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to help cover operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced due to COVID-19. This program is for businesses with a total payroll between $20,000 to $1.5 million in 2019. Repayment of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000). This will better position companies to quickly return to providing services to their communities and create employment. Applications are available through your primary bank or credit union.

Learn more.

On May 19th, the Government of Canada announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses. This extended measure will help small businesses protect the jobs that Canadians rely on. Read the media release. More details, including the launch date for applications under the new criteria, will follow in the days to come.

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is being delivered by Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) to help more businesses and organizations in sectors across the economy such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others that are key to the regions and local economies. As the RDA for southern Ontario, FedDev Ontario will work with key partners, such as the Community Futures Development Corporations, across the region to help southern Ontario businesses during these difficult times.

Learn more.

Facebook Small Business Grants
Facebook knows that your business may be experiencing disruptions resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19. They’ve heard that a little financial support can go a long way, so we’re offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time.

Up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in more than 30 countries will be able to receive a grant from Facebook. To be eligible to apply, your business must:

  • Have between 2 and 50 employees
  • Have been in business for over a year
  • Have experienced challenges from COVID-19
  • Be in or near a location where Facebook operates

Apply / Learn more.

Direct Financial Support for Workers

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The CERB provides direct financial support of $500 per week for up to 16 weeks to Canadians who have lost their job, have had their hours reduced, have had their EI recently run out, are seasonal workers, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. Employed workers who earn up to $1,000 per month may still qualify for the CERB. CERB applications are available through Service Canada and the CRA, though please only apply through one of the portals – not both. Payments will be received within 10 days of application with payments made every four weeks for the period of March 15 to October 3, 2020.

Learn more.

Employment Insurance
Ongoing access to the Employment Insurance (EI) program is available for eligible workers who have lost their job. EI is designed to provide temporary financial support for those workers who have lost their job, are sick, pregnant, caring for a newborn or adopted child, caring for a family member who is seriously ill with a significant risk of death or providing care or support to a critically ill family member. 

Learn more.

Access to Capital

Business Credit Availability Program
Through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC), the new Business Credit Availability Program will increase the credit available to small, medium and large Canadian businesses, providing more than $65 billion in direct lending and other types of financial support.

Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF)

The program will support Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing. LEEFF will help successful applicants keep their operations going. The objective of this support is to help protect Canadian jobs, help Canadian businesses weather the current economic challenges, and avoid bankruptcies of otherwise viable firms where possible. This support will not be used to resolve insolvencies or restructure firms, nor will it provide financing to companies that otherwise have the capacity to manage through the crisis.

The government’s support for large employers through LEEFF will be delivered by a subsidiary of the Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDEV), in cooperation with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and the Department of Finance. Additional information on the application process is available on the CDEV website. Broader sectoral dynamics for LEEFF applicants will be considered through processes led by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

Learn more.


Financial Relief Offered by Canadian Banks
Banks will provide financial relief to businesses affected by the economic consequences of COVID-19. Effective immediately, Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank will work with personal and small business customers, on a case-by-case basis, to provide flexible solutions to help them manage challenges, such as pay disruption, childcare disruption due to school closures or those facing illness from COVID-19.

Bank of Canada Interest Rate
The Bank of Canada cut its overnight rate to 0.25% – the interest rate at which major financial institutions borrow and lend one-day (or “overnight”) funds among themselves.

Tax Relief

Deferred Income Tax Payment for Businesses
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020, with no interest or penalties applicable during this period.
Deferred GST/HST Remittance
CRA will defer the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) remittances to June 30, 2020.
Deferred Provincial Taxes

Beginning April 1, 2020, the Government of Ontario is providing flexibility to about 100,000 businesses in Ontario to help manage their cash flows during this challenging time. This will continue for a period of five months, up until August 31, 2020.

For this period, the Province will not apply any penalty or interest on any late-filed returns or incomplete or late tax payments under select provincially administered taxes, such as the Employer Health Tax, Tobacco Tax and Gas Tax.

Deferred Property Tax in Town of Oakville

Tax installments due April 24: Penalty and interest for non-payment, and non-sufficient funds charges for returned payment will be waived until June 30, 2020.

Outstanding property taxes: Penalty and interest will be waived until June 30, 2020.

Pre-authorized payment plans: Property owners may opt-out without penalty from April 1 to June 30, 2020. Property owners must contact finance@oakville.ca by the 15th of the month to opt-out before payment is set to withdraw.

Learn more.

Additional Assistance For Business

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program
On April 16th,  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the government’s intent to introduce The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program. This program will seek to provide loans, including forgiveable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June.
Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the Federal Government and Provincial and Territorial Governments.

On April 24th, the Federal Government announced that this program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. Read the media release.

On May 20th, the Federal Government announced that application documents and updated criteria for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses are now available, and that the program will be opened for applications beginning on May 25th. Learn more.
 
Distantly.ca
Oakville’s Economic Task Force announces the launch of Distantly.ca in Oakville; an online crowd-funding platform to connect small business with community donations. Learn more.   Learn how to set up your business page.
 
Elecricity Rates Reduction
The Government Ontario is temporarily reducing electricity rates for small businesses, farms, and residential customers that pay time-of-use (TOU) rates. TOU rates will be suspended until at least May 8, 2020, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour.

Stop the Spread Business Information Line
The Government of Ontario has launched a toll-free line 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province’s recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Help is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m.―5:00 p.m. A complete list of essential services is available on the Government of Ontario’s website.

Work-Sharing Program
The Government of Canada has enhanced its Work-Sharing Program to support employers and their workers who are experiencing a downturn in business by expanding the program from 38 to 76 weeks and by streamlining processes to improve access.

Learn more.

WSIB Deferred Payments

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) will allow employers to defer payments for a period of six months. This will provide employers with $1.9 billion in financial relief.

All employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the financial relief package. Schedule 1 employers with premiums owed to the WSIB will be allowed to defer reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. The deferral will also apply to Schedule 2 businesses that pay WSIB for the cost related to their workplace injury and illness claims. In addition, no interest will be accrued on outstanding premium payments and no penalties will be charged during this six-month deferral period.

Learn more.


Resources for Business

Navigating the support programs for business

Business Continuity and Recovery

Human Resources

Safety and Security

Monitor COVID-19

Stay up-to-date on the rapidly evolving situation, and on the nature of the virus itself, by frequently checking municipal, provincial, and national websites.



      Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

      The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy. These measures will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses, plus $55 billion to meet liquidity needs of Canadian businesses and households through tax deferrals to help stabilize the economy.

      Below we have summarized what businesses and workers need to know.

      Business

      • All businesses can defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure will result in businesses having more money available during this period.
      • Increased credit is available to small, medium, and large Canadian businesses. As announced on March 13, a new Business Credit Availability Program will provide more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses experiencing cash flow challenges through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.
      • Expansion of Export Development Canada’s ability to provide support to domestic businesses.
      • Provide flexibility on the Canada Account limit, to allow the Government to provide additional support to Canadian businesses, when deemed to be in the national interest, to deal with exceptional circumstances.
      • Launch of an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. As announced on March 16, this will provide stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders and support continued lending to Canadian businesses and consumers.

      Workers

      • Boosting the Canada Child Benefit payments
      • Introduction of the Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks to provide income support to workers who must stay home and do not have access to paid sick leave.
      • Introduction of an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the Canada Revenue Agency to provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
      • Provide additional assistance to individuals and families with low and modest incomes with a special top-up payment under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit.
      • Waive, for a minimum of six months, the mandatory one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits for workers in imposed quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate, as announced on March 11.
      • Waive the requirement for a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
      • Extend the tax filing deadline for individuals to June 1, and allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
      • Provide eligible small businesses a 10 per cent wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Employers benefiting from this measure would include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as not-for-profit organisations and charities. 
      • Provide increased flexibility to lenders to defer mortgage payments on homeowner government-insured mortgage loans to borrowers who may be experiencing financial difficulties related to the outbreak. Insurers will permit lenders to allow payment deferral beginning immediately.
      Learn more.


      COVID-19 Update from the Oakville Chamber

      Further to the press conference held today by the Government of Canada and Public Health Officials, Canadians are being asked to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and as a result recommend the cancellation or postponement of events.

      The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is taking action to help protect the health and safety of our members, partners and our employees. We are currently implementing measures to do our part in containing the further spread of the virus.

      As a result, we will be postponing all Chamber events and meetings until April 6th.

      We will continue to monitor the situation and will keep members updated through our website, emails and social media for the status of our other scheduled events.

      If you are registered for an event that was scheduled to take place before April 6th, 2020 we will be contacting you directly to communicate a new event date and/or facilitate full refunds.

      To assist and support the business community with preparing and responding to COVID-19, please refer to these resources from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce:

      For specific information and updates on COVID-19 please refer to:

      Our offices remain open and fully functioning.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with your concerns or questions.

      During this period of uncertainty, we ask you to consider ways to support our local businesses. This includes purchasing gift cards that can be used at a later date, or ordering from them online. For your local needs, please refer to our Member Directory.



      COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS: Oakville Chamber Event Update

      The Oakville Chamber of Commerce (OCC) continues to monitor and assess new developments pertaining to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). In terms of the OCC’s upcoming events, we are taking our lead from Public Health, who is currently not suggesting the postponement or cancellation of any scheduled events. As a result, we are proceeding as planned with all upcoming OCC events.

      The safety and well-being of our members and community are of the utmost importance to us. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update this policy as required. We will communicate any event changes to registrants, our members, and the public through email, social media posts, and updates on our website. Should the directive from the Region of Halton Public Health change, the OCC will have alternative options for our events – including holding virtual programs and consider rescheduling events.

      Currently, we encourage all event attendees to:

      Evaluate their own health (and the health of people they’re in close contact with), when deciding to attend an upcoming OCC event. A temporary change to our refund policy has been made for those who are no longer able to attend an event (see below).

      Follow the guidance of the Region of Halton Public Health, everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of viruses, including but not limited to:
      • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
      • Avoid contact with people who are sick
      • Stay home when you are sick
      • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
      • Use sanitization materials offered complimentary at Chamber events
      • Greet other event attendees with a fist bump or wave, instead of a handshake
        Temporary Change to the OCC Refund Policy

        During this time, we have revised our OCC Event Refund Policy for registrants. If you are not able to attend an in-person event, please contact the Chamber by email prior to the event. For select events being held using virtual technology, the 3-Business Day Cancellation Policy will remain in effect; registrants for these events will be notified of this policy via email communication. If you are no longer able to attend an event that you are registered for, please send an email to info@oakvillechamber.com as soon as possible.

        As published on the Region of Halton Public Health site, symptoms of the COVID-19 Coronavirus can range from mild – like the flu and other common respiratory infections – to severe, and can include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. If you are unwell, we encourage you to stay home to recover.



        New Research Identifies Opportunities to Support Small Business Success

        Ontario Chamber Network releases the fourth annual Ontario Economic Report and introduces the Small Business Friendliness Indicator

        Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber Network, released the fourth annual Ontario Economic Report (OER) which reveals opportunities where both business and government can focus to create an environment more conducive to small business success.

        The inaugural Small Business Friendliness Indicator (SBFI) measures Ontario’s competitiveness from the perspective of small businesses. For 2020, the SBFI score is -9, (on a scale of 100 to -100) indicating that the business environment poses some challenges for firms with fewer than 99 employees. However, through measures such as investment in online services and support for regulatory compliance, industry and government could improve that score.

        “Small businesses are the backbone of economy; 98% of Ontario businesses are small business” stated Tim Caddigan, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Small businesses employ nearly three million Ontarians and represent over two-thirds of private sector workers. Given the share of the economy this sector represents, we must work to increase their competitiveness.”

        The SBFI is intended to provide an assessment of the ease of business in Ontario across seven different metrics; this year the scores for three metrics were positive: the helpfulness of the Province in starting a business, the ease of licensing, and the delivery of useful training and networking programs from a variety of sources.

        The SBFI also revealed that small business owners are eager to embrace more online services from government, especially with respect to regulatory compliance.

        Drew Redden, President and CEO of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce added “The Ontario Economic report revealed that investment in infrastructure, such as transportation and broadband, topped the list of business priorities for government, followed by reducing red regulatory burdens, lowering the cost of living, and reforming business taxes. This aligns with our members’ priorities for government as listed in our Roadmap for Business Success, which are: business competitiveness, recruiting and training talent, transportation and infrastructure, and innovation.”

        Other highlights from the Ontario Economic Report include:
        • The confidence gap, which measures the difference between business’ confidence in themselves and in Ontario’s economic outlook, widened in 2020 to near historical levels. Although organizational confidence remains high, business confidence in the broader economy dropped seven percentage points in 2020, explained in part by lowered growth expectations nationally and globally. Beyond this, challenges related to the costs of doing business, the high cost of living, and the province’s debt continue to be top of mind for Ontario Chamber members

        • Challenges related to accessing financial capital, attracting and retaining talent and burdensome regulations continue to compromise the ability of many of Ontario’s community to compete effectively with other jurisdictions.

        • Despite these challenges, Ontario’s principal economic indicators remain sound, albeit subdued, heading into 2020, but economic growth is expected to vary greatly across the province. The forecasts show employment and population growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe surpassing other parts of Ontario, reinforcing a decade-long trend of imbalanced economic growth across the province.

        Read the 2020 Ontario Economic Report.



        Chamber shares business priorities with Minister of Finance Rod Phillips, MPP Stephen Crawford and MPP Triantafilopoulos during Budget Consultation

        Remaining competitive, specifically when it comes to taxes and regulations, continues to be a priority for Oakville Chamber members. 

        Recognizing that the government already announced a reduction in the small business Corporate Income Tax rate, the Oakville Chamber believes that there is still more that can be done to encourage business growth and scale up with regard to the structure rather than the level of the Corporate Income Tax. 

        For example, the Small Business Deduction (SBD) reduces the Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate on companies’ first $500,000 of active business income.  The flat rate structure of the Small Business Deduction means that companies are faced with a substantial rise in their corporate tax rate when their annual income increases above $500,000 at which point the rate jumps from 3.2 percent to 11.5 percent.   To address this challenge, the Chamber network recommended creating a variable or bracketed Small Business Deduction for income below $500,000. 

        With a Corporate Income Tax rate that increases gradually as revenue grows, small business owners would no longer be discouraged from actively seeking opportunities to grow their firms.  This reform should be revenue-neutral, such that total tax revenue generated before and after the change remains the same. 

        Additionally, we encourage the Province to exempt businesses’ incremental income (additional earnings over the previous year) from the Corporate Income Tax in a given year.   With this exemption in place, firms that are growing can reinvest more into their businesses.  Eligibility could be restricted to target higher-growth firms by setting a threshold minimum rate of income growth over the previous year to qualify for the exemption. 

        Transportation infrastructure and congestion also remains a concern for the Oakville community. Population growth as well as increased employment growth, is positive for our local economy; however, it also underlines the need for building a resilient transportation network that works for all modes of transportation to supply the movement of goods and people. 

        Recognizing that the province has committed to a share of funding for local projects like the Wyecroft Bridge, the Burloak Underpass and the Kerr Street Underpass, the Chamber further calls on the government for a sustainable and planned funding program for infrastructure projects such as the network required for MidTown which was identified as an Urban Growth Centre. 

        As our communities become more connected through the collection of data, artificial intelligence and technology, it is vital that we are prepared for the business climate of the future and that we remain competitive with other jurisdictions.

        A report recently released by the Province signals that the province is positioning Ontario to be a leader in the development, commercialization and adoption of advanced manufacturing and mobility technologies.  Supporting new mobility technologies, enhancing the innovation ecosystem as well as supporting research and development and early stage technology development are all measures that will assist communities in their efforts to adopt new technologies.  

        Beyond providing the legislative and regulatory framework, the Chamber encourages the province to further connect municipalities and establish a common framework for the development of alternative Connected Vehicle/Autonomous Vehicle scenarios, readiness guidelines, and potential projects.  The creation of a dedicated program could further incent municipalities to invest in infrastructure/technological updates within their local jurisdictions; thereby creating a healthy environment for emerging transportation technologies.

        The future efficient movement of both people and goods and services will depend on the effective management of a connected infrastructure.

        As the industry evolves and becomes a reality, it will become a competitive economic advantage for communities that embrace it—and a disadvantage for those that don’t.

        The new market for automated and connected vehicles is expected to grow exponentially and large economic benefits are expected.  Other regions are not standing still (e.g. United States, Japan and China) and are already adopting strategies for automated vehicles and attracting investment in this field.   Companies could soon be including Autonomous Vehicle, connectivity and technology readiness in their decisions on where to locate a business or expand operations.

        To address concerns surrounding attracting and retaining talent, we believe that strong partnerships between government, industry, and post secondary institutions are fundamental to supporting a robust and dynamic workforce.  Experiential learning programs – including but not limited to work-integrated learning, co-operative education, and internships – are one of the ways these partnerships help ensure students are graduating with the skills in demand by today’s employers and the jobs of tomorrow. 

        To that end, we urge the government to explore options to incentivize greater employer participation in these programs.  For instance, this might involve expanding the Co-operative Education Tax Credit or offering a tax credit to employers who hire graduates of co-operative education. 

        On behalf of our Oakville Chamber members, we will continue to press all levels of government on policy reform that encourages business competitiveness and growth. 


        Oakville Chamber is proud to support the MNP Future Leaders mentorship program

        Assisting young business leaders who are seeking to start or actively involved in an entrepreneurial enterprise

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to partner with MNP and other local stakeholders for the MNP Future Leaders mentorship program. We are dedicated to building the communities where we live and work and the local entrepreneurs we serve.

        Recognizing the importance of mentorship for growing businesses, this program provides entrepreneurs with the support, advice and tools they need to succeed in a rapidly-changing business environment.

        Apply to become an MNP Future leader and receive

        • One year of monthly professional mentoring, guidance and advice from an MNP partner
        • Year-long membership with the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, Mississauga Board of Trade, and Brampton Board of Trade
        • Consultation with media experts and profile enhancement strategy
        • Personalized award and recognition as an MNP Future Leader

        Visit mnp.ca/en/future-leaders for program eligibility and to submit your application by March 23, 2020.



        Today, Ontario’s Finance Minister is in Oakville for pre-budget consultations

        Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy will be presenting member priorities to the Minister.  Below are her remarks:


        Good morning.  My name is Faye Lyons and I am the Vice President of Government Relations for the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. 

        On behalf of the Chamber and our over 1100 members I thank you Minister for the opportunity for us to provide our recommendations for the upcoming Provincial budget. 

        As you know the Ontario Chamber of Commerce will be submitting a comprehensive list of recommendations on behalf of the network. 

        Today, with the three minutes allotted to me I will focus on the local business priorities identified by our Chamber.   

        In our most recent advocacy surveys, members identified business competitiveness, transportation, recruiting and retaining talent and innovation as their top priorities. 

        We commend the government on its intention to form a Premier’s Advisory Council on Competitiveness to identify opportunities for improving Ontario’s competitiveness. 

        Our members identified taxes as an obstacle to business competitiveness and growth.  To that end, recognizing that the government has already announced a reduction in the small business Corporate Income Tax rate, there is still more that can be done to encourage business growth and scale up with regard to the structure rather than the level of the Corporate Income Tax. 

        The Small Business Deduction (SBD) reduces the Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate on companies’ first $500,000 of active business income.  The flat rate structure of the Small Business Deduction means that companies are faced with a substantial rise in their corporate tax rate when their annual income increases above $500,000 at which point the rate jumps from 3.2 percent to 11.5 percent.   To address this challenge, the Chamber network recommends creating a variable or bracketed Small Business Deduction for income below $500,000. 

        With a Corporate Income Tax rate that increases gradually as revenue grows, small business owners would no longer be discouraged from actively seeking opportunities to grow their firms.  This reform should be revenue-neutral, such that total tax revenue generated before and after the change remains the same. 

        Additionally, we encourage the Province to exempt businesses’ incremental income (additional earnings over the previous year) from the Corporate Income Tax in a given year.   With this exemption in place, firms that are growing can reinvest more into their businesses.  Eligibility could be restricted to target higher-growth firms by setting a threshold minimum rate of income growth over the previous year to qualify for the exemption. 

        Transportation infrastructure and congestion remains a top concern for the Oakville community. Congestion on Oakville roads is a barrier to business, and members cite that Oakville does not have the road infrastructure for the development it needs. Additionally, Oakville’s economic growth is an important factor in the success of the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA).

        According to the Provincial Ministry of Finance, the Greater Toronto Areas (GTA) population is projected to increase from 6.9 million in 2017 to 9.7 million in 2041. Halton is projected to be the fastest-growing census division in Ontario over the projection period, with growth of 56.2 per cent to 2041.   

        Increased employment growth, as well as population growth, is positive for our local economy; however it also underlines the Chamber’s call for building a resilient transportation network that works for all modes of transportation to supply the movement of goods and people. 

        Recognizing that the province has committed to a share of funding for local projects like the Wyecroft Bridge and the Burloak Underpass, with the projected population growth mandated by the provincial growth plans, Oakville would benefit from a sustainable and planned funding program by the Province for infrastructure requirements for crucial transportation infrastructure projects  such as the network required for MidTown which was identified as an Urban Growth Centre. 

        A reliable transportation network is essential for trade, the movement of goods and services as well as people.  It is also integral to our province’s economic competitiveness.

        As our communities become more connected through the collection of data, artificial intelligence and technology, it is vital that we are prepared for the business climate of the future and that we remain competitive with other jurisdictions.

        Population growth as well as increased employment growth, is positive for our local economy; however, it also underlines the need for building a resilient transportation network that works for all modes of transportation to supply the movement of goods and people. 

        A report recently released by the Province signals that the province is positioning Ontario to be a leader in the development, commercialization and adoption of advanced manufacturing and mobility technologies.  Supporting new mobility technologies, enhancing the innovation ecosystem as well as supporting research and development and early stage technology development are all measures that will assist communities in their efforts to adopt new technologies.  

        Beyond providing the legislative and regulatory framework, the province can further connect municipalities and establish a common framework for the development of alternative Connected Vehicle/Autonomous Vehicle scenarios, readiness guidelines, and potential projects.  The creation of a dedicated program could further incent municipalities to invest in infrastructure/technological updates within their local jurisdictions; thereby creating a healthy environment for emerging transportation technologies.

        The future efficient movement of both people and goods and services will depend on the effective management of a connected infrastructure.

        As the industry evolves and becomes a reality, it will become a competitive economic advantage for communities that embrace it—and a disadvantage for those that don’t.

        The new market for automated and connected vehicles is expected to grow exponentially and large economic benefits are expected.  Other regions are not standing still (e.g. United States, Japan and China) are already adopting strategies for automated vehicles and attracting investment in this field.   Companies could soon be including Autonomous Vehicle, connectivity and technology readiness in their decisions on where to locate a business or expand operations.

        Chamber members have also identified recruiting and retaining talent as a barrier to their ability to succeed.  We believe that strong partnerships between government, industry, and post secondary institutions are fundamental to supporting a robust and dynamic workforce.  Experiential learning programs – including but not limited to work-integrated learning, co-operative education, and internships – are one of the ways these partnerships help ensure students are graduating with the skills in demand by today’s employers and the jobs of tomorrow. 

        To that end, we encourage the government to explore options to incentivize greater employer participation in these programs.  For instance, this might involve expanding the Co-operative Education Tax Credit or offering a tax credit to employers who hire graduates of co-operative education. 

        On behalf of the Oakville Chamber, I thank you for the opportunity to share our member’s priorities for the upcoming budget.




        Oakville Chamber presents an evening at Theatre Sheridan

        Spend the evening at the Kit Kat Klub and enjoy the music, the atmosphere, and the passion of Cabaret!

        Exclusive to Chamber Members, the night begins with appetizers and cocktails inspired by the musical, before becoming immersed in the show that features Sheridan’s talented music theatre performance and technical production students.

        Theatre Sheridan’s productions are known for launching the careers of the next generation of theatre stars. Come From Away, the smash-hit musical warming the hearts of audiences around the world, was originally developed at Sheridan’s Canadian Music Theatre Project!
        Cabaret
        Book by Joe Masteroff

        Based on the play by John Van Druten
        and Stories by Christopher Isherwood

        Music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb
        Tuesday, February 18
        Reception – 6:00pm
        Show – 7:30pm

        Theatre Sheridan
        1400 Trafalgar Road
        Macdonald-Heaslip Hall

        Tickets: $45*
        *Your exclusive Oakville Chamber Member ticket includes:
        Private reception, hors d’oeuvres, cash bar, and FREE parking in Staff Lott 2

        Purchase your exclusive Oakville Chamber member tickets.


        Advocacy: A Year in Review

        Building a stronger more competitive business environment is always a top priority for the Oakville Chamber. This past year we spearheaded policy resolutions that were supported by the majority of Chambers across Ontario and Canada that will help improve and promote success for the business community. These public policies around growth and planning will help pave the way for improved housing affordability, infrastructure productivity as well as the regional economy. 

        Recognizing that our members and their employees are often required to travel to the United States for critical business, we also helped shape public policy that will enhance Canada/US labour mobility by reducing administrative burden and misinformation to help improve the process for business travelers and border crossings.

        Read our resolutions for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

        Read our resolution for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.


        Events

        The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion*
        *at the time of the event
        The Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
        Mayor of Oakville, Rob Burton
        The Honourable Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Finance* 
        *at the time of the event
        The Honourable Bill Morneau, Canada’s Minister of Finance
        2019 Federal Election Candidates Debate: Oakville
        2019 Federal Election Candidates Debate:
        Oakville-North Burlington
        The Honourable Caroline Mulroney, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation

        Headlines


        Calls to Action

        Letter for National Day of Action and Senate Committee Testimony

        The Oakville Chamber joined Chambers from across the country to sound the alarm that Canada is at an economic and social tipping point because of our failure to get energy resource infrastructure built. Read the letter.

        Vote Prosperity: Federal Election Platform

        The Canadian Chamber of Commerce launched  Vote Prosperity ,  the Canadian Chamber Network’s election platform.  Vote Prosperity   calls on all of the federal parties to support Canada’s job creators by including seven priorities in their election platforms. Learn more.


        Unleashing the economic potential of Ontario’s beverage alcohol sector

        The Oakville Chamber, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber, of released a new report:  Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario.

        Oakville Chamber gives thumbs up to Draft Economic Development Strategy

        “The Oakville Chamber is encouraged to see that the Economic Development Department has listened to the business community and is making plans to improve the business climate in Oakville.” Read the statement.

        Addressing Regional Imbalances Critical to Ontario’s Future

        The Oakville Chamber, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber Network, released a new report,  The Great Mosaic: Reviving Ontario’s Regional Economies. The report outlines how government of all levels can work with industry to unleash the potential of Ontario’s regional economies and reinforce the competitiveness of the province as a whole.

        A Roadmap for Business Success

        A Roadmap for Business Success is the Oakville Chamber’s advocacy priorities. It is built on four pillars:
        1. Business Competitiveness
        2. Transportation
        3. Recruit and Retain Talent
        4. Innovation


        What the Candidates Are Saying: 2019 Federeal Election

        As part of the Oakville Chamber’s advocacy efforts leading up to the federal election on October 21st, we invited candidates to share with our members their vision with the Oakville business community. Specifically, how their party’s policies and/or platform would strengthen Oakville’s business competitiveness.
         Read the Oakville North-Burlington candidate responses.



        Letter to the Town of Oakville: Budget 2020

        The Oakville Chamber wrote a letter to Mayor Rob Burton and Town Councillors with their priorities for the Budget 2020. Read the letter.

        Columns

        Canada is at an economic and social tipping point

        Canada’s resource sector remains a vital driver of our economy, helping to create jobs and economic prosperity not just for those who work in the sector, but for millions of Canadians across the country. Continue reading.


        Town report underscores Oakville chamber priorities

        Improving the business climate for our members is a top priority for the Oakville chamber. Breaking down barriers, helping to reduce red tape and navigating through the regulations and legislative requirements enforced by the various levels of government is what we do. Continue reading.


        It’s time for a comprehensive review of the Canadian Tax system

        Canada’s tax system is simply not working anymore. Businesses say it is deterring investment and driving it elsewhere. Continue reading.


        Oakville Chamber putting business priorities at forefront of federal election

        With a federal election only months away, the Oakville chamber, in conjunction with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, has launched its election policy website, Vote Prosperity, to highlight the needs of Canadian businesses to all parties in the upcoming federal election. Continue reading.

        Budget 2020: Oakville Chamber’s to do list for council

        The Oakville chamber’s submission focused on member’s concerns regarding the importance of supporting the growth of the existing business community, while remaining competitive against other jurisdictions when it comes to property taxes, development charges and industrial land sale values. Continue reading.


        Driving Oakville Forward

        As our communities become more “connected” through the collection of data, artificial intelligence and technology, it is vital that we are prepared for the business climate of the future. To that end, the Chamber is encouraging the Town to develop a Strategy for Urban Mobility and Transportation Planning. Continue reading.


        A Roadmap For Business Success

        A Roadmap For Business Success is the Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s advocacy priorities. 

        We have worked hard to identify what are the most pressing issues for our members.  Through member surveys, one on one meetings and roundtables we have identified four key issues that our advocacy efforts are focused on with all levels of Government:

        1. Business Competitiveness

        2. Recruiting and Retaining Talent

        3. Transportation

        4. Innovation


        Budget 2020 – Oakville Chamber calls on the Town to develop a strategy for urban mobility, prioritize infrastructure investments, and extend the parking incentives in Downtown Oakville

        On November 19th the Town of Oakville launched their proposed 2020 Operating and Capital Budgets to the Budget Committee.

        The Oakville Chamber’s submission focused on member’s concerns regarding the importance of supporting the growth of the existing business community, while remaining competitive against other jurisdictions when it comes to property taxes, development charges, and industrial land sale values.

        Moreover, as the Town continues to grow and intensify, we urged Council to prioritize infrastructure investment for the movement of people and goods and services.  Projects such as the Wyecroft Road Bridge and the Grade Separations of Burloak and Kerr will assist in alleviating congestion and improving safety.  However, the Chamber also encouraged Council to make the improvements to MidTown a priority by accelerating the planning and design for the Royal Windsor Interchange as well as working with the Ministry of Transportation on this crucial transportation network.

        The Chamber has been pleased to support many initiatives brought forward by the Town’s Economic Development department in an endeavor to strengthen our local economy.  According to the Town’s 2018 Economic Update, initiatives such as the new Brownfields Community Improvement Plan and the Economic Development Strategy have facilitated growth for the Town.  In fact, in 2018 new operations brought more than 1,600 new jobs while existing companies welcomed more than 560,000 square feet of new commercial and industrial development.[1]

        That’s why, we need to continue to support our business community that is the lifeblood of our Town. Oakville’s non-residential tax base represents 13.02 per cent of the total assessment base and contributes 18.24 per cent of all town taxes levied. In 2018, this amounted to $34.6 million in tax revenue collected.[2]  However, the financial contribution from the business community is further exceeded by the creation of jobs, the spending of funds locally as well as the contribution of companies giving back to the community.

        This underscores the importance of the Town remaining innovative and progressive in its effort to remain Canada’s best place to live.  As our communities become more “connected” through the collection of data, artificial intelligence and technology, it is vital that we are prepared for the business climate of the future.  To that end, the Chamber is encouraging the Town to develop a Strategy for Urban Mobility and Transportation Planning.  Moreover, it is crucial that this Strategy is aligned with the Town’s Economic Development Strategy to ensure that the needs of the business community are prioritized.

        We must support all businesses in Oakville including those located in our downtown.  Businesses have endured construction and decreased business on Lakeshore Road since April as a result of the downtown streetscape renewal project.  The Chamber strongly urged Council to resolve the impediments of this project and further called on the Town to evaluate the challenges of this downtown project to ensure that future streetscape projects don’t have similar delays and impacts on business. 

        Additionally, the Chamber supported the Downtown Mitigation Strategy and encouraged Council to continue to support our downtown core by extending the current parking incentives to January 2021. 

        On behalf of the business community, the Oakville Chamber will continue to work with Town Council on budget initiatives that will strengthen the local economy.

        [1] Oakville 2018 Economic Update

        [2] Oakville 2018 Economic Update


        Oakville Chamber Holiday Hours

        Please be advised that our office will be closed from noon on Tuesday, December 24th through Wednesday, January 1st. We will resume regular business hours on Thursday, January 2nd.

        We wish you all the happiest of holidays!


        Driving Oakville Forward

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce encourages Town’s Infrastructure Readiness for connected and autonomous vehicle technology

        As our communities become more “connected” through the collection of data, artificial intelligence and technology, it is vital that we are prepared for the business climate of the future.  To that end, the Chamber is encouraging the Town to develop a Strategy for Urban Mobility and Transportation Planning.  Moreover, it is crucial that this Strategy is aligned with the Town’s Economic Development Strategy to ensure that the needs of the business community are top priority.

        Transportation infrastructure and congestion remains a top concern for the Oakville community. Congestion on Oakville roads is a barrier to business, and members cite that Oakville does not have the road infrastructure for the development it needs. Additionally, Oakville’s economic growth is an important factor in the success of the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA).

        According to the Provincial Ministry of Finance, the Greater Toronto Areas (GTA) population is projected to increase from 6.9 million in 2017 to 9.7 million in 2041. Halton is projected to be the fastest-growing census division in Ontario over the projected period, with growth of 56.2 per cent to 2041. [1] 

        Similarly, our economy is growing.  Currently, according to the Town’s Draft Economic Development Strategy our local economy supports approximately 116,300 jobs; and between 2013 and 2018, the local economy grew by 9,763 jobs.  However, 64% of residents are commuting to jobs outside of Oakville with most commuting to jobs in Toronto, Mississauga, and Burlington. Oakville is a net importer of labour, with companies attracting a total of 65 per cent of workers from outside of Oakville. This indicates an opportunity to attract the local resident labour market into Oakville employment opportunities. [2]

        Increased employment growth, as well as population growth, is positive for our local economy; however it also underlines the Chamber’s call for building a resilient transportation network that works for all modes of transportation to supply the movement of goods and people. 

        That’s why the Chamber is calling on the Town to engage with Chamber business and industry leaders.  Oakville is well-positioned in the automated vehicle industry due in large part to the businesses located in Oakville that are leading the way in economic development; such as automotive as well as the information and technology sector, to position itself as an economic development leader around automated and connected vehicle technology.  

        Oakville is not alone in needing to explore this space.  Researchers and academics working in the field of connected and autonomous vehicles have strong relationships with their counterparts, paralleled by discussion between provincial and federal governments and information-sharing between municipalities.  It is important that as a community we engage with our local talent as well as reach out to other jurisdictions, including those with similar structures and similar environments.

        This underscores the need for the Town to develop a working group of stakeholders.  Working with businesses and a broad set of stakeholders is essential to foster employment and investment growth.  Cross sector collaboration is essential for competitiveness.  This cannot be done in isolation.

        Innovation is also key to our communities’ success surrounding the Urban Mobility and Transportation Planning Strategy. The Chamber believes that the strategy needs to incorporate a plan on innovation that includes partnering with the business and tech community, and piloting projects that drive smart city initiatives. 

        Finally, the Oakville Chamber strongly encourages the Town to develop a Strategy for Urban Mobility and Transportation Planning that ensures that town policies, programs and activities create an attractive climate for business investment and job creation for economic growth as well as a transportation network that makes the movement of goods and people a priority. 

        On behalf of the Chamber members we will look forward to working with the Town on this important initiative and we will be strident in our efforts for results.

        [1] Ontario’s Ministry of Finance Population Growth Census Data, June 25, 2018

        [2] Town of Oakville, Draft Economic Development Strategy


        By Faye Lyons
        Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy

        Letter to the Town of Oakville: Budget 2020

        Dear Mayor Burton and Town Councillors:

        On behalf of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce I am pleased to provide comment on the Town’s Budget for 2020. 

        The Chamber is pleased to support many initiatives brought forward by the Town’s Economic Development department in an endeavor to strengthen our local economy.  According to the Town’s 2018 Economic Update, initiatives such as the new Brownfields Community Improvement Plan and the Economic Development Strategy have facilitated growth for the Town.  In fact, in 2018 new operations brought more than 1,600 new jobs while existing companies welcomed more than 560,000 square feet of new commercial and industrial development.[1]

        An additional 200,000 people, in the next twenty years, coupled with new investment and supporting the growth of the existing business community, underlines the need for Oakville to remain competitive against other jurisdictions when it comes to property taxes, development charges, and industrial land sale values.

        Oakville’s non-residential tax base represents 13.02 per cent of the total assessment base and contributes 18.24 per cent of all town taxes levied. In 2018, this amounted to $34.6 million in tax revenue collected.[2]  However, the financial contribution from the business community is further exceeded by the creation of jobs, the spending of funds locally as well as the contribution of companies giving back to the community.

        This underscores the importance of the Town remaining innovative and progressive in its effort to remain Canada’s best place to live.  As our communities become more “connected” through the collection of data, artificial intelligence and technology, it is vital that we are prepared for

        the business climate of the future.  To that end, the Chamber is encouraging the Town to develop a Strategy for Urban Mobility and Transportation Planning.  Moreover, it is crucial that this Strategy is aligned with the Town’s Economic Development Strategy to ensure that the needs of the business community are prioritized.

        Furthermore, as the Town continues to grow and intensify, Council needs to prioritize infrastructure investment for the movement of people and goods and services.  Projects such as the Wyecroft Road Bridge and the Grade Separations of Burloak and Kerr will assist in alleviating congestion and improving safety.  However, the Chamber also encourages Council to make the improvements to MidTown a priority by accelerating the planning and design for the Royal Windsor Interchange as well as working with the Ministry of Transportation on this crucial transportation network.

        We must support all businesses in Oakville including those located in our downtown.  As Council is aware, businesses have endured construction and decreased business on Lakeshore Road since April as a result of the downtown streetscape renewal project.  The Chamber strongly urges Council to resolve the impediments of this project.  We call on the Town to evaluate the challenges of this downtown project to ensure that future streetscape projects don’t have similar delays and impacts on business. 

        Additionally, the Chamber supported the Downtown Mitigation Strategy and encourages Council to continue to support our downtown core by extending the current parking incentives to January 2021. 

        On behalf of the business community, the Oakville Chamber encourages Town Council to support budget initiatives that strengthen the local economy.


        Yours Truly,

        Drew Redden
        President & CEO 
        Oakville Chamber of Commerce
        ——————————————————

        [1]Oakville 2018 Economic Update

        [2] Oakville 2018 Economic Update


        Read as a PDF.



        Discover South Africa with the Oakville Chamber

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is heading to South Africa with Indus Travel! 

        Tour days: April 20, 2020 to May 2, 2020

        Tour summaryBegin your tour with one of the most iconic sights on the continent known as ‘The Smoke that Thunders’, Victoria Falls. Choose an accommodation to suit your style and enjoy a sunset cruise on the beautiful Zambezi River before venturing out to see one of the most spectacular sights in the natural world; the thundering Victoria Falls. 

        The South Africa tour gives travellers insight into the history and culture of South Africa. Guests can explore the vibrant city of Johannesburg at their leisure and enjoy a guided tour to the Soweto Township, a cultural melting-pot with a wealth of heritage sites that will fascinate any visitor. Marvel at the awe-inspiring wildlife of Kruger National Park before continuing on to historical, glorious Stellenbosch with its Cape Dutch architecture; it is the warm and wonderful heart of the Cape Wine lands. 

        Visit Cape Town, a modern city with a fascinating history that is regularly voted one of the most beautiful cities in the world, enjoy time to stroll along the waterfront, to visit Table Mountain or simply relax and do some last-minute shopping.

        Tour Price:
        Oakville Chamber Member $5,199 CAD per person
        Non-Member $5,349 CAD per person


        Airline:
        Emirates

        Learn more.



        Statement on the 2019 Federal Election

        Congratulations to Anita Anand and Pam Damoff on being elected in the ridings of Oakville and Oakville North-Burlington.

        The Oakville Chamber appreciated the level of engagement from all candidates as we had important conversations about the future of the economy and the priorities of business here in Oakville. 

        We look forward to continuing those important conversations with Anita Anand and Pam Damoff as we work together to support our local economy and strengthen Oakville’s business competitiveness.

        The Oakville Chamber also extends its congratulations to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada on forming a minority government.  

        – Drew Redden, President & CEO, Oakville Chamber of Commerce



        2019 Federal Candidates Debate

        On Tuesday, October 1 the Oakville Chamber of Commerce partnered with Sheridan College and YourTV to host 2019 Federal Candidates Debate for the Oakville and Oakville North-Burlington electoral districts.

        Questions were drawn from the Oakville Chamber membership, the Canadian Chamber Network’s Vote Prosperity Platform, and the Oakville Chamber’s Roadmap for Business Success

        Both debates are being broadcasted on YourTV until Election Day (Monday, October 21st). View the schedule.

        You can also watch the debates on their website.

        For voter information, please visit Elections Canada.

        Thank you to our Partners



        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce experienced another successful year. This success would not be possible without the ongoing support of our members. Thank you to our partners who supported us generously throughout the 2018/2019 year!


        Nominations Open for the 25th Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence

        The Oakville Awards for Business Excellence (OABE), hosted by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Rotary Club of Oakville West, is now accepting nominations for the awards, now in its 25th year.

        The OABE is dedicated to recognizing exemplary models of excellence and community service by Oakville’s businesses.

        “The Oakville Awards for Business Excellence has been celebrating the contributions businesses make to our community for 25 years” stated Tim Caddigan, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Take a moment to nominate a business that stands out as a leader, and ultimately makes Oakville a better place to work, live and play.”

        The 25th Annual OABE award categories open for nomination are:

        • RBC Royal Bank Large Business of the Year: This award recognizes a business of more than 20 employees and/or primarily serves the provincial, national and international markets and/or generates approximately $10 million or more in revenue annually.

        • Bell Mid-size Business of the Year: This award recognizes a business of 5-20 employees and/or primarily serves the regional/provincial markets and/or generates between $2 million-$10 million in revenue annually. 

        • Henderson Partners LLP Small Business of the Year: This award recognizes a business of 1-5 full time equivalent employees and/or primarily serves Oakville and district and/or generates up to approximately $2 million in revenue annually.

        • Professional Services Provider of the Year: This award recognizes a person or employee team with a professional designation and whose practice is regulated by a provincial regulatory body within Canada. Nominees will be considered from the following professional categories (but not limited to): Legal, Accounting, Engineering, Medical or Dental, Financial, Human Resources.

        • The Morris Mercanti Service Industry Award: This award recognizes a business that primarily earns revenue through providing products and services. Nominees will be considered from the following industries but not limited to: retail, food service, health & wellness and education.

        • KPMG Entrepreneur of the Year:This award recognizes an individual who personally exhibits extraordinary entrepreneurship, energy, inspiration, leadership and / or innovation in their business pursuits.

        • Young Professional or Entrepreneur of the Year (YPEG Award): This award recognizes an individual who personally exhibits extraordinary energy, inspiration, leadership and / or innovation in their business pursuits. Nominees must be under the age of 40 (as of December 31, 2019).

        Nominations will be accepted until 4pm EST on Thursday, October 31st.

        All nominations submitted will be reviewed by a panel of expert judges rating them against criteria set for each category.The Judges are individuals from the professional community who bring a wealth of professional expertise and unique business experiences, having made significant contributions to their own professions.

        The Oakville Awards for Business Excellence culminates in a gala dinner and award ceremony in April 2020. The proceeds from the evening, including the considerable support from our Partners, provide funds for the Rotary Club’s youth and academic programs.

         “Since its inception in 1995, the OABE has raised almost $1,000,000 for these programs which include the Oakville Rotary Education Awards, Camp Enterprise, the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, Dreams Take Flight, and the Notting Hill Youth Centre in Glen Abbey” stated Khal Zaid-Kaylani, President of the Rotary Club of Oakville West.

        To be eligible for nomination, organizations must be physically located in the Town of Oakville and cannot have won in any judged category in the last five years. A complete list of category criteria and eligibility rules can be found here.

        Nominate online.
        Alternatively, forms are available at the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.  For assistance, please call Karen Pomfret at 905-845-6613 ext. 210 or e-mail karen@oakvillechamber.com.  



        Addressing Regional Imbalances Critical to Ontario’s Future

        Industry report outlines strategies to unlock the economic potential of communities across the province

        Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber Network, released a new report, The Great Mosaic: Reviving Ontario’s Regional Economies. The report outlines how government of all levels can work with industry to unleash the potential of Ontario’s regional economies and reinforce the competitiveness of the province as a whole.

        “We are only as strong as our weakest link and our ability to prosper depends on the strength of our different regions. Economic and population growth rates in the Greater Golden Horseshoe and Ottawa have far surpassed those in other areas of the province,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Our communities – and the province as a whole – risk falling behind if we do not leverage the rich and diverse competitive advantages of our local economies.”

        The Great Mosaic: Reviving Ontario’s Regional Economies examines the opportunities and challenges faced by different communities across the province and offers a framework for thinking about the present and future of Ontario’s regional economies.

        “We urge policymakers to take a modern and comprehensive approach to economic development by leveraging the existing competitiveness advantages of Ontario’s regions, and implement deliberate strategies to support long-term growth in communities across the province,” added Rossi.

        The Ontario Chamber Network’s report makes 17 recommendations to strengthen the well-being of Ontario’s regions. Key takeaways include:

        • The most cost-effective way to drive economic development is to cultivate talent, trade, and infrastructure. Governments should make it a priority to upgrade transportation and energy networks, modernize their regulations and business supports, offer dynamic education and training opportunities, and encourage labour mobility.

        • Building regional capacity for innovation is fundamental to productivity and growth. This means improving commercialization and technology adoption, strengthening regional innovation centres, expanding broadband internet access, and facilitating cluster development.

        • Modern governance of economic development should empower a wide range of stakeholders including businesses, post-secondary institutions, and not-for-profit organizations outside government. Regional collaboration, economic reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and the use of data are all critical to mobilizing local assets.

        “In the face of technological transformation and globalization, there is no question that Ontario has what it takes to succeed. We are optimistic that the province can successfully navigate the modern economy if we work together to unlock the economic potential of our communities,” said Drew Redden, President and CEO, Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

         

        Read the Ontario Chamber Network’s report, The Great Mosaic: Reviving Ontario’s Regional Economies.

        Read the Ontario Chamber Network’s full list of recommendations.

         


        Oakville Chamber to host Steve Paikin at the 65th Annual Chair’s Dinner

        Canadian journalist, author and producer Steve Paikin will be the keynote speaker at the Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s 65th Annual Chair’s Dinner. The Chair’s Dinner will take place on Wednesday, September 25th at the Oakville Conference Centre.

        Steve Paikin has held reporting jobs in private radio and print media and is best known as the face of TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin. Since joining TVO in 1992, he has produced several feature documentaries and has sat in the anchor chair for more than two decades.

        The Chamber is pleased to welcome Steve Paikin as the keynote speaker at the 65th Annual Chair’s Dinner” said Drew Redden, President & CEO of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Paikin is a leading media figure on the Canadian political landscape – an author of four books on Canadian politics and has moderated six federal and provincial Election Leaders’ Debates. It is fitting that we are hosting him prior to the 2019 Federal Election. We look forward to hearing Steve Paikin’s insights on the Election and hearing stories from his notable journalism career.

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce will also introduce their 2019/2020 Chair of the Board and Board of Directors to the community at this formal event which includes a networking reception, dinner and raffle.


        Event Details:

        Date:               Wednesday, September 25

        Time:              5pm Networking Reception; 6pm Dinner Gala

        Location:        Oakville Conference Centre

                                2515 Wyecroft Road, Oakville

        You can register for the 65th Annual Chairs Dinner online. Tickets are $135 for Oakville Chamber members and $175 for non-members. Tables of eight are available at a discounted rate.



        Unleashing the economic potential of Ontario’s beverage alcohol sector

        Ontario Chamber Network Recommends a Comprehensive Approach to Alcohol Reform in Ontario

        Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released a new report, Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario. This report outlines how the province could modernize the sale and distribution of beverage alcohol and responsibly promote growth across all four categories – wine, beer, spirits, and cider. 

        “Ontarians want to see a more modern, convenient beverage alcohol retail system and we are closer than ever to substantive reforms to how alcohol is distributed, bought, and sold in Ontario,” says Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

        The report finds that, despite public support for modernization, reform is a more complex undertaking than it appears at first glance, due to the complexity of legislation and regulation involved. As the government proceeds with reforms to beverage alcohol sales, the Oakville Chamber and Ontario Chamber Network the need for a comprehensive approach to avoid perpetuating inequities in the taxation and regulation of wine, beer, cider, and spirits that limit growth.

        “By removing barriers and levelling the playing field,” Rossi added, “The Province can unleash the potential of the beverage alcohol sector, support regional economic development, meet the needs of today’s consumer, and generate greater tax revenue to fund the public services on which Ontarians rely.”

        Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario provides the Government of Ontario with a number of timely recommendations including:

        • Modernizing the sale of beverage alcohol by allowing beverage alcohol producers to sell their products on e-commerce marketplaces and platforms using third parties to process payments.
        • Alleviating tax burdens by reducing taxes on Ontario wines, aligning taxation levels for craft cider with those of craft beer, and applying a graduated tax to the current spirits basic tax.
        • Cutting red tape by reducing the reporting Ontario wineries and cideries have to complete from a monthly to quarterly basis, allowing Ontario spirits and craft beer producers with a retail store to sell their products at farmers’ markets, and providing airports with an exemption to allow for the sale of alcohol 24-hours-a-day.
        • Removing antiquated inter-provincial trade barriers by allowing consumers to purchase alcohol online from other provinces/territories and producers to deliver these products to the consumer’s home.

        “The power of the alcohol sector to be a force for economic growth extends beyond just the expected industries. The production, distribution, and sale of alcohol has a ripple effect that benefits agriculture, tourism and hospitality, and retail throughout the province” stated Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce.  

         

        Read the Ontario Chamber Network report, Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario here.




        Vote Prosperity: Federal Election Platform

        Vote Prosperity

        “Today the Canadian Chamber of Commerce launched Vote Prosperity, the Canadian Chamber Network’s election platform. Vote Prosperity calls on all of the federal parties to support Canada’s job creators by including these seven priorities in their election platforms:

        1. A tax system that is fair, efficient and modern.
        2. A regulatory system that works for everyone, including business.
        3. Access to new markets around the world and the breaking down of trade barriers at home.
        4. Resources to help small- and medium-sized businesses grow and succeed at home and abroad.
        5. Technology that makes Canada the most connected country in the world.
        6. A workforce with the skills, education and training required to prosper.
        7. A healthier pharmacare system for healthier Canadians.

        The Oakville Chamber will advocate on behalf of our members on these important priorities. We look forward to working with all of the candidates in the upcoming Federal Election.”

        Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce


        Visit www.voteprosperityCA.ca to learn more about this initiative.



        Provincial Budget 2019

        “The Oakville Chamber has been focusing our advocacy efforts on four key priorities: Transportation and Infrastructure, Business Competitiveness, Recruiting and Retaining Talent, and Innovation. The Chamber is encouraged to see these member priorities reflected in the Provincial Budget.

        The Chamber also welcomes the government’s focus on building a more competitive tax environment. The Ontario Job Creation Investment Incentive will provide the needed tax relief for business while promoting investment and job growth. The Oakville Chamber, along with the Ontario Chamber Network, will continue to encourage the government to help small businesses scale-up by creating a variable small business tax rate.

        The Oakville Chamber looks forward to seeing more details on the government’s planned investments of $14.7 billion in infrastructure over the next ten years, and will continue to press the government to address the province’s infrastructure deficit.”

        -Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce


        Read the Ontario Chamber of Commerce analysis.

        Read the Provincial Budget 2019.



        24th Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Oakville West presented the 24th Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence on March 27th at the Oakville Conference Centre. The Oakville Awards for Business Excellence are dedicated to recognizing exemplary models of excellence and community service by Oakville’s businesses and the invaluable contribution they make to Oakville’s economic development, unique character and outstanding quality of life.

        Being recognized by one’s peers, either by nomination or award recipient, is a thank you for the hard work and risk the finalists have incurred. As ambassadors for business in Oakville, finalists and award recipients provide guidance and inspiration to new and seasoned businesses – as well as young, aspiring entrepreneurs. They help foster the spirit of adventure and enterprise, risk and reward for young people and so it is fitting that the proceeds from the Oakville Awards for Business Excellence help support the Rotary Club of Oakville West’s youth programs, including the Rotary Education Awards, Camp Enterprise, and the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.


        Congratulations to the Award Recipients!

        RBC Royal Bank Large Business of the Year
        Encore Market Engagement
        Ken Pickthall and Brian Vanstone (Encore Market Engagement) with Award Presenter Peter Choma (RBC Royal Bank)

        Bell Mid-size Business of the Year
        BestLifeRewarded Innovations Inc.
        Cynthia Hastings-James and Susanne Cookson (BestLifeRewarded Innovations Inc.) with Award Presenter Lena Demarco (Bell)

        Henderson Partners LLP Small Business of the Year 
        Sounds Good AVS Solutions
        Robert May and Nikki Lord (Sounds Good AVS Solutions) with Award Presenter Christie Henderson (Henderson Partners LLP)

        Professional Services Provider of the Year 
        MNP LLP (Cornwall Road location)
        Matt MacDonald (MNP LLP) with Award presenter Tanya Leedale (O’Connor MacLeod Hanna LLP)

        The Morris Mercanti Service Industry Award 
        The Oakville Academy For The Arts
        Heidi Schofield (The Oakville Academy for the Arts) with Award Presenter Lynn Mercanti

        KPMG Young Professional or Entrepreneur of the Year 
        Blake Wyatt of Wyatt Development Group
        Blake Wyatt with Award Presenter Carlos Alvarez (KPMG)

        Oakville Hydro Conservation Leadership Award 
        Mauser Packaging Solutions
        Wojciech Tymczak, Shubi Bhattacharya, and Karen Anderson (Mauser Packaging Solutions) with Award Presenter Rob Lister (Oakville Hydro)

        Genworth Community Builder Award 
        Oakville Soccer Club
        Dave Harris (Oakville Soccer Club) with Award Presenter Kiki Sauriol-Roode (Genworth)

        CN Charity/Not-For-Profit Excellence Award 
        The May Court Club of Oakville
        Donna Samuels (The May Court of Oakville) with Award Presenter Daniel Salvatore (CN)

        Oakville’s Business Icon Award
        Geotab Inc.
        Award Presenter Michael Leblanc (FCT) with Neil Cawse (Geotab Inc.)


        Watch Geotab Inc. CEO Neil Cawse’s acceptance speech filmed by YourTV.

        For our full event album, please visit our Flickr page.



        Federal Budget 2019

        “The Oakville Chamber of Commerce continues to advocate that the Government focus on and address four key priorities identified by our members; Transportation, Business Competitiveness, Recruiting and Retaining Talent and Innovation.

        While the Budget delivers on some of our advocacy priorities that will advance the competitiveness of our members, particularly in the areas of infrastructure and housing affordability, it does fail to provide concrete measures to address the tax and regulatory burden on businesses.

        The Oakville Chamber, along with the Canadian Chamber network continue to look for a commitment from the Federal Government for a comprehensive review of the taxation system to make it fair and less cumbersome for businesses as well as a broad-based commitment to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses.

        Heading into the 2019 Federal Election, the Oakville Chamber will continue to engage with Federal representatives to advocate on behalf of our members, ensuring the focus remains on increasing overall business competitiveness and fostering innovation here in Oakville and across our Country.”

        – Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce

        Read the Canadian Chamber of Commerce analysis.



        24th Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence Nominees

        The nominees for the 24th Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence are:

        RBC Royal Bank Large Business of the Year Bell Mid-size Business of the Year Henderson Partners LLP Small Business of the Year Professional Services Provider of the Year The Morris Mercanti Service Industry Award KPMG Young Professional or Entrepreneur of the Year (YPEG Award) Oakville Hydro Conservation Leadership Award
        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West thank Platinum Partner RBC Royal Bank for their generous support of the 24th Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence. Event Details: Date: Wednesday, March 27th Time: 5:30pm – Registration & Reception; 6:30pm – Dinner & Awards Gala Location: Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre, 2515 Wyecroft Road Tickets: $135 per person. Register now.

        Canadian Business Associations United To Press For Action On Resources

        National Letter for National Day of Action and Senate Committee Testimony

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, representing 1,200 local businesses, is joining other Chambers from across the country to sound the alarm that Canada is at an economic and social tipping point because of our failure to get energy resource infrastructure built.

        The cohesion of our country is threatened by the devastating impact of low oil prices, our inability to get energy resources to global markets and a growing sense of alienation among Canadians who live and work in the resources sector.

        Our natural resources should be a source of pride for all Canadians. As producers of some of the cleanest, most ethically-produced energy products in the world, we should be doing all we can as a country to get them to global markets, where they can get a fair price, help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to our prosperity as a nation.

        Canada’s economic well-being is at risk and the growing sense that Canadians who live in resource-dependent regions are being ignored is creating deep and serious divisions among our citizens. We need to come together as one country and this letter is intended to deliver a clear message to politicians in Ottawa and across Canada: the businesses in your jurisdictions want you to act and act now.

        In order to do so, we are asking Canada’s federal and provincial leaders to:

        • Make amendments to Bill C-69 to bring greater clarity, predictability and transparency to the bill, as outlined in the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Senate submission.
        • Get our energy resources to tidewater, starting by recognizing that the Trans-Mountain Expansion is in the national interest and by expediting its construction in uncontested jurisdictions.
        • Implement the regulatory changes promised in the Fall Economic Update.
        • Declare a broad mutual recognition of each province’s standards, across all sectors.

        Canadians in all regions believe that we can and should get our resources responsibly to global markets.

        Canada’s business community is prepared to do its part. We need Canada’s politicians do theirs. Now.

        Sincerely,

        Drew Redden
        President & CEO
        Oakville Chamber of Commerce



        Canada is at an economic and social tipping point because of our inability to get energy resource infrastructure built. The business community presses for action from federal government

        Canada’s resource sector remains a vital driver of our economy, helping to create jobs and economic prosperity not just for those who work in the sector, but for millions of Canadians across the country.  These resources must be developed responsibly and sustainably and we must support the development of the infrastructure required to ship them to markets across Canada and around the world.   

        The oil and gas industry is Canada’s largest private investor, $40 billion annually.  Canada is currently struggling to attract investment to the resource sector. Rising costs from increased taxation, a burdensome regulatory environment, and the lack of pipeline infrastructure is negatively affecting our ability to compete for the capital needed to create jobs and national prosperity.

        In an effort to resolve some of these issues, the government introduced Bill C-69, a piece of government legislation titled “The modernization of the National Energy Board Act (NEBA) and Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA).” It seeks to overhaul both the NEBA and CEAA, changing how major infrastructure projects are reviewed and approved in Canada.  The Bill has been passed by the House of Commons and is now in its third reading in Senate.

        Although the Canadian Chamber supports the objective of a review and assessment process initiated by the government, the business community has a number of concerns with Bill C69 as it contains flaws that could seriously disadvantage specific sectors. 

        As drafted, Bill C69 could lead to greater uncertainty in the assessment and review processes. The new bill requires assessment and decisions based on broad public policy questions that are beyond the scope of individual projects. It introduces longer timelines, and vague criteria that will increase the risk of legal challenges. Additionally, it gives the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada broad discretionary powers, which could further increase uncertainty for major infrastructure projects

        Unless these issues are resolved, the legislation will increase regulatory uncertainty for many of Canada’s resource sectors and their related industries.  This uncertainty will deter investment and undermine economic growth and job creation.  Attempting to deal with the diversity of projects covered by the legislation with a one-size-fits-all legislative solution is doomed to fail.  To achieve its intended purpose, Bill C69 must be flexible enough to address the unique circumstances of all of our resource and infrastructure projects from ports, mining and utilities, to oil and gas, among others. 

        Subsequently, the Oakville Chamber is joining other Chambers across the country to call on the government to make amendments to Bill C-69 that will institute a regulatory process that allows for certainty, predictability and transparency to the Bill. This requires clear deadlines, keeping larger national policy discussion separate from the technical project reviews, and respecting provincial jurisdictions.  We are calling on the government to get our energy resources to tidewater, starting by recognizing that the Trans-Mountain Expansion is in the national interest and by expediting its construction in uncontested jurisdictions. 

        Pipeline delays and cancellations, open-ended and expensive consultation processes, and general project uncertainty have already scared off a great deal of investment capital and have put many projects at risk.

        If this bill is passed without significant amendments, it will create enormous uncertainty, more red tape and increased court challenges. Not only for the energy sector but for virtually every major infrastructure project in Canada for years to come, threatening our economic prosperity.

        In a global business environment, it is critical that our regulatory systems balance economic growth with environmental protection and that our elected government create the conditions for that sustainable growth.

        – Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy






        Oakville Chamber is proud to support the MNP Future Leaders mentorship program



        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to partner with MNP and other local stakeholders for the MNP Future Leaders mentorship program. We are dedicated to building the communities where we live and work and the local entrepreneurs we serve.

        Recognizing the importance of mentorship for growing businesses, this program provides entrepreneurs with the support, advice and tools they need to succeed in a rapidly-changing business environment.

        We encourage entrepreneurs to check their eligibility and apply before the March 25, 2019 application deadline.

        To learn more about the program, visit www.MNP.ca/futureleaders





        RBC Economic Outlook 2019

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce was pleased to present their members and the Oakville business community with the RBC Economic Outlook 2019. The event provided guests with the opportunity to hear from RBC’s Chief Economist Craig Wright, Ipsos’ Canada Vice President Sean Simpson, and Ontario Real Estate Association’s President Tim Hudak. Following the keynote presentations there was a question and answer forum moderated by Tim Cestnick, Columnist at the Globe and Mail and CEO of Our Family Office. 

        If you would like to obtain a copy of Craig Wright’s presentation slides please e-mail Kristen at kristen@oakvillechamber.com 

        Coverage of the event:




        Oakville Chamber receives Reaccreditation

        The Chamber Accreditation Council of Canada (CACC), a dedicated team of representatives from all levels of the Chamber Network, has given the Oakville Chamber of Commerce the highest praise the group can bestow. The CACC has re-accredited the Oakville Chamber for another three years: 2019 to 2021. Accreditation is a formal acknowledgement that member Chambers of Commerce have been successfully evaluated by the CACC against rigorous national standards of policy, service and performance.
         
        Accreditation ensures:
        • Strategic focus on core chamber activities.
        • Uniform practices and policies across the network.
        • Dependable governance procedures.
        • Distinctive brand identity.
        • A competitive edge against other business organizations.
        • A stronger “voice of business” in your community.
        • An increased role in national and international policy advocacy
         



        Oakville Chamber Hosts RBC Economic Outlook: Featuring a Distinguished Panel Offering Their Views for 2019

        Tim CestnickThe Oakville Chamber of Commerce will host its annual RBC Economic Outlook on Tuesday, January 22nd at the Oakville Conference Centre. The Chamber is excited to debut a new format that will include expert analysis and a panel discussion led by Tim Cestnick, Globe & Mail Columnist and CEO of Our Family Office. The expert panel will include:

        • Craig Wright, Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist, RBC
        • Sean Simpson, Vice President, Ipsos Public Affairs
        • Tim Hudak, Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Real Estate Association

        The event provides an ideal opportunity for business owners and professionals to understand how economic and social factors may impact their business. Questions to the panel will be accepted from the audience. Tickets are available to both Oakville Chamber members and non-members.

        “The RBC Economic Outlook is one of the Oakville Chamber’s signature events. We are excited to debut the new format and I look forward to hearing the panelists observations on the economy as we head into the New Year” stated Tim Caddigan, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We thank our partners RBC, Henderson Partners LLP, the Oakville Milton and District Real Estate Board (OMDREB) and Ipsos Canada for their support in making this event possible.”

        Event Details

        Date: Tuesday, January 22, 2018

        Time: 7:30am – 9:30am

        Location: Oakville Conference Centre (2515 Wyecroft Road)  

        Tickets:

        Oakville Chamber Members and OMDREB Members

        • Individual Tickets: $45
        • Table of 8: $325

        Non-Members

        • Individual Tickets: $65
        • Table of 8: $475

        Register online through the events calendar, or by contacting the Oakville Chamber directly at 905-845-6613, or info@oakvillechamber.com
        To register media attendance for this event, please contact Kristen Curry, Communications Manager, at kristen@oakvillechamber.com or at (905) 845-6613 x 209.



        Long-Term Transportation Plan Fundamental to Ontario’s Diverse Transportation Needs

        This week the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released Moving Forward: Towards a Strategic Approach to Ontario’s Transportation Needs (Part I), a policy report calling on the Ontario Government to develop a Long-Term Transportation Plan. To address the current and future transportation needs of the province, the report highlights three areas of opportunity that will help improve the movement of goods and mobility of Ontarians.

        In a recent Ontario Chamber survey, 58 percent of Ontario businesses rated existing transportation infrastructure as fair or poor. With much of the existing infrastructure in Ontario built in the 1950s and 1960s and nearing the end of its useful life, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce recognizes that the costs of investment are high, and Ontario is far behind when it comes to building new and maintaining old infrastructure.

        “Transportation is the backbone of our economy, affecting the movement of people and goods and the everyday lives of Ontarians and businesses,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Yet, congestion, limited transit connectivity, population growth, aging assets, unique regional needs, and a historic under-investment in infrastructure have led to a significant gap between the actual and needed infrastructure in Ontario. This has led to real challenges faced by Ontario residents and businesses every single day.”

        The Ontario Chamber developed an initial thirteen strategic and pertinent transportation recommendations for a stronger Ontario within three critical areas. Although not an exhaustive review of all transportation modes and regional needs across the province, this approach will help to address the current and future transportation needs of the province with a focus on:

        1. Transit planning governance (with an initial focus on the GTHA);
        2. Moving people and goods by rail; and
        3. Autonomous vehicles.

        The report points to short- and long-term opportunities, including CN Rail’s Milton Logistics Hub, the use of advanced signalling technology to increase capacity on subways, VIA Rail’s High Frequency Rail proposal, bringing two-way all-day GO Train service to the Innovation Corridor, developing ‘Union Station West’, and the return of passenger rail to Northern Ontario.

        Ontario was also the first province in Canada to implement a pilot regulatory framework to allow for the testing of autonomous vehicles and driverless technology. The report calls attention to the readiness of the province for the reality of autonomous vehicles in the near future, recommending Ontario capitalize on its first-mover status in this space. The OCC urges all levels of government to work together with industry to attract future investments, innovation, and jobs, as well as ensure Ontario is the first province to reap the benefits associated with this technology.

        “50% of Ontario businesses view transportation infrastructure as critical to their competitiveness. The province needs a plan that is strategic, provides value for public dollars, optimizes existing assets, leverages the private sector and technology, and takes into account the unique needs of our province,” added Rossi. “Moving forward, we will continue to consult our members on the province’s vast and diverse transportation needs.”

        The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has been active on the transportation file for years, and will continue to provide thought leadership on other transportation modalities as part of its ongoing advocacy on the province’s transportation planning and priorities.

        Read the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s report: Moving Forward: Towards a Strategic Approach to Ontario’s Transportation Needs (Part I).




        The Accelerating Pace of Change: Economic, Business and Policy Outlook for 2019

        Last night business and association executives, as well as senior public servants gathered at our annual Crystal Ball Symposium to hear from leading experts on how trends in technology, the global economy and international politics will affect Canadian business 2019 and beyond.   

        This year’s event featured Linda Mantia, Chief Operating Officer for Manulife.  Responsible for globally leading corporate strategy and corporate development, analytics, technology, marketing, innovation, human resources, regulatory and public affairs, global resourcing and procurement, and the global program office. Ms. Mantia and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Chief Economist Trevin Stratton discussed topics ranging from the growing economic divide and the national economy to strategies for businesses during this period of change.

        In the full report, released today, we lay out what we heard over the course of the last year about the environment businesses expect to be operating in throughout 2019 and the implications that has for policy-makers and business leaders.

        Read the full outlook.


        Sailing the Rhine: Holiday Markets

        Limited space. Fifteen cabins have been reserved at a special rate for members of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce!

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce introduces an inaugural River Cruise Trip in partnership with Expedia CruiseShipCentres Oakville South! 
        Embark on a romantic journey through Rhine River November 29 to December 9, 2019. Enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the Swiss Alps and explore the historical architecture. Visit Basel, Switzerland; Strasbourg, France; Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Rudesheim, Koblenz and Cologne, Germany; and Amsterdam, Netherlands. 

        All Inclusive Excellence
        The distinguishing hallmark of the Crystal River Experience is undiluted excellence. Aboard ships purposefully designed for today’s most sophisticated travelers, the ambience is carefree yet luxurious, engaging yet relaxing

        Legendary Expertise
        Built on over 28 years of expertise of serving luxury customers, Crystal River Cruises carefully crafted itineraries follow the Rhine River with Crysal’s award-winning fi nesse, venturing into the heart of iconic destinations adorned with castles and palaces, vineyards and forests, monuments, art and holiday markets!


        Learn more.



        2018 Fall Economic Statement

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce has issued the following statement in response the the Government of Ontario’s 2018 Fall Economic Statement.

        “The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is encouraged by many of the measures outlined in the Government’s Fall Economic Statement including the focus on fiscal accountability, electricity costs, and cutting cumulative red tape. Our local and provincial economy are strongest when industry and government work together.  We look forward to working with our local MPPs as we continue to discuss the measures outlined in the Fall Economic Statement and advocate on behalf of our members”

        Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce

        Read the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s analysis of the 2018 Fall Economic Statement.

        Read the 2018 Fall Economic Statement.




        10 Ways to Build a Canada that Wins: 2019 Election Edition

        For the past seven years the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has published the 10 Ways to Build a Canada that Wins (formerly the Top 10 Barriers to Canadian Competitiveness).

        This report, which is read widely by decision-makers in government and elsewhere, articulates a series of clear priorities and objectives that, if addressed, will give Canada a competitive edge, improve productivity and grow the economy.

        It is key that the 10 Ways to Build a Canada that Wins reflects the views of our members—businesses big and small throughout Canada—especially in an election year. That is why, this year, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is partnering with Hill+Knowlton Strategies on this feedback exercise. 

        Please participate in this 5-to-10-minute confidential feedback survey.




        By giving us your input, you will be:

        • shaping the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 message to the federal government and other stakeholders, and
        • telling chambers of commerce at the national, provincial, territorial and local levels about the priorities that are important to you, both as a Canadian and a business person.

        Please provide your input!




        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is hiring a Director, Membership Development

         Position and Job Title Job Title: Director, Membership Development Hours: Full time, permanent Reports to: President Salary Range: $55/70,000 Location: 700 Kerr. St. suite 200, Oakville, Ontario Summary The award-winning Oakville Chamber of Commerce representative of 1,100 member businesses of all sizes and sectors is seeking a dynamic, high energy and self-motivated Director, Membership Development to join our team.  Responsibilities include new member sales, up sells and membership retention as directed by the President. The successful candidate will be a strong communicator and have demonstrated sales experience in a member based organization.  This position works collaboratively with the Chamber Team to best meet the needs of new and existing members. Sales & Retention
        • Identify prospective Chamber members and implement a monthly sales plan;
        • Develop metrics with the President: sales, member visits, calls, and member conversions;
        • Develop a thorough understanding of the various Chamber membership levels and the benefits each provides a business;
        • Develop a retention strategy and work with Chamber Staff to strengthen membership renewal;
        • Develop a strong working knowledge of the Chamber and its various programs and promote to the membership;
        • Secure advertising revenue as per the Chamber’s approved sales target;
        • Participate in various Chamber meetings, events and activities;
        • Represent the Chamber at community events to enhance the Chamber brand within the community;
        • Always represent the Chamber professionally and positively.
        Other Duties
        • Assist with events as required;
        • Database maintenance;
        • Support Chamber advocacy work;
        • Other duties as assigned by the President.
        Preferred Background, Experience & Qualifications
        • Minimum three years outside sales experience;
        • Membership sales and membership based organization experience preferred;
        • Excellent presentation skills;
        • Experienced with Microsoft Office, Excel, Constant Contact, Database Programs and Social Media Channels;
        • Excellent organizational and follow up skills.
        Personal Attributes
        • Highly motivated with B2B sales experience;
        • Excellence in relationship building and relationship sales;
        • Thorough knowledge of Oakville business community and Chamber;
        • Ability to set and meet goals;
        • Excellent selling and closing skills;
        • Strong sales and prioritizing focus;
        • Excellent follow up skills;
        • Excellent networking skills.

        Apply now!

           

        Rapid Policy Update: Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018

        On October 23rd,  the Government of Ontario announced Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018The announcement included a near full repeal of Bill 148, dissolution of the Ontario College of Trades, and improvements to the journeyperson-to-apprentice ratio.

        What do these changes mean for business?

        1. Minimum wage paused at $14 per hour

        2. Partial repeal of scheduling provisions

          Bill 148 allowed employees to refuse a shift scheduled less than 96 hours before its start and required employers to pay staff for a minimum of three hours of work in the case of a cancelled/reduced shift. The government will be repealing the 96-hour rule, while maintaining the 3-hour rule.
        3. Removal of equal pay for equal work

        4. Returning to previous calculation of public holiday pay

        5. Return to previous union certification policies

          Bill 148 extended card-based union certification to the temporary help agency industry, the building services sector, and home care and community services industry, removing the need for a secret ballot vote.  In addition, Bill 148 forced employers to provide unions with access to employee lists and employee contact information where the union is able to demonstrate 20 percent employee support. It will return to the previous requirement to demonstrate at least 40 percent employee support.
        6. Amended personal emergency leave

          Under Bill 148, small businesses were required to provide a minimum of 10 personal emergency leave days per year (8 unpaid and 2 paid). This will be amended to require a total of 8 unpaid days within the following categories: 3 sick days, 2 bereavement days, and 3 family emergency leave days. To help promote accountability, employers may now once again ask employees for a sick note.
        7. Maintain domestic or sexual violence leave

          Bill 148 introduced a domestic or sexual violence leave provision, which gives employees the right to up to 10 days of individual leave and up to 15 weeks of leave if the employee or their child experiences domestic or sexual violence or the threat of such violence.
        8. Maintain paid vacation expansion

          The government will not be removing provisions that entitle employees to 3 weeks of paid vacation after 5 years with the same employer.
        9. Apprenticeship ratios set at 1:1

          10. Dissolution of the Ontario College of Trades The government has announced that it will be dissolving the Ontario College of Trades and uploading its responsibilities to the Ministry of Labour
        “Yesterday’s announcement is welcome news for the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. As Oakville’s business advocate, our position has been clear: Bill 148 was too much, too fast. The compounding labour reforms and unintended consequences came at too high a cost for Ontario’s economy and the businesses who employee Ontarians in Oakville and across our Province. The Oakville Chamber will continue to advocate on behalf of our members to ensure that the Government implements balanced policies that make it easier to invest, start, and grow a business as well as build an economy that connects workers to jobs” – Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce

        Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) For Certain Steel Goods

        On October 25, the federal government will enact provisional safeguard measures on the importation of a number of steel products, including heavy plates, concrete reinforcing bars, energy tubular products, hot-rolled sheets, pre-painted steel, stainless steel wires and wire rods. These will be administered in the form of a tariff-rate quota. For more information, please see the below notice from the federal government.  “This message pertains to imports of certain steel goods as set out in the Order Imposing a Surtax on the Importation of Certain Steel Goods. The purpose of this message is to inform Canadian businesses that the Government of Canada is imposing provisional safeguards in the form of tariff rate quotas (TRQs) on seven classes of steel goods. The provisional safeguards will take effect on October 25, 2018. We encourage you to disseminate this information to your members to ensure that Canadian businesses are aware that they need to obtain an import permit if  imported goods are to avoid the over-access surtax. Imports that exceed the quota will be subject to a 25 per cent surtax.  The TRQs will be administered by Global Affairs Canada by way of shipment-specific imports permits on a first come, first served basis. In order for goods to be considered within the quota, they must be covered by a valid import permit at time of accounting. Please refer to the Notice to Importers, Serial No. 911, and the Frequently Asked Questions for detailed information on which products and countries are covered by the TRQs, how the TRQs will be administered and how to apply for a shipment-specific permit.”

        Oakville Mayoral Debate 2018

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2018 Oakville Mayoral Debate in partnership with Sheridan and YourTV on Monday, October 15th at Theatre Sheridan. Questions from the debate were drawn from  A Roadmap for Business Success, a campaign outlining the Oakville business community’s priorities for the upcoming 2018 municipal election: Business Competitiveness, Transportation, Recruit and Retain Talent, and Innovation. 

        The debate will air on YourTV, Channel 700 on Cogeco, at the following dates and times:

        • Wednesday, October 17th at 9:00pm
        • Thursday, October 18th at 10:00am
        • Friday, October 19th at 10:00am
        • Friday, October 19th at 1:00pm

        You can also watch the Oakville Mayoral Debate online.



        Innovation: What are your Mayoral candidates saying?

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce released A Roadmap for Business Success, a campaign outlining the Oakville business community’s priorities for the upcoming 2018 municipal election: Business Competitiveness, Transportation, Recruit and Retain Talent, and Innovation. Read the Mayoral Candidate statements below.

        What is your plan to foster innovation in Oakville?


        Rob Burton
        Great things happen when we work together. Collaboration is a powerful tool and it’s at the root of what we can do together to see innovation flourish in Oakville.
         
        The old Post Office building in downtown Oakville has been earmarked for the location of an innovation hub. When repairs and upgrades to the building are completed, the space on its upper floors can become a place for burgeoning start ups to make connections, test ideas and gain access to needed resources.
         
        Exploring partnerships, on projects such as Smart City initiatives with groups like Silicon Haltonwill lead the way to opening opportunities during the renewal of downtown Oakville’s Lakeshore Road streetscape. The project would derive benefits from new technologies and local entrepreneurs can gain valuable hands on experience.
         
        Shortly, I plan to announce the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge, a competition that will invite individuals, start-up’s, small business and others to propose new solutions to overcome local issues like parking, traffic and infrastructure. With the advent of autonomous vehicles on the horizon, our roads and cities will be a different place in the future. Ride sharing is just the beginning. A group of judges will comprise senior Town of Oakville officials as well as experts from Oakville-based businesses who are leaders in R&D and technology. Teams/individuals will make submissions and finalists will have a chance to pitch their concepts to a live audience at Oakville’s Centre for the Performing Arts.

        Julia Hanna
        Becoming a Technological Leader – Not Just a Follower.
        As Mayor, it is one of my planning priorities for Oakville to become a leader in SmartCity technologies that improve residents’ quality of life and attract high tech jobs to our community. To help accomplish this goal I will harness our local talent and entrepreneurs to form a Technology Advisory Committee to help Oakville jump into the forefront of the adoption of smart technology that will benefit our community.
         
        Free Downtown WiFi & Smart Available Parking Spot Locator App
        I will use my position on Council to gain the support needed to have free WiFi installed in the Downtown as part of the upcoming Downtown streetscape renovations and instruct town planners to determine the best way to do the same in other Town centres.
         
        With WiFi-enabled, I will champion smart parking technology (called “smart parking pucks”) to be installed so people can find the closest available parking spot through an app on their smart phones. Not only is this a great convenience for people visiting Downtown, but it also sets Oakville on a smart technology path that can attract innovative companies. Stratford is an example of a community already benefiting from attracting innovative companies through WiFi and smart parking puck technology.

        John McLaughlin
        No response received. 










        Recruiting & Retaining Talent: What are the Mayoral candidates saying?

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce released A Roadmap for Business Success, a campaign outlining the Oakville business community’s priorities for the upcoming 2018 municipal election: Business Competitiveness, Transportation, Recruit and Retain Talent, and Innovation. Read the Mayoral Candidate statements below.

        What is your plan to help employers recruit and retain talent in Oakville?


        John McLaughlin
        No response received.

        Rob Burton

        For Oakville, helping local business to recruit and retain top achievers means creating a win/win environment. Employers need ready access to a highly skilled workforce and employees need a live/work location that is an asset to their lifestyle.

        The latest employment figures show that Oakville created over 3,000 jobs between 2016 and 2017, bringing our total to just over 89,000. Of that total 70% of jobs are full time employment. In 2017, Oakville had the highest share and number of new business openings compared to our regional neighbours.

        Region wide, Oakville has the highest share of knowledge-based and institutional jobs compared to other local municipalities. We also have the highest number of jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services sector. Oakville is home to over 1,200 medium sized businesses who collectively employ over 36,000 people. Over half of those businesses are independently owned and a high number have chosen to locate both home and business in our community.

        The statistics above tell us we’re creating an atmosphere that gives employers and employees confidence in locating in Oakville. We are consistently rated among the best places to live, raise a family and work in Canada, making Oakville an attractive part of an employment package.

        Working with our Regional and Provincial partners, we want to enhance our attraction as the best place to live and work through improved movement of people and a bigger supply of housing that is suited to today’s workers and their families.

        Julia Hanna

        Plugging Oakville’s Youth Brain Drain

        The presence of young people and young families is a sign of a healthy, growing community. As a larger percentage of our population reaches retirement, attracting young people has become an increasingly urgent priority for municipalities across Canada. Unfortunately, Oakville is experiencing a Youth Brain Drain. Parents have little hope their adult children can work and live in the community in which they were raised. This loss of our young people significantly impacts our business community who rely on the energy, innovation and talent of young workers. As Mayor, I am committed to a vibrant and flourishing community that will enable more of our adult children to stay in Oakville.








        Transportation: What are the Mayoral candidates saying?

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce released A Roadmap for Business Success, a campaign outlining the Oakville business community’s priorities for the upcoming 2018 municipal election: Business Competitiveness, Transportation, Recruit and Retain Talent, and Innovation. Read the Mayoral Candidate statements below highlighting how they will address transportation challenges in Oakville. 

        What is your plan to address transportation challenges in Oakville, both movement of goods and movement of people?


        Julia Hanna
        Smart Traffic Technology Investments
        Many proactive communities around the world are benefiting from improved traffic flow through smart traffic management systems. These systems can provide centrally-controlled traffic signals and sensors that regulate the flow of traffic through the city, in response to demand.
         
        Oakville needs to manage growth before the growth happens. With almost all growth planned a decade or more in advance, and with the Town of Oakville levying some of the highest development fees on new home construction in North America ($73,900 in municipal development charges. Source: Atlas Group Report, April 2018), the Town should be able to better anticipate and manage traffic congestion on Town roads.
         
        As Mayor, I will support increasing capacity on Oakville’s arterial roads to keep people moving. I will champion the implementation of smart traffic technologies. And I will work with Council to improve the Town’s planning process to ensure we align the implementation of congestion management strategies with future development.
         
        Advocate for GO Transit Improvements
        GO Transit is a vital link for thousands of Oakville residents every day. Metrolinx has been making significant improvements to the frequency of service and the infrastructure supporting it to make service more reliable. As Mayor, Oakville’s GO riders can count on me to be a tireless advocate at every level of government to continue this progress. Fast, reliable public transit is one of the best ways to get people home in time for dinner.

        John McLaughlin
        Efficient and economical transportation, is critical to economic competitiveness and mobility.  Oakville doesn’t need “more” roads, it needs “more” from its roads.  Congestion (and commuter delays) is largely a problem of a growing regional population, new development beyond traditional urban areas, as well as increased longevity.  That population is largely on the “go” over existing road networks, increasing gridlock, noise, pollution and placing more stress on operating & capital budgets, as well as accelerating the decay of those assets.  I will quickly introduce zero-emission electric vehicles, both public & personal transit, reducing pollution, noise and operating costs. This de-carbonized transportation is also innovative, environmentally friendly as well as more “fun”.  I will encourage a municipal rebate zero-emission purchase/use program as well as special “green transit” lanes on our roadways.  Single person/per vehicle trips are no longer sustainable, rather multiple person/per trips are preferred, removing the number of cars on the road during peak travel times, as well as preserving the environment and reducing travel times for both goods and persons.  Behavioral changes to transportation thinking are necessary, beginning with Oakville transit which will run “grid” return routes, with electric-vehicles at a $2 flat fare (PRESTO integrated) anytime rate, on a 24 hour basis (reduced service after 11:00 p.m.) with connections to GO stations — and also run a “special” 4 time daily trip to Milton return, to serve that growing labour & residential market.  Ride “sharing” will finally be rewarded, with gas tax revenues (expected to decline) funding a “rebate” program for 2 or more in a car!  Free parking (24/7) will also be instituted Town wide, to promote business, tourism & recreation.

        Rob Burton
        Our regional and provincial partnerships are at the core of improving Oakville’s movement of goods and people.
         
        The largest projects are with Metrolinx, for grade separations at Burloak Drive and Kerr Street. These will give commuters and commercial traffic faster, safer access to the QEW. Future rail electrification, with its associated 10-minute GO service, forecasts an increase in demand for rail service. We’re asking the province to increase station capacity with a GO station expansion on the west side of Trafalgar Road. This would provide faster access for commuters from the north and east. We continue to ask our provincial representatives to move forward with the construction of our “missing link” highway interchange at Royal Windsor Drive.
         
        Halton Region has agreed to my request to move forward with the Wyecroft Road Extension and Bridge. This crossing will benefit merchants and shoppers and commuters.
         
        Halton Region’s Advanced Traffic Management System will assess real time traffic conditions and in turn, trigger traffic signal response to current demand on a 24/7 basis.
         
        Locally, commercial and residential users will benefit from the Speers Road Reconstruction Project which will see the Speers Road Corridor rebuilt from Third Line to Kerr Street. Road capacity increases are also set for Bronte, Dundas, Trafalgar, and Cornwall. The new roads will include separated bike lanes, providing direct access to GO transit for active transportation users.








        Business Competitiveness: What are the Mayoral candidates saying?

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce released A Roadmap for Business Success, a campaign outlining the Oakville business community’s priorities for the upcoming 2018 municipal election: Business Competitiveness, Transportation, Recruit and Retain Talent, and Innovation. Over the next four weeks, the Oakville Chamber will be releasing Mayoral Candidate statements highlighting the candidates’ vision on how they would address each of the four pillars, kicking off today with Business Competitiveness. 

        What is your plan to strengthen business competitiveness in Oakville?


        Rob Burton

        As one of 
        the most educated communities in Canada, Oakville offers business a highly skilled professional workforce on the doorstep. Our commercial property tax rates are some of the lowest in the GTA and we have ample employment land for development. Oakville is known for its livability and ranks as one of the best places in Canada to raise a family. However,to keep our local businesses moving forward, takes more.
         
        This year, Oakville achieved ISO 37120 platinum certification from the World Council on City Data (WCCD). This is a crucial first step in creating an expanding portal of data that can drive development of new technologies, optimize business processes and enhance research to make data-driven decisions and solve complex problems.
        The prospect of a Lifesciences Campus, to be built in close proximity to the new hospital is moving closer. Such a hub doesn’t just create collaboration. It becomes a competitive cluster. Physical co-locating of firms creates an economic zone that shares infrastructure, inter-firm learning and collaboration that can continually feed innovation and improvement.

        At the local level we are continuing to improve infrastructure through renewal of local roads and the planning of additional parking in our commercial business areas. Regional projects include widening and improvement of Region roads and updating of storm sewers to adapt to climate change.

        Lastly, we continue to nurture relationships with city and regional representatives from both China and India to pave the road for new business opportunities.

        Julia Hanna
        Make Economic Development a Town Priority Again
        For 12 years, the current Mayor has paid lip service to economic development and Oakville has developed a reputation as a difficult and very costly place to locate a business. Our Town has the highest office space vacancy rate in the GTA and has suffered the departure of major companies like: Tim Horton’s, Manulife, Shredit, Mattamy, as well as many small and mid-sized businesses.
        As Mayor, I will champion economic development that attracts more professional, high tech, office employers and businesses to Oakville so more people can work closer to home.
         
        Help Existing Businesses Create More Jobs
        As the Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, I met a wide array of businesses. One of the issues I heard over and over was that businesses wanted to expand and create more jobs in Oakville, but their plans were curtailed or abandoned because of the onerous regulations and punishing fees levied by the Town. As Mayor, I will demand a full review of all Town fees levied against business expansion.
         
        Enable Local Companies to Compete Equally for Town Contracts
        Oakville has some of the brightest and most innovative companies and entrepreneurs in Canada. As Mayor, I will work with Council and Town procurement to stop small companies from being shut out of Town business and enable them to compete on an equal footing with major multi-nationals. These businesses benefit the whole community, creating local jobs, paying Oakville taxes offering local knowledge and expertise.

        John McLaughlin
        Business competitiveness requires a lower business tax rate (not just for BIA’s) & municipal incentives and partnerships. The Chamber of Commerce business membership also agrees. Competitive business practices also requires an integrated transit plan to provide another means for a local skilled workforce to travel to, and from – a workplace, in today’s environment, often on a 24 hour basis. My electric transit zero-emission plan is part of that strategy and will encourage local jobs & sourcing opportunities, plus an infrastructure build-out that is modern, technical & innovative. Local education & training & market opportunities (e.g. skills, trades, computer science, engineering etc.) must be integrated with local business and Chamber member’s, to help sustain and grow a businesses footprint. Our locality, promotes cross-border market opportunities, in conjunction with provincial & federal partners. The “borderless” electronic age also permits business to locate further away from customer’s – provided shipment time or service delivery is only an incremental cost. Additionally, “red-tape” reduction, affordable housing and less road congestion are key factors to competitiveness (and within the Town ‘s control as they created these problems. Also, government training or incentives are critical to innovate, update and increase local employment, plus grow & foster partnerships with supply chain partners and customer markets. Transportation, infrastructure and “free parking” for local customers all contribute to a more competitive business environment for Oakville. The Mayor & Council have failed to keep Oakville competitive, rather at times, political opportunists more interested in their own “re-election”, not Oakville’s economic or social future..








        Tim Caddigan Appointed Oakville Chamber Chair

        The Board of Directors of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Tim Caddigan has officially begun his term as Chair of the Board. Tim was sworn in by Mayor Rob Burton at the Oakville Chamber’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, September 11th.

        Tim has served as a member of the Oakville Chamber Board of Directors since 2012 and on the Oakville Chamber’s Executive Committee as Vice-Chair of the Chamber Board since 2016.

        Tim Caddigan is the Senior Director, Programming and Community Relations at Cogeco. Cogeco Connexion is the second largest cable operator in Ontario and Québec in terms of the number of basic cable service customers served. It provides its residential and small business customers with video, Internet and technology services through its two-way broadband cable networks.

        Tim is a member of the senior management group at Cogeco, where he leads a team that provides television programming and public relations activities in various markets throughout Ontario. They work closely with multiple stakeholders and community leaders including all levels of government. Tim’s role includes Federal regulatory adherence and human resources oversight for approximately 100 employees.

        Tim is also an active member of the broadcasting and telecom industry with a solid grasp of marketing, public relations and media relations. Tim is a graduate of the Queen’s University School of Business. He is a strong supporter of local communities and has volunteered his time with various groups and organizations.

        “Tim brings a wealth of business experience and knowledge to his new role that will contribute to the ongoing success of the Oakville Chamber” stated Immediate Past Chair Ken Nevar. “Tim has provided his expertise to the Board as a Director for six years and has been a member of the Oakville Chamber’s Marketing Committee for six years. I’m looking forward to Tim’s leadership throughout the coming year.”  Ken Nevar has completed his term as Chair of the Board, and Oakville Chamber President Drew Redden congratulates him on an outstanding job. “Ken’s background and experience helped frame our research, advocacy and recommendations throughout his term as Chair. The Oakville Chamber hosted many special guest speakers including Former Prime Minister the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, The Honourable Perrin Beatty, President & CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and Randy Pilon, CEO of Virox Technologies Inc. I also thank Ken for all of his support throughout the transition to my role as President.”

        Ken Nevar will be recognized for his contribution to the Chamber at the Annual Chairs Dinner where Tim Caddigan, along with the incoming Board of Directors, will be introduced to the community. This formal evening includes a networking reception, dinner and raffle.
        The Oakville Chamber is pleased to present the 2018/2019 Board of Directors:

      • Tim Caddigan, Chair of the Board – Senior Director, Programming & Community Relations, Cogeco
      • Ken Nevar, Immediate Past Chair of the Board – Executive Advisor, Cooper Construction Limited
      • Mark Emmanuel, Vice Chair & Chair Elect –  District Manager Halton & Hamilton, Union Gas Limited
      • Jennifer Kazmaier, Vice Chair – Owner, CalaCare Limited
      • Doug Eglington, Vice Chair – Chairman, Euro-Line Appliances Inc.
      • Barry Wylie, Treasurer – President, Canadian Club of Halton 
      • Cameron Neil, Corporate Secretary – Associate, Feltmate, Delibato, Heagle LLP
      • Lisa Azzuolo, Director – Chief Marketing Officer, Bennett Jones LLP
      • Kris Barnier, Director – Vice President Government Relations, Genworth Canada
      • Todd Courage, Director – President, Courage Distributing Inc.
      • Mary De Sousa, Director – Consultant, FirstOntario Credit Union
      • Caroline Hughes, Director – Vice President Government Relations, Ford Motor Company of Canada Limited
      • Joni Lien, Director – Owner, SupperWorks
      • Ben Molfetta, Director – Co-Founder, Core Online Marketing
      • Rafal Piotrowski, Director – Partner, PwC
      • John Piper, Director – Owner/Operator, Piper Foods Inc./McDonald’s Restaurants
      • Christine Szustaczek, Director – AVP Communications, Public Affairs and Marketing, Sheridan
      • Ruth Victor, Director – President, Ruth Victor & Associates 









      • A Roadmap for Business Success: Oakville Municipal Election 2018

        A Roadmap for Business Success

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce provides recommendations to drive economic development to the forefront of the municipal election

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce released A Roadmap for Business Success, a campaign outlining the Oakville business community’s priorities for the upcoming 2018 municipal election. A Roadmap for Business Success builds off a recent advocacy survey conducted by the Oakville Chamber and provides all candidates running in the municipal election with the key issues and priorities facing the local business community. A Roadmap for Business Success, is built on four pillars:

        1. Business Competitiveness

        Oakville Chamber members identified the top issues impacting business competitiveness as;
        • Taxation
        • Red Tape
        • Cost of Housing
        Strengthening the competitiveness of the Oakville Business Community must remain a priority for all candidates during this campaign.

         2. Transportation

        The Oakville Chamber encourages the Town to work with local business to better understand and track employee commutes of those entering Oakville through the GO network for the last mile of their journey.
        • 75% of survey respondents stated that congestion on Oakville roads is a barrier to their business.

        3. Recruit and Retain Talent

        Oakville is home to a world class educational institution and over 300 national and international corporate head offices. We must leverage the talent and opportunity we have in our own backyard.
        •  3 in 10 respondents highlighted that recruiting and retaining talent in Oakville can be a challenge for their business.

        4. Innovation

        The Chamber encourages innovation by partnering with the business and tech community to pilot projects that drive smart city initiatives. The Lakeshore Road Reconstruction and Streetscape Project presents an opportunity to lay the foundation for Oakville to be one of the most connected and innovative communities in Ontario. Oakville must leverage the new technology and infrastructure on Lakeshore to enhance the connectivity across the entire Town. Prioritizing data collection will enable the Town to analyze the opportunities to foster innovation and increase efficiency.
        In partnership with YourTV and Sheridan College, the Oakville Chamber will be hosting a Mayoral Debate in October. In the four weeks leading up to the debate, the Chamber will be releasing Mayoral Candidate statements highlighting the candidates’ vision on how they would address each of the four pillars.

        Ron MacLean keynote speaker at the 64th Annual Chairs Dinner

        AcclaRon MacLeanimed Canadian Sportscaster and Oakville resident Ron MacLean will be the keynote speaker at the Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s 64th Annual Chairs Dinner. The Chairs Dinner will take place on Wednesday, September 12th at the Oakville Conference Centre.

        Known for his quick wit and encyclopedic hockey knowledge, MacLean reaches millions of homes across the country on Coach’s Corner and Roger’s Hometown Hockey. He has interviewed the greatest players, coaches, and personalities in the sport, and is a master of seeking the best in substance and entertainment from his guests.  MacLean is a multi-Gemini Award winner and a two-time recipient of the George Gross Award, which honours excellence in sports broadcasting, and he is a former Level 5 referee for the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association. Ron MacLean has been proud to call Oakville home for the past 32 years. “The Chamber is thrilled to present Ron Maclean as the keynote speaker at the 64th Annual Chairs Dinner.  It is always exciting when we have the opportunity to profile one of our local residents who is so well regarded on the world stage” stated Oakville Chamber President Drew Redden. “Ron has a wealth of experience to share; from his early days as a referee and radio broadcaster, to his time on Hockey Night in Canada and covering many Olympic games, to his role as host of Hometown Hockey. We cannot wait to hear Ron’s stories.” At the Chairs Dinner outgoing Chair of the Board Ken Nevar will be recognized for his contribution to the Oakville Chamber. The incoming Chair and Board of Directors will also be introduced to the community at this formal event which includes a networking reception, dinner and raffle.
        Event Details:
        Date:    Wednesday, September 12 Time:   5pm Networking Reception; 6pm Dinner Gala Location: Oakville Conference Centre 2515 Wyecroft Road, Oakville You can register for the 64th Annual Chairs Dinner online, by emailing info@oakvillechamber.com, or by calling the Chamber at 905-845-6613. Tickets are $125 for Chamber members and $175 for non-members. Tables of eight are available.  

        Oakville Chamber joins Coalition to Keep Trade Free

        Keep Trade Free Coalition












        The Coalition to Keep Trade Free helps organizations mobilize at the local, state and federal levels to advocate for freer trade within North American and around the world, as well as to ensure a successful renegotiation of NAFTA for continued economic prosperity for Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

        We are all in this together. U.S. and Canadian companies know the value of free trade between both of our countries, which is why we need to act to make sure that our bottom lines and our jobs are not killed by bad U.S. trade policy.

        We must consider the facts:

        • Canada is the largest trading partner of the U.S., resulting in U.S. companies relying on Canadian buyers to the tune of nearly 300 billion USD.
        • Nearly nine million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Canada, which leaves the U.S. at risk of losing two million of those jobs by 2026 with continued tariffs and a failure to reach a new NAFTA agreement.
        • Each American household stands to lose more than 1,000 USD of purchasing power without a renewed NAFTA. With an average household income of 59,000 USD, families will lose up to 20% of what they have to spend after paying all of their bills. That is real pain for the average U.S. family.
        • More than two-thirds of a trillion USD of goods and services cross the U.S.-Canada border every year, which amounts to nearly a quarter of all U.S. trade.
        • The supply chains of U.S. and Canadian companies are so inextricably integrated that it would take companies three to five years to fully restore their suppliers with solely domestic providers. No company can weather that storm, U.S. or Canadian.

        Canada and the U.S. have been growing together as neighbours for nearly 200 years, creating shared prosperity for businesses on both sides of the border.

        We need to come together with one voice to protect North American companies and jobs because we are already one business community.

        Learn more at KeepTradeFree.com



        Live Stream Lunch Survey

        Live Stream Lunch Logo

        Over the summer, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce launched a pilot project for their new online series Live Stream Lunch. Over the course of 6 weeks, the Oakville Chamber went Live on Facebook Thursdays at noon with an industry expert.

        View our Live Stream Lunch playlist on YouTube for the 6 Live Stream Lunches.

        Please take a few minutes to provide us with feedback on the Live Stream Lunch series. Take the short survey now.

        Annual General Meeting 2018

        The Oakville Chamber’s 2018 Annual General Meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 11th. The meeting will be held at the Quality Hotel & Suites (located at 754 Bronte Road), and will begin at 3:00pm. 

        All Oakville Chamber of Commerce members are invited to attend.  Details of the Annual General Meeting have been e-mailed to all Chamber member designated representatives.

        If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Oakville Chamber at 905-845-6613 or info@oakvillechamber.com.




        Nominations Open for the 24th Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence

         The Oakville Awards for Business Excellence (OABE), hosted by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Rotary Club of Oakville West, is now accepting nominations for the 24th Annual Awards. Nominations will be accepted until Friday, September 28th at 4pm EST.

        The OABE is dedicated to recognizing exemplary models of excellence and community service by Oakville’s businesses. “We encourage members of the business community and general public to nominate any Oakville-based business with whom you’ve had consistently great experience. It is a wonderful opportunity to formally acknowledge their dedication, hard work and contribution to our community” stated Peter DeGroot, President of the Rotary Club of Oakville West.

        The 24th Annual OABE award categories open for nomination are:

        • RBC Royal Bank Large Business of the Year: This award recognizes a business of more than 20 employees and/or primarily serves the provincial, national and international markets and/or generates approximately $10 million or more in revenue annually.
        • Bell Mid-size Business of the Year: This award recognizes a business of 5-20 employees and/or primarily serves the regional/provincial markets and/or generates between $2 million-$10 million in revenue annually. 
        • Small Business of the Year: This award recognizes a business of 1-5 full time equivalent employees and/or primarily serves Oakville and district and/or generates up to approximately $2 million in revenue annually.
        • Professional Services Provider of the Year: This award recognizes a person or employee team with a professional designation and whose practice is regulated by a provincial regulatory body within Canada.
        • The Morris Mercanti Service Industry Award: This award recognizes a business that primarily earns revenue through providing products and services. Nominees will be considered from the following industries but not limited to: retail, food service, health & wellness and education.
        • KPMG Entrepreneur of the Year:This award recognizes an individual who personally exhibits extraordinary entrepreneurship, energy, inspiration, leadership and / or innovation in their business pursuits.
        • Young Professional or Entrepreneur of the Year (YPEG Award): This award recognizes an individual who personally exhibits extraordinary energy, inspiration, leadership and / or innovation in their business pursuits. Nominees must be under the age of 40 (as of December 31, 2018).


        “The Oakville Awards for Business Excellence celebrate the many contributions our business community makes to the outstanding quality of life we enjoy here in Oakville,” stated Ken Nevar, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “This year we are excited to introduce a new award, The Morris Mercanti Service Industry Award to recognize the service-based businesses in our community. We are also pleased to have the Young Professional or Entrepreneur of the Year (YPEG Award) return for a second year, which recognizes the leadership and innovation driven by Oakville’s young professionals.”

        All nominations submitted will be reviewed by a panel of expert judges rating them against criteria set for each category.The Judges are individuals from the professional community who bring a wealth of professional expertise and unique business experiences, having made significant contributions to their own professions.

        The Oakville Awards for Business Excellence culminates in a gala dinner and award ceremony in March 2019. The proceeds from the evening, including the considerable support from our Partners, provide funds for the Rotary Club’s youth and academic programs.

        To be eligible for nomination, businesses must be physically located in the Town of Oakville and cannot have won in any category in the last five years. A complete list of category criteria and eligibility rules can be found at www.oabe.ca. Nominations can be submitted online at www.oabe.ca. Alternatively, forms are available at the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.  For assistance, please call Karen Pomfret at 905-845-6613 ext. 210 or e-mail karen@oakvillechamber.com.  



        How Has Bill 148 Impacted Your Business?

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber Network are seeking grassroots data on the impact of Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, which amended the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act. How has the increase to the minimum wage, new scheduling provisions, expanded personal emergency leave, equal pay for equal work, and other changes impacted your business?

        This information will be summarized in a document to be shared with the government in order to advise them on how to bring balance back to labour legislation in Ontario.

        The Oakville Chamber is looking for specific, statistical information about the financial, legal, and administrative impacts of Bill 148 on your business since January 1, 2018. Your name or contact information will not be collected, and all data will be presented in aggregate.

        To share how Bill 148 has impacted your business, please use this form.

        Your input is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

         


        Entire Cabinet Has a Role in Making Ontario Open For Business

        With the legislative session resuming today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Network wrote to each provincial Cabinet minister, outlining a blueprint to execute over the next four years that will help make Ontario open for business. The Network’s blueprint includes both policy asks where immediate action is required to support business and foundational recommendations for long-term prosperity.

        A key tool to making this province competitive is reducing red tape. The Ontario Chamber Network believes Premier Ford’s step to create a separate Deputy Minister for Red Tape and Regulatory Burden Reduction is an excellent start in lowering the administrative burden felt by Ontario businesses.

        “We are providing all Ministers with a blueprint for steps that can be taken to ensure we are growing Ontario’s economy and building shared prosperity for all,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Each ministry has a fundamental role to play in making Ontario open for business and we look forward to working with Premier Ford as well as his cabinet in achieving the policy commitments that support businesses across the province.”

        The themes that emerged in the Ontario Chamber Network’s blueprint for making Ontario open for business include:

        • Fiscal balance: fundamental to economic growth is ensuring that the Government of Ontario’s own fiscal house is in order
        • Business competitiveness: the most powerful tool in making this province competitive is reducing red tape; we ask that the government prioritize lowering the administrative burden on business and ensure that regulation is streamlined and effective
        • Investment growth: investing in Ontario through strategic spending is essential to fostering job creation and building healthy and productive communities across the province.
        • Government accountability: Poor implementation of government initiatives in the past has led to resource waste, mismanagement, and disruption for both businesses and residents.

        “To ensure Ontario’s economy has a strong foundation, business and government must work together to support evidence-based policies. As Ontario’s business advocate, the OCC is committed to working with the Ontario government to ensure the public policies introduced contribute to a competitive business environment as well as the economic and social well-being of our province,” added Rossi.

        To read the blueprint letters to Cabinet Ministers please click here.



        New Ontario Government Speech from the Throne

        On July 12th, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, delivered the Speech from the Throne laying out the priorities of the new PC government.

        Yesterday’s Speech from the Throne officially opened the first session of the 42nd Parliament of Ontario, with the new government calling itself “Ontario’s government for the People.” Many of the commitments made were previously announced by the PC Party during the election campaign.

        The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has provided a synopsis of the Speech from the Throne below with key highlights most important to business. Throne speeches provide a general overview of the government’s policy commitments rather than specific details.

        Highlights:

        Job Creation and Business Competitiveness

        The Ontario government is committed to reducing the regulatory burden businesses are facing. Some specifics include reducing gas prices, lowering taxes for business, reducing the regulatory burden, and making things easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

        The government reiterated its commitment to creating and protecting jobs, including  the thousands of jobs  that will be protected through the continued operation of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.

        Trade

        The government has committed to standing “shoulder to shoulder” with the federal government on trade, standing up to U.S. tariffs and ensuring Ontario’s best interests are represented in NAFTA renegotiations.

        Energy and the Environment

        The government has committed to reducing gas prices and lowering hydro bills as well as “restor[ing] public confidence in Ontario’s electricity system” by implementing management reform at Hydro One.

        The government reiterated its commitment to cancel Ontario’s cap-and-trade program and oppose all other carbon tax proposals. It also indicated it will be ending all green energy contracts.

        Transit

        The government indicated its commitment to addressing the transportation needs of Ontario’s urban centres, with an intention to partner with Toronto and other GTA municipalities to improve transit services. The provincial government did not provide specific comments on transportation needs in rural or Northern communities, or the Ring of Fire.

        Government and Fiscal Accountability

        The government intends to take immediate steps to “restore faith” in Ontario’s public institutions, beginning with a Commission of Inquiry into the Province’s finances and a line-by-line audit of all government spending to eliminate duplication and waste. The government also committed to returning Ontario to a balanced budget on a timetable that is “responsible, modest and pragmatic.”

        Health Care

        The government intends to work in collaboration with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare practitioners to ensure the health care system puts the interests of patients first. Its commitments include long-term and stable funding, including a promise for 15,000 new long-term care beds over the next five years and an investment of $3.8 billion in mental health and addictions services (including supportive housing).

        Read the Ontario Government’s Throne Speech



        2018 Municipal Election Advocacy Survey

        In light of the upcoming municipal election on October 22, 2018 the Oakville Chamber wants to hear from you on local issues that matter the most to you. Tell us what you think.


        This survey consists of 8 questions and should only take 5-10 minutes to complete. 

        The responses to this survey will be used by the Oakville Chamber of our advocacy efforts in the upcoming municipal election. Be assured that all answers you provide will be kept in the strictest confidentiality. 

        The survey is now closed. Thank you to our members for taking the time to complete the survey.




        Oakville Chamber looks forward to working with Stephen Crawford and Effie Triantafilopoulos on making Oakville more competitive

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce congratulates Stephen Crawford and Effie Triantafilopoulos on being elected in the ridings of Oakville and Oakville North-Burlington. The Chamber looks forward to working with the new MPPs on key issues such as government accountability, small business development, and infrastructure. Making these policies a priority will create an environment that will encourage business and economic growth.

        The Oakville Chamber also extends its congratulations to Premier-Designate Doug Ford and the Ontario PC Party on winning a majority government.

        “We congratulate Stephen Crawford and Effie Triantafilopoulos on their successful campaigns” said Drew Redden, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “The Oakville Chamber wants to thank all of the candidates for putting their names forward this election and for discussing our Vote Prosperity platform during the campaign. We also thank Kevin Flynn for his years of service as MPP for Oakville.”



        Ontario Election Platform Analysis

        In October, the Ontario Chamber Network released Vote Prosperity, a platform for the 2018 provincial election campaign on June 7. The release of the platform nine months prior to the election was intended to ensure all parties have an opportunity to address the most important issues to business within their own platforms.

        On April 16, 2018, Ontario New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath announced the NDP’s 2018 Election Platform Change for the BetterRead the Ontario Chamber’s analysis. On May 14, 2018, Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner announced his Party’s 2018 Election Platform, People Powered ChangeRead the Ontario Chamber’s analysis. On May 26, 2018, the Ontario Liberal Party released their platform for the 2018 election, Care Over Cuts. Read the Ontario Chamber’s analysis.  On May 30, 2018, Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario leader Doug Ford announced his party’s 2018 election platform, Plan for the People. Read the Ontario Chamber’s analysis. 
        With the election just a week away, we are encouraging Ontarians to send a letter to their local candidates asking them to support the Ontario Chamber Network’s Vote Prosperity platform.

        Sold Out Crowd Celebrates Business Excellence in Oakville

        Recipients include representatives from iCare Home Health, Florence Meats, Naylor Building Partnerships Inc., Positive Accounting, La Parisienne Creperie, Zarr Tech, Canlan Ice Sports Corp, Piper Foods Inc., Crime Stoppers of Halton and FCT (Absent: Paul Ferri of Limitless Training Systems).


        Oakville celebrated business leaders in their community at the 23rd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence Gala on Tuesday, March 27 where over 560 guests gathered at the Oakville Conference Centre. Presented by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West, this annual event attracts business, community, government and political leaders, as well as professionals and entrepreneurs from the local business community.

        “The Oakville Chamber is thrilled by the tremendous support shown by the business community at tonight’s gala,” said Ken Nevar, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We offer our congratulations to all the finalists and award recipients.”

        The Genworth Community of the Year Award was awarded to Piper Foods Inc./McDonald’s Restaurants. John Piper, Owner of Piper Foods Inc.  accepted the award. Known for their extensive support of local organizations including Dog Guides of Canada, Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Oakville Hospital Foundation, they recently completed a pledge of $250,000 towards construction of the new hospital. An active partner in the Region of Halton’s hiring program, Piper Foods participates in workshops educating young people to better prepare them to find a job. John Piper takes pride in preparing people of all ages and backgrounds to enter or re-enter the workforce by providing entry-level positions in the community, coupled with a solid training program. Investing in team members’ personal development is key to their business philosophy and each year, the company awards 4 scholarships for a total of $4,000.  Piper Foods Inc. became the first ever double recipient at the Awards Gala, also receiving the Franchisee of the Year Award.

        The CN Charity/Not-for-Profit Excellence Award was presented to Crime Stoppers of Halton. Accepting the award on behalf of Crime Stoppers of Halton was Jan Westcott, Vice-Chair of the Board. Since its inception in 1988, the organization has been helping keep Halton Region a safe place to live, work and play. They have received over 18,000 anonymous tips on criminal activity which have led to the arrest of 1,188 individuals. Furthermore, these tips have recovered almost $3 million worth of stolen property, taken $18 million worth of illicit drugs taken off our streets, and seized 92 weapons. Crime Stoppers of Halton has strengthened their presence in our community by attending community events, conducting presentations at high schools through its Youth Initiative Program, its Roadside Sign Program, Community Secure Shred Events, hosting fundraising concerts and leading community awareness campaigns. Crime Stoppers of Halton’s dedication to preventing and solving crime contributes to Halton Region’s designation as Canada’s Safest Regional Municipality for the past 8 years.

        This year’s Business Icon Award was presented to FCT. Michael LeBlanc, Chief Executive Officer of FCT accepted the award presented by John Sawyer, outgoing President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. From its beginning as the first title insurer in Canada to revolutionary valuations solutions, FCT has expanded its products and services to support customers across the real estate and recovery lifecycles. With more than 800 employees across Canada, including more than 300 at their home office in Oakville, the company focuses on creating a work culture where every employee has the opportunity to be great. In 2017, FCT launched their new brand identity “we’re invested” – which focuses on how they’re invested in customers, colleagues and the community. “FCT has an amazing business success story and as the Chamber of Commerce, we are so proud that they call Oakville home” commented John Sawyer.

        In it’s 23rd year, the Oakville Awards for Business Excellence Gala continues to grow year over year, recognizing the important contributions of local business to the community. “We received a significant number of nominations from the Oakville community. The judges carefully reviewed all of the nominations and determined a list of 57 finalists, from which the award recipients were chosen” stated Lois Knepflar, President, Rotary Club of Oakville West.

        To learn more about the Oakville Awards for Business Excellence, or to nominate a business for next year, please visit www.oabe.ca or contact Karen Pomfret by phone at 905-845-6613 ext. 210 or e-mail karen@oakvillechamber.com.

        The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West are proud to list the award recipients of the 23rd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence:

        RBC Royal Bank Large Business of the Year

        Naylor, Building Partnerships Inc.

        Bell Mid-size Business of the Year

        Florence Meats

        Small Business of the Year

        iCare Home Health

        KPMG Entrepreneur of the Year

        Matthew Zarrillo of Zarr Tech

        Young Professional & Entrepreneur of the Year

        Paul Ferri of Limitless Training Systems  

        Professional Services Provider of the Year

        Positive Accounting

        Franchisee of the Year

        Piper Foods Inc. / McDonald’s Restaurant

        The Morris Mercanti Restaurateur of the Year

        La Parisienne Creperie

        Oakville Hydro Conservation Leadership Award

        Canlan Ice Sports Corp.

        Genworth Community Builder of the Year

        Piper Foods Inc.

        CN Charity or Not-for-Profit Excellence Award

        Crime Stoppers of Halton

        Oakville’s Business Icon Award

        FCT




        Member Profile: Halton Industry Education Council

        This past November, Halton Industry Education Council (HIEC) turned 30 – and they have a lot to celebrate! Founded in 1989, HIEC is a not-for-profit social enterprise that focuses on partnership, mentorship and workforce development. HIEC was developed in partnership with the four Halton Region Chambers of Commerce, the Halton District and Halton Catholic District School Boards, and Sheridan College. For three decades HIEC has been developing and delivering innovative programs and services that leverage technologies, advance community collaboration, strengthen economic development, inspire mentorship, and help young people succeed.

        HIEC strives to empower youth in their career exploration and contribute to their overall mental wellness as it relates to future planning and opportunities. This includes building stronger connections between educators, employers, and the students who will make up the future workforce through their Career Awareness Program, hosting inspiring community events, and managing multiple technologies that focus on workforce development.

        Through the Career Awareness Program, HIEC supports 7,000 students a year as they prepare to transition into high school. The program is for grade 7 students and helps them identify their individual values, skills and interests. During their visit, students also have the opportunity to investigate 3500+ different occupations that are outlined in the Career Development Lab. Students can also participate in a life work simulation program, which provides them with a better understanding of working conditions, salaries, future trends, and post-secondary pathways for jobs that interest them. This program is very successful and has even received international interest.
        Building on career planning, HIEC hosts two annual community events: Women as Career Coaches and Men as Career Coaches. These informal and interactive events bring mentors from different industries and careers together with young people for an evening of open and honest conversation about occupational pathways, post-secondary destinations, and work life. Collectively, these events have hosted 5,500 mentors and 6,300 students! Students have reported these events to be very influential; with some returning to the event as career coaches once they’ve established their careers. Consider sharing your career journey at the Women in Career Coaches or the Men in Career Coaches events.

        In addition to their in-person programming and events, HIEC operates two important workforce development technologies. ApprenticeSearch.com is an online matching service designed specifically and exclusively to serve the needs of skilled trades employers and apprentices. The site was developed to address the shortage of skilled trades’ workers in the province. The free online service raises awareness of the trades and provides information on the apprenticeship pathway. The site receives up to 150 new applicants each week, with over 16,000 people seeking apprenticeship opportunities in Ontario. Organizations looking to offer an apprenticeship can register online, post vacancies, and initiate a live search for suitable applicants and apprenticeship candidates. In addition to contributing to the training of the future workforce, there are also grants and other financial incentives available for employers offering apprenticeships.

        The other technology HIEC offers is EmployerRegistry.ca, a free online community that connects employers and the future workforce. Developed in 2008, the site acts as a single point of contact for employers looking to get involved with short, medium, and long-term experiential learning opportunities, ranging from one-hour career talks to full-semester cooperative education placements.

        HIEC’s programming is quite remarkable. Not only does it impact our local workforce in Halton through the Career Awareness Program, but it assists Ontario’s workforce through ApprenticeSearch.com. EmployerRegistry.ca If you have a student seeking guidance for their career path, or you’d like to share your professional journey, or your workplace would like to offer a co-op or apprenticeship placement, contact HIEC. Set up a meeting or book a tour of their impressive facility.  



        Work-Life Balance

        By Melanie McGregor, Specialist, Communications and Advancement, Canadian Mental Health Association – Halton Region Branch
        “Work-life balance” – that elusive, idealized goal that is talked about like it’s the stuff that dreams are made of. But is it really possible? And if so, how? 

        “Work-life balance” can be defined in many ways, but overall, it is feeling that work and life aren’t competing and that we are able to successfully manage our multiple roles and demands in each area. There’s a lot to cram into our days as workers, partners, parents, caregivers, family members, friends, and people with interests, needs, and healthy habits to maintain, and being overloaded can have a huge impact on our overall health and wellness. We may feel out of control, have trouble keeping our mind on things, feel guilty, neglect self-care, and feel tired or run-down. 

        To address or even prevent these impacts, we need to first think about our own expectations. I like to think of “work-life balance” as more “work-life management. Balance suggests that the two things are equal, stable, in proportion, but in fact, there are times when work will dominate or life away from work will require more of us. Coping during these times is about managing our demands and doing what we can to feel more on top of things and like we can bring our whole selves to work and back home at the end of the day.  

        Work-life balance also does not mean that work and life become completely separate realms that don’t influence each other. Work is an integral part of our lives, and what happens at work is bound to affect our feelings, moods, and thoughts outside of work and vice versa. It also doesn’t mean that we will never feel stressed or overwhelmed or have competing demands. It’s a question of seeing these times as signals that we need to do something differently. 

        So, what can we do to feel more in control and balanced? Consider these ideas as a start: 
        • If you are an employer, your flexibility can go a long way to creating more productive and satisfied employees. Consider arrangements like flexible work hours, working from home, or day off usage and communicate these to your team. What happens if an employee has a sick child or a medical appointment in the middle of the day? If they and you know what to expect and do in these situations, it can reduce stress and anxiety. 
        • If you are an employee, talk with your employer about what would help you manage your balance. For example, if you are caring for a parent who needs you more in the next week, discuss ahead of time what options are and are not available so you can plan accordingly. 
        • Create and stick to boundaries that work for you. Expectations do vary from role to role, but we often create unnecessary expectations for ourselves. Do you really need to check your e-mail after the workday is done, or is this just a habit you’ve built up that’s cutting into your family time? Try marking the separation between your work time and your personal time more clearly by, say, chilling out with a cup of tea after work or doing a short meditation when you get home.  
        • Be realistic about what you can accomplish. An unreasonable to-do list is a sure path to feeling overloaded and out of balance. At both work at home, think about the time you have and what you can reasonably fit it – not what you’d like to fit in, but what is truly doable. And remember that you don’t need to “be productive” all the time – down time is vital to wellness and well-being. 
          We are bound to feel out of balance now and then, but some reflection, planning, and management should help tip the scales back towards wellness. 


          For resources on mental health, please visit

          halton.cmha.ca



          Listen to This: Top Podcasts 2020

          Check out these podcasts recommended by the Oakville Chamber’s Marketing Committee. (Click on the titles to listen)

          The Daily
          The Daily is a podcast that covers the biggest stories of our time covered by journalists from The New York Times. It has a conversational and intimate tone, which makes news more accessible. the podcast receives over 1.1 million downloads a day, with new episodes airing every weekday.

          Spectacular Failures
          Host Lauren ober tackles some of the most spectacular business failures of all time in Spectacular Failures. some of the most promising ideas have been brought down by family disputes and scandal, while others were fuelled by bad decisionmaking. The podcast reminds listeners that success isn’t so easy.

          The Bridge with Peter Mansbridge
          The Bridge is a weekly podcast from internationally recognized journalist Peter Mansbridge, discussing what is on his mind that week. It could be Canadian, or international, news or sports. This podcast offers a relaxed commentary on current events.

          TED Talks Business
          Presented by TED, the non-profit devoted to Ideas Worth spreading, TED Talks Business hosts some of the world’s greatest innovators, entrepreneurs and business researchers to share their stories and insights. From money and marketing, to
          loans and leadership listen to global leaders and industry experts as they inform and inspire you!

          Under the Influence with Terry O’Reilly
          This podcast gives listeners a “behind the scenes” experience of the advertising industry. Host Terry O’Reilly shares
          fascinating and humorous stories on pop culture, marketing and human nature.

          Dolly Parton’s America
          This podcast explores the life of Dolly Parton, her influence on pop culture, and society more generally. Created by Jad Abumrad, who grew up in nashville where Dolly Parton was one of the biggest icons. Abumrad never paid much attention to her career; but thought of her as simply a country star diva. In 2016, he realized she was a much bigger phenomenon. He argues that analyzing Dolly Parton’s universal appeal, regardless of listeners’ background or politics, will help us
          understand America at this particular moment.

          Mo’ Money Podcast with Jessica Moorhouse
          Host Jessica Moorhouse is a millennial money expert with a passion for personal finance and living a balance lifestyle. In her Mo’ Money Podcast she interviews celebrities, experts, entrepreneurs, authors, friends, family and even listeners of the show – and dives into topics like financial independence, early retirement, budgeting best practices, debt and credit,
          investing, side hustles, entrepreneurship and more!

          Members of the Chamber
          The Oakville Chamber just launched it’s very own podcast! In each episode, President & Ceo Drew Redden sits down with one member of our Chamber community to discuss their individual entrepreneur or professional journey, their job and how they ended up where they are today.



          Succeeding in Uncertainty 

          By Michelle Pickett and Joe Rafuse, PwC Canada

          “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” – Paul Romer, Stanford Economist

          We’re experiencing an unprecedented period of uncertainty, change and disruption. While the longest-running bull market in history continues, many believe that the positive economic trajectory won’t continue indefinitely and that warning signs are already here. The Wall Street Journal’s latest Economic Forecasting Survey reported a probability of nearly 50% of a 2020 recession. PwC’s recent Global CEO Survey reported that pessimism about global economic growth is at an all-time high with 53% of CEOs surveyed predicting a decline in the rate of economic growth in 2020, up from 29% in 2019. 

          With Canadian household debt at a record high, consumer insolvencies are also now reaching eight-year peaks while the US Federal Reserve continues to lower interest rates. This is all unfolding amidst a backdrop of geopolitical tensions, precarious global trade rules, and increasing focus on topics such as climate and the environment.     

          The proliferation of technology in business in everyday life is accelerating as well.  Competition is shifting rapidly where emerging entrants are changing the competitive landscape.  The landscape of the largest US companies by market capitalization has also shifted dramatically – today the top 5 companies by market capitalization are all technology based and represent 20% of the overall S&P 500.  

          With the rate of disruption and change only accelerating over time, how then do companies succeed in this uncertainty?  Focusing on the core business while keeping an eye on the rapidly evolving landscape may seem like diligent practice today, but if history has taught us anything, it is that no industry has deep enough moats to fend off the siege of disruption.  

          Ignoring uncertainty is not a favorable strategy.

          “Neither RedBox nor Netflix are even on the radar screen in terms of competition”

          – Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes in 2008 

          Understand Your Business

          Succeeding in uncertainty requires preparation and being proactive. Businesses should objectively assess critical areas such as Customer and Markets, their Business Model and Capital Structure to better understand key opportunities and threats.  

          Manage costs today

          To put the company in the best possible position to succeed in uncertainty and prepare for the future, management should be managing costs today.  Management needs to focus on immediate cash and profitability improvements while simultaneously addressing the core business to stabilize for the long term. Analysis of significant downturn scenarios (eg. loss of major customers, increase in input costs, etc.) will help identify the impact and financial risks. Companies should start on surgical cost restructuring (Do Without, Do Better, Do Less, Do Different) and look to working capital as a lever to improve cash flow and liquidity.     

          Shape your future M&A strategy

          As companies, private equity firms and other investors reassess portfolios and strategies, opportunities to buy – as others decide to sell – start to grow. Historically, valuations or EBITDA multiples are lower during a downtown, which can create opportunities for acquirers.  Within this cycle it is important to consider how your divisions or businesses will perform in a downturn. How can you maximize value by considering opportunistic sales before a potential downturn while multiples are high? Are there companies that you can proactively target now for potential acquisitions during a downturn? 

          The range of possible futures confronting businesses are increasingly vast. Companies that face uncertainty head on, rapidly adapt, and start planning today are more likely to sustain a crisis and prosper in the face of uncertainty. 




          COVID-19 Update from The Chambers Plan

          The Chambers Plan has developed a COVID-19 updates link to provide up-to-date information. Please check back to the link regularly as the document will be constantly updated.

          Questions in relation to coverage by (insured) employers and employees should be directed to the plan at info@johnstongroup.ca or call the Customer Service line at 1-800-665-3365. Due to high call volumes, the fastest current response is by email.
           
          Below are resources that are available to you with the Chambers Plan coverage:
           
          • Teladoc telemedicine service is available, at no charge, providing medical access to a doctor from your smartphone.
          • Healthy Business Bookmark a full suite of HR resources, is available at www.my-benefits.ca under your Admin Access including templates and letters.
          • Business Assistance Service (BAS) provides 9 hours of legal, accounting and HR advice every calendar year (by phone) to help with issues related to your business and employees