Month: January 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!
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.


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


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.


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