Category: Government Relations

Rapid Policy Update: 2017 Long-Term Infrastructure Plan

On November 28th, the Government of Ontario released the province’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan (LTIP) entitled Building Better Lives: Ontario’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan 2017The plan sets forth a vision for Ontario infrastructure planning and investment and is a key interim step in meeting the requirements of the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act, 2015 (IJPA).

The LTIP outlines a vision for how Ontario’s infrastructure must be evidence-based and should be resilient to the impacts of a changing climate and disruptive technologies, seamlessly interconnected and supportive of economic growth for the whole province. While the plan is a welcomed announcement in ensuring Ontario’s infrastructure meets the needs of its rapidly changing economy, the Ontario Chamber Network encourages the government to continually update and monitor the plan to identify what is—and is not—working well.

Below is a high-level synopsis of the plan, including the Chamber’s analysis and comparison to the Ontario Chamber Network’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan Submission, Building Better.

Advocacy Wins
Overall, the Ontario Chamber Network achieved a number of advocacy wins in the 2017 LTIP that directly align with recommendations in their Building Better report.

The Government of Ontario will:

  • Implement a broadband strategy outlining a vision for broadband connectivity across the province;
  • Integrate climate change considerations into infrastructure planning to ensure environmental sustainability;
  • Evaluate AFP projects against an evaluation framework to track the success of the delivery model; and
  • Commit to ensure evidence-based decision making as it works on best practices in infrastructure planning and prioritization.
Key initiatives identified in Building Better Lives: Ontario’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan 2017

Strengthening Evidence-Based Decision Making
The LTIP places a priority on enhancing the government’s capacity for evidence-based decision making, in particular through good asset management practices.

The government is undertaking extensive research to understand best practices in infrastructure planning and prioritization, and will apply these findings through ongoing work to improve consistency in business cases. This is to ensure the clear identification to decision-makers of the critical investments that are necessary to address health and safety; deliver critical services; address vulnerabilities to climate impacts; or to deliver on government mandate commitments or time-limited opportunities.

As government practices continue to improve, there will be clear prioritization criteria to assess the economic, social and environmental impacts of these investments. There will also be business case improvements to ensure that decision-makers have the evidence they need to make informed decisions. This evidence will include the current provincial infrastructure capacity, the gaps between what Ontario has and what Ontario needs, and a clear strategy on how the government will meet those needs.

Analysis
In Building Better, the Ontario Chamber Network encouraged the Government of Ontario to ensure that future infrastructure planning and spending commitments are planned methodically, fully, and in a transparent fashion. Infrastructure investments should be targeted based on sound criteria, including return on investments and evidence that the investments will reduce or eliminate existing barriers to service. The Chamber is pleased to see that evidence-based decision making will be a key pillar of the LTIP.


Climate Change Adaptation
The Province will be undertaking a provincial climate change risk assessment to help build a better understanding of the current and anticipated climate change impacts facing Ontario and help to provide a better understanding of the vulnerabilities and risks facing Ontario’s communities, infrastructure, ecosystems, and economy. Infrastructure planning and investment based on the outcomes of this risk assessment will allow for a more strategic approach to adaptation by government, helping to ensure that decisions are evidence-based and resilient.

Ontario-led efforts to increase resilience will be achieved in a variety of ways, including through climate change-related policies in infrastructure asset plans, investment directives and decisions, and land–use planning direction such as the Provincial Policy Statement (2014) and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2017).

The Province is also establishing a new organization that will provide municipalities, Indigenous communities, and businesses with up-to-date and critical information and data, as well as practical services to build resilience and help keep Ontarians safe. This information will assist government in making evidence-based investment decisions to build resilient infrastructure across Ontario.

Analysis

In Building Better, the Ontario Chamber Network recommended the LTIP focus on building infrastructure that is resilient and adaptable to climate change. We noted that as part of this climate change should be incorporated into asset management planning. Additionally, we recommended resiliency and adaptability be considered within procurement criteria. This could include having specific sections of a tender devoted to how a proponent is addressing the impacts of climate change on the asset being built, closely aligning with the LTIP’s outlined resilient infrastructure components.


Supporting Modern Service Delivery – Broadband in Ontario
The Ontario Government is working towards developing a broadband strategy that outlines a vision for broadband connectivity through identification of key priorities. This will include leveraging private sector expertise and financing as well as federal cooperation through the Canada Infrastructure Bank. A draft broadband strategy will be developed for consultation in 2018. Through collaboration with federal and municipal orders of government and First Nations, the Province will prioritize the need for coordinated and strategic investments as it continues to expand broadband infrastructure and improve connectivity in communities across the province.

Analysis

The Chamber has consistently advocated for trade-enabling infrastructure, including both traditional and digital infrastructure such as high-speed broadband internet. As part of this, the OCC has continually supported recommendations for the development of a robust investment strategy in the province, which identifies broadband as an infrastructure investment and does not dissuade private sector investment. A broadband strategy will help the Government achieve an evidence-based approach to broadband infrastructure development.

The Ontario Chamber Network has also encouraged the building of partnerships across all levels of government to better leverage funding and respond to local needs. The private sector has long driven investment in broadband infrastructure and the Chamber has recommended the Province commits to an intergovernmental funding model that will incentivize and leverage investments in a way that expedites the closing of the digital divide. The Ontario Chamber Network would be welcomed to participate in ongoing dialogue with the Government of Ontario as it develops the provincial broadband strategy.


Improved AFP Evaluation and Analysis
To ensure that the AFP model continues to provide value, the government has developed an evaluation framework to track the success of this delivery model. This framework aims to assess the AFP delivery model’s ability to:
(a) deliver projects on-budget, on-time and on-specification;
(b) ensure proper risk transfer to the private sector was achieved at final completion; and
(c) ensure timely procurement.
The government will start by evaluating a selection of completed AFPs and traditionally delivered projects of a similar size to assess the performance of each model against these criteria. Over time, this framework will provide a stronger evidence base for the AFP delivery model which will help decision-makers choose the right delivery model for future projects.

Additionally, as part of its AFP work, the Government of Ontario is committing to support municipalities to successfully deliver key infrastructure projects. For example, it is exploring how it can encourage and support municipalities in leveraging the AFP delivery model more frequently to achieve their infrastructure priorities, and what support and advice Infrastructure Ontario can potentially provide to municipalities.

Analysis

In Building Better, the Ontario Chamber Network recommended the Government of Ontario should work to develop comprehensive principles and elements from successfully procured projects that were delivered using alternative financing and procurement methods which can then be applied as best practices to smaller scale projects.


The Ontario Chamber Network’s Position:

The Ontario Chamber Network has been advocating for building infrastructure that sets Ontario’s foundation for long-term, sustainable economic growth and prosperity, cumulating in their Building Better report. We are encouraged to see that the 2017 LTIP delivers broad alignment with the Chamber’s recommendations.

The Network was pleased to see a strong emphasis on evidence-based decision making as well as a focus on building resilient and adaptable infrastructure. We also applaud the government’s commitment to expanding broadband infrastructure and improving connectivity in communities across the province by working towards a broadband strategy.

The Ontario Chamber Network will continue to work collaboratively with the Government of Ontario as it works to execute its vision outlined in the LTIP.



Canadian Chamber of Commerce 2017 Policy Resolutions

At the Canadian Chamber Annual General Meeting (held in September in Fredericton, New Brunswick) Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade from across the country met to approve policy resolutions for 2017.  The 2017 resolutions were discussed, amended and approved during debate, at which time accredited voting delegates from across the country considered a total of 79 proposals (of which 65 were approved) which had been drafted originally by local Chambers of Commerce, Boards of Trade and National Committees and Task Forces of the Canadian Chamber. In accordance with the by-laws, a majority of two-thirds of the votes cast was necessary to approve each resolution.

These resolutions will be brought to the attention of appropriate federal government officials and other bodies to whom the recommendations are directed. The method of presentation of each item will be determined by a number of factors, including subsequent events and legislation which may affect the subject matter, additional information that may become available, the timing of a presentation, etc.

Throughout the year, members will be updated and advised of the action(s) taken on each of these positions by way of summaries and reports in Canadian Chamber publications.

Read the Canadian Chamber of Commerce 2017 Policy Resolutions.


Advocacy and Policy Update: 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP)

On October 26th, the Ontario Government released its 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan. The plan comes after a year-long consultation, which saw engagement from across the province. Below is a high-level synopsis of the plan, including the Ontario Chamber Network’s analysis and comparison to their Long-Term Energy Submission, Leading the Charge.

Key Initiatives identified in Delivering Fairness and Choice for Business:

Ensuring Affordable and Accessible Energy

The LTEP projects that the residential price for electricity will remain below the outlooks published in the 2010 and 2013 Long-Term Energy Plans.The LTEP highlights how The Fair Hydro Plan will reduce electricity bills by 25 per cent (on average) for residents, small businesses and farms.The government will continue to support the expansion of natural gas, providing customers with more choice and aiding economic development in their communities. Analysis: In Leading the Charge, we advocated that government’s long-term energy plan must respect the principles of affordability and competitiveness. We are pleased to see the 2017 LTEP has placed an  emphasis on ensuring affordability as one of its fundamental pillars. Reducing electricity costs for industry and small business is a top priority of the Ontario Chamber Network. Under the Affordable and Accessible Energy section, the LTEP points to the government’s measures to help business and industry with energy costs. The plan points out the Save on Energy for Business programs, including the provincial government’s partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to raise awareness about these energy efficiency programs through Know Your PowerLearn more.

Ensuring a Flexible Energy System

The LTEP further emphasis  the Market Renewal Process currently being undertaken by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), allowing the province to adjust to changes and cost-efficiency and acquire electricity resources  needed to meet future demand. Analysis: The 2017 LTEP  re-affirms that Ontario needs a flexible energy system that can meet possible future outlooks. Flexibility ensures that Ontario has the ability to respond to changing market conditions, allowing the province to balance electricity demand and supply. Market Renewal could transform Ontario’s wholesale electricity market and ultimately result in a more competitive and flexible energy procurement system.

Innovating to Meet the Future

The LTEP promises to invest in  cost-effective energy storage by updating regulations, including addressing how the Global Adjustment is charged for storage projects. The Government plans to work with the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to provide customers greater choice in their electricity plans. The LTEP proposes to expand the options for net metering to give building owners more opportunities to access renewable energy generation and energy storage technologies. Analysis: Leading the Charge called on the government to continue to pursue and maintain a balanced supply mix, while seeking to invest in transformation and cost-saving technologies such as energy storage. The Ontario Chamber Network has long recognized that new technologies such as energy storage will be complementary to peaking resources such as wind and solar while supporting the baseload operation of nuclear power. We were pleased to see a commitment to nuclear refurbishment projects such as Darlington, the life extension project at the Bruce Power facility, and the continued operations of Pickering mentioned explicitly.

Improving Value and Performance for Customers

The government plans to enhance the energy sector becomes as a more consumer-focused, and commits to working with the OEB to improve the performance and efficiency of LCDs, and to redesign electricity bills to make it easier for consumers to understand and manage their energy costs. The government will direct the IESO to develop a competitive selection or procurement process for transmission, and to identify possible pilot projects. Analysis: Electricity bills need to be clearer and more understandable. While the 2017 LTEP  makes a positive step in this direction, the Ontario Chamber Network will continue to advocate for greater transparency and predictability in the energy system, including the need for the government to create a separate line item on natural gas bills for cap and trade-related costs.

Energy Conservation and Efficiency

The LTEP places a further emphasis on the importance of a Demand Response capacity auction. The government provided insight into its Green Ontario Fund, which will provide energy consumers with a co-ordinated one-window approach to encourage conservation across multiple energy services and programs. Analysis: The 2017 LTEP commits to conservation as a means for sustaining Ontario’s energy system and a tool for consumers to manage their energy costs, while emphasizing the importance of Demand Response mechanisms such as  a capacity auction. Since 2015,  the Ontario Chamber Network has called for a  capacity auction, as a means to create  greater opportunities for Demand Response to grow further and compete with other resources.   

Responding to Climate Change

The Government remains committed to an electricity system that includes renewable energy generation and supports the goals of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP). The LTEP plans to strengthen the ability of the energy industry to anticipate the effects of climate change and integrates its impacts into its operational and infrastructure planning. Analysis: The Ontario Chamber Network’s submission to the LTEP, Leading the Charge, called on the government to ensure energy planning is aligned with Ontario’s CCAP  goals. The 2017 LTEP reaffirms this ask and supports the alignment. Also, in the Ontario Chamber Network’s submission to the Long-Term Infrastructure Plan, Building Better: Setting up the Next Ontario Long-Term Infrastructure Plan for Success, we call on the government to ensure that the province’s infrastructure planning is also aligned with the Climate Change Action Plan.

Supporting Regional Solutions and Infrastructure

The government commits to working with local communities to develop plans for meeting their diverse energy requirements. The government has indicated with the first cycle of regional and municipal energy planning complete, the IESO will begin making recommendations that address the challenges and opportunities that have emerged in individual communities.  Analysis: The Ontario Chamber Network is encouraged to see the expansion of natural gas, particularly for northern communities, giving consumers greater choice and aiding in economic development. Natural gas assets enabled the transition off coal-fired generation and provided a source of on-demand power to backstop wind and solar resources. As a flexible and responsive resource, natural gas adaptability will be instrumental for regional planning as a mechanism to keep costs down.

Our Position:

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, along with the Ontairo Chamber Network, has long been active in advocating for a principled and pragmatic approach to energy planning. We were encouraged to see that Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan 2017: Delivering Fairness and Choice delivers broad alignment with the Ontario Chamber Network’s previous policy stance. The 2017 LTEP, echoes the Network’s call for the need to ensure competitive and affordable rates through new procurement models. The Ontario Chamber Network was pleased to see the strong commitment made to Ontario’s nuclear sector, including the refurbishment projects at Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) Darlington site and Bruce Power’s facility in Tiverton, as well as a renewed commitment  to pursue continued operations at OPG’s Pickering site.  We also applaud government on the initial integration of Ontario’s CCAP into our energy planning system. While today’s plan places an emphasis on ensuring affordability and flexibility, the Ontario Chamber Network will continue to advocate that further rate mitigation strategies must be developed and aimed specifically at the business sector.

What’s Next?

The release of the LTEP today provides us with an encouraging glimpse into Ontario’s energy future. The Ontario Chamber Network will continue to advocate for the reduction of input costs for businesses and looks forward to working with the government to deliver on its energy priorities.

Steering Through Change: A Handbook to Help Ontario Businesses Understand and Manage Bill 148

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, alongside the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and management-consulting firm, MNP, have released a comprehensive handbook (Steering Through Change) to help Ontario businesses navigate the new costs and regulations associated with Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act. The handbook provides a summary of the incoming changes, outlines the potential risks to business, and identifies strategies to help mitigate the impact.

From substantial increases to the minimum wage, new scheduling provisions, reforms to the collective bargaining process and dozens of other changes, Bill 148 will present many challenges for employers.

The handbook includes important insights into the legislation and offers practical solutions and strategies to support businesses through the initial changes. As the implementation dates draw closer, employers will be able to turn to this handbook to understand the legislation and navigate change.

The handbook provides a better understanding of how to manage and plan for Bill 148, should the legislation pass. However, there is still an opportunity to provide

feedback on Bill 148 before it comes to a final vote. To date, the bill has passed the second reading and has now been referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. 

Business owners are strongly encouraged to send requests to deputize in front of the committee and send written submissions to the Standing Committee including your thoughts and concerns regarding Bill 148.

You can e-mail your submission to the following address:

Eric Rennie, Clerk
erennie@ola.org
cc:comm-financeaffairs@ola.org
416-325-3506

On November 2nd, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and MNP LLP hosted a webinar on Bill 148 featuring an overview of Bill 148, what the implications are, and what you can do for next steps. View the presentation slides. Watch the webinar recording


Tax Wins for Small Business!

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau announced a series of revisions to the federal government’s proposed corporate tax changes as well as a reduction to the small business tax rate. This announcement is a significant win for the business community and is a result of the hard work of business owners and chambers from across the country. The fight for tax fairness and our #protectgrowth campaign is not over yet, but keep reading to see what has been accomplished so far.

Small business tax rate reduction:
The small business tax rate will be reduced from 10.5% to 9% by 2019. This was originally part of the Liberal campaign platform, but was postponed indefinitely in Budget 2016. We are pleased to see this planned reduction restored.

Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE):
The government had planned to limit access to the LCGE as one of their three major changes to corporate taxation. This would have hurt family businesses by punishing intergenerational transfers. The government has cancelled this proposal and now says there will be no changes to the LCGE. The government has also indicated that it will ensure that the proposed tax reforms do not impede the intergenerational transfer of businesses. They have not yet provided any detail on this yet, but we will be monitoring the issue closely.

Income Splitting:
The government proposed onerous restrictions on how much family members could be paid. They said anything beyond a “reasonable” salary would be taxed at a much higher rate. The government has softened its approach, indicating that the tax reforms will only impact family members that make no “meaningful contribution” to a business. The government has also said it will simplify restrictions on income splitting. By excluding family members that make “meaningful contributions” to a business from this proposal, the government has taken a step in the right direction, but it is still not clear what exactly a “meaningful contribution” is. We are concerned that government still does not recognize the diverse contributions that family members make to a business.

Investment Income:
The government is still moving forward on rules to discourage passive investment income, but they are setting a threshold that will allow $50,000 in income per year to be exempted. That means that $1 million held inside a corporation could earn 5% ($50,000) without being subjected to the new rules. We are still calling for government to completely cancel its proposed restrictions on passive investment income, but this ‘threshold’ is an improvement from the original proposal.

What’s Next?
Although the federal government has taken some steps toward tax fairness through its reduction of the small business tax rate and revising its corporate tax proposals, there is more work to be done. The details of the government’s new proposals are still to be seen and the government has not yet conducted fulsome consultations or a comprehensive review of the tax code. That’s why we are calling for a Royal Commission to conduct a full and independent review of the tax system.

We urge you to continue to make your voice heard and contact your MP. Tell them that these revisions are a step in the right direction, but that Canada needs a Royal Commission. Make sure they hear your concerns so that Burlington can remain a fair place to do business. You can reach MP John Oliver here and MP Pam Damoff here.


Oakville Chamber and Canadian Chamber welcome revised tax reforms and lower small business tax rate, but remain concerned  

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Chamber of Commerce welcome the government’s plans to revise its proposed tax reforms and to reduce the small business tax rate as a result of the comments and concerns expressed through the national #ProtectGrowth campaign and in consultations.

“Oakville Chamber members are extremely concerned with the proposed changes by the federal government.  On behalf of our members the Chamber met with our local MPs Pam Damoff, MP Oakville North Burlington and John Oliver, MP Oakville.  We trust that our voices have been heard and that our local representatives will continue to advocate on behalf of their community on these critical changes that will impact Oakville businesses and the economy” said John Sawyer, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. 

As Canadians celebrate Small Business Week, Chamber representatives congratulate the thousands of businesspeople who joined the mobilization and made their voices heard on this important issue affecting Canadian workers and employers.

The Oakville Chamber also noted the Minister’s call for further input from Canadian businesses, and intends to continue providing a voice to ensure the tax system is simpler and less of a burden on Canada’s competitiveness.

“It is always more productive when government and business work together. We can only hope the government will listen as we provide advice on those areas where more remains to be done, and that they will propose concrete data to back up their claims. The Canadian Chamber will be working with the Oakville Chamber and other Chambers across the country for suggestions on reforms that can improve the competitiveness of Canada’s tax system. Lowering the small business tax rate is one such measure, but there is still much room for improvement,” Mr. Beatty said.  “We must ensure that Canada, and with it Oakville, remain attractive places to do business. Although there is a great deal of work to be done, today’s announcement is a positive first step, but we expect more and we will be vigilant on the next steps,” he concluded.


Comprehensive, Pro-Growth Policies Needed in 2018 Provincial Election

Ontario’s Chamber Network provides recommendations to Drive Economic Development to the Forefront of Political Discourse


Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released Vote Prosperity, a platform and campaign outlining the Ontario business community’s priorities for the upcoming 2018 provincial election. Vote Prosperity provides a series of proactive recommendations that all of Ontario’s political parties should adopt to ensure growth for the province’s economy.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Oakville’s economy, they support working families in our local community and across the province, and that’s why candidates from every party in every community will become familiar with Vote Prosperity,” said John Sawyer, President, Oakville Chamber. “Ontario’s business community is prepared to be bold and with Vote Prosperity we are seeking to motivate our political leaders to follow.”

In releasing the platform today, the Ontario Chamber Network will strengthen the political narrative between now and the 2018 election.
Vote Prosperity is based on four aspirational 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.

“Ontario businesses have made it clear that the ever-rising costs of doing business from all levels of government has hindered their ability to prosper and grow,” said Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Our objective is to achieve coherent, comprehensive pro-growth policies from all political parties.  Our recommendations provide a prosperous path forward because when you vote for prosperity, Ontario wins.”

The platform provides 18 unique recommendations that will help bolster Ontario’s long-term economic future, while also addressing the pressing issues Ontario currently faces. Some of the 18 recommendations in Vote Prosperity include:

  • Reinstating scheduled reductions in the Corporate Income Tax, standardize the Business Education Tax and reduce the Employer Health Tax.
  • Conduct and publish the results for a comprehensive review of the electricity sector, including an objective economic impact analysis assessing the full range of inputs that make up the Global Adjustment (GA), and then pursue cost-reducing measures based on the results.
  • 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 more towards balanced or surplus budgets.

Over the coming months, ahead of the 2018 election, the Ontario Chamber Network will be voicing the concerns and recommendations outlined in Vote Prosperity with political parties and local MPPs and candidates. During the election, local chambers will be hosting debates where Vote Prosperity will be the primary focus of discussion.

Vote Prosperity outlines a number of current issues Ontario businesses face and includes original data from the Ontario Chamber Network’s member network. To learn more about the platform visit www.occ.ca/vote-prosperity2018/


Oakville Chamber of Commerce calls for infrastructure investments that support economic growth and quality of life

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s recommendations for infrastructure spending were supported by the Canadian Chamber network at the policy conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) held this past weekend in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

The policy resolution, and the recommended actions contained in the resolution, will become one of a number of key priorities identified by the Canadian Chamber. It will form part of the framework for the advocacy efforts undertaken by the organization at the federal level.

The resolution, which was submitted to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, states that more than half of Canada’s public infrastructure, valued at $1.1 trillion, is owned by municipalities and according to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, one third of municipal infrastructure is reported to be in fair, poor or very poor condition.

 “Infrastructure funds need to be allocated effectively and efficiently to the right types of projects. It is vital that investments are made strategically in projects that support the long-term growth of our economy” stated Ken Nevar, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Nevar also notes that “While most of our infrastructure challenges are the responsibility of our local government, both the federal and provincial governments have committed renewed investment to tackle our infrastructure needs.  Successful distribution of this funding will be achieved by the co-ordination, communication and collaboration of all levels of government.”

According to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), every $1 billion invested in infrastructure generates between $1.20 billion and $1.64 billion in real GDP growth; a proven multiplier effect guaranteed to boost the economy.

Similarly, every $1 billion invested in infrastructure creates approximately 16,000 jobs which are supported for one year across multiple sectors.

The resolution prepared by the Oakville Chamber is driven by Chamber member opinion obtained through advocacy surveys which revealed that traffic congestion continues to be an obstacle for success for businesses and that infrastructure priorities need to be transportation related.



Extending Minimum Wage Implementation Will Slash Job Loss Risk by 74%: Economic Analysis

Final analysis of Bill 148 reveals $12 billion economic problem that the Ontario Government must resolve

Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Keep Ontario Working (KOW) Coalition released two major reports that broadly capture the challenges associated with Bill 148 and the concerns of the employer community. The first report is the final economic impact analysis of Bill 148 by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis’ (CANCEA), which was peer-reviewed by Professor Morley Gunderson of the University of Toronto.

CANCEA’s analysis reveals that if Government were to do nothing other than implement the minimum wage increase over five years instead of in the next 15 months, jobs at risk would decrease by 74 per cent in the first two years. 

The analysis also indicates that while the proposed changes will see $11 billion in wage stimulus flow into the economy in the next two years, a remaining $12 billion problem exists which will lead to jobs lost, added costs, and general damage to the Ontario economy.

“Today’s final report by CANCEA is clear, while the Government is correct to say that there will be a stimulus from Bill 148, it does not cover the $23 billion cost challenge for business in the first two years – a substantial amount that poses great risk to our economy and cannot be resolved through offsets alone,” said Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “More must be done. The Ontario Government must resolve the economic challenges presented in Bill 148 through a combination of slowing down the implementation period, amending the legislation, and offsets. Business and Government must work together to avoid unintended consequences and protect our most vulnerable.”

The Keep Ontario Working Coalition and CANCEA released interim findings of this Analysis in August, ahead of final amendments being submitted for first reading of the legislation. To date, CANCEA’s work remains the only peer-reviewed economic analysis of Bill 148. In having been reviewed by Morley Gunderson, the work has benefited from one of the leading economists in Canada, who the Ontario Government has turned to on multiple occasions, such as during the Changing Workplaces Review which became the foundation for Bill 148.

“Our risk assessment of the Act is that there is more risk than reward for Ontarians despite the stated goal of the legislation in helping Ontario’s more vulnerable and the Ontario economy,” Paul Smetanin, President of CANCEA. “Given the risk of consolidating income and wealth inequality, putting about 185,000 people out of work, and the risks of small/medium businesses being exposed to their larger competitors, the unintended consequences are significant.”

In addition, the Keep Ontario Working coalition released a second report, The Flip Side of “Fair”, which showcases testimonials from employers and outline how they will be impacted by the legislation. The report gives a voice to those businesses who have felt excluded from the committee process and policy discussion around this legislation. The testimonials all share a common theme, that the minimum wage increase and labour reforms will have serious consequences for their business and their communities.

“This Bill is forcing businesses to automate where possible, reduce labour/staffing, absorb part of the costs, and pass along a price increase to the customers (consumers) where possible. …The very people that you are purporting to help are the ones who are going to be hurt the most. This will be the inexperienced and/or unskilled in Ontario. As these jobs disappear, they will be pushed onto social assistance… and will remain in poverty.” – Guenther Huettlin, President and Owner at GH Manufacturing, Belleville, Ontario

The KOW Coalition will continue to advocate that the government:

  1. Consider the risks outlined in this economic impact analysis while also conducting their own analysis;
  2. Implement broad amendments to Bill 148; and,
  3. Slow down implementation to avoid unintended consequences and protect Ontario’s jobs, communities and our most vulnerable.

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The Keep Ontario Working Coalition (KOW) is a broad-spectrum group of business sector representatives concerned with sound public policy to help produce jobs and grow Ontario. For more information please visit www.keepontarioworking.ca.

Members include:

Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS)

Canadian Franchise Association (CFA)

Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers

Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC)

Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO)

National Association of Canada Consulting Businesses (NACCB Canada)

Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA)

Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC)

Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA)

Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA)

Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA)

Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA)

Restaurants Canada

Retail Council of Canada (RCC)

Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)


Federal Tax Changes Could Impact Your Business: What You Need to Know

  • Do you employ family members? The government wants to scrutinize their compensation to apply a much higher tax rate on income they consider “unreasonable”.
  • Do you invest the profits from your business? The federal government is proposing to tax that income at an effective rate of 70%.
  • Do you want to pass your business on to your children? Tough new rules make it difficult for younger kids to get the capital gains exemption. They could be double taxed.

​Finance Canada is proposing the most radical tax overhaul in 50 years.  These proposed changes will have an impact on all incorporated businesses in all sectors of the economy from retailers to restaurateurs to farmers and consultants.  We are concerned that these changes will stall business growth in Canada and punish legitimate businesses.

We are asking for your help. Send an email to your Member of Parliament using these steps:

  1. Highlight and copy the sample letter below.
  2. Send a letter to MP Pam Damoff or Send a letter to John Oliver 
  3. Copy Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy faye@oakvillechamber.com 
  4. Paste the letter below into the body of the email.
  5. Be sure to personalize the letter (everything in italics).
  6. Click “Send”

We urge the government to put these changes on hold to avoid hurting thousands of small businesses across the country and to have a broader, more thoughtful discussion regarding the measures needed to stop those who use their businesses to avoid paying taxes.

Sample Letter to MP

Subject Line: Tax Changes will Hurt Small Businesses

Dear MP Name

Over the summer, the federal Finance Department has made it clear that it intends to make the most sweeping changes to business taxes in 50 years.

From my perspective, as a business owner, I want you to know how this is going to affect my business.

(Please share your business story.)

So that you have a snapshot of my business, here’s some information:

The number of people I employ:

The type of business:

I started this business in…

My customer base is… e.g. mostly local

My supplier base is… e.g. mostly local/Canadian/etc.

Nobody supports tax evasion or loopholes. But these changes will punish legitimate businesses like mine.

I am particularly upset because this government has said it is committed to providing new opportunities for SMEs to grow. My business and many others like mine are the backbone of many communities – my community included. Our businesses employ citizens; our businesses support local initiatives – everything from soccer teams to fundraising drives for refugee families. If these changes go through, our local businesses, including mine, will no longer have the capacity for these community activities. I understand that draft legislation is in place concerning these changes.

I urge the government to put these changes on hold to avoid hurting thousands of small businesses across the country and to have a broader, thoughtful discussion regarding the measures needed to stop those who use their businesses to avoid paying taxes.

Yours truly,

Name