Category: Government Relations

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.




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.



Oakville Chamber Hosts Candidates Meeting for Provincial Election

Oakville residents and businesses are invited to meet and learn more about the candidates who hope to represent the Oakville North-Burlington and Oakville ridings following the June 7 election


The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is partnering with YourTV to host a Candidates Meeting for the Oakville North-Burlington and Oakville ridings on Thursday, May 17th . The event is open to the public, Oakville Chamber members, and their guests.

“The Candidates Meeting is an opportunity for members of the Oakville community to hear directly from the candidates, the possible future decision makers for our community and businesses” stated Ken Nevar, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We are pleased to be able to come together with our community partner YourTV to provide Oakville and Oakville North-Burlington voters with the opportunity to hear comments directly from the candidates on issues that will affect our community.”

The Candidates Meeting with take place at Glen Abbey United Church, which has the capacity to seat an audience of up to 500. The Oakville North-Burlington debate will begin at 6:00pm, followed by the Oakville debate at 7:45pm. Aby Alameddine, Co-Founder of Core Online Marketing and Past Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, will be the moderator.

The Oakville Chamber encourages your questions to the candidates t be submitted in advance of the meeting via e-mail to Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy, at faye@oakvillechamber.com with ‘Candidates Question’ in the subject line. Alternatively, audience members will be given the opportunity to submit questions upon entry to the event.

The debate will have a focus on the Chamber’s Vote Prosperity platform. “We’re encouraging the candidates to read Vote Prosperity, our policy priorities for the next government. These recommendations offer tangible solutions to address the challenges businesses are currently facing and if implemented will contribute to Ontario’s economic prosperity” said Drew Redden, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

Vote Prosperity is based on four pillars for Ontario:

  1. Strengthen business competitiveness: Rising input costs, especially those costs deriving from government regulation and policy, are the most common and acute concern of the business community in Ontario.
  2. Foster Job Creation: A robust labour market consisting of good jobs is essential to prosperity for all Ontarians.
  3. Build Healthy Communities: Building strong communities through adequate and affordable housing, sustainable health care, and good infrastructure also supports business prosperity and growth, which supports those communities.
  4. Improve Government Accountability: Poor implementation of government initiatives can result in resource waste, political frustration and disruption for ordinary citizens, as demonstrated by a series of policy failures under governments of all political stripes.

The platform provides eighteen unique recommendations to help bolster Ontario’s long-term economic future, while also addressing the pressing issues the province currently faces.

The full list of recommendations in Vote Prosperity can be found at www.oakvillechamber.com/voteprosperity/

The Oakville Chamber is politically non-partisan. We believe we must have an effective working relationship with any party or individual that holds elected office. This approach applies to all four levels of government.

Event Details:

Date: Thursday, May 17th

Location: Glen Abbey United Church (1469 Nottinghill Gate)

Agenda:

  • 5:30pm – Doors Open
  • 6:00pm to 7:15pm – Oakville North-Burlington Debate
  • 7:15pm to 7:45pm – Networking Break
  • 7:45pm to 9:00pm – Oakville Debate

Concerns of Business Cannot Be Ignored This Election Campaign: Oakville Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Ontario’s Business Advocate mobilizes around election priorities in 135 communities across the province

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce are mobilizing this election to bring their recommendations in Vote Prosperity to political leaders and local candidates across the province. Over the course of the campaign, local chambers and boards of trade will be boldly pushing the Vote Prosperity message through local debates, events and stakeholder meetings.

“The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, along with Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade across the province have been advocating tirelessly with local candidates and elected officials, highlighting business priorities for this election,” said Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “During this election campaign, we will continue those efforts, calling on our local candidates’ political party leaders to adopt our economic plan that will help strengthen businesses competitiveness, foster job creation, build healthy communities and improve government accountability.”

Since October, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Oakville Chamber of Commerce have been meeting with local candidates, elected officials at Queen’s Park and senior public policy leaders, to advocate for the recommendations for a strong Ontario outlined in Vote Prosperity. As leaders in their communities, during the campaign period local chambers and boards of trades will be hosting all candidates debates and events, with a focus on the Vote Prosperity message.

With industry feeling the impacts of the increasing cumulative burden, the Ontario Chamber Network has also warned that Ontario’s next government must be committed to taking bold action in providing pro-growth policy solutions.

“Ontario has the foundation for sustainable and equitable growth. But, bold action and leadership will be required of the newly elected Government of Ontario, whether it is Liberal, PC or NDP,” added Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

 Vote Prosperity is based on four pillars for Ontario:

  1. Strengthen business competitiveness: Rising input costs, especially those costs deriving from government regulation and policy, are the most common and acute concern of the business community in Ontario.
  2. Foster Job Creation: A robust labour market consisting of good jobs is essential to prosperity for all Ontarians.
  3. Build Healthy Communities: Building strong communities through adequate and affordable housing, sustainable health care, and good infrastructure also supports business prosperity and growth, which supports those communities.
  4. Improve Government Accountability: Poor implementation of government initiatives can result in resource waste, political frustration and disruption for ordinary citizens, as demonstrated by a series of policy failures under governments of all political stripes.

The platform provides eighteen unique recommendations that will help bolster Ontario’s long-term economic future, while also addressing the pressing issues the province currently faces.

The full list of recommendations in Vote Prosperity can be found at www.oakvillechamber.com/voteprosperity/



Pharmacare Must Address Outstanding System Gaps, Maintain High Quality Coverage

The Ontario Chamber Network releases key principles as a guide as federal government considers national pharmacare system

Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released a policy report Principles for an Effective Pharmacare Program, which provides guidelines for the federal and Ontario governments to follow when considering reforms to pharmaceutical coverage, which has implications for both governments. The report highlights five principles against which new pharmacare proposals can be tested to ensure an effective and sustainable program.

In its budget this week, the federal government announced it will begin consultations on a pharmacare program with former Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Dr. Eric Hoskins, leading the initiative. With increasing demand for national pharmacare in Canada, the Ontario Chamber Network has engaged in its own consultations over the last few months with a diverse group of health, life sciences and insurance stakeholders to develop and endorse the test of principles.

“The Ontario Chamber Network supports improving access to medicine for all Ontarians,” said Ken Nevar, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “It is essential that the design of a future pharmacare program is developed in a collaborative manner, reflecting these principles to ensure the long-term sustainability of the program.”

The Ontario Chamber Network developed the following five principals that pharmaceutical program proposals can be evaluated against:

  • Existing gaps in pharmaceutical coverage are identified and addressed to improve access to medications for those who need it
  • The strengths of the public-private system are leveraged
  • The program is outcomes-oriented and promotes the sustainability and efficacy of the broader health care system
  • Patients can access their medications in a timely manner
  • Broad and appropriate access to innovative medications is ensured

“The Ontario and federal governments must work with all health stakeholders, including patients, health care professionals, private insurers, employers, and the pharmaceutical industry, to identify outstanding coverage gaps and implement effective and pragmatic solutions,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “We look forward to working with the federal and provincial governments to ensure a future pharmacare model takes advantage of Ontario’s current health care system and embraces public-private partnership.”

The Ontario Chamber Network has been active on health care policy for a number of years, including multiple reports on life sciences as an economic driver. Pharmacare has emerged as a key public policy issue in Ontario given the recent provincial government announcement of OHIP+, which provides pharmaceutical coverage to all Ontarians under the age of 25, and a commitment by the Ontario NDP to create a universal pharmacare program if they form government after the next provincial election. 

Read the Pharmacare Report.




Oakville Chamber mobilizes businesses to put shared prosperity, economic development front-and-centre in upcoming election

Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, launched a major province-wide letter writing campaign urging businesses to encourage their local provincial candidates to support the Ontario Chamber Network’s election platform, Vote Prosperity. To ensure economic prosperity is at the forefront of the 2018 provincial election, the Chamber Network has developed 18 recommendations that will help bolster Ontario’s long-term economic outcomes.

This letter-writing campaign is the next phase of this advocacy effort, building on ongoing government relations activities. We are calling on our local candidates to read Vote Prosperity and engage with our local business community to ensure business priorities are heard.

“The upcoming provincial election provides our business community with an opportunity to ensure that our businesses are being heard by our future elected officials,” said Drew Redden, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Vote Prosperity provides political parties with tangible solutions to address the challenges businesses are currently facing and to ensure that Ontario is building a prosperous economy that supports local business in our community and across the province.”

Over the next 12 weeks, the Ontario Chamber Network will be advocating Vote Prosperity with local provincial candidates across the province through meetings, social media activation and with the letter writing campaign. Vote Prosperity is built around four fundamental pillars to support a strong economy in Ontario: strengthening business competitiveness, fostering job creation, building healthy communities and improving government accountability.

“We are calling on all political leaders to read Vote Prosperity and consider our recommendations as we aim to make Ontario the best place to start and grow a business,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “It’s simple, when you choose prosperity, Ontario wins.”

The Ontario Chamber Network released Vote Prosperity in October 2017, ahead of most of the major political parties’ platform development. Some of the recommendations from Vote Prosperity include:

  • Allow Ontario businesses to purchase surplus electricity at rates equal to or better than the exported price to other jurisdictions;
  • Allocate resources to focus support on high growth firms and those with high growth potential, by delaying taxation on corporate income growth to overcome Ontario’s scale-up challenge;
  • Focus on strategic growth policies by ensuring that land use planning and development regulations are aligned, to increase density and create more housing stock;
  • Create a meaningful plan to tackle the debt and move towards balanced or surplus budgets.

Read the Vote Prosperity platform.

Send a letter in support. 

Complete the survey