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 of Commerce Annual General Meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 11th at 3:00 p.m. at the Quality Hotel & Suites (located at 754 Bronte Rd.).  

    All Oakville Chamber of Commerce members are invited to attend.  Details of the Annual General Meeting will be sent electronically 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.”


    Read the May/June 2018 Issue!

    This issue of The Business Advocate Magazine features the 23rd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence, the Town Economic Update with Mayor Rob Burton and the Ontario Chamber Network’s Vote Prosperity Election Platform. The magazine features a guest column from Kellie Gray, Lawyer at O’Connor MacLeod Hanna LLP, on Personal Emergency Leave and a feature on Oakville Chamber member Entripy Custom Clothing. 

    Read it online now!


    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.


    Regulatory burden undermining business competitiveness, new Chamber report finds

    Regulate Smarter

    Canada’s regulatory system is smothering business in Canada, thanks to a growing mix of complex, costly and overlapping rules from all levels of government. A new report by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and supported by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, Death by 130,000 Cuts: Improving Canada’s Regulatory Competitiveness, calls on governments to modernize their regulatory frameworks and give businesses in Canada room to thrive.

    “Inconsistent and unpredictable rules and processes are making it difficult for businesses—whether large or small—to keep up and comply. This leads to our businesses being less competitive and Canada becoming a less attractive place to invest, start or grow a business,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “Regulations are designed to keep us safe and to create a level playing field. But when they start to smother businesses, that becomes a real problem.”

    As the U.S., our largest competitor and trading partner, has recently implemented significant corporate tax and regulatory reforms, Canada cannot afford to fall further behind. Today’s report identifies opportunities to increase public and investor confidence in Canada’s regulatory systems and provides clear recommendations to government on how it should be done.

    “The Oakville Chamber partnered with the Canadian Chamber to release this important report” said Drew Redden, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “It supports the results from the latest Advocacy Survey we distributed to our members, in which over 70% stated that regulations are unreasonable and excessive. I look forward to meeting with our local elected government officials to discuss how we can work together with regulators and businesses to improve the competitiveness of our regulatory systems.”

    Some of the recommendations to improve regulatory competitiveness include:
    1. Immediately convene a government-business regulatory competitiveness working group. The working group would develop recommendations for the federal government to measure and reduce cumulative regulatory burden. It would also develop recommendations for governments to ensure a consistent application of regulatory guidelines across jurisdictions and ensure the adoption of best practices by regulators.
    2. Give regulators economic growth and competitiveness mandates to ensure economic impacts receive appropriate consideration in decision-making while preserving necessary protections.
    3. Increase federal leadership in eliminating internal trade barriers to trade through clear goals, timelines and accountability as part of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement.
    4. Validate the quality and consistency of regulatory cost-benefit analyses from departments and agencies before regulatory proposals are submitted for Cabinet approval.
    5. Improve regulatory consultations through earlier engagement with stakeholders while ensuring processes are transparent and evidence-based. Project-based public consultations should be time-limited and focused on projects, not other policy issues.
    6. Make overly prescriptive regulatory frameworks more flexible to better accommodate rapidly changing business environments by moving to risk- or outcome-based regulations where appropriate.
    7. Increase regulatory alignment with Canada’s trading partners by integrating regulatory cooperation into free trade agreements and design new regulations with alignment by default where it is in Canada’s economic interest to do so.

    Read the full report. 

    Learn more at regulatesmarter.com

    2018 Provincial Election Candidates Meeting

    Unable to attend our Candidates Meeting on Thursday, May 17 , or want to watch it again, you can watch it on YourTV Burlington/Oakville on Cable 23 or HD Cable 700 at the following date/time:

     Oakville North-Burlington Debate

    • Thursday, May 17 – Live at 6:00pm
    • Friday, May 18 – 12:30pm
    • Friday, May 18 – 8:30pm 
    • Monday, May 28 – 7:00pm
    • Tuesday, May 29 – 10:00am
    • Saturday, June 2 – 10:00am

     Oakville Debate

    • Friday, May 18 – 7:00pm
    • Saturday, May 19 – 12:00am   
    • Saturday, May 19 – 1:00pm
    • Monday, May 28 – 10:00am
    • Sunday, June 3 – 1:00pm

    YourTV Burlington/Oakville also has the debates available online: 

    Watch the Oakville North-Burlington debate.  

    Watch the Oakville debate.


    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/



    Inclusivity In The Workplace – Chamber Members and Local MPs Weigh In

    Recently, the Oakville Chamber had the opportunity to participate in a round-table on inclusivity with the federal government and local businesses in Oakville. Many inclusive employers encourage others to embrace becoming inclusive organizations because it can lead to greater work productivity and competitive advantages. 
    We asked two Chamber members to share their thoughts on inclusivity and this is what they had to say.

    Mandy Rennehan – CEO, Freshco

    When and why did you decide to become an inclusive employer?

    I can’t say it was a conscious decision. My business strategy has always been to lead with my heart and hiring is no different. I lovingly say I hire misfits — they are all unique and don’t fit into a stereotypical mould, and it works. My staff is from all walks of life, different ages and backgrounds. I firmly believe in hiring based on personality and bare potential, a resume is just a piece of paper and skills can be taught. I hire the right person for each job and it shows. My staff are happy, dedicated, and invested in the success of Freshco.

    Would you encourage other businesses to become inclusive employers and why?

    The richness of an inclusive team is the diversity of opinions and points of view. If everyone at Freshco came from a similar background and thought and acted the same way we wouldn’t evolve and grow as quickly as we have. The beauty is having team members raise their hands with fresh ideas, wicked-smart questions, and new challenges that continue to push Freshco to be #1 in the industry.

    Julia Hanna – Ritorno

    When and why did you decide to become an inclusive employer?

    I have always been an inclusive employer. It felt like the right thing to do and proved to be beneficial to my business. From the very beginning, we were able to build successful employee/employer relationships through inclusive employment.

    Would you encourage other businesses to become inclusive employers and why?

    I would absolutely encourage all businesses to consider inclusive employment. I have found that there are numerous rewards. The employees that I have hired have been appreciative of the opportunity. They give 100% commitment to learning and often have been the most reliable employees.

     

    Working collaboratively with government is important. Weighing in on the issue of inclusivity our local members of parliament had this to say.

    MP Pam Damoff – MP Oakville North Burlington

    What does inclusivity mean to you and why is it important?

    Building inclusive communities means fostering fair and equal opportunities for every Canadian and ensuring that Canadians living with disabilities have the same opportunities to find good, well-paying jobs, make a contribution to their communities and the economy, and build a better life for themselves and their families.

    A huge component of that is accessibility. We must remove the barriers – both physical or otherwise — that prevent individuals from participating fully in all facets of our community and ensure that persons living with disabilities have fair and equal access to workplaces. However, making workplaces accessible is just one part of the process.  We must also ensure that we are fostering inclusive workplaces by proactively reaching out to businesses and organizations to share the benefits of people living with disabilities, as well as reaching out to people with disabilities for work opportunities and recognizing the valuable contributions they can make to our workplaces and communities.

    One of my goals is to make Halton the most inclusive community in Canada. To do that, we must encourage businesses to have an inclusive employment strategy and the accessibility to ensure that all persons who wish to do so can find and meaningful work and receive a competitive wage for that work. Accessibility is about getting through the door while inclusivity is about creating an atmosphere where everyone is welcome and belongs. 

    Why do you think business should consider becoming an inclusive employer?

    Having an inclusive employment strategy is also good for businesses. Business owners in my community who have made their workplace inclusive say that it created a positive atmosphere for their employees and the business and allowed their business to become more efficient. Inclusive employment benefits our economy, creates workplaces with higher group performance and profits, and a broad range of social and economic benefits from a community perspective. 

    Yet, Canadians living with disabilities still face barriers in participating in the labour market. Having open and honest roundtable discussions about the barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities is an important first step in changing perceptions. We must offer meaningful job experiences to individuals of all skill levels. There are agencies who can assist businesses to both hire and accommodate those living with disabilities, and the Government of Canada has programs that can assist businesses be successful. We recently launched the Opportunities Fund (OF) which helps persons with disabilities prepare for, obtain, and maintain employment or self-employment to increase their economic participation and independence. You can learn more at www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/funding/disability-opportunity-national.html.

    MP John Oliver – MP Oakville

    What does inclusivity mean to you as a politician and why is it important?

    In order for everyone in Canada to succeed, we need to know the challenges and barriers that people of diverse communities face. We can only fix problems when we know that they exist in the first place – that’s why it’s so important for folks of all backgrounds to have a seat at the table. This is particularly important in politics, where hearing from diverse perspectives is essential for changing legislation for the better, and investing in the right projects to create meaningful change in our communities.

    Why do you think business should consider becoming an inclusive employer?

    Much like in politics, businesses can only benefit from having further diversity involved in making decisions. Many Canadians who require additional assistance to succeed in the workplace are not able to reach their full potential, simply because businesses lack the infrastructure to accommodate hiring employees with disabilities. The Government of Canada knows that hiring Canadians with disabilities is an important resource for businesses, which is why we support businesses looking to become more inclusive through the Enabling Accessibility Fund, Skills Link and the Opportunities Fund.

    If you would like more information on becoming an inclusive employer please visit:

    Community Living Oakville
    www.oakcl.org

    Discover Ability
    www.discoverability.network
    Ready, Willing and Able
    www.readywillingable.ca


    Statement on the Ontario Budget 2018

    “We are encouraged to see the government making smart investments in skills development and regional economic development. Specifically, we were excited to hear the announcement of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area Fund to invest in and support small and medium-sized businesses in our community. However, we remain concerned with the rising cost of doing business in Ontario. The Ontario Budget does not provide the offsets our members need, as it will leave some businesses, including small businesses, paying more in taxes. We look forward to discussing the measures outlined in the budget with our elected officials as we continue to advocate on behalf of our members.”

    – Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce

    Read the Ontario Chamber’s analysis of the budget from the perspective of Ontario’s business community.


    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


    Read the March 2018 Issue

    This issue of The Business Advocate Online features the RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast, the Mental Health Breakfast presented by YPEG and Bell Let’s Talk and a profile on Peel Scrap Metal and the Dvorkin Family who is celebrating 100 years in the Scrap Metal Industry! The magazine features guest columns from Senior Communications Advisor Jim Gray and CMHA Halton Region’s Melanie McGregor, and an article on Inclusivity in the Workplace featuring thoughts from our members at Freshco, Ritorno, MP Pam Damoff and MP John Oliver. Lastly, the magazine features Past President John Sawyer’s final message to the membership and introduces New President Drew Redden.

    Read it online now!


    Oakville Chamber of Commerce Board Nominations

    A reminder, to members of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, that Board nomination forms are due by 4 p.m. (local time) on Thursday, April 5, 2018.  We welcome nominations for Members of the Board of Directors for the term of September 2018 (Annual General Meeting) to September 2020 (Annual General Meeting).

    For a copy of the nomination form or for details on what the time commitments are to participate on the Board of Directors, please contact France Fournier or Drew Redden at the Chamber office (905) 845-6613.


    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.


    Budget 2018: Big on Spending, Short on Growth

    Budget 2018 is primarily about spending—new spending initiatives and enhanced spending for programs that aim to support low-wage Canadians, address gender inequality, support First Nations development, strengthen indigenous rights and self-determination, promote skills and research, improve health and environmental stewardship and enhance justice and security.

    Some of the spending initiatives announced in the budget will help business, particularly women entrepreneurs and small businesses, but they are limited in scope. There are also some important improvements in government policies—particularly with respect to the tax treatment of small business and the simplification of business support programs.

    The government is intent on tightening tax rules and clamping down on tax avoidance. It should be focused even more intently on bringing its books back to balance and creating a tax and regulatory environment to support business investment and economic growth.

    The budget projects the federal debt will increase by almost $80 billion over the next five years, although the government’s debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to decline slightly, thanks to continued strong economic performance. The government is counting on a buoyant economy to fund its spending initiatives and meet its fiscal targets. Its rosy economic assumptions will be put to the test by the risks it identifies itself in the budget—growing protectionism and uncertainty over NAFTA negotiations, tightening monetary policies worldwide and the risk higher interest rates pose for an already overextended household sector in Canada. Recent U.S. tax reforms are another serious risk to business investment in Canada that is missing from the budget’s calculations—we are awaiting further analysis.

    Higher interest rates are certain to throw the government off its fiscal course—a 1% increase in the cost of borrowing alone translates into a $3-billion increase in the federal deficit over a period of five years. But, what is even more of a concern is that the government now has very little room to respond to an economic slowdown or any other problem affecting the Canadian economy. The leeway it has enjoyed to reduce taxes and increase spending in an era of low interest rates is quickly coming to an end.

    Now, more than ever, Canada needs to undertake a comprehensive review of its tax competitiveness—and act with urgency to implement measures that will retain and attract business investment in Canada. That is the only way we can shield the Canadian economy against the headwinds that lie ahead. And, ultimately, it is the only way we will be able to pay for the government’s ambitious spending plans.

    Read the full Chamber Analysis.


    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


    Input Costs Soar as Confidence and Projected Profits Fall: Ontario Economic Report 2018

    Ontario Chamber Network reveals consequences of a climate that discourages growth

    Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released the second annual Ontario Economic Report (OER), a comprehensive analysis of data and emerging trends on the economic health of the province. Original economic research from the report reveals that 77 per cent of Ontario businesses say access to talent remains the largest impact on their competitiveness and nearly half report a lack of confidence in the province’s economy. Meanwhile, a lack of confidence in their own ability to sustain profits continues to decline.

    The OER includes data from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Business Confidence Survey conducted by Fresh Intelligence, a Business Prosperity Index developed by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), and a 2018 Economic Outlook prepared by BMO Financial Group.

    “Industry in Ontario are feeling the impact of the rising minimum wage, significant labour reforms, increasing global and US competition, NAFTA renegotiations, consistent overregulation, rising input costs, and challenges to accessing talent,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “This year’s Ontario Economic Report indicates that these challenges are creating a climate of low business confidence that will compromise the province’s future prosperity.”

    According to OER findings, 68 percent of firms say the minimum wage increase is predicted to have a negative impact on their business. Compared to last year, they are more likely to project a decline in revenue and a shrinking of their workforce.

    Some of the 2018 OER highlights on the outlook of Ontario’s economy include:

    • Businesses are losing confidence in Ontario’s economy. In 2012, 47 percent of businesses reported they were confident in Ontario’s economic outlook. Today, that share has been halved, as only 23 percent of businesses are confident in the economy.
    • Nearly two-thirds of businesses cite input costs for their lack of confidence, such as the price of electricity, taxes, and the increase in minimum wage. This is compared to only 31 percent who name competitive barriers such as declining consumer demand or changing client behaviour.
    • One quarter of small businesses in Ontario project declining revenue in 2018, which is twice the rate of large firms (26 percent vs. 13 percent). Given that the majority of businesses in this province are small, this will likely have a net-negative impact on economic growth.
    • The production of goods and services represents a shrinking contributor to business prosperity. Production activities represent only 15.3 percent of business prosperity, meaning that prosperity is increasingly becoming more dependent upon financial activities instead of productive activities. This is indicative of Ontario possessing a higher-risk operating environment.
    • Our historically low unemployment rate is a red herring, as more individuals remove themselves from the workforce or simply give up the search. The percentage of Ontarians not participating in the labour force is at a recent high of 35 percent, contributing to employers’ on-going struggle to attract talent.

    “This important report identifies key vulnerabilities within our economy and provides decisions makers and community leaders with the understanding needed to find the solutions that will drive our economy forward,” said Ken Nevar, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “This year, the Ontario Chamber Network will continue to engage and advocate on behalf of Ontario’s business community to explore these issues and develop the necessary solutions for a more prosperous Ontario.”

    “Looking at businesses in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA), 66 per cent said they are confident in their organization’s economic outlook, while only 35 per cent said they are confident in the province’s economic outlook” stated Drew Redden, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “75 per cent of these businesses cited poor economic policy from the government as a reason why they are uncertain with Ontario’s economic outlook. The Oakville Chamber looks forward to meeting with government officials to discuss economic policies that will facilitate growth for the province’s economy, many of those which are outlined in the Ontario Chamber Network’s Vote Prosperity platform.”

    In addition to new economic research, the OER outlines the areas of focus for the Ontario Chamber Network’s policy and advocacy work in the year ahead. In 2018, the Ontario Chamber Network will be looking at the potential of the health and life sciences sector, examining challenges related to urbanization and housing affordability, and studying the critical transportation needs across the province. As businesses continue to cite access to talent as a top challenge, the Ontario Chamber Network will continue to provide proactive recommendations and solutions to ensure we are leveraging our greatest asset—human capital.

    Read the Ontario Economic Report 2018.

    For more information about the OER, visit: www.occ.ca/ontario-economic-report

    View data from the responses of businesses in the GTHA. 


    Congratulations to the Finalists for the 23rd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West are pleased to present the 23rd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence (OABE) that will culminate in a Gala Dinner on Tuesday, March 27th at the Oakville Conference Centre. The finalists for this year’s awards were officially announced at the OABE Nominee Reception held on Tuesday, February 6th at the Holiday Inn Oakville – Centre.  

    This year, the award recipients will be chosen from finalists in nine categories: Small Business of the Year, Bell Mid-size Business of the Year, RBC Royal Bank Large Business of the Year, Professional Services Provider of the Year, Franchisee of the Year, The Morris Mercanti Restaurateur of the Year, KPMG Entrepreneur of the Year, Young Professional & Entrepreneur of the Year (YPEG Award), and Oakville Hydro Conservation Leadership Award.

    At the awards gala, the recipient of the Genworth Community Builder Award, Charity or Not-for-Profit Excellence Award, and Oakville’s Business Icon Award will be announced.

    • The Genworth Community Award recognizes a business that has, over time, demonstrated exemplary business practices and dedicated involvement in the community.
    • The Charity or Not-for-Profit Excellence Award honours a charity or not-for-profit organization which is highly regarded in our community and raises funds or provides services to improve the lives of people within our community.
    • The Business Icon Award recognizes a prominent Oakville business which is highly regarded in the business community.

    “The Oakville Awards for Business Excellence received an overwhelming number of nominations from the Oakville community. The judges carefully reviewed all of the nominations and selected a list of 56 finalists” stated Ken Nevar, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “I congratulate all of the finalists. It is truly an honour to be nominated by your customers and peers and to be recognized for your dedication, business practices, and community service.”

    Working in partnership with The Rotary Club of Oakville West, the majority of funds raised from the Gala Dinner will be donated directly to the club’s local youth programs.

    “Since its inception in 1995, the Oakville Awards for Business Excellence has raised almost $1,000,000 for our youth initiatives including the Oakville Rotary Education Awards, Camp Enterprise and the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards” said Lois Knepflar, President of the Rotary Club of Oakville West. “We look forward to a fantastic evening to celebrate business excellence, while supporting the youth in our community.”

    The Finalists for the 23rd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence are:

    Small Business of the Year

    A.S. Security & Surveillance Inc.

    Addison Music Learning Centre

    Akita Natural Skin Care Products Canada

    Caju Multimedia Inc.

    DCM Event Management

    Expert Island

    iCare Home Health

    Innovative HR

    Oakview Funeral Home

    Painters Place

    Preferred Muffler, Brake & Auto Inc.

    Qi Tranquility Spa

    Resultel Technologies Inc.

    Speckles Art Studio

    Wines Unlimited

     

    Bell Mid-size Business of the Year:

    Automacs Collision Inc.

    Cameron’s Brewing Company

    ClubRunner

    Florence Meats

    JNB Auto Centre Inc.

    Mico Systems Inc.

    SupperWorks

    Total Tech Pools and Leisure Inc.

     

    RBC Royal Bank Large Business of the Year:

    Caravan Logistics Inc.

    D’Orazio Infrastructure Group Limited

    Glen Oaks Funeral Home and Cemetery

    iFLY Toronto Indoor Skydiving

    Naylor Building Partnerships Inc.

    Rona

     

    Professional Services Provider of the Year:

    Bazar McBean LLP

    Lakeshore Woods Pharmacy

    Positive Accounting

    The Milley Team (HollisWealth, A division of Industrial Alliance Securities Inc.)

     

    Franchisee of the Year:

    Liaison College (Oakville Campus)

    Piper Foods Inc. (McDonald’s Restaurant)

     

    The Morris Mercanti Restaurateur of the Year:

    Bronte Sports Kitchen

    La Parisienne Creperie

    Oliver & Bonacini Café & Grill

    The Pipes and Taps Pub

     

    KPMG Entrepreneur of the Year:

    Allie Ochs of Swiss Bionic Solutions

    Ayse Kilic of Akita Canada

    Dawn Porter-Schofield of Cornerstone Mediation

    Jane Wilson of PoleFit Nation

    John Thistlewaite of BCIS, Inc.

    Matthew Zarrillo of Zarr Tech

    Nicoletta Medeiros of Allure Laser Skin Studio

     

    Young Professional and Entrepreneur of the Year (YPEG Award):

    Derek Lee of Media Rez Studios Inc.

    Dr. Denise Handscomb, ND of Abaton Integrative Medicine  

    James Montague of James Montague the Event Planner

    Morsal Haidary of Lash Out Lounge and Spa

    Paul Ferri of Limitless Training Systems

    Oakville Hydro Conservation Leadership Award:

    Canlan Ice Sports Corp.

    Iovate Health Sciences International Inc.

    Mancor Industries

    Oakville Honda

    Pinty’s Delicious Foods Inc.

     

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West thank Platinum Partner RBC for their generous support of the 23rd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence and Nominee Reception.

    Event Details:

    Date: Tuesday, March 27th

    Time: 5:30pm – Registration & Reception; 6:30pm – Dinner & Awards Gala

    Location: Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre, 2515 Wyecroft Road

    Tickets: $125 per person; $87.50 per person for Nominees

    Purchase tickets online or by emailing info@oakvillechamber.com or calling the Oakville Chamber of Commerce at 905-845-6613.

     

     


    Oakville Chamber partners with Canadian Chamber to launch 10 Ways to Build a Canada that Wins

    A strong and prosperous Canada depends on business growth, but businesses are grappling with daunting challenges at home and abroad. To help them compete and grow, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to release 10 Ways to Build a Canada that Wins today. 10 Ways provides businesses, decision-makers and government with a series of clear priorities and objectives that, if addressed, will give Canada a competitive edge, improve productivity and grow our economy.

    “While the global economy remains risky, there are still tremendous opportunities for business growth, but we need to work together to create the conditions to support business growth and build a more prosperous economy for all Canadians,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “10 Ways identifies the ways in which business, government and others can work together to improve Canada’s public policy environment and create the conditions for businesses across the country to flourish.”

    10 Ways touches on a range of key issues, including attracting business investment, supporting SMEs, and encouraging innovation and fixing Canada’s trade-enabling infrastructure.

    “The Oakville Chamber is proud to partner with the Canadian Chamber again this year to release 10 Ways” stated Ken Nevar, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve finalized a list of 10 important ways in which Canada’s policy environment can be improved to support development and growth for businesses not only in Oakville, but across the country.”

    “We are looking forward to meeting with government officials to discuss our recommendations” added Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

    This annual list by the Canadian Chamber Network is particularly important given the growing pressures on businesses faced with uncertainty around the ongoing NAFTA negotiations, additional layers of regulation, rapid technological change and low capital investment. 10 Ways not only frames the necessary public discourse around the best ways to enable Canadian businesses to grow, it provides the Canadian Chamber of Commerce with the strategic direction for its policy and advocacy efforts throughout 2018, supported by the Oakville Chamber.

    10 Ways to Build a Canada that Wins in 2018

    1. Make Canada a Magnet for Business Investment
    We need a policy environment in Canada that makes this country the preferred location for businesses to invest, employ, export from and grow.

    2. Ensure a Globally Competitive North America
    The growth potential of Canadian business depends not only rely on our domestic policy environment, but also on our access to business opportunities and capabilities across North America and around the world. We need to expand and streamline business access to resources as we eliminate barriers to trade. 

    3. Make Canada an Agri-food Powerhouse
    Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector has a strong and well-earned reputation. In order to make Canada a global leader in high-value food production and exports, we need a national vision and clear objectives for an agri-food cluster development strategy, a supportive regulatory environment and an increased capacity to export.

    4. Develop Agile Workforce Strategies
    Agile workforce policies are vital in ensuring Canadian businesses can acquire the skill sets they need to compete and grow. To this end, Canadian businesses need easy access to comprehensive market information and to programs and policies that support diversity and labour mobility. Our workforce must also have access to formative and life-long learning opportunities in essential skills and basic science, technical, engineering and business education. Only then can we attract the best and brightest from all over the world.

    5. Make all of Canada an Export Gateway
    Trade is the linchpin of the Canadian economy. We can enhance the competitiveness and growth potential of Canadian businesses by building on the gateways and corridors modeled to make strategic, sustainable and long-term improvements in Canada’s trade infrastructure. It is time for us to create a single, unified and efficient trade-enabling network.

    6. Improve Regulatory Efficiency, Achieve Regulatory Alignment, and Ensure the Unrestricted Movement of Goods and People across Canada 
    The elimination of trade barriers and unnecessary regulatory differences across Canada could add as much as $130 billion to Canada’s GDP by freeing trade and commerce within our own internal markets. Through incentives for regulators, we can concentrate on the big picture: nationally aligned standards and regulations that work for all, instead of a patchwork of regional rules.

    7.Help SMEs Trade and Grow
    Canada’s economic prospects depend in large part on the vitality and growth potential of small- and medium-sized enterprises. We can support our SMEs through tax policies that reward entrepreneurship, regulatory policies that take their reality into account and by giving them easier access to government contracts and international opportunities.

    8. Provide Opportunities for Business Development to Support Self-determination for Indigenous Peoples
    The economic and social benefits of encouraging greater and more inclusive participation by Indigenous peoples in employment and business development opportunities are shared by all Canadians. This includes a supportive tax and regulatory environment, access to new business opportunities, government programs that provide meaningful supports, and ready-access to education and training, leading to employment, apprenticeship and mentorship programs.

    9. Make Canada a Global Innovator
    Canada can retain its status as an advanced economy only if its businesses are world leaders in the development and application of new and advanced technologies. Canadian businesses need to be connected to the broadband infrastructure, research expertise and technology resources they require. Intellectual property and other regulatory regimes also have to be supportive and allow for easier R&D, development and, ultimately, commercialization.

    10. Make Canada the World’s One-stop Shop for Green Resources and Technology
    The application of new technologies and production processes is vital if Canada is to meet its goals for reducing carbon emissions and improving the quality of its environment while at the same time sustaining economic growth. This requires support for resource-based technology business clusters and the incentives and support programs Canadian technology companies need to be able to do business with global resource companies and engineering and procurement firms.

    Read the report.


    Oakville Chamber appoints new President

    Oakville Chamber President Drew Redden

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the appointment of Drew Redden as its new President, effective February 5, 2018.

    “We are very pleased to make this appointment” stated Ken Nevar, Chair of the Board of the Oakville Chamber. “Drew has a strong background in strategic communications and government relations and is passionate about our business community. We know he will continue building on the Oakville Chamber’s strong foundation.”

    Drew brings a variety of public and private sector experience to the role at the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. Prior to joining the Oakville Chamber, Drew served as a Senior Advisor to a Cabinet Minister at Queens Park, and most recently a Manager of Public Affairs at a multi-national corporation where he was based in the Halton Region. In his past roles, Drew was engaged with Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade throughout the Province.

    “I am very excited to join the award-winning Oakville Chamber of Commerce and have the opportunity to work with the staff, Board of Directors and volunteers of this impressive organization” said Drew. “I look forward to meeting with our members and the Chamber’s many community partners over the coming months as we set our priorities to build on the legacy left by John Sawyer. We will be focused on ensuring that the Oakville Chamber of Commerce remains a leading voice in the Chamber network across Ontario and Canada.”


    Become an MNP Future Leader

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is proud to be a partner of the MNP Future Leaders Program!

    MNP Future Leaders ProgramAs an entrepreneurial firm built for entrepreneurs, MNP is proud to support our local business communities and young business leaders. They created the MNP Future Leaders mentorship program to recognize the importance of new and growing businesses – the lifeblood of our economy. They are committed to providing them with the support, advice and tools they need to succeed in a rapidly-changing business environment. The program is aimed at current students and recent graduates from their post-secondary institution partners including Ryerson University, Sheridan College and University of Toronto Mississauga who are seeking to start or actively involved in an entrepreneurial enterprise.

    MNP has also partnered with key local stakeholders who share the same goal of supporting youth entrepreneurship in our business community including the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, Brampton Board of Trade, Mississauga Board of Trade, City of Brampton, City of Mississauga, and Metroland Media.

    Winners will receive free monthly professional mentoring, guidance and advice from an experienced MNP partner for one full year and a personalized award acknowledging their accomplishment as an MNP Future Leader. They will also receive a year-long membership with their local board of trade or chamber of commerce. Member benefits include access to valuable resources and information on current industry trends and public policy issues, advocacy support as well as networking and growth opportunities.

    HOW DO I APPLY?
    Visit www.MNP.ca/futureleaders for more details about the program and to complete and submit an online application by the April 10, 2018 deadline.


    The Government of Canada is updating federal labour standards.

    Please find attached a survey from the Federal Government relating to feedback on the ongoing review of federal labour standards.

    The main issues this survey addresses include vacation hours, break periods for meals, as well as newer concepts such as a “Right to Disconnect” (ie, be unavailable for work-related email or phone contact), and the various definitions of “Job Quality” related to employment.

    We encourage you to take 5 minutes to complete this survey so that your views are shared with the federal government.  More information can be found here.


    Popular Chamber President Retiring

    John Sawyer, Past President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce

    After 12 years leading the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, President John Sawyer is stepping down.  “the timing is right for both myself and the Chamber” said Mr. Sawyer. He want on to say; “We have built a truly outstanding team, we are at record membership and we are in a strong financial position. I will certainly miss it but am looking forward to the next chapter in my life.”

    John has been recognized for his leadership by a number of organizations.  In 2014 the Chamber Executives of Ontario awarded John the James Carnegie Memorial Award for his leadership and work as a mentor to his colleagues in the Chamber network.   In recognition of his community service John was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal and the local Rotary Clubs named John a Paul Harris Fellow.  The Chamber Executives of Canada at their annual meeting last year named John the Chamber Executive of the year for Chambers with 1,000+ members.

    Under John’s leadership the Oakville Chamber has grown to over 1,200 member companies that collectively employ over 42,000 people.  

    Twice during the past three years the Canadian Chamber has awarded the gold medal to the Oakville Chamber in the annual national Chamber competition;  last year for producing the best Chamber video and in 2015 for building community partnerships.  The Ontario Chamber has also recognized the Oakville Chamber with awards for its programing and advocacy work.   The Chamber Accreditation Council awarded the Oakville Chamber Accreditation with Distinction.  In order to be accredited a Chamber’s governance and programing are measured against best practices across the Chamber network.  Accreditation with Distinction has only been earned by approximately 10% of the Chambers of Commerce or Boards of Trade in Canada. 

    The Oakville Chamber annually hosts between 55 and 65 events per year.  Many of those events feature high profile business and political leaders.  Over the past few years the Chamber has hosted leading CEO’s, the Governor General, Prime Ministers, Premiers, Cabinet Ministers, Government officials, diplomats and celebrities who have visited Oakville to speak at Chamber events.  

    “John will be missed.  He has done a remarkable job over the past 12 years and will be hard to replace” stated Ken Nevar, Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.   “The Board has undertaken a rigorous search for John’s successor and we expect to be able to make an announcement in that regard in the coming weeks.   John has agreed to stay on until the end of March to help with the transition in leadership.” 

    Details regarding a retirement celebration will be released at a later date.


    Further Offset Measures Needed in Upcoming Budget to Keep Ontario Competitive

    2018 Provincial Pre-Budget Submission


    The Ontario Chamber Network calls for tax reform, smart spending to support Ontario businesses

    Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, provided the Ontario government with 11 recommendations for the upcoming provincial budget that will help businesses manage costs and secure the province’s competitive advantage. The submission, presented to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, calls on the government to implement taxation reforms and smart infrastructure and transportation spending to maximize growth and benefit all regions of Ontario.

    As the cost of doing business in the province continues to increase, and Ontario employers take on one of the largest wage increases in recent history, Ontario’s Chamber Network is recommending the government reinstate the scheduled corporate income tax rate from 11.5 per cent to 10 per cent. The submission also calls on the harmonization of the Business Education Tax across the province, as well as targeted reductions to the Employer Health tax.  

    “Employers in Oakville of all sizes are feeling the pressure from rising costs, and more than ever our local business communities are lacking confidence in the future of Ontario’s economy,” said John Sawyer, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “The recent minimum wage and labour and employment standard changes will cost Ontario businesses an estimated $23 billion over the next two years. We need more support for business and the government’s commitments made in last year’s Fall Economic Statement are simply insufficient.”

    The pre-budget submission also recommends that the government create additional small business deduction tax brackets, as well as delay taxation on corporate income growth to overcome the scale-up challenge.  Currently, all businesses with an annual income of $500,000 or less are taxed at a flat rate. A bracketed taxation system would give startup and SMEs more room to grow. Currently in Ontario, 71 per cent of private sector jobs can be attributed to the activities of small and medium sized enterprises.

    “Ontario needs a competitive taxation system, that encourages investment and minimizes red tape, must be in Ontario’s long-term strategic plan,” said Mr. Sawyer. “As the U.S. pursues tax reform that would lower their federal corporate tax rate by 15 per cent, and with the uncertain future of NAFTA, we must find ways to keep Ontario competitive.”

    The Ontario Chamber Network also encourages members of the committee and government to consider how are we leveraging Ontario’s greatest asset—human capital.

    The recommendations outlined in the Ontario Chamber’s pre-budget submission all come directly from Ontario’s Chamber Network through policy resolutions at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting.

    Read the full submission and all 11 recommendations.


    Read the Winter 2017/2018 Issue!

    Read it online now.  


    RBC Economic Outlook 2018

    If you would like to obtain a copy of the presentation slides from the RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast 2018  please e-mail Kristen at kristen@oakvillechamber.com 

    Coverage of the event:


    Oakville Chamber Hosts RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast 2018

     The Oakville Chamber of Commerce will host its annual RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast on Tuesday, January 9th at the Oakville Conference Centre. The event will feature two keynote speakers: Craig Wright, Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist, RBC and Sean Simpson, Vice President, Ipsos Public Affairs. Craig Wright will provide a look at the provincial, national, and global economy going into 2018, while Sean Simpson will provide the social insights

    The event provides an ideal opportunity for business owners and professionals to understand how economic and social factors may impact their business throughout 2018. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions during a moderated Question and Answer Forum following the keynote presentations.

    “The RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast is one of the Chamber’s most popular annual events as businesses plan for the year ahead” stated Ken Nevar, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We thank our partners RBC, Ipsos Public Affairs and Henderson Partners LLP for their support in making this event possible.”

    Event Details
    Date: Tuesday, January 9, 2018
    Time: 7:30am – 9:30am
    Location: Oakville Conference Centre (2515 Wyecroft Road)  
    Tickets: Members $35; Non-members $55. Register online through the events calendar, or by contacting the Chamber directly at 905-845-6613, or info@oakvillechamber.com


    ‘Devil in the details’: Senators urge government to axe tax act changes

    The federal government should scrap or at least delay plans to amend the Income Tax Act as the proposals risk harming the Canadians these changes are meant to help, the Senate Committee on National Finance said in a report released Wednesday.

    The committee’s report is the product of extensive study and cross-Canada consultations with the people who have the most to lose under the proposed changes. This work took place with the endorsement of the federal finance minister.

    The majority of senators on the committee believe cancellation is the most prudent course of action. However, committee Deputy Chair Senator André Pratte and Senator Éric Forest disagreed.

    As an alternative to cancellation, delaying fiscal reform implementation would also give the government more time to consult with businesses and tax specialists on the details of the changes, once these have been released.

    Witnesses described in concrete terms the extent to which some changes would be harmful to them. Proposed restrictions on passive investments, for instance, would discourage business owners from saving for capital investments, economic downturns or even parental leave and retirement.

    There is another reason for the government to withdraw or delay its proposals.

    Over the past decades, various governments have made incremental changes to the tax system, which has become bloated, complex and cumbersome. The last comprehensive review of the tax system took place in the 1960s; the committee believes it is long past time for the government to take a close look at our existing system.

    If the government truly wishes to make meaningful, lasting changes toward a fairer tax system — and maintain Canada’s competitiveness with other countries that have simplified their own tax codes — the committee believes the government must embark on a full review of the tax system.

    It would be an ambitious, time-consuming and difficult project. But, done well and with input from Canadians, it would leave a lasting legacy of stability and profitability.

    The committee urges the government to embrace this challenge.

    Read the report, Fair, Simple and Competitive Taxation: The way forward for Canada


    Coalition welcomes Senate recommendations, remains concerned with income sprinkling rules

    New draft legislation on income sprinkling still raises concerns, says business coalition opposing tax changes

    The legislation on income sprinkling released by Finance Minister Bill Morneau, while a step towards clarity, still represents an administrative and financial burden for a number of small businesses and the families that own them. 

    The Coalition for Small Business Tax Fairness, a unified voice of over 74 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of business owners across the country, remains concerned that the new rules will cause business owners to have to cut through burdensome interpretative red tape in their efforts to prove that they or family members belong in one of the categories that would exempt them from the new sprinking rules. The coalition continues to urge government to create a blanket exemption for spouses.

    “The measures announced by Min. Morneau leave many small business owners scratching their heads, especially if they will have to deal with  the Canada Revenue Agency interpretation of reasonableness,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “Although there has been some improvement, these are not measures to be rushed. This situation highlights the need for an in-depth overhaul of our tax system, in order to make it more competitive.”

    “The measures announced are slated to come into force in two weeks. That’s far from enough time for businesses to adapt,” said Dan Kelly, President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. “We continue to urge the government to slow down, and to listen to the recommendations from the Senate Committee on National Finance.”

    The Senate Standing Committee on National Finance issued a report that recommends the government withdraw the proposed changes to the taxation of private corporations in Canada, or barring that, to push back their application to 2019. The Senate Committee is also issuing a recommendation to proceed with an in-depth review of the country’s tax system.

    Given the complexity of these proposals, more time is needed to ensure that these changes can be implemented and do not harm small businesses, the backbone of the Canadian economy. The coalition stands ready to work with the government to find solutions that won’t adversely affect small business’ ability to grow, innovate and create jobs.

    The Coalition for Small Business Tax Fairness is encouraging business owners and other concerned Canadians to contact their Members of Parliament and use the hashtags #unfairtaxchanges #taxesinéquitables on social media. For the full list of Coalition members, please visit smallbiztaxfairness.ca.  


    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.



    #ProtectGrowth : Small Business Tax Changes Update

    On October 16, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the federal government’s response to the more than 21,000 submissions it received during the previous three months with regard to the government’s proposed changes to the tax treatment of small business.

    The key provisions contained in his announcement and the Canadian Chamber’s messaging with regard to each are summarized below.

    In addition to responding to the government’s new proposed tax changes, the Canadian Chamber Network has called on the government to undertake a comprehensive review of
    the tax system recommending that it establish a Royal Commission to do so. In light of mounting regulatory compliance costs imposed by all levels of government, proposed carbon taxes, and the prospect of US tax reform, the Chamber will launch its own competitiveness assessment of Canada’s business tax system in 2018. The findings of our review will help to shape the priorities for tax
    reform.

    Dates to look out for:

    • December 15 – The Senate Finance Committee will release its report on the Small Business Tax changes based on the cross-country consultations it undertook during the fall in which many Chambers took an active role.
    • Sometime before Christmas (our bet is just before Christmas) – The government’s new rules on income sprinkling need to be tabled if the government is to meet its January 1 date for implementation.
    • March – Budget 2018 will most likely contain draft legislation on passive investment.

    Key Messages to MPs

    1. Chambers are still very concerned about the potential negative impacts the government’s small business tax changes are likely to have on small business investment and growth.
    2. Tax changes should be postponed until their full economic impacts can be taken into account.
    3. The government must urgently address the broader issue of the competitiveness of Canada’s tax system.
    4. The government should establish a Royal Commission to undertake a comprehensive review of the tax system.


    Changes announced by Finance Minister Morneau

    1. The Small Business Corporate Tax Rate will be reduced

    The government will reduce the federal small business tax rate from its current level of 10.5% to 10% as of January 1, 2018 and 9% as of January 1, 2019. This measure reinstates the gradual rate reduction to 9% announced by the previous government but halted in Budget 2016. The tax rate reduction was included in a Notice of Ways and Means Motion tabled as part of the government’s Economic Update on October 24. This reduction will save companies earning $500,000 in income eligible for the small business deduction $2,500 in 2018 and $7,500 annually from 2019 on.
    The Canadian Chamber Network  has welcomed this move.

    2. Higher taxes on Ordinary Dividends

    In conjunction with the small business rate reduction, the personal tax rate applied to ordinary (non-eligible) dividends will increase. The purpose is to maintain the integrative nature of the personal and corporate tax systems, ensuring that the aggregate level of tax paid on dividends will remain the same regardless of whether income is earned as an individual or through a corporation. However, this change could result in an overall tax increase for some small business owners, which for some might exceed the savings associated with a reduction in the small business tax rate. Personal tax rates will increase on dividend distributions from earnings that were taxed at a higher rate (like distributions of earnings taxed at a higher small business or manufacturing and processing rate or future distributions of passive investment income). There will be no grandfathering of lower personal dividend tax rates on distributions of these accumulated retained earnings.
    The Chamber Network has proposed that a grandfathering mechanism be introduced.

    3. Rules related to “Income Sprinkling” will be simplified

    Widespread and serious concerns were raised during the consultation period with respect to the complex rules the government was proposing to introduce aimed at restricting the payment of income to adult family members unless the amounts were determined to be reasonable. The government also proposed that it would treat some capital gains as ordinary dividends.  The government received thousands of submissions detailing concerns about how these proposed rules could result in nearly doubling the tax rate on inter-generational family business transitions or other legitimate business transfers to related parties. The complexity and uncertainty of the proposed changes was also an issue of common concern, as was the likelihood of the proposed measures unleashing an army of CRA tax auditors working on different interpretations of what reasonableness actually means.

    In response to the consultations, the government confirmed that the measures related to income sprinkling would be simplified in order to provide greater certainty for family members who contribute to a family business. No further details have been provided
    since October 16.

    There are still many uncertainties about these proposals. What does simplification and clarification mean? What does a reasonable contribution to a business mean? Will the conversion of capital gains to ordinary dividends remain in the simplified legislation? And, when will the simplified draft legislation be released? (The previous version was to come into effect January 1, 2018. The government will need to table its simplified version before then if the effective date is to remain unchanged – Look out for the rule changes to be announced just before Christmas.)

    The Chamber Network remains concerned that the changes when they are announced will not take into consideration all of the ways that family members contribute to a small business and that the reasonableness test that will be applied by CRA will still be intrusive and complex.
    We have called for the government to:

    • Announce its simplified rules as soon as possible and allow ample time for input from business;
    • Consider at a minimum an exemption from the rules for spouses; and,
    • Postpone the implementation of the changes until January 1, 2019 at the very least.
    4. Access to the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption will not be changed

    The Finance Minister announced that the government will not proceed with its proposal to restrict access for certain shareholders to the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE). The Chamber Network welcomes this change.

    5. Rules governing the Conversion of Capital Gains into Dividends will not be changed

    The Finance Minister also announced that the government will not proceed with draft legislation tabled last July that would convert capital gains into taxable dividends. The Chamber Network welcomes this change.

    6. The government will work to make it easier and less costly to transfer business to the next generation.

    The Chamber welcomes the government’s willingness to improve the tax treatment of intergenerational transfers and looks forward to working with the government to this end.

    7. Proposals for the tax treatment of Passive Income will be revised.

    The government intends to proceed with proposals to increase tax on corporate passive investments funded from after-tax business earnings, effectively double taxing the eventual distribution of passive investment earnings. However, the government now proposes that the new tax increases will only apply to passive income in excess of an annual threshold of $50,000 and will be applied only on a go-forward basis. It is expected that the draft legislation will be tabled along with the federal 2018 budget.

    There are many concerns and uncertainties that still surround this proposal. Such as: Will the threshold apply to individual companies or to groups of companies? What is being grandfathered? Investment assets or retained earnings? Current working capital or future liquid assets from the disposal of other assets? How long will the grandfathering be permitted? Are investments in other companies considered passive investments? The threshold will be insufficient for many small businesses saving to make future investments. There are also serious concerns that the taxation of passive investments will be a disincentive to venture or angel capital.

    The Chamber’s position with respect to the government’s new proposals to tax passive income is that:

    • The $50,000 threshold is inadequate for small businesses that are saving in order to make larger investments in innovations or business growth;
    • The threshold is too small to provide business owners with long-term earnings security;
    • The government should not proceed with its passive income rules until a full economic impact assessment has been carried out and an approach has been developed that can ensure there will be no unintended negative consequences to business investment.


    2017 Fall Economic Statement

    Yesterday, the Government of Ontario released its 2017 Fall Economic Statement, which provides an update on the government’s finances and progress on key commitments since the release of the 2017 Budget. The government is continuing to project a balanced budget in 2017–18 and ongoing balance in 2018–19 and 2019–20, unchanged from the 2017 Budget forecast. The province also boasts a steadily declining  unemployment rate which reached  5.9 percent in October 2017, and has been below the national average for 31 consecutive months.  

    The fall statement forecasts real GDP growth of 2.8 percent in 2017, up from 2.3 percent in the 2017 Budget. Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP peaked  in 2014–15 at 39.3 percent, however it is projected to be 37.3 percent in 2017–18, lower than the 37.5 percent forecast in the 2017 Budget.  

    The government also made announcements related to Strengthening Ontario’s Small Businesses, Encouraging Youth Employment and Modernizing Apprenticeships for Small Businesses.

    What does this mean for business?

    Strengthening Ontario’s Small Businesses

    The Province is announcing more than $500 million in new initiatives, over three years, for small business. Most notably the province is proposing a 1 percent cut in the small business Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate from 4.5 percent to 3.5 percent. The Fall Economic Statement also includes enhanced financial support for small and medium‐sized fruit and vegetable farming businesses and investments to enhance the vibrancy of communities and main streets.

    Our Response: As part of the Ontario Chamber Network’s Bill 148 advocacy work, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce has consistently urged the government to provide a comprehensive package of offsets, which includes a reduction in the small business tax rate. These measures will help to provide small businesses compensation for their limited access to capital financing, and the pressures placed on their revenue streams from Bill 148’s increased labour costs.

    Encouraging Youth Employment

    Ontario will provide $124 million over three years in supports for youth ages 15 to 29 years, working with Employment Service and Youth Job Connection to support employer hiring and retention beginning January 1, 2018. Through Ontario’s Employment Service program, a small employer with fewer than 100 employees would receive a $1,000 incentive for hiring a young worker and a $1,000 for retaining that worker for six months. Additionally, if workers are hired through Youth Job Connection, a separate program that recruits youth facing employment barriers, employers would receive retention payments of $1,000 after three months, with a further $1,000 payable after six months for each worker.

    Our Response: In partnership with Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA) the Ontario Chamber Network conducted an independent economic analysis modelling  the impacts of Bill 148,. Evidence suggests that a 10% increase in the Ontario minimum wage could decrease youth employment by 2% to 6 % over time. Considering this challenge, funding for small business to link youth with the labour market is a step in the right direction.

    Modernizing Apprenticeships for Small Businesses

    The Province is proposing adding five service‐sector trades to the eligibility list for the new Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers: Hairstylist, Cook, Horticultural Technician, Baker/Patissier, and Appliance Service Technician. Additionally, the government is proposing supporting multiple employers to pool together and form consortia to hire, register and train their apprentices for skilled trades.

    Our Response: In our report Talent-in-Transition, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce recommended that the government collaborate with business and education stakeholders to increase employers’ awareness of the consortium model. By allowing for multiple employers to join and form hiring consortium, apprentices will see an enhanced system flexibility while improving support for the development of a workforce that is responsive to Ontario’s local labour market needs.


    Oakville to host Ontario’s Minister of Transportation: The Honourable Steven Del Duca

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) – Oakville Chapter, will host the Honourable Steven Del Duca, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation for Lunch on Friday, November 17th. The event, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Oakville Conference Centre, will include lunch, a keynote address by the Honourable Steven Del Duca, and a moderated Question and Answer Forum.

    “The Professional Engineers of Ontario – Oakville Chapter is proud to partner with the Oakville Chamber of Commerce and present both our members and the Oakville community at large with the opportunity to hear directly from Ontario’s Minister of Transportation” stated Len D’Elia, Chair of the Professional Engineers of Ontario – Oakville Chapter. 

    “We are pleased to be hosting Ontario’s Minister of Transportation” stated Ken Nevar, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Transportation is top of mind for our members and the Oakville business community. In our latest Business Advocacy Survey, 64% of respondents believed that traffic congestion was a significant obstacle for business. Moreover, our members’ top three infrastructure priorities for Oakville were all transportation related; being local roads and bridges, public parking, and transit. I’m sure our members are keen to hear Mr. Del Duca’s plans for transportation throughout the Province, and in our community.”

    Event Details:
    Date: Friday, November 17, 2017
    Time:
    11:30am – 12:00pm: Registration, networking and lunch
    12:00pm – 1:30pm:  Formal Event
    Location: Oakville Conference Centre (2515 Wyecroft Road)
    Tickets: $35 for Members, $55 for Non-Members. Tables of 8 available.
    Register online. 


    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.


    Oakville & Milton Chambers to host Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada: Andrew Scheer

    Andrew Scheer

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Milton Chamber of Commerce, will host the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition for Lunch on Thursday, November 9th. The event, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at RattleSnake Point Golf Club, will include lunch, a keynote address by the Honourable Andrew Scheer, and a moderated Question and Answer Forum.

    The November 9th lunch will be Andrew Scheer’s first public address to the Oakville and Milton Chambers of Commerce, their members, and Halton Region’s business community. Mr. Scheer will share his thoughts on how Ottawa decision-makers can strengthen the Canadian economy through a plan for lower taxes, responsible government spending, and championing small business.

    “We are pleased to be presenting our members with the opportunity to hear directly from the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition” stated Ken Nevar, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We believe our members are eager to hear what Mr. Scheer’s vision is for the country.”

    “A key role for Chambers of Commerce is to bring people together and ensure there is meaningful dialogue” added Teresa Fujarczuk, Chair of the Board, Milton Chamber of Commerce. “This is why both the Milton and Oakville Chambers are pleased to be able to offer this unique opportunity for our members and their guests to hear directly from Andrew Scheer and ask their questions.”

    The Oakville and Milton Chambers of Commerce invite Chamber members and the Halton Region community to attend.

    Event Details:

    Date: Thursday, November 9th
    Time: 11:30am – 12:00pm: Registration, networking and lunch. 12:00pm – 1:30pm:  Formal Event
    Location: RattleSnake Point Golf Club, 5407 Regional Road #25, Milton, ON  L9T 2X5
    Tickets: $35 for Members, $55 for Non-Members. Tables of 8 available.
    Please note there is limited seating for this event.

    Register/Learn More.


    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


    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/


    Brian Mulroney to Address Oakville Chamber Luncheon

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to be hosting The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney for a luncheon on Thursday, October 19th

    “We are honoured to host the former Prime Minister” said Ken Nevar, Chair of the Board of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We are keenly interested in hearing Mr. Mulroney’s insights on the Canadian economy and NAFTA, which was negotiated and introduced almost 24 years ago while he was Prime Minister.”

    Brian Mulroney was elected as Canada’s eighteenth Prime Minister in September 1984. He was re-elected with a majority government four years later thereby becoming the first Canadian Prime Minister in 35 years to win successive majority governments and the first Conservative Prime Minister to do so in 100 years. He resigned in June 1993, having served almost nine years as Prime Minister.

    His government introduced initiatives such as the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Canada-U.S. Acid Rain Treaty. Prime Minister Mulroney’s government also introduced a series of privatizations, a low inflation policy, historic tax reform, extensive deregulation and expenditure reduction policies that continue to be the basis of Canada’s economic performance today.

    Mr. Mulroney has been awarded Canada’s highest honour, Companion of the Order of Canada, and has been made a Grand Officer of the Ordre National du Québec.

    In 2000, the McGill University North American Studies Institute determined that Mr. Mulroney had the best economic record of any Prime Minister since World War II. In 2003, the Institute for Research on Public Policy placed Mr. Mulroney 2nd in a ranking of the best prime ministers of the previous 50 years. In 2006, a panel of Canada’s leading environmental groups determined that Mr. Mulroney was “The Greenest Prime Minister in history.” In 2009, a survey conducted by The Hill Times selected Mr. Mulroney as “the most admired” former Prime Minister of Canada.

    Event Details

    Date: Thursday, October 19
    Time: 11:30am to 12:00pm – Registration; 12:00pm – 2:00pm – Event
    Location: Oakville Conference Centre (2515 Wyecroft Road)   

    Tickets: Members $65; Non-members $85 

    Register online through the events calendar, by phone at 905-845-6613, or e-mail info@oakvillechamber.com.  Please note only registered attendees will be admitted, there will be tickets sold at the event.

    Join the conversation using #LunchWithMulroney


    Rethink Tax Changes | #ProtectGrowth

    Rethink Tax Changes #ProtectGrowthThe government’s proposed tax changes will affect all private business owners

    The government has proposed the most significant tax changes we’ve seen in 45 years. These tax changes will affect all private business owners, regardless of their level of income, size of business or conformity with fiscal rules.

    Our asks

    • We want the government to rethink its proposed tax changes to protect the growth of small businesses across Canada.
    • We want the government to launch meaningful consultations with the business community to review tax policy without unfairly targeting independent businesses.
    • We want the government to consider a comprehensive review of the Canadian tax system with a view towards fairness and simplification for all taxpayers and increasing the competitiveness of all businesses.

    Our submission

    The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has submitted their policy submission to Finance Canada on the proposed tax changes. It outlines the problems and offers solutions.
    Read the submission. 

    Have your say

    While the government’s consultation period ended on October 2, you still need to voice your concerns.  Call on your MP to ensure no harm is done to small businesses across Canada. 

    Click here to write your MP today. When prompted for a password, please enter chamber2017.

    Click here to sign our petition. The petition will be sent to ministers Morneau, Chagger, Bains and Monsef.

    Please consider adding your voice by shooting a video and sharing it via protectgrowth@chamber.ca. Videos should tell the story of how proposed changes will impact their business. Watch a sample.  

    Learn more.

     


    Oakville Chamber Celebrates Small Business Week with Local Entrepreneur Randy Pilon

     Randy Pilon Virox TechnologiesThe Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada, is pleased to present Randy Pilon, Founder and President/CEO of Virox Technologies Inc., as the keynote speaker for the Small Business Week Kick-off Breakfast on Monday, October 16.

    Local entrepreneur and Sheridan Alumni Randy Pilon founded Virox Technologies Inc. in 1998, a company with a patented technology in the disinfection and sterilization market. Virox has appeared in Profit Magazines “Companies to Watch “rankings in addition to feature stories in The Toronto Star, The Globe & Mail and National Post and Report on Business Television.

    In 2005, Randy received the Oakville Awards for Business Excellence Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Randy was also a “Python” on the Pythons Pit Television show that first aired in 2013 and again in 2014. In October 2014 the Pilon family made a significant donation to Sheridan College to support the expansion of the business school and as such was named the Pilon School of Business at Sheridan.

    “We are thrilled to have Randy Pilon speak during Small Business Week” says Ken Nevar, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “I look forward to hearing the compelling journey of this local entrepreneur. Randy will share his thoughts on growing Virox Technologies Inc., overcoming challenges and lessons learned along the way. I’m sure the audience of small business owners and professionals will leave the breakfast truly inspired.”

    Additional events to celebrate Oakville’s community of entrepreneurs include the Business After Hours and Trade Show on Wednesday, October 11 and a Lunch & Learn on Friday, October 20 where Senior Communications Advisor senior communications advisor Jim Gray will speak about how to deliver your message messages clearly and effectively, in tough circumstances, for the best results.

    According to BDC, small and medium sized companies make up 99.8% of all businesses in Canada and one in ten Canadians own a business. This is the 26th year the Oakville Chamber of Commerce has celebrated Small Business Week by offering opportunities for entrepreneurs to learn from experts and network with like-minded professionals and potential clients.  

    The BDC Small Business Week schedule of events is as follows:

    Small Business Week Business After Hours and Trade Show
    Wednesday, October 11
    5:00pm – 8:00pm
    Oakville Conference Centre
    2515 Wyecroft Road, Oakville

    No registration required, unless registering as an exhibitor. Complimentary to Members and first-time guests. Returning guests $20 at the door. Learn more.

    Kick Off Breakfast with Randy Pilon, BA, MBA, ICD.D
    Founder and President/CEO Virox Technologies Inc.
    Monday, October 16
    8:00am – 9:30am
    Oakville Conference Centre
    2515 Wyecroft Road, Oakville

    Pre-registration required. Tickets are $35 Members; $45 Non-members. Tables of 8 are available. Register now!
    View the slides from Randy Pilon’s Presentation

    Lunch & Learn: How to Communicate Like a Leader in Difficult Situations
    Presented by Jim Gray, Principal, Jim Gray and Associates Inc.
    Friday, October 20
    11:30am – 1:00pm
    Oakville Conference Centre
    2515 Wyecroft Road, Oakville

    Pre-registration required. Tickets are $35 Members; $45 Non-members. Tables of 8 are available. Register now!

    Chamber members and non-members are welcome to register and attend all Small Business Week events. 

    Join the conversation using #SBWoakville2017

    About BDC Small Business Week 2017TM

    This year, BDC Small Business Week is looking toward the future to uncover emerging trends that will shape and grow Canadian businesses in the years to come.

    From the emerging digital technologies that are redefining ways of doing business, to shifting demographic trends marked by an aging population, and an increasingly diversified and skilled labour force, Canada’s business landscape is changing in profound and unprecedented ways across all industries.

    Join BDC at over 300 events across the country to celebrate Canadian entrepreneurship, and find out how you can start adapting your business to tomorrow’s trends today.

    To learn more about BDC Small Business Week and BDC, visit www.bdc.ca


    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 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.

    -30-

    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


    Ken Nevar Appointed as Oakville Chamber Chair

    Ken Nevar Chair of the BoardThe Board of Directors of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Ken Nevar has officially begun his term as Chair of the Board. 

    Ken was sworn in by Mayor Rob Burton at the Oakville Chamber’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday, September 7th.  

    Ken has served as a member of the Chamber Board of Directors since 2010 and has served on the Oakville Chamber’s Executive Committee as Vice-Chair of the Chamber Board since 2013.

    Ken Nevar is the President of Cooper Construction Limited. Founded in Hamilton, Ontario in 1905, Cooper Construction has a long history as a family-owned general contractor constructing institutional and commercial buildings in both the public and private sectors.

    Ken joined Cooper Construction in 1979 and has played a pivotal role in transforming the company into one of the leading design builders and industrial land developers in the GTA. Ken leads all strategic initiatives of the company and is responsible for development activities, including land acquisition, site servicing, design/build construction, marketing and tenant selection activities.

    “Ken 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 Caroline Hughes. “Ken has provided his expertise to the Board as a Director for seven years and has chaired the Oakville Chamber’s Government Relations and Advocacy Committee for two years. I look forward to working closely with Ken and his leadership throughout the coming year.”  

    Caroline Hughes has completed her term as Chair of the Board, and Oakville Chamber President John Sawyer congratulated her on an
    outstanding job. “Caroline’s background and experience helped frame our research, comments and recommendations throughout her term as
    Chair. A significant achievement during her term was the Oakville Chamber membership reaching a milestone of over 1,200 organizations! We
    are very proud of this achievement and look forward to continue the momentum in the coming year.” Caroline Hughes Past Chair of the board

    Caroline Hughes will be recognized for her contribution to the Chamber at the Annual Chairs Dinner where Ken Nevar, along with the incoming Board of Directors, will be introduced to the community. This formal evening includes a networking reception, dinner and silent auction. The Oakville Chamber is pleased to be hosting David Dodge, The Former Governor of the Bank of Canada and Senior Advisor at Bennett Jones, as the keynote speaker.

    “We are excited to host David Dodge. The economy and interest rates are the top issues on the minds of our members and Canadians at large. It will be very interesting to hear Mr. Dodge’s perspective on the Bank of Canada’s increasing interest rates and its effect on our economy” stated Chamber President John Sawyer.

    The 63rd Annual Chair’s Dinner takes place:

    Date:    Wednesday, September 20

    Time:   5pm Networking Reception; 6pm Dinner Gala

    Location: Oakville Conference & Banquet Centre, 2515 Wyecroft Road, Oakville

    You can register for the 63rd 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.


    Business Tax Changes Are Coming – Make Your Voice Heard

    Changes to Corporate Taxation: Your MPs need to hear from you! 

    Last month, the Federal Government released a discussion paper on tax planning using private corporations. The proposals in this paper focus on three main areas: tax deferrals, income splitting and capital gains taxes.

    The complexity and rigidity of the proposed changes will not only add to the cumulative regulatory burden facing small businesses, it will also cost small business owners thousands of dollars and discourage business investment. The government says these changes only target “the highest income earners” who have “unfair tax advantages”, but in fact this will affect hardworking, honest business owners of all income levels.

    Your MPs need to hear how these proposed changes will affect businesses throughout Oakville and across Canada. Contact MP John Oliver and or MP Pam Damoff to make your voice is heard! Be sure to contact them before September 5 to make sure they’ve heard you before parliament resumes.  

    “Neutralizing” Tax Deferrals 

    The government wants to neutralize the “tax deferral advantage” associated with making passive investments through a private corporation. Business owners can leave income in a corporation (where it is taxed at a lower rate than personal income) so that they can reinvest that income and help their business grow. Keeping income in a corporation also allows businesses to cope with fluctuating businesses cycles. The government wants to eliminate any advantages from this practice by eliminating certain refunds and restricting eligibility for certain tax rates. These proposals stand to undermine legitimate investment practices and discourage business growth.  


    Reforming Income Splitting

    The Federal Government is also proposing changes to income splitting taxation. Any individual who receives split income that is determined to be unreasonable will be taxed at a higher rate. An amount would be considered unreasonable to the extent that it exceeds the average sectoral salary. This proposal neglects the unofficial functions that many individuals receiving split income perform in small businesses. For example, a spouse of a small business owner may perform several business-related tasks outside of their job title which explains their higher-than-average salary. 


    Corporate Tax Reform Affects All Business Owners

    Unfortunately, changes to income splitting and tax deferrals are not the only changes under consideration. The Federal Government’s sweeping proposals include additional reforms such as a restriction on the lifetime capital gains exception.

    As a whole, these proposed changes would impact all Canadians who own and operate private companies, including family businesses and incorporated professionals. Ultimately, these proposals would increase the complexity of the tax rules applicable to private corporations and reverse many of the tax policies which have fostered business growth for decades. The government says they are targeting “the highest income earners” who have “unfair tax advantages”, but that is simply not true: these changes stand to affect hardworking, honest business owners of all income levels.

    It is imperative your MPs hear from you directly on how these changes will affect your business before their annual Liberal caucus retreat on September 5. We encourage you to contact your MP directly with your concerns; you can reach MP John Oliver here and MP Pam Damoff here.

    For more information on the proposed tax changes, contact your tax planner or contact the chamber so we can put you in touch with one of Oakville’s many professionals. 

    Questions or concerns?

    If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy at 905-845-6613 x 211 or faye@oakvillechamber.com .


    Nominations Open for the 23rd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence

    oakville wards for business excellence award
    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Oakville West, is now accepting nominations for the 23rd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence (OABE). Nominations will be accepted until Friday, September 29th 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,” stated Lois Knepflar, President of the Rotary Club of Oakville West. “It is a wonderful opportunity to formally acknowledge their dedication, hard work and contribution to our community.”

    The 23rd Annual OABE award categories open for nomination are:

    • RBC Royal Bank Small Business of the Year: This award recognizes a business of 1-5 full time equivalent employees and/or primarily services Oakville and district and/or generates up to approximately $2 million 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.
    • 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.
    • Franchisee of the Year:This award recognizes a Franchisee, serving the Oakville market, who is recognized by their customers and their Franchisor for the outstanding operation of their business.
    • Professional Services Provider of the Year: This award recognizes a person or employee team with a professional designation or whose practice is regulated by a provincial, federal or regulatory body.
    • The Morris Mercanti Restaurateur of the Year:This award recognizes a restaurateur with an establishment in Oakville that is open to the public. Please note this is a business award, not a food award.
    • 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 & 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, 2017).

    “The Oakville Awards for Business Excellence celebrates the many contributions our business community makes to the outstanding quality of life we enjoy here in Oakville,” says Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “This year we are excited to introduce a new award, Young Professional & Entrepreneur of the Year (YPEG Award), to recognize the energy, leadership and innovation in Oakville’s young professionals. Last year we received a record number of nominations for over 170 organizations. This year we hope to meet or exceed that number! If you know a business or individual that excels in one of the above categories, honour them by submitting a nomination.”

    All nominations are sent to the OABE Judges, who carefully review the submission and evaluate it   accordingly to the category criteria. 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 2018. 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.  


    Ontario Needs More Resilient Infrastructure to Confront Challenges of 21st Century

    Report points to a $19 billion infrastructure gap which must be addressed through new accountabilities in Ontario’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan

    Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released Building Better: Setting the 2017 Ontario Infrastructure Plan Up For Success, a report calling on the Ontario Government to implement key recommendations in its imminent Long-Term Infrastructure Plan (LTIP) that will help ensure accountable planning and building resilient, adaptable infrastructure for the future.

    With relatively stagnant infrastructure investment since the 1970s, the province of Ontario currently faces a significant infrastructure gap, where it would need an estimated $19 billion to improve current infrastructure alone. The gap exists because governments have not invested in upholding original infrastructure and Ontario’s harsher climate has contributed to the deterioration of the province’s infrastructure.

    “Here in Oakville, and across Ontario, there is a need for significant infrastructure spending to fill the current gap –  to ensure Oakville is equipped for the future; a future that has very different infrastructure needs from the past,” said John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “To succeed in our constantly evolving economy, we must ensure that infrastructure dollars are spent on innovative and forward-looking projects that will grow our province’s capacity to do business and grow our economy.”

    The Government’s LTIP is expected to be released this fall with stakeholders greatly anticipating its release. Ontario’s Chamber Network is contributing to the development of the LTIP by recommending that: 

    • While the Government has made significant infrastructure investments, it should bring fresh accountability methods around how infrastructure dollars are spent to ensure spending and planning are transparent;
    • Governments of all levels should confront challenges of the 21st century by ensuring planning considers how we can build infrastructure that is resilient and adaptable and deals with variables such as climate change; and that,
    • The Long-Term Infrastructure Plan must be strategic, robust, and based on long-term thinking.

    “We commend the Government of Ontario for their impressive allotment of infrastructure funds; this investment in our province’s infrastructure has the potential to yield tremendous benefits for all Ontarians,” said Richard Koroscil, Interim President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “To ensure the Ontario government’s investments do not suffer the same fate as those of federal government, where significant funds have been committed but few projects identified, we hope the Government of Ontario will implement our recommendations, to better strengthen the province’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan.”

    “We have heard from our members about the need to invest in crucial transporation infrastructure in Oakville. In fact, the top three infrastructure priorities identified by our members in our 2016 Advocacy Survey were local roads and bridges, public parking, and transit” added Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “This is why we are recommending the Provincial Government to adopt an outcomes-based approach to infrastructure funding with project prioritization based on clear, transparent criteria such as resulting in economic growth, efficiency, sustainability, and community benefits.”

    Research shows that investment in infrastructure, such as roads, transportation, communication, utilities and more, have resulted in lowered business costs and increased labour productivity. It is estimated that for every $1 billion in infrastructure spending 16,700 jobs are supported for one year and the GDP sees a $1.14 billion increase.

    Read the report.


    Read the Summer Issue!


    185,000 Ontario Jobs at Risk from Bill 148: Independent Economic Impact Analysis

    Bill 148 will increase the cost of consumer goods and services by $1,300 per household starting in 2018, according to new analysis by leading economics firm

    Today the Keep Ontario Working Coalition (KOW), in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Oakville Chamber of Commerce, released the first and only independent economic impact analysis of Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act. Conducted by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), the study revealed that if the legislation is implemented as currently drafted, there will be significant, sudden and sizable uncertainty for Ontario jobs, economy and communities.

    The study concludes that these vast, unprecedented reforms will put about 185,000 jobs at risk in the first two years, greatly impacting Ontario’s most vulnerable workers.

    “The changes presented in Bill 148 will have dramatic unintended consequences that include putting close to two hundred thousand jobs at risk and seeing everyday consumer goods and services increase by thousands of dollars for each jobs at risk and seeing everyday consumer goods and services increase by thousands of dollars for each and every family in Ontario,” said Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and spokesperson for the Keep Ontario Working Coalition. “We’ve run the numbers and it’s clear that this is too much, too soon. If the Ontario government chooses to proceed with these sweeping reforms too quickly, all of us will be affected, and the most vulnerable in our society chief among them.”

    “Since the announcement of Bill 148, we have heard an overwhelming number of concerns raised by Oakville Chamber members over the size, and in particular, the timing of these proposed changes. They expressed their concerns over the unintended consequences of job losses due to rising costs, the inability to remain competitive, increased costs to consumers and the unfortunate reality of shutting down their business” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Working with the Keep Ontario Working Coalition, our goal is to address elements of the legislation where we think there is still room for negotiation, while bringing forth the evidence from this economic analysis to show the impact this will have on business and consumers.”

    CANCEA was commissioned by the KOW coalition to measure the potential impacts of six key areas of change in Bill 148, including changes to minimum wages, “equal pay” provisions, vacation, scheduling, personal emergency leave (PEL) and unionization.

    Data from the economic impact analysis shows:

    • $23 billion hit to business over the next two years alone
    • 185,000 Ontario jobs will be at immediate risk over the next two years
      • 30,000 of the jobs at risk are youth under 25
      • 96,000 employees at risk are expected to be women
    • 50 per cent increase to inflation for this year and the foreseeable future. The cost of everyday consumer goods and services will go up by $1,300 per household on average each and every year
    • The Ontario government would need to borrow $440 million more to cover the increases in new costs from this legislation. If the government were to provide offsets to businesses, as they have indicated, the province’s treasury will take a bigger hit
    • Municipalities will be forced to increase employee wages by $500 million without additional offsetting revenues

    “Simple accounting reveals that the Act creates a $23 billion challenge for Ontario businesses over two years. Annualized, this is 21 per cent of what Ontario businesses invest in capital,” Paul Smetanin, President, CANCEA. “Given the significant, sudden and sizable changes it would be remiss to expect that unintended consequences would not follow.”

    In the coming weeks and months, the KOW coalition will release additional components to the economic impact analysis.

    “Given the scale of impact and pace of change, it will be impossible for the provincial government to make businesses, even small businesses, whole through offsets,” added Baldauf. “With amendments to the first reading of Bill 148 due this Wednesday, the legislation will need to see serious change including an adjusted timeline for implementation.”

    Since Bill 149 was introduced in June, the KOW coalition has called on the government to conduct an economic impact analysis to fully understand how the legislation will change Ontario’s economy. With the government unwilling to do so, the report released today represents the first and only independent economic analysis of this legislation.

    Read the analysis.

    For more details on the economic analysis, click visit keepontarioworking.ca

     


    Oakville Chamber Hits Membership Milestone

    The Oakville Record-Star: Business Men Organize to Promote Area

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce its membership has grown to over 1,200 companies. Collectively Oakville Chamber members employ more than 40,000 people. Among the top five Chambers of Commerce or Boards of Trade in Ontario, the Oakville Chamber is one of the largest associations of any kinds in Oakville.

    “We are delighted to reach this milestone of 1,200 members. It shows the value the Oakville Chamber brings to Oakville businesses. We look forward to continuing to represent the growing voice of the business community” stated Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

    In September of 1949, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce (then named the Oakville-Trafalgar Chamber of Commerce) was incorporated under the federal Boards of Trade Act. The Oakville Chamber made headlines in 1953 when over one hundred “Business Men Organize[d] to Promote Area.” At the meeting 59 applications for membership were received! (See article to the right).  

    Since those early days, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce has grown and evolved to become the voice of the Oakville business community. Through providing advocacy, corporate benefits, networking opportunities, events, business development and educational forums, the Oakville Chamber works to foster a healthy, engaged, and sustainable business environment and economy in Oakville.  

    It is not just the Oakville Chamber that has evolved over the past 68 years, but our society has evolved as well. One major change is Oakville’s population; the population in 1949 was 11,952, whereas today it is over 190,000!

    Another noticeable change that is evident in the 1953 article is the involvement of women in business. Back in 1949, it was business men that created and supported the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. Today, we have many successful business women contributing to our economy and the Chamber. In fact, five of the past 10 Oakville Chamber Board Chairs have been women. Not only did they lead the Oakville Chamber to success, but they have been leaders in their respective industries, including finance, hospitality, marketing and advanced manufacturing.

    The article below was published in September of 1953 in The Oakville Record-Star, the predecessor of today’s The Oakville Beaver. It mentions that the majority of Chamber Members at that time were in the commercial and industrial sectors. Today the Oakville Chamber has a diverse membership with members in the professional and financial services, digital media, life science, advanced manufacturing, hospitality, engineering, retail, real estate, arts and education.

    To celebrate their diverse membership, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce launched the “I’m A Member Because” community campaign. The campaign was created by members, with members, for members. It features two videos and a series Chamber Members stating the reason their Chamber membership is important.

     A special thank you to Media Rez Studios for producing the video, and Fotografia Boutique for photographing the members. You can view the videos before every movie this summer at Film.Ca Cinemas, on CogecoTV, and on Intrigue Media screens throughout Oakville. You can also follow the campaign on the Oakville Chamber’s social media channels. Oakville Chamber members can join the campaign by sharing why they’re an Oakville Chamber member @oakvillechamber using #ImAMemberBecause.

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, and our society as a whole, has grown and evolved over the past 68 years. Let’s see what milestones we will achieve by 2085.

    To learn more about Chamber benefits, please contact Marc Tremblay, Vice President of Membership Development at 905-845-6613 x 204 or marctremblay@oakvillechamber.com.

    Marc Tremblay Vice President of Membership Development Celebrates 1200 membership milestone   Marc Tremblay, VP Membership Development celebrates the 1,200 member milestone!

    Oakville Chamber staff Celebrates 1200 membership milestone

    Oakville Chamber staff celebrating the milestone: Faye Lyons, Sharon Molloy, Jad  Haffar, Marc Tremblay, France Fournier, Karen Pomfret and John Sawyer.
       

     



    The Town of Oakville: Sign By-law Review

    The Town of Oakville is reviewing the Sign By-Law. We have heard from our members about the need to update this by-law, and now you can have your say. Complete the survey before September 5, 2017. It is anonymous and will take less than 10 minutes. The survey is now closed.

    The regulations outlined in the Town’s current Sign By-law 2006-005 are in place to:
    • Guide the types of advertising signs that are allowed on public property and on the property of business locations;
    • Support the Town’s objectives to manage visual clutter, ensure the health and safety of the public, and preserve Oakville’s unique character, streetscape compatibility and priority intended for on-site first-party signs throughout the town; and
    • Provide a balance between the Town’s objectives and the advertising interests of businesses.

    Why are they reviewing the Sign By-law?

    Sign By-Law 2006-005 has been in effect for ten years with multiple amendments that have affected the regulation of various sign types including but not limited to mobile signs, fascia signs and advertising signs. A review is needed to ensure the Town’s regulations address the needs of local businesses, while reflecting the Town’s objectives and unique character.

    The four guiding principles of the review are:
    1. Health and safety – the design, location, maintenance, and operation of signs should not pose a safety hazard for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians
    2. Maintaining the community character – signs should be compatible with their surroundings, reflect the Town’s unique character, overall planning and design objectives and contribute positively to a livable environment
    3. Economic development – signs should contribute to the economic well-being of businesses and communities
    4. Respecting Charter rights – balancing of the Town’s objectives with the interests of the business community by ensuring that rights of commercial expression are minimally impaired for the purposes of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    10,000 Years Stuck in Traffic: Infrastructure gaps block productivity, new Chamber report finds

    Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, released a report Stuck in Traffic for 10,000 Years: Canadian Problems that Infrastructure Investment Can Solve. The report examines the effects of traffic congestion in major cities, ranging from lowered employee productivity to delays in moving goods and services.

    Lack of proper transportation infrastructure is a major barrier to Canada’s access to market and to its competitiveness, leading to lost opportunities and wasted time for both Canadian companies and residents, says the report.

    “As Canadians head out on vacation this summer, they will be spending longer periods in their cars, stuck in traffic because of inadequate road infrastructure, including poorly-maintained roadways, interchanges and bridges. Unfortunately, it won’t stop after their vacations, either. Congested transportation systems – and the loss of time and productivity that comes with them – have become a reality for tens of thousands of businesses and their employees,” said Perrin Beatty, CEO and President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

    “The Oakville Chamber partnered with the Canadian Chamber to release this important report” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “It supports the results from our 2016 Advocacy Survey, in which 64% of our survey respondents believe that traffic congestion for getting staff to work is a significant obstacle for business. The survey also found that our members’ top 3 infrastructure priorities were all transportation related being local roads and bridges, public parking, and transit.”

    The report outlines several other infrastructure challenges that government must target to keep Canada competitive such as:

    • Facilitating trade along the Asia-Pacific Gateway and corridor
    • Improving digital access and infrastructure
    • Maximizing potential in Canada’s North
    • Enhancing the Ontario-Quebec trade corridor
    • Getting Canadian oil and gas to markets
    • Green electrification and transmission  

    “Inconsistent public investment in our transportation systems is a hindrance to small and large businesses alike with real environmental and economic costs. Canadians in the country’s largest cities are collectively losing over 10,000 years sitting in their cars every year, time that could be much better spent,” Perrin Beatty said. “As MPs tour Canada this summer making infrastructure announcements, we need to ask, ‘are these investments being spent in the right places?’” he concluded.

    This report supports the Oakville Chamber’s resolution that was passed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to link investment in core infrastructure to productivity performance and enhancement. The Oakville of Commerce will be bringing this policy resolution forward to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce at their Annual General Meeting in September.

    “Infrastructure funds need to be allocated effectively and efficiently to the right types of projects. It is vital that investments are made strategically into projects that support the long-term growth of our economy” stated John Sawyer.

    Read the report.

    Watch the video and read the infographic.



    Half of Ontarians fear their skills will soon be obsolete: Oakville Chamber of Commerce

    New Ontario Chamber of Commerce report urges action into alignment of skills, education and career opportunities

    Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released a comprehensive report, Talent in Transition: Addressing the Skills Mismatch in Ontario, which identifies ten recommendations that will better align the skills acquired by Ontarians with those required by employers.

    The report, which was developed in partnership with leading officials in the private and educational sectors, as well as with representatives from across Ontario, includes exclusive, new research of both Ontario Chamber Network members as well as the general population on sentiment toward skills development.

    Of the six in ten businesses who attempted to recruit staff in 2016, 82 per cent experienced a challenge in hiring someone with the proper qualifications.

    “Ontario employers are finding it more and more challenging to recruit properly qualified talent. If improvements are not made, we will find ourselves in a situation where there are ‘people without jobs and jobs without people” said Richard Koroscil, interim-President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Our latest report identifies opportunities to improve alignment of skills, education, career opportunities.”

    It is not just employers who are concerned with the growing skills mismatch. Of the general population, half of Ontarians are concerned their skills and expertise will no longer be useful or will become less valuable in the next decade.

    Over the last decade, the skills mismatch has been a major concern for the future growth of Ontario’s economy. The report states that as Ontarians move into the knowledge-based economy, with rapidly changing technological advancement, it is essential to leverage our greatest asset, human capital.

    The Ontario Chamber’s report outlines a strategy that unites government and industry to work collaboratively to ensure that all regions across Ontario have access to the skilled workforce required to compete in the global economy. In working together on the recommendations presented in this report, Government and industry can:

    • Improve the transition from school to the workplace (through the expansion of experiential learning opportunities).
    • Improve the labour market outcomes (achieved through Employment Ontario programs).
    • Develop a modernized apprenticeship system (reflective of the current business climate and focused on the integration of young people into the trades).

    “We hear from employers in Oakville who are experiencing challenges to find qualified employees all the time,” said John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “If we align government, employers and educators to find solutions to the skills mismatch, we can strengthen our economy and ensure there are meaningful career opportunities here in Oakville.”

    Ontario’s Chamber Network has been active on the skills issue since 2012. This report is part of larger advocacy work to ensure all regions across Ontario have access to the skilled workforce that they require to compete in the global knowledge economy.


    Minimum Wage Increase & Proposed Labour Reform: Advocacy and Policy Update

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce shares the desire for broadly inclusive growth, where everyone has the opportunity to obtain a living wage. However, in order to achieve this, we need to ensure that we are not risking job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship as a result of over-regulation.

    Thank you to all of our members who have shared their comments regarding the proposed new labour reforms including the minimum wage increase to $15.00 in the next 18 months. We have heard you and we will continue to focus our advocacy efforts on your behalf.

    In the past few weeks, the Oakville Chamber has met with the Minister of Labour, our local MPP Kevin Flynn, to share our members’ thoughts on the unintended consequences of the proposed changes. Namely, job losses due to rising costs, the inability to remain competitive, the possibility of shutting down local employers and increased costs to consumers. We are working with our local Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) and combining our efforts to communicate our concerns related to the reforms and in particular, the pace at which these changes are scheduled to occur.

    To that end, the Oakville Chamber is working with the Keep Ontario Working (KOW) group, a coalition of Ontario’s leading industry and sector associations as well as major employers. KOW brings together divergent voices to strengthen our collective advocacy. Our goal will be to address elements of the legislation where we think there is still room for negotiation, while bringing evidence to the table to support the notion of a broader package of offsets to help the business community transition into these new changes. The KOW website has been updated with new content and calls to action. You can visit it at www.KeepOntarioWorking.ca

    We encourage you to submit a letter to our local MPP’s through the Coalition’s website (to submit a letter, click here). Please take the time to share your stories with Minister Kevin Flynn and continue to send us your emails.

    Your voice matters.


    Read the May/June Issue!


    Deadline to Register for our China Trip is Fast Approaching!

    Join the Oakville Chamber of Commerce for this once-in-a-lifetime China adventure!

    Space is limited. To register, or for more information, please contact Gary Hill and Judith Neal at 905-845-6631, toll free at 1-800-368-3273, or email chambertripinfo@advhouse.com

    Registration Deadline: Thursday, July 20th 

    For only $2,499* your trip includes:

    • Round-trip International airfare & tax from Pearson International Airport
    • Chinese domestic airfare & tax
    • 4 and 5 star hotel accommodations 3 full meals per day
    • Deluxe bus tours
    • Fluent English-speaking tour guides
    • Admission to all tours and attractions

    *Trip cost is $2,499 Canadian per person. Price reflects double occupancy for Oakville Chamber Members. Additional $200 per person for non-members. Add $500 for single occupancy. Addition 3% user fee for payments by credit card.

    12-day Itinerary:

    Day 1 – Toronto / Beijing
    Check in at Pearson International Airport for your afternoon flight, HU7976 by 5:15pm to Beijing. Your adventure begins as you fly trans-Pacific aboard a wide cabin jetliner. Cross the
    International Dateline.

    Day 2 – Beijing
    Arrive in Beijing, the Capital of China at 6:40pm. You will be met at the airport by your local tour guide and transferred to the hotel after dinner.

    Day 3 – Beijing
    Sightseeing includes the Tian An Men Square, the largest square in the world; the Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, home of 24 emperors with a total space of 9,999 rooms. Visit the Pearl Market and the Summer Palace, known for many
    significance such as the Long Corridor with painted gallery,
    Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill, Seventeen Arch Bridge and Marble Boat. Peking Roast duck dinner is arranged.

    Day 4 – Beijing
    Photo stop at the 2008 Beijing Olympic venues for the outside views of National Stadium, the Bird’s Nest and the National Aquatic Center. Continue the tour to the Great Wall. En route visit the Jade Factory. The Great Wall, the 4,000- mile long and 2,000 years old construction is said to be the only man-made structure visible by naked eye from the moon. Visit one of the Ming tombs, 1 of 13 Ming Emperors’ Tombs is fully excavated and open for exploration.

    Day 5 – Beijing
    Morning sightseeing to the Temple of Heaven, built in 1420 A.D., where the emperors prayed to the heaven for a good harvest.
    Afternoon visit to the Lama Temple of the religion of Lamaism.

    Day 6 – Beijing/Xi’an
    Morning flight to Xi’an. Sightseeing at the Big Wild Goose
    Pagoda. Visit the Chinese Lacquer Ware Workshop. Evening entertainment of Tang Style Dancing Show.

    Day 7 – Xi’an
    Morning bus excursion to the Terra-Cotta Warriors at the Tomb of the First Emperor of Qin Dynasty. Enroute, visit the Xian Art Ceramic & Terra Cotta Factory. On the way back, visit the Ancient City Wall and Banpo Museum, a preserved pre-historical cavemen site.

    Day 8 – Xi’an/Shanghai/Suzhou
    Morning flight to Shanghai, follwed by a bus ride to Suzhou.
    Sightseeing at the Tiger Hill.

    Day 9 – Suzhou/Shanghai
    Morning visit to the Suzhou Silk factory. Continue to the
    centuries old Lingering Garden. Afternoon visit to the National Embroidery Institute to see silk embroidery, an important local craft with 1,000 years history. Then visit Jinji Lake situated
    centrally at Suzhou Industrial Park. Bus ride to Shanghai.

    Day 10 – Shanghai
    Visit the Pudong New Development District. The Bund, a famous waterfront park and landmark of the city. Yu Garden, a maze of marvelous pavilions, ponds, rocky works and over
    arching trees. Free time exploration of the old town bazaar. Visit the Shanghai Silk Rug Factory.

    Day 11- Shanghai
    Free day for your own exploration of the city. Only hotel room and breakfast included.

    Day 12 – Shanghai/Toronto
    You may take the morning flight to transit at Beijing then HU7975 at 1:55 pm for Toronto where you will arrive at 2:55pm on the same day.

    Register now! 

    Please contact Gary Hill and Judith Neal at 905-845-6631, toll free at 1-800-368-3273, or email chambertripinfo@advhouse.com


    I’m A Member Because…

     

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce has launched their I’m A Member Because… campaign, which consists of Oakville Chamber members stating why Chamber Membership is important to them.

    Thank you to our featured members (listed in order as shown):  The Cardamone Group, Core Online Marketing, Cupid’s Gourmet Bakery, Elm Hill Cookies, Euro-Line Appliances Inc., Ristorante Julia, Zarr Tech, Oakville Blueprinting, Integra Tire and Zuri Fashions. A special thank you to Media Rez Studios for producing the video and Fotografia Boutique for the member photographs.

    The first video of the I’m A Member Because…campaign will be airing at Film.ca before every movie for 6 weeks beginning Friday, June 9. You can also view the videos on Intrigue Media‘s screens throughout Oakville and on YourTV

    Participate in the campaign, tell us why you’re a member on social media using #ImAMemberBecause


    The Unintended Consequences of a $15 minimum Wage

    The provincial government has introduced legislation that will increase the current minimum wage by over 30% from $11.40 to $15.00 per hour over the next 18 months.

    Small business owners are expressing concern about the size and, in particular, the timing of the changes. Chamber members share the Government’s desire for broadly inclusive growth. However, in order to achieve this, we need to ensure that we are not risking job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship as a result of over-regulation.

    The Ontario Government’s announcement of the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan which proposes numerous changes to current labour and employment standards legislation will go to committee over the summer months. 

    The recommendations include:

    • Raising Ontario’s general minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018, and then to $15 on January 1, 2019, followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation
    • Mandating equal pay for part-time, temporary, casual and seasonal employees doing the same job as full-time employees; and equal pay for temporary help agency employees doing the same job as permanent employees at the agencies’ client companies
    • Expanding personal emergency leave to include an across-the-board minimum of at least two paid days per year for all workers
    • Ensuring at least three weeks’ vacation after five years with a company
    • Updating employee scheduling rules, including requiring employees to be paid for three hours of work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its scheduled start time.

    The cost of all of these benefits will be borne by small business owners.  We believe the government has not yet fully understood the unintended consequences of these changes.   Chamber members have expressed their frustration and concern over rising costs and over regulation.

    “It will impact our business cash flow and the costs will have to be passed on to the consumer.  Because taxes with source deductions are going to be higher. We are not against an increase if it is done in increments and not as a total 32% increase over a short period of time.” – Noel Lourenco, Boffo’s

    Many affected employers have told us that these changes will have the opposite effect of what the Government is looking to achieve.  One small business owner told us that “Since higher costs for delivery will be passed down from the supplier to the merchant, it will result in inflation. I will be forced to pass the higher costs on to the consumer.”

    We have also heard from members who say the impact will be felt throughout their businesses.

    “If something isn’t done this dramatic and unrealistic increase may force us to close our doors after being a Kerr Street merchant for the last 18 years.” – Dean MacLean, The Mermaid and The Oyster

    Higher costs for employers will inevitably lead to higher prices for consumers.  If the businesses cannot transfer these new costs to the consumer, employers will be looking to reduce overhead by cutting staff hours and possibly cutting the number of staff.  This will reduce the job opportunities available to youth and other low-skilled individuals who need employment.

    While we understand the commendable intentions of these proposals, it is clear that the government can’t legislate prosperity.  Instead of creating more opportunity for workers, changes like these often have the opposite effect by reducing jobs and increasing the cost of living.

    That is why the Oakville Chamber and the Chamber network with the Keep Ontario Working Coalition  have called on the government to conduct a comprehensive economic impact analysis.

    As the provincial government moves this legislation through the committee process over the summer we urge them to truly understand the economic impact of these changes that have great potential to hurt job creation, consumer costs, and economic growth.

     

    How will this affect your business? Let us know: faye@oakvillechamber.com 


    Ontario Deserves Evidence-Based Reform: Statement on Ontario’s Fair Workplaces Plan

    Changes Will Hurt Job Creation, Consumer Costs and Economic Growth

    The Keep Ontario Working coalition, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber Network, expressed concern that the Government of Ontario’s Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan, commits to unproven sweeping reforms without ensuring protection against unintended consequences, including job losses, rising consumer costs and economic hardship.

    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.

    As noted in the Business Prosperity Index of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Ontario Economic Report, despite projections that Ontario will lead Canada in economic growth in the coming years, diminished profitability, lower labour market participation, and sluggish market activity; along with other key factors have resulted in a risk-averse atmosphere that businesses are disinclined to grow production. Businesses are questioning if they should grow in Ontario or expand offshore.

    Despite that, Ontario’s private sector is still doing its part to support workers. As the Government pointed out in Budget 2017, 98 per cent of all new jobs since the recession in Ontario have been full time, and 78 per cent in above-average wage industries. This positive economic activity by Ontario’s private sector demonstrates a clear commitment to good jobs throughout our province.

    OCC AND KEEP ONTARIO WORKING STATEMENT

    The following is a statement by the Keep Ontario Working Coalition on the Government’s proposed workplace reforms:

    We share in the Government’s desire for broadly inclusive growth. However, in order to achieve this, we need to ensure that we are not risking job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship as a result of over-regulation.

    “Government cannot regulate prosperity. To demonstrate true fairness and compassion for workers, we must ensure Ontario has a strong economy to help create jobs and increase economic growth.

    “That is why we are urging the government to take time this summer to have an independent third party conduct a comprehensive economic impact analysis on the proposed reforms to consider the unintended consequences to employers. In addition, as the province’s biggest employer, the government must fully understand what these changes will cost in relation to the provincial treasury as well as social services and other government agencies.

    “Why is evidence-based policy important? Only three years ago, the Premier’s own Minimum Wage Advisory Panel conducted extensive research and concluded: ‘In the Canadian context, researchers have generally found an adverse employment effect of raising minimum wages especially for young workers…typically those studies find that teen employment would drop by 3 to 6 per cent if the minimum wage is raised by 10 per cent.’

    “While the Changing Workplaces Review cautioned that any regulatory change shouldn’t impair the competitiveness of businesses in the province, the reforms outlined in Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan thus far do not provide the balance needed to help ensure a competitive environment for Ontario.

    “But we have time. Now we must work cooperatively with government to identify the scale of the economic impact of these changes and help employers transition into any new policy regime. We will continue to be cooperative partners with government to find solutions that will, where possible, inhibit negative impacts on the growth of Ontario’s economy, our people, and our communities.”


    Your Business Could Be Eligible to Save On Their Electricity Bills

    Your business could be eligible to save on their bills the the Ontario Government’s Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) program. This program offers significant cost saving for businesses with average peak demand of over 500 kilowatts (kW). Many of your members might be eligible to save on average one-third off their electricity bills if they apply before June 15, 2017.

    The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has developed an Informational Flyer on the details about the ICI program and how and when to apply. The deadline to apply for the ICI is approaching, please share with your members as soon as possible. Eligible businesses must apply between June 1 – 15. For additional information see the Ministry of Energy’s backgrounder on the ICI program.

    You can also help us collect data to inform our future policy work on electricity pricing. Please fill out the Ontario Chamber’s short survey. It is only 3 questions and takes 1 minute to complete!

    Take the Survey Now!


    Oakville Chamber strongly objects to potential labour and employment standards reforms

    Changes would discourage investment, eliminate jobs and diminish economic opportunities in Ontario, especially among small business owners

     The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, has sent a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne warning against potential changes to Ontario’s Labour Relations Act (LRA) and the Employment Standards Act (ESA), including the introduction of a $15 minimum wage. The letter is cautioning that these reforms may have unintended consequences impacting job creation and competitiveness, as well discouraging investment in the province.

    The potential reforms are coming at a time when costs for consumers and the cost of doing business is high and putting Ontario at a competitive disadvantage. Ontario has experienced slower growth in GDP and job creation than in the past, and drastic reforms to labour and employment run the risk of causing serious damage to the future prosperity of the province.

    “These sweeping changes could seriously impact job creation and the health of our local economy in Oakville” said Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy at the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We need to get the message out that the proposed changes would discourage investment in Ontario, thereby discouraging investment and diminishing economic opportunities in Ontario.”

    On issues of non-standard and part-time work, Statistics Canada data shows that part-time work has risen 22 percent since 2003, down from the 36 percent increase in the previous 12-year period. Recent studies show that 76 percent of part-timer workers voluntarily choose part-time work to better accommodate schooling or personal life.

    “We are urging Premier Wynne to complete an economic impact analysis of the proposed reforms to limit potential consequences that could seriously jeopardize our future growth,” said Richard Koroscil, Interim-President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “We support reform where and when it is needed, but we caution against change for change’s sake.”

    The Ontario Chamber’s letter reminds the Premier that Ontario’s employer community is doing its part to create a better jobs and working conditions in the province. Budget 2017 points out that 98% of all new jobs created since the recession have been full time, and 78% have been above- average wage for their respective industries.

    The letter notes that the goals of economic growth and improved employee rights are not mutually exclusive. The Ontario Chamber believes that what supports the competitiveness of Ontario’s economy can also help enhance quality of work. Increased education and enforcement may assist with compliance to Government regulations and can improve worker environments.

    Regulatory reform that raises costs for business, only to reduce the ability of business to invest in and grow the labour force is counterproductive.

    Read the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s letter to Premier Wynne.

    For more information on how the proposed reforms could affect Ontario’s economy, see the Ontario Chamber’s Rapid Policy Update.


    Oakville Chamber policy recommendations for infrastructure become key priority for the Ontario Chamber

     The Oakville Chamber’s policy recommendations for infrastructure spending were approved this weekend at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting, in Sarnia, Ontario.

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

    The resolution submitted to the Ontario Chamber states that Ontario’s infrastructure deficit is delaying recovery in all parts of the province.  Meanwhile, congestion in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) costs the region an estimated $6 billion in lost productivity each year.

    With Ontario’s population expected to grow approximately 30% by 2041, infrastructure needs will justifiably grow with it.

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

    Sawyer also notes that “According to the Canadian Infrastructure Report Card (CIRC) almost 60% of Canada’s core public infrastructure is owned and maintained by municipal governments and the total value of core municipal infrastructure assets is estimated at $1.1 trillion dollars.  While most of our infrastructure challenges are the responsibility of local governments, both the federal and provincial government 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 and co-sponsored by the Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce is driven by Chamber member opinion obtained through advocacy surveys which revealed that congestion continues to be an obstacle for success for businesses and that infrastructure priorities need to be transportation related.


    Link Investment in Core Infrastructure to Productivity Performance and Enhancement

    Oakville Chamber of Commerce, co-sponsored by the Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce

    Issue:

    Provincial and federal infrastructure investments must support the long term growth of our economy and quality of life.

    Background:  

    Ontario’s infrastructure deficit is delaying recovery in all parts of the province.  Meanwhile, congestion in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) costs the region an estimated $6 billion in lost productivity each year.

    With Ontario’s population expected to grow approximately 30% by 2041 our infrastructure needs will justifiably grow with it.

    Roads, bridges and highways are all critical to our economic competitiveness. Canada’s current infrastructure deficit is estimated to be approximately $200 billion, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) claims that left unattended this deficit could potentially rise to as much as $2 trillion by 2065.

    The Ontario government has committed to invest approximately $150 billion over 12 years in direct infrastructure spending however it is not yet clear where these funds will be deployed and which principles will guide infrastructure spending.

    According to the Canadian Infrastructure Report Card (CIRC) almost 60% of Canada’s core public infrastructure is owned and maintained by municipal governments and the total value of core municipal infrastructure assets is estimated at $1.1 trillion dollars. 

    While most of our infrastructure challenges are the responsibility of our local government, both the federal and provincial government 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.

    Infrastructure funds need to be allocated effectively and efficiently to the right types of projects. It is vital that investments are made strategically into projects that support the long-term growth of our economy.

    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.

    Under current federal infrastructure programs, Public Transit Infrastructure Fund, Clean Water and Wastewater Fund, funding recipients are required to demonstrate that projects are “incremental” – i.e. new or accelerated projects – rather than projects funded and/or prioritized through asset management plans.

    Moving into Phase Two of the federal government’s distribution of federal funds, investments in productivity-enhancing projects need to be the criteria.  The government needs to adopt an outcomes-based approach to infrastructure funding instead of a project-based approach.

    The government also needs to find a balance between its strategic objectives and ensuring that eligibility criteria for Phase Two infrastructure programs are flexible to ensure that municipalities can meet their diverse needs.

    The need for a long term sustainable infrastructure plan will still be essential. 

    The new infrastructure demands coupled with the maintenance and future rehabilitation will further strain our resources.  This will only be compounded by further population growth.

    The federal government also needs to expand the use of public, private partnerships (P3s) while making it easier for smaller projects, like those at the municipal level, to attract private sector investment.

    Canada is a global leader in the use of public, private partnerships. Both the provincial and federal governments should look for innovative and collaborative approaches to help ensure that private sector money and know-how can be directed to projects that benefit communities of all sizes.

    Recommendations:

    The Ontario Chamber of Commerce urges the Government of Ontario to:

    1. Develop an infrastructure strategy that demonstrates how infrastructure dollars will be allocated linking investment in core infrastructure to productivity performance and enhancement, economic growth and job creation;

     

    1. Work with the federal government on developing a principled approach to the design of the federal government’s funding commitments;

     

    1. Continue to use Alternate Finance Projects (AFP’s) and Private, Public Partnership (P3) models to develop large infrastructure projects, where appropriate and develop strategies to encourage private sector investment in smaller, municipal level projects;

     

    1. Recognize the many years of critical capital planning and prioritization work already undertaken by municipal asset management plans and work with the federal government on a flexible approach by not imposing “incrementality” requirements for project eligibility.

    Ontario Chamber Network sends a letter to Minister Bains promoting nuclear innovation in Canada

    Yesterday, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, calling for increased support for nuclear innovation in Canada.

    The Ontario Chamber Network has long recognized the important role of nuclear technology and its contribution to our economy. Aided by Ontario’s leadership and expertise, we believe that continued Canadian investment in nuclear innovation will benefit not only our environment, but the future prosperity of our nation. On May 3, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to the Hon. Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, calling on the federal government to continue Canadian leadership in nuclear innovation.

    Read the letter.


    Provincial Budget 2017: Back to Balance But Not Prudence

    The Ontario Chamber Network challenges government to clarify where business growth will come from 

    In response to Budget 2017, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Oakville Chamber of Commerce today expressed concern that there is no clear path for long-term fiscal prudence, while commending the government for Ontario’s first balanced budget since the global recession.

    While there is no deficit over the planning period, there is also no plan for surplus. Given that, downward payment on the debt will be pushed beyond the medium-term. This will place tremendous fiscal burden on future generations and considerable pressure on future economic planning.

    “Budget 2017 demonstrates that much of Ontario’s fiscal outlook will depend on the prosperity of our private sector,” said Richard Koroscil, Interim President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “The government acknowledged that business investment spending slowed in 2016, though expects firms to increase investment by 3.1 percent, annually, to 2020 – an amount that would outpace growth in real GDP growth and household spending. These assumptions depend upon business confidence – which has fallen precipitously in recent years according to the Ontario Economic Report – and U.S. demand, which is subject to considerable risk given recent comments by American President Donald Trump.”

    Ontario’s revenues rely on the level and pace of economic activity of the province, but Budget 2017 offers limited vision for how to ensure that private-sector economic growth will continue to rise. Promised Corporate Income Tax rate relief, which the government paused following the economic downturn, were not reinstated. In the 2009 budget, the province pledged to reduce the Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate to 10 percent by 2013. Within ten years it was estimated that the value of this CIT reduction would see Ontario benefit by increased capital investment of $47 billion, increased annual incomes of $29.4 billion and an estimated 591,000 net new jobs. However, the CIT reduction promise was halted in 2012 in light of the province’s deteriorating fiscal situation, and so the CIT rate remained at 11.5 percent.

    One bright spot in Budget 2017 were details provided around the clear commitment by Ontario’s private sector to providing job growth for the province. The budget suggests that 98 percent of all new jobs since the recession in Ontario have been full time, and 78 percent in above-average wage industries. This positive economic activity by Ontario’s private sector demonstrates a clear commitment to good, quality jobs throughout our province.

    “Government must listen to its own budget document on the consistent creation of high-quality jobs when they consider the final report of the Changing Workplaces Review, expected in the coming weeks,” said Koroscil. “While Premier Wynne and others have recently spoken about the rise of part-time work and concern over precarious work more generally, Budget 2017 states that the majority of the jobs created since the recession were in industries that pay above-average wages, in the private sector and in full-time positions.”

     

    Key Points for Ontario’s Business Community:

    • Ontario will not return to planned Corporate Income Tax cuts, jeopardizing tens of billions of dollars in potential capital investment and hundreds of thousands of news jobs.
    • While there is no deficit over the planning period, there is also no plan for surplus. Ontario’s debt will rise by 21 per cent in the next three years as a result of interest charges, with no plans to begin debt repayment.
    • 98% of all new jobs since the recession in Ontario have been full time, and 78% in above-average wage industries. This positive economic activity by Ontario’s private sector demonstrates a clear commitment to good jobs throughout our province and challenges many recent comments about precarious work and the need for the Changing Workplaces Review.
    • Private sector investment is predicted to grow by 3.1 per cent, annually, to 2020, an amount that would outpace growth in real GDP growth and household spending.

    Read the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s breakdown of the Budget for Business.

    Read the 2017 Provincial Budget.


    The March/April Issue Is Out!

    The latest Business Advocate Magazine issue features the Annual Leaders’ Reception, YPEG Mental Health Breakfast and the Canadian Chamber’s 10 Ways to Build a Canada Wins! Read the member profiles: Aerosports Trampoline Parks Oakville, Dave & Buster’s and iFLY Toronto and volunteer profille: Wayne Fowler. Read it online now.

    Mayor Rob Burton to Present Town Economic Update

    Oakville Mayor Rob Burton will speak at an Oakville Chamber breakfast on Wednesday, April 26 at the Oakville Conference & Banquet Centre.

    The Mayor will provide an update on Oakville’s economy, and more specifically the Town’s 2017 budget.

    During the address, Mayor Burton will announce a number of major milestones in Oakville’s economic development, new proposals to revitalize Oakville’s three business improvement areas and various ways the Town is working to foster innovation to grow the local economy.

    “Innovation is at the heart of any good business and any effective government,” said Mayor Burton. “I am pleased to have this opportunity to share the ways we are working to promote and harness innovation to benefit Oakville businesses.”

    Attendees are encouraged to bring their own questions and concerns for Mayor Burton, as there will be a moderated question and answer period following his keynote address.

    “The Annual Town Economic Update breakfast is popular among our members, who are interested in issues affecting our local economy,” said Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We are pleased to offer them this opportunity to hear directly from the Mayor about initiatives from Oakville’s Municipal Government.”

    The event is open to Oakville Chamber members, their guests, and the Oakville community at large. 

    Event Details:

    Date:  Wednesday, April 26, 2017

    Time: 8:00am – Registration & Networking; 8:30am – 9:30am – Event 
    Event

    Location:   Oakville Conference & Banquet Centre, 2515 Wyecroft Road

    Tickets: Members $30; Non-Members $40. Tables of 8 are available.

    Register now!


    Businesses Need More Support to Limit Cap and Trade Impact

    Ontario Chamber Network calls on Premier Wynne to Prevent Exporting Jobs During the Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy

     Today the Ontario Chamber of Commerce with the support of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce sent an open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne calling on the government take action through Budget 2017 to contain the costs of the cap and trade system to better support Ontario’s business community.

    At a time of low business confidence across the province, and increasing competition from the United States, rising input costs for Ontario business risk negatively impacting jobs and investment in Oakville and across province. In fact, President Donald Trump’s administration is proposing a 30% cut to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget; eliminating its climate change programs. This means that the cost gap between Canada and the United States will only grow wider, to the competitive detriment of Canadian businesses.

    In the letter, the Ontario Chamber warns that the province must measure the impact of cap and trade among other input costs to fully understand the cumulative burden facing Ontario’s business community. Because businesses are directly affected by the costs associated with cap and trade, the Government of Ontario must ensure that the revenue and design of the system is allocated and developed in a way that supports Ontario’s business community.

    “On behalf of our members, the Oakville Chamber will continue the dialogue with the provincial government to try to limit the impact on business competiveness.  We also believe that it is important to ensure that our members understand the program and what it means for their bottom-line,” said Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Along with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, we are calling on the Premier to take action and support our businesses and local economy.”

    The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has identified four priority actions that would assist the business community to better navigate the cap and trade system:

    1. Prioritize the allocation of cap and trade revenue for businesses, in addition to other efforts to offset the cost of cap and trade. Making the process to access resources as quickly as possible will be important, especially for smaller businesses who have little time or money to dedicate to program applications.
    2. Prioritize innovation funding. Many Ontario businesses have already taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Achieving further reductions could be difficult and will often require the implementation of new technologies.
    3. Create greater post-2020 design certainty. Post-2020 certainty is important for businesses looking to make long-term investments in Ontario.
    4. Monitor and respond to regional impacts. To ensure the strategic allocation of cap and trade revenues, government should conduct a regional analysis of the impacts.

    “Increased input costs imposed on the private sector mean that Ontario risks losing out on jobs and investment, and risks an economically and environmentally damaging shift in production to jurisdictions that are not taking action to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” said Graham Henderson, Chair of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “More action must be taken. In all policy decisions, the provincial government must consider how we can prevent exporting jobs while importing pollution.”

    The letter is aimed at impacting government policy in Budget 2017, and builds on the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s meetings with senior government officials. These meetings have emphasized the need to ensure Ontario’s businesses remain competitive and confident in the face of a changing economy.

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and Ontario’s Chamber Network have engaged in significant advocacy on the cap and trade issue since 2015. This letter builds on the Ontario Chamber’s earlier communications to government calling on the Ontario Energy Board to disclose cap and trade costs to taxpayers as a line-item on natural gas bills.  Last year, the Ontario Chamber Network also called on the government to delay the implementation of the cap and trade system until 2018.

    Read the letter.


    Oakville Chamber to host Breakfast and a Conversation with Patrick Brown

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce will host the Leader of the Official Opposition and Leader of the PC Party of Ontario at a special breakfast on Tuesday, April 18. The event, which begins at 7:30 a.m. at Glen Abbey Golf Club, will include breakfast, a keynote presentation by Patrick Brown, and a moderated Question and Answer Forum.

    The April 18 breakfast will be Patrick Brown’s first public address to the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, their members, and the Oakville business community. He will discuss Ontario’s 2017 budget, hydro challenges for business, infrastructure needs, red tape and more.

    “We are pleased to be presenting our members with the opportunity to hear directly from the Leader of the Official Opposition and Leader of the PC Party of Ontario” stated Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

    “As a strictly non-partisan organization we invite guest speakers, like Patrick Brown, to provide an opportunity for our members and their guests to hear directly from key decision makers. We also want to provide our members with the opportunity to discuss key issues with senior elected officials.”

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce invites Oakville Chamber members and the greater Oakville community to attend. The event is proving to be quite popular, as it is almost sold out!

    Event Details:

    Date: Tuesday, April 18

    Time:

    7:30am – 8:00am: Registration, networking and hot breakfast buffet

    8:00am – 9:00am: Formal Event

    Location: Glen Abbey Golf Club, 1333 Dorval Drive

    Tickets: $35 for Members, $55 for Non-Members. Tables of 8 available.

    Register now!


    2017 Federal Budget: Work in Progress for Oakville’s Business community

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is encouraged by the focus on skills development, but calls for increased investment in competitiveness trade-enabling infrastructure.

    Yesterday afternoon, the federal government released their 2017 budget. The Oakville Chamber of Commerce welcomes the Government of Canada’s decision to focus on skills and innovation; however, the Budget delivers underwhelming implications for Oakville’s business community. Oakville’s businesses face more regulation and increased costs imposed by all levels of government for fees, taxes and essential inputs, like electricity. The Oakville Chamber believes more urgency is needed in reducing business costs and improving competitiveness.

    The Oakville Chamber has heard from its members for the need to address the current skills gap and has advocated this to all levels of government. The Chamber is encouraged with the Budget’s plan to invest $225 million over four years, starting in 2018-2019, to develop an organization which has three main goals: identify the skills sought and required by Canadian employers, explore new and innovative approaches to skills development, and share information and analysis to help future skills investments and programming.

    The Oakville Chamber is also encouraged with the Budget’s increased funding for work-integrated learning, which aligns with their policy priorities for 2017.

    “Addressing the current skills gap is essential to creating a sustainable workforce. Our members have been asking for this type of investment and we are pleased to see the federal government delivering” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

    Investing in the workforce helps create a competitive advantage, however; there is a pressing need for investment in trade-enabling infrastructure. The Oakville Chamber has been urging investment in the type infrastructure that will boost productivity.

    “From our 2016 Advocacy Survey, our members stated the need for infrastructure investments in Oakville. In particular, their top three infrastructure priorities were all transportation related. They are local roads and bridges, public parking and transit” stated Faye Lyons, Vice President Government Relations & Advocacy, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Increased spending must be directed towards this kind of trade-enabling infrastructure that can transition our economy to an innovative and high-growth phase.”

    Unfortunately, these types of investments represent just 11% of the total $120 billion in infrastructure spending. The Oakville Chamber is concerned about the lack of funding for this type of infrastructure in the Budget. Trade-enabling infrastructure delivers a significant return on investment and responds to the need for Canadian goods in the global market.

    Lastly, the Oakville Chamber would like to see the federal government recognize the increasing cost to doing business in Oakville, Ontario and Canada. In our 2016 Advocacy Survey our members stated rising costs as the most significant factor impacting business and industry, and this is an unfortunate reality faced by businesses across the province and throughout Canada.

    While the Oakville Chamber applauds the federal government for its focus on skills development and innovation, the infrastructure gap and the rising cost of doing business must be addressed in order for Oakville’s, Ontario’s and Canada’s businesses to be competitive.

    Read the full Budget 2017 Analysis by the Chamber.


    YMCA of Oakville to receive Oakville’s Charity/ Not-for-Profit Excellence Award at the 22nd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence Gala

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West are pleased to announce that the YMCA of Oakville will be the recipient of Oakville’s Charity/Not-for-Profit Excellence Award at the 22nd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence (OABE) that will culminate in a Gala Dinner on Wednesday, March 29th at the Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre.

    “The Charity/Not-for-Profit Excellence Award honours not-for-profit organizations who are highly regarded in the area for raising funds and providing services to improve the lives of people within our community. This year the YMCA of Oakville has been chosen as the recipient of this prestigious award” stated David Abboud, President of the Rotary Club of Oakville West.

    For more than 50 years, the YMCA of Oakville has played a crucial role in improving the quality of health and life for residents in Oakville. The YMCA’s original mandate in Oakville was to provide a room registry for factory workers; later it provided a day camp for kids, expanded to provide physical fitness opportunities and finally childcare services for working parents.  Today, the YMCA of Oakville continues to offer these programs with a dedication to the health of both individuals and the Oakville community.

    The YMCA of Oakville brings the community together with a focus on inclusiveness and accessibility for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities through all stages of life. Each November, people from all walks of life join together for YMCA Peace Week to promote and celebrate peace and kindness in the community. The highlight of which is the Peace Week Breakfast celebrating youth, adults and groups in Oakville who have gone above and beyond to make a difference in our community. They are recognized for the positive impact they’ve made on the lives of others through their charitable work, helping those less fortunate, and taking action to inspire positive social change.

    In 2016, the YMCA of Oakville provided more than $726,000 in membership assistance, including the YMCA Strong Kids campaign, to support more than 2,200 individuals and their families. The YMCA of Oakville invests in youth through the Peter Gilgan Foundation bursaries, which assist recipients with their post-secondary education and the charitable organization is a large provider of youth employment in Oakville.

    “The YMCA of Oakville also serves more than 31,000 people in our community each year. With their dedication to inclusiveness and bringing our community together, the YMCA of Oakville is an exemplary model of Charitable/Non-for-Profit Excellence. Through their inclusive programming they work to ensure that everyone in Oakville has an opportunity to succeed” stated Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West thank their event partners for their generous support of the 22nd Annual Awards for Business Excellence.

    Platinum Partner

    RBC Royal Bank

    Diamond Partners

    Bell Canada

    Genworth Canada

    Cogeco

    Edge Hospitality

    Henderson Partners LLP, Chartered Accountants

    KPMG

    Oakville Hydro

    O’Connor MacLeod Hanna, LLP

    Gold Partners

    Euro-Line Appliances Inc.

    Snap-on-Tools

    Virox Technologies Inc.

    Silver Partners

    Access Abilities

    Business Development Bank of Canada

    Halton Region Economic Development Department

    Holiday Inn Oakville – Centre

    Town of Oakville Economic Development Department

    Bronze Partners

    Duncan McLeod, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage

    HighView Financial Group

    Metrican International Inc.

    Naylor, Building Partnerships Inc.

    Via Rail Canada

    Supporting Partners

    Charles Havill, Chartered Accountant

    Chisholm Academy

    Dorado Web Technologies

    Dr. Simon Pong Family and Cosmetic Dentistry

    Intelligent Office Oakville

    Oakville Centre for Vision, Dr. Ronald Gall, Optometrist

    The Oakville Beaver

     

    Event Details:

    Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

    Time: 5:30pm – Registration & Reception; 6:30pm – Dinner & Awards Gala

    Location: Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre, 2515 Wyecroft Road

    Tickets: $125 per person; $87.50 per person for Nominees

    Purchase tickets online or by emailing info@oakvillechamber.com or calling the Oakville Chamber of Commerce at 905-845-6613.

     

     

    About the Oakville Awards for Business Excellence

    The Oakville Awards for Business Excellence (OABE) are dedicated to recognizing exemplary models of excellence and community service by Oakville’s businesses. The Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with The Rotary Club of Oakville West organizes the OABE now in its 22nd year. The proceeds from the Gala Awards Dinner, including the considerable support from our many Partners, provide funds for the Rotary Club’s numerous youth and academic programs such as the Oakville Awards for Academic Excellence, the Oakville Youth Development Centre, and Camp Enterprise.

     

    About the Oakville Chamber of Commerce

    The Oakville Chamber is the voice of the Oakville business community, providing member benefits including: advocacy, corporate benefits, networking opportunities, business development and educational forums. Its mission is to foster a healthy, engaged and sustainable business environment and economy in Oakville.

     

    About the Rotary Club of Oakville West

    The Rotary Club of Oakville West (RCOW) members are neighbors, friends, and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in Oakville, Halton and around the world. Overall Rotary has over 1.2 million members in thousands of clubs in most countries. The Rotary motto is “Service Above Self” and speaks for itself. Members of Rotary clubs are known as Rotarians and are well known for their successful Polio Plus vaccination efforts. RCOW, is well known locally for its youth academic excellence awards, its support of youth leadership programs and for its 22 year history with the OABE. Interact is the high school level for Rotary and Rotaract is the service club for 18-30 year old university and college students. RCOW meets every Tuesday morning from 7:15 AM to 8:30 AM at the Holiday Inn Oakville Centre, 590 Argus Rd. Oakville Ontario.


    Bot Construction Group to be recognized as Oakville’s Business Icon at the 22nd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence Gala

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West are pleased to announce that the Bot Construction Group will be the recipient of Oakville’s Business Icon Award at the 22nd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence (OABE) Gala. The Gala dinner will take place at the Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre on Wednesday, March 29th.

    “The Business Icon Award recognizes a prominent Oakville business which is highly regarded in the business community and this year Bot Construction Group has been chosen as the recipient of this prestigious award” stated David Abboud, President of The Rotary Club of Oakville West.

    Bot Construction Group has been proudly building Canada’s infrastructure for more than half a century. The company was founded by Silvio Bot in 1957 in Oakville, beginning as a small concrete forming company serving the local market. Over the decades, Bot Construction expanded its services and operations province wide and beyond, to become one of Ontario’s largest privately owned and operated civil engineering and construction companies and a leader in the transportation infrastructure sector. Their work includes highways, bridges and the installation of other public infrastructure projects.

    Bot Construction draws their workforce from the local community, and showing support for the communities in which they live and work is a longstanding tradition for the organization. They state it is the strength of their people that has earned them their reputation for excellence. Employees are recognized through the Bot Construction Service Awards. The Silvio Bot Charitable Foundation was established to commemorate the life of their founder through giving to others. Bot Construction proudly supports various local charitable organizations in the Oakville community, including a donation of $100,000 to the Oakville Hospital Foundation.

    Bot Construction is committed to protecting their employees and the environment. They established an Environmental Protection Program, which received the Green Leadership and Sustainability Award in 2012 from the Ontario Road Builders’ Association. In 2016 they received the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association Certificate of Recognition for their construction operations.

    Recently, Silvio Bot (receiving the award posthumously) was inducted into the Ontario Road Builders’ Association Hall of Fame. The induction recognizes Silvio’s strong relationships with his peers in the road building industry.

    “Bot Construction Group is a highly respected organization that serves the Oakville community. Their commitment to building excellence, recognizing their employees, protecting the environment and giving back to our community is an example for us all. This year Bot Construction celebrates their 60th Anniversary and we couldn’t think of a better way to honour them” stated Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West thank their event partners for their generous support of the 22nd Annual Awards for Business Excellence.

    Platinum Partner

    RBC Royal Bank

    Diamond Partners

    Bell Canada

    Genworth Canada

    Cogeco

    Edge Hospitality

    Henderson Partners LLP

    KPMG

    Oakville Hydro

    O’Connor MacLeod Hanna LLP

    Gold Partners

    Euro-Line Appliances Inc.

    Snap-on-Tools

    Virox Technologies Inc.

    Silver Partner

    Access Abilities

    BDC

    Holiday Inn – Oakville Centre

    Town of Oakville Economic Development Department

    Bronze Partner

    Duncan McLeod, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage

    HighView Financial Group

    Metrican International Inc.

    Naylor Group Inc.

    Via Rail Canada

    Supporting Partner

    Charles Havill Chartered Accountant

    Dorado Web Technologies

    Dr. Simon Pong Family and Cosmetic Dentistry

    Intelligent Office Oakville

    Oakville Centre for Vision, Dr. Ronald Gall, Optometrist

    The Oakville Beaver

     

    Event Details:

    Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

    Time: 5:30pm – Registration & Reception; 6:30pm – Dinner & Awards Gala

    Location: Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre, 2515 Wyecroft Road

    Tickets: $125 per person; $87.50 per person for Nominees

    Purchase tickets online or by emailing info@oakvillechamber.com or calling the Oakville Chamber of Commerce at 905-845-6613.

     

    About the Oakville Awards for Business Excellence

    The Oakville Awards for Business Excellence (OABE) are dedicated to recognizing exemplary models of excellence and community service by Oakville’s businesses. The Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with The Rotary Club of Oakville West organizes the OABE now in its 22nd year. The proceeds from the Gala Awards Dinner, including the considerable support from our many Partners, provide funds for the Rotary Club’s numerous youth and academic programs such as the Oakville Awards for Academic Excellence, the Oakville Youth Development Centre, and Camp Enterprise.

     

    About the Oakville Chamber of Commerce

    The Oakville Chamber is the voice of the Oakville business community, providing member benefits including: advocacy, corporate benefits, networking opportunities, business development and educational forums. Its mission is to foster a healthy, engaged and sustainable business environment and economy in Oakville.

     

    About the Rotary Club of Oakville West

    The Rotary Club of Oakville West (RCOW) members are neighbors, friends, and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in Oakville, Halton and around the world. Overall Rotary has over 1.2 million members in thousands of clubs in most countries. The Rotary motto is “Service Above Self” and speaks for itself. Members of Rotary clubs are known as Rotarians and are well known for their successful Polio Plus vaccination efforts. RCOW, is well known locally for its youth academic excellence awards, its support of youth leadership programs and for its 22 year history with the OABE. Interact is the high school level for Rotary and Rotaract is the service club for 18-30 year old university and college students. RCOW meets every Tuesday morning from 7:15 AM to 8:30 AM at the Holiday Inn Oakville Centre, 590 Argus Rd. Oakville Ontario.


    Immediate Action Required to Address Deficiencies in the Provincial Interest Arbitration System

    As a result of wage settlements resulting from the provincial arbitration system, the costs of emergency services have increased at over three times the rate of inflation annually since 2002.

     Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, formally released an open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne addressing deficiencies in the arbitration system. Cc’d on the letter were Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn and Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro.

    As recognized in the letter, the cost escalation resulting from settlements is unsustainable, particularly in an era of fiscal restraint generally, and especially in an environment where municipalities are greatly restricted in their options to raise new revenue.

    “Our principal concern is that the current system does not adequately consider the capacity of municipalities to pay” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “In order to ensure the fiscal sustainability of municipalities, we believe that immediate action is required to address deficiencies within the provincial interest arbitration system.”

    Therefore, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce is calling on the Ontario Government to take 3 important steps:

    1. Reform the provincial interest arbitration system to reflect the current capacity of Ontario municipalities to pay for increased service costs
    1. Improve efficiency by requiring that arbitration decisions be delivered in less than 12 months.
    1. Improve accountability and transparency for the taxpayer.

    Read the letter here.


    The Opportunities Canada Needs to Build the Next 150 Years of Business Success

    In a year of political and economic uncertainty, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, has identified Ten Ways to Build a Canada That Wins, a list of key opportunities Canada can seize right now to regain its competitiveness, improve its productivity and grow its economy.

    “Our list outlines specific recommendations on what Canada can do better, and the opportunities to improve our economic success. Canada can’t sit still while our competitors run laps around us. We need every advantage, and the Canadian Chamber will work with government to put these new measures in place,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “If we take advantage of these opportunities, we’ll give our businesses new tools to ensure their growth and success.”

    In this fiercely competitive world, business needs more than its own skills to win—it also needs a supportive environment and public policies to encourage competitiveness. This new version of an annual Canadian Chamber report moves away from identifying self-inflicted wounds that have prevented Canada’s economy from achieving its full potential and instead describes the opportunities for us to do better.

    “From fighting protectionism to upgrading Canada’s regulatory system or building a stronger Canadian brand abroad, each of these measures can have real and lasting effects on our economy,” said John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

    “We’ve emphasized opportunities that touch Canada’s internal economy, from reducing the cost of doing business to dismantling internal barriers to trade. What we need now is a commitment to get the job done.”

    “As we celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, we can look back at the essential role business played in shaping our country. But as we look forward, it’s clear we’ll need every advantage to continue building a more prosperous country. These ten opportunities can provide a foundation for the next 150 years of Canadian business success,” said Mr. Beatty.

    Consult the Ten Ways to Build a Canada That Wins document.

    Watch a short video on the Ten Ways to Build a Canada That Wins.


    Focus spring legislative session on strategic infrastructure and lowering costs to foster confidence: Oakville Chamber of Commerce

    Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, formally released its 2017 pre-budget submission containing recommendations to the Ontario legislature as it looks to begin its spring 2017 legislative session. The submission outlines four key budget priorities and thirteen specific recommendations for Queen’s Park to adopt in order to restore fiscal balance and spur economic growth.

    Specifically, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce is looking for immediate support for strategic infrastructure investments and sound budget management.

    Oakville businesses have stated rising costs as the most significant factor impacting business and industry, according to the Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Advocacy Survey. The survey also revealed that transportation infrastructure and traffic congestion remains a top concern for the Oakville business community. In fact, 64% of respondents believe that traffic congestion is a significant obstacle for business. Furthermore, the top three infrastructure priorities identified by respondents were all transportation related, calling for investments in local roads and bridges, public parking, and transit. The Oakville Chamber of Commerce urges the provincial government to address the infrastructure deficit by investing infrastructure funds strategically to increase productivity and enable competitiveness for Oakville businesses.

    “The Ontario Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with our diverse Chamber Network, will continue to work with the provincial government to ensure that Ontario prioritizes reducing obstacles to business competitiveness,” said Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “By taking more authoritative action on this issue, we can ensure that Ontario remains an attractive environment for capital investment.”

    In the submission, Ontario’s Chamber Network is also calling on the government to send a clear message of fiscal stability by balancing the provincial budget by 2017-2018. Such action would result in a more attractive environment for business investment and growth as well as confront the challenge of mounting input costs, such as electricity prices. As signalled last week in the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Ontario Economic Report, businesses are maintaining their operations and holding onto cash rather than expanding production or investing. This indicates that industry sees the Ontario economy as high-risk.

    “The Government of Ontario must ensure that it addresses recommendations made by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in their provincial budget in order to support economic growth for Ontario businesses,” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Government must focus on reducing the costs of doing business in Ontario, supporting strategic infrastructure development and strengthening its efforts to bolster business competitiveness that allows Oakville to thrive.”

    Addressing the current fiscal context and achieving a balanced budget is an underlying theme throughout the pre-budget submission. Ontario’s Chamber Network is committed to working with the Ontario Government to ensure the future economic success of the province. The submission is largely comprised of policy recommendations that are supported by resolutions passed by Ontario’s Chamber Network at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s most recent Annual General Meeting.


    Read the January/February Issue!

    The latest Business Advocate Magazine issue features Lunch with Premier Wynne, The Changing Workplace In Ontario Breakfast with Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour and the RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast. Read the member profiles on next generation small business owners Barrington’s and Hynek Financial Group. Read it online here! 


    Inaugural Ontario Economic Report Forecasts Outlook for Regional and Provincial Economy

    Vulnerabilities in Ontario’s economy post challenges to our prosperity. Government must prioritize growing the economy, creating jobs and driving a competitive advantage.

    Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released the inaugural Ontario Economic Report (OER), a landmark agenda aimed at shaping and informing future public policy. The OER includes entirely new economic analyses that demonstrate the difficult economic environment faced by Ontario businesses and consumers in 2017. The report also contains exclusive economic information pertaining to the Greater Toronto Area.

    The report includes the results of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s new Business Confidence Survey conducted in partnership with Fresh Intelligence, a Business Prosperity Index developed by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), and an Economic Outlook for 2017 prepared by Central 1 Credit Union. These datasets, viewed together, reveal broad challenges to Ontario’s economic health.

    “Our research shows that Ontario’s economic climate is posing challenges to the businesses we represent and Ontarians more broadly,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Investment is being held back because of a high perception of risk. We need immediate action in order for our province to continue to grow and prosper.”

    Economic outlook data reveals that the Toronto region will see a slight drop in the unemployment rate to 6.8 percent in 2017. The median residential housing price will rise 7.4 percent to $580,000, which is a considerable slowdown when compared to the jump of 15.9 percent between 2015 and 2016. Not surprisingly, this will continue to be the region of the province with the highest median housing price and the largest jump in prices year-over-year.

    “The OER reinforces many of our policy priorities that arose from our 2016 Advocacy Survey” stated John Sawyer, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Our members stated that rising costs were the most significant factor impacting business and industry; focusing on the rising cost of electricity and the need for investment in infrastructure. With these highlighted as priorities for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber Network, we can assure our members that government will hear our strong and unified voice.”

    Additional key findings in the OER are from the Business Prosperity Index. This index shows that, despite total business prosperity increasing since 2000, prosperity is increasingly generated from asset and liability management rather than the production of goods or services. This means that Ontario businesses are less likely to earn income from actual business activity today than they have in the past.

    While Ontario enjoyed an average 2.6 percent real GDP growth rate between 2000 and 2006, the source of wealth generated from the production of goods and services actually declined by 12 percent during that same period. Since the recovery from the “great recession”, production activities fell a further 12 percent over that period. Broadly, this means Ontario’s business prosperity is increasingly dependent upon non-production, financial activities.

    This challenge is a result of the current economic environment, in which increased costs associated with production, regulation and housing have resulted in weak market and labour force activity. Businesses in Ontario are operating in a risk-averse environment in which they are disinclined to grow production by investing or hiring.

    “For many years, the voice of Ontario business has cautioned that regulatory burdens, high input costs, and government policies not attuned to innovation have hampered economic growth,” added O’Dette. “The findings in the OER reinforce this, and indicate that there are also structural issues impeding our province’s potential.”

    The results of the OER highlight the key policy issues that the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber Network intends to prioritize in 2017, including workforce development, infrastructure, energy, and health care. Central to the organization’s work is the notion that industry and government tackle these issues together, in order to grow economic prosperity and drive positive change for all Ontarians.


    Health Sustainability Most Important Issue for Ontario Voters While System Confidence Wanes: Ontario Chamber Network Survey Results Reveal

    Final report of Ontario Chamber Network’s Health Transformation Initiative calls for immediate action to strengthen the public health care system

    Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released Health Transformation: An Action Plan for Ontario, which includes new and exclusive survey data from two of Ontario’s top research firms that polled both Ontario Chamber members and all Ontarians. After a year of research and consultation, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber Network have developed three strategic recommendations to improve Ontario’s health care system. This action plan comes at a critical time, as recent Fresh Intelligence survey results reveal that only 14 per cent of Ontario’s business community is confident that the health care system is sustainable for the future. Despite other growing concerns surrounding topics like electricity pricing and climate change, health care sustainability still remains the most important issue for Ontarians.

    Additional data released in today’s report, from a survey conducted by the Gandalf Group, suggests that a mere 39 per cent of all Ontarians are confident that the province’s health care system will be able to fund a consistently high level of care in the future. Reflecting the Oakville Chamber of Commerce recommendations, half of Ontarians agree that the health care system doesn’t need more money; it just needs to be better managed. With this level of increased uncertainty in Ontario’s health care system, through its membership, the Ontario Chamber Network and the Oakville Chamber of Commerce wants to be a productive partner in revitalizing public care.

    “A strong public system is one that puts patients at the center of health care reform and provides Ontarians with the best-in-class care that they deserve,” said Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “There is a great opportunity for the private sector to play a productive role alongside a robust and sustainable public health care system. Partnering with both for- and non-profit experts can provide the public sector with new ideas, improve access to innovation and build confidence in Ontario industry.”

    Over the course of four reports, the Ontario Chamber Network’s Health Transformation Initiative has pointed to the overarching theme of making use of private sector expertise as a way to improve Ontario’s health care system. With a vision for a sustainable and prosperous health sector that involves private sector participation, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s fifth and final report, Health Transformation: An Action Plan for Ontario highlights the top three recommendations that government can implement today:

    • Shift Ontario towards a value-based health care system
    • Modernize procurement and supply chain processes
    • Better integrate Ontario’s technical discoveries and innovations into the public health care system

    “Cross-industry collaboration is critical to solving some of the issues faced by Ontario’s health care sector,” said Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “It is our hope that this action plan will serve as a jumping off point for important discussions on healthcare sustainability in Oakville and demonstrate the Oakville Chamber’s readiness to be a problem solver in this health care area.”

    While the recommendations in this report are directed towards government, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce is also calling on the private sector to take on a collaborative role in health system reform and drive solutions that will strengthen the economic health of Ontario’s economy and put patients first.

    A total of 773 Ontario Chamber of Commerce members were polled by Fresh Intelligence via an online methodology between October 25th 2016 and November 30th 2016. A total of 1004 Ontarians were polled by The Gandalf Group between December 28th, 2016 and January 3rd 2017. A random probability sample of this size has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.


    RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast 2017

    On Friday, January 20 the Oakville Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast. Over 300 Chamber members and their guests gathered at the Oakville Conference & Banquet Centre to gain valuable economic and social insights from Craig Wright, Senior Vice-President & Chief Economist, RBC and Sean Simpson, Vice-President, Ipsos Public Affairs.

    You can view both presentations below:

    Watch the broadcast of the RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast on Cogeco on:

    • Thursday, January 26 at 1pm
    • Thursday, January 26 at 8pm
    • Saturday, January 28 at 3pm

    Ontario’s Cap and Trade Program: How Will It Impact Your Business?

    The Ontario Chamber Commerce recently released a document for Ontario businesses outlining the Cap and Trade Program and how it will impact them.

    Read it here.

     

    We Want to Hear From You

    We understand that the cost of doing business in Ontario is rising. We want to hear about your expectations for operating under the new cap and trade program. How do you feel about the cap and trade program? How do you expect the program to impact your business? We will use this information to ensure that the voice of business continues to be heard on this issue. To share your thoughts please contact:

    Faye Lyons

    Vice President, Government Relations & Advocacy

    Oakville Chamber of Commerce

    905-845-6613 x 211

    faye@oakvillechamber.com


    Taxation of Employer Sponsored Health Benefits

    The federal government is considering taxing employer-paid health and dental benefits. Along with adding hundreds or thousands of dollars to Canadians’ tax bills, this proposal could cause many employers to stop offering coverage to employees. When Quebec introduced a similar tax, 20% of employers dropped health and dental benefits for employees. Studies suggest the removal of this tax benefit across the board could result in a decrease of 50% of small firms that will be able to offer health benefits.

    Read the letter that the Oakville Chamber of Commerce sent out this morning to Mr. John Oliver, MP Oakville and Ms. Pam Damoff, MP Oakville North Burlington cc’ing Mr. Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance and local media.


    Oakville Chamber Hosts RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast 2017

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce will host its annual RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast on Friday, January 20 at the Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre. RBC Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist Craig Wright and Ipsos Public Affairs Vice President Sean Simpson will share valuable economic insights and forecasts for the new year.

    The event provides an ideal opportunity for business professionals to understand how the economy may impact their business throughout 2017. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions during a moderated Question and Answer Forum following the presentations.

    “The RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast is one of the Chamber’s most popular annual events as businesses plan for the year ahead. Due to increasing demand, this year we’ve moved to the Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre” said Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board for Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We thank our partners RBC, Ipsos Public Affairs and Henderson Partners LLP for their support in making this annual event possible.”

    Event Details

    Date: Friday, January 20, 2017

    Time: 7:30am – 9:30am

    Location: Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre (2515 Wyecroft Road)

    Tickets: Members $35; Non-members $55. Register online through the events calendar, by phone at 905-845-6613, or e-mail info@oakvillechamber.com

    Craig Wright, Senior Vice-President & Chief Economist, RBC

    Craig leads a team of economists providing economic, fixed income and foreign exchange research to RBC clients. Craig is a regular contributor to a number of RBC publications and is a key player in delivering economic analysis to clients and the media through the Economics Department’s regular economic briefings. A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Toronto, Craig was appointed Chief Economist in 2001 having joined RBC in 1994 after working at another financial institution for seven years. Craig is a participant in a number of the key RBC internal committees and is a member of the C.D. Howe Institute Monetary Policy Council, Wilfrid Laurier School of Business and Economics Dean’s Advisory Council and the British Columbia Economic Forecast Council.

     

     

     

    Sean Simpson, Vice President of Ipsos Public Affairs

    Sean is Vice President of Ipsos Public Affairs, Canada’s leading polling and market research firm. He leads Ipsos’ public-opinion polling specialization, including conducting research on political, economic, consumer and social trends. Sean’s clients include corporations, NGOs, governments and industry associations. Sean is a primary spokesperson for Ipsos in Canada and is featured regularly in the news, and leads Ipsos’ relationship with its media partner, Global News. A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University (BA, MA), Sean regularly acts as a guest lecturer at universities and colleges in Ontario, and he teaches courses on sampling and survey design at the Laurier Summer Institute for Research Methods.  Sean lives in Kitchener with his wife Amie, where he is actively engaged in the arts.


    Ontario Premier to Address Oakville and Burlington Business Community at Chamber Luncheon

     

    The Premier of Ontario, The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, will speak at a luncheon hosted by the Oakville and Burlington Chambers of Commerce on Friday, January 13. The Premier will be presenting on “A Balanced Plan to Build Ontario Up for Everyone”, outlining the Ontario government’s plan to grow Ontario’s economy and create jobs.

    “Our members represent a cross section of businesses of all sizes and sectors. This demonstrates their desire to be engaged within the community and to hear our political leaders first hand” stated Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We are very pleased the Premier has accepted our invitation to meet with our members.” Ms. Hughes further commented “Leaders tell us they very much appreciate speaking directly with our members. It gives them an opportunity to listen and interact with people in the real world who face the day-to-day challenges of operating a business.”

    Over the course of the summer both the Oakville and Burlington Chambers, along with Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade across the province, engaged in the Small Business: Too Big to Ignore campaign, which highlighted the important contributions of small businesses to our communities and investigated the top barriers to small business growth. Following the campaign, the Ontario Chamber Network released their report Obstacles and Opportunities for Small Business in Ontario. The report identified and offered solutions to the most pressing challenges that Ontario small business owners face; including infrastructure deficits and the rising cost of doing business in Ontario.

    “A key role for Chambers of Commerce is to bring people together and ensure there is meaningful dialogue” stated Marty Staz, Chair of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce. “This is why both the Burlington and Oakville Chambers of Commerce are pleased to be able to offer this unique opportunity for our Members and their guests to hear the Premier speak. I am sure they are keen to hear directly from Ms. Wynne about her vision for the province and how it will affect the business community.”

    “I’m looking forward to Premier Wynne’s visit to Oakville” stated Kevin Flynn, MPP for Oakville. “Her choice is a clear indication of the respect the Oakville and Burlington Chambers of Commerce have earned in Ontario’s economic circles. This visit offers the ideal opportunity to engage with their vibrant business communities on the progress we’re making as we continue to lead Canada, the United States, and all the G8 countries in business and economic growth.”

    Event Details

    Date: Friday, January 13, 2017

    Time: 11:30am – 1:30am; The Premier speaks from 12:00pm – 12:30pm followed by a moderated Question and Answer forum

    Location: Oakville Conference Centre (2515 Wyecroft Road)

    Tickets: Members $35; Non-members $55

    Register online through the events calendar, by phone at 905-845-6613, or e-mail info@oakvillechamber.com

     

    The Premier of Ontario, The Honourable Kathleen Wynne

    Kathleen Wynne is Ontario’s 25th Premier.

    Since taking office in February 2013, some of Premier Wynne’s accomplishments include the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario’s history and completing the single-largest climate change initiative in North America by eliminating coal-fired electricity generation in the province. She also introduced a ground-breaking plan to stop sexual violence and harassment.

    Premier Wynne’s economic plan for Ontario builds on her number-one priority: growing the economy and creating jobs. Her four-part plan invests in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. In addition to infrastructure investments in roads, bridges, transit, schools and hospitals, her plan is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

    Premier Wynne serves as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. During her first year as Premier, she also served as Minister of Agriculture and Food. Prior to becoming Premier, she served as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Minister of Transportation and Minister of Education.

    First elected to the Ontario Legislature in 2003 as the MPP for Don Valley West, Premier Wynne was re-elected in 2007, 2011 and 2014. She became the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party in January 2013.  On June 12, 2014 Premier Wynne’s government was re-elected with a majority mandate.

    Before becoming an MPP, Premier Wynne served as a trustee on the Toronto District School Board. Prior to that, she led citizens’ groups in a number of grassroots community projects and played a major role as an organizer and facilitator.

    Premier Wynne has lived with her partner, Jane, in North Toronto for more than 25 years. She has three children and three grandchildren.


    Advocacy Wins for Business

     

    As 2016 comes to an end, we’ve come to reflect on our meaningful advocacy wins for our members throughout 2016.

    Here is a snapshot of some of the most recent progress we’ve made:

     

    Closing Ontario’s Tourism Gap

    Ask: In our recently release Closing the Tourism Gap: Creating a Long-Term Advantage for Ontario the Ontario Chamber Network advocated that the Ontario Government develop a government-wide Ontario tourism strategy with measurable targets. We also highlighted the need to work with tourism operators to reduce the regulatory and cost burdens within the industry by adding tourism to the Red Tape Challenge.

    Win: In Ontario’s Strategic Framework for Tourism in Ontario the government explicitly acknowledged the efforts and leadership presented by the Ontario Chamber Network through our solution based advocacy approach in the tourism sector. The report recognizes our efforts stating, that “The government is encouraged by the leadership that industry is already taking. Recently, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released a forward-looking report on how the sector can collaborate to improve avenues for success. The report provides an examination of provincial tourism industry trends and presents recommendations for government and industry to work together to boost long-term competitiveness and generate sustainable demand for Ontario tourism.”

    Win: The mission set out within the report “to meet or exceed global industry growth over a five-year period, which the world tourism organization estimates will grow by an average of 3.3 percent per year until 2030” satisfies the Ontario Chamber Network’s recommendation of a long-term strategy with a clear industry growth target.

    Win: The Ontario government has signalled that it will add tourism to the Red Tape Challenge, a direct recommendation of the Ontario Chamber Network to help improve the operating environment for businesses.

     

    Enhancing Ontario’s Agri-Food Trade Relationships

    Ask: As recognized in our recent report Fertile Ground, global awareness and trust in Ontario agri-food products enhances the competitiveness of our industry abroad.

    Win: On November 14, 2016 Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Michael Chan, Minister of International Trade, arrived in India to lead Ontario’s first-ever agri-food trade mission. The mission was an attempt to attract new investment and aimed to continue to grow the agri-food sector globally. We are confident that the mission will enhance Ontario’s agri-food trade relationship with India. We look forward to continuing to work alongside government to ensure that the business community is well positioned to leverage new trade opportunities in the global marketplace.

     

    Increasing the Number of Economic Class Immigrants

    Ask: In our recent report Passport to Prosperity: Ontario’s Priorities for Immigration Reform,  the Ontario Chamber Network urged the federal government to reinstate the economic category immigration target to the 2015 range of 172,100 to 186,700 by no later than 2017/18.

    Win: During his keynote address at the launch event of the Ontario Chamber Network report in April 2016, Minister McCallum indicated his support for this and the remaining recommendations in the report.

    Win: In October 2016, Immigration Minister John McCallum announced that the Federal government plans to keep the immigration targets for 2017 at 300,000. However, the new plan represents an increase in a higher target for economic immigrants – increasing from 160,6000 in 2016 to 172,500 in 2017. This measure will contribute to the ability of Canadian employers to attract the global talent that they need to remain competitive.

     

    Shaping the Future of Provincial Regulatory Reform

    Ask: Over the course of our five-year Emerging Stronger series and in our pre-budget submissions, the Ontario Chamber Network has regularly called for a reduction in the regulatory burden on Ontario businesses.

    Win: In the Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, the government announced a series of steps to address the cumulative burden facing Ontario business:

    • The Red Tape Challenge, a strategy encouraging Ontarians to submit comments to a Regulatory Modernization Committee regarding regulations that impact them;
    • A Regulatory Centre of Excellence, which identifies and champions best practices from around the world;
    • A Government Modernization Fund to address the cost of modernizing outmoded regulatory processes;
    • A pledge to reduce the time taken to review air and noise approvals by at least 50 percent within the next two years, allaying concerns surrounding environmental compliance; and,
    • A promise to maintain the industrial exception in the Professional Engineers Act.
    Shaping the Future of Mining in Ontario

    Ask: The Ontario Chamber Network called for matching federal and provincial commitments for infrastructure investment in the mining sector in its report, Beneath the Surface: Uncovering the Economic Potential of Ontario’s Ring of Fire.

    Win: The Ontario Government announced it was committing $1 billion to the mining sector irrespective of federal funding.

     

    Establishing Greater Transparency and Lower Costs in Energy Pricing

    Ask: The Ontario Chamber Network called on the Ontario government, in its July 2015 report Empowering Ontario: Constraining Costs and Staying Competitive in the Electricity Market, to provide greater transparency in energy pricing.

    Win: The updated Ontario Energy Report, released in March 2016, included an industrial price chart that provides a clearer cost picture for Class A businesses.

    Win: In the September 2016 Throne Speech, the government announced that the Industrial Conservation Initiative will be expanded so that any company that consumes more than 1MW will be eligible. Accordingly, an additional 1000 companies in Ontario are now eligible to save between 14% to 30% on their bill, a noticeable increase from the 300 companies currently enrolled in the program.

    Win: The removal of the Debt Retirement Charge on commercial, industrial, and other non-residential electricity users on April 1, 2018, nine months earlier than expected.

     

    Supporting Investment in High-Speed Broadband Infrastructure

    Ask: In the Ontario Chamber Networks’s federal pre-budget submission, we urged the federal government to move beyond its Connecting Canadians initiative and invest in critical broadband infrastructure.

    Win: The federal government announced in its most recent budget that it is investing $500 million over five years in a new program to increase high-speed broadband service in rural and remote communities.

    Ask: On July 19th, 2016, the Ontario Chamber Network sent a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne asking the provincial government to commit infrastructure dollars to developing and expanding broadband infrastructure across rural and remote Ontario.

    Win: On July 26th, 2016, the Ontario government announced their plans to invest $90 million dollars to bring high-speed Internet access to over 300 communities in Ontario.

     

    Improving Income Reporting Practices

    Ask: In the August 2015, report Harnessing the Power of the Sharing Economy, the Ontario Chamber Network called on the provincial government to analyze income reporting levels in order to better understand the motivating factors behind providers’ decisions to report or not report income, and establish and clarify appropriate rules moving forward (e.g. minimum income thresholds).

    Win: On February 19th, 2016, the Ontario government announced a pilot project with Airbnb to help educate the home-sharing service’s hosts on how to report their income and other key regulatory aspects of their service industry.

     

    Modernizing the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

    Ask: Recognizing that the proposed Preliminary Rate Framework from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board could increase the premium rates paid by employers and, subsequently, the cost of doing business in the province, the Ontario Chamber Network provided the WSIB with a written submission outlining 10 recommendations that the WSIB and the Government of Ontario should adopt to mitigate the impact of the proposed reforms.

    Win: In December 2015, the WSIB released an updated Rate Framework that incorporates a number of suggestions and recommendations from the Ontario Chamber Network, including 6 of the 7 recommendations directed to the WSIB in our September 2015 submission:

    • Provide a public and detailed analysis of how the proposed rate framework changes will impact employers;
    • Introduce a surcharge mechanism to ensure that employers with effective health and safety programs don’t pay the cost of poor performing employers within their class;
    • Expand the proposed class structure;
    • Reconsider implementing the predominant class model;
    • Retain the Second Injury and Enhancement Fund (SIEF);
    • Implement a weighted cost claims ‘window’; and
    • Eliminate the Fatal Claims Adjustment Policy.

    Win: In September 2016, WSIB Chair Elizabeth Witmer announced a 5% reduction on the average premium rates for 2017, the first rate reduction since 2001.

     

    Mitigating the Impact of Retirement Security Reform

    Ask: Recognizing the burden of the proposed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP), the Ontario Chamber Network called on the government to delay its implementation to provide more time for businesses to adjust to the new financial obligations. We also asked that the government provide greater clarity and broader classification for “comparability” to include some Defined Contribution plans. All the while, the Ontario Chamber Network was working toward our stated, preferred option to support retirement security through a national Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) enhancement instead of a stand-alone ORPP.

    Win: In June 2016, Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced that the Government of Ontario would be abandoning the ORPP in favour of an enhanced CPP, avoiding increased regulatory fragmentation and thus administrative burden – avoiding significant consequences for Ontario’s business community. 

    Win: In February 2016, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that her government was delaying the first phase of ORPP contributions from January 1, 2017 until 2018.

    Win: The government expanded the definition, meaning that employers who already provide certain DC pension plans for their employees will be exempt from contributing to the new ORPP.


    Oakville Chamber of Commerce – Holiday Hours

    Please note that the Oakville Chamber office will be closed from Monday, December 26th to Monday, January 2nd. The office will re-open at 8:30am on Tuesday, January 3rd.
    On behalf of all of us at the Oakville Chamber, have a Happy Holiday Season!


    Oakville Chamber “leading the charge” on increased affordability and transparency for energy system

    Local business group calls on government to adopt auction style process when procuring for future sustainable energy supply   

    Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber Network is calling on the provincial government to take bold steps to address the affordability challenge of energy pricing in Oakville. In its submission on the Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP), Leading the Chargethe organization is calling on government to ensure that future policies regarding energy pricing are affordable, transparent and flexible. One of the submission’s top recommendations includes a call for the adoption of a capacity market system.

    Under the new Climate Change Action Plan, businesses are already facing additional costs. Since the 2013 LTEP, industrial rates in the province have increased by 16 percent, while the rate for households and small businesses have climbed by 25 percent. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and its members have consistently reported that the price of electricity is undermining business’ capacity to grow, hire new workers, and ultimately remain competitive.

    “Ontario is at a turning point in its planning process regarding the future energy needs of the province. In order for businesses in to grow and succeed, it is imperative that future energy policies address the concerns of businesses and support future economic growth,” said Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “In our 2016 Advocacy Survey , 83% of respondents believe that energy costs are becoming a serious obstacle to doing business. Furthermore, 82% agree that the Cap and Trade Plan for Ontario should be delayed until its impact on business is fully understood.”

    Ontario’s energy system would benefit from the implementation of a capacity market. Under this structure there would be significant cost-savings for Ontario’s energy consumers through procuring shorter term supply on a cost efficient basis. For a capacity market to be successful in Ontario, the system would feature an auction style process where resources, such as generation facilities, imported resources, electricity storage and demand-side resources, are compensated for the potential energy they could produce.

    “As the provincial government seeks to find solutions to the province’s energy challenges, Ontario must strive to balance objectives regarding climate change, renewable resources and maintaining a diverse supply mix without forfeiting the competitiveness and transparency of the capacity market system,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “This will result in increased accountability and confidence in the energy market for Ontario businesses.”

    While the Ontario government is to be commended for some of the results it has achieved on the energy file (such as being a world leader in renewable energy resources) the status quo is presently unsustainable for ratepayers.


    Ontario Labour Minister to Address the Changing Workplace in Ontario at Oakville Chamber Breakfast

    The Honourable Kevin Flynn, Ontario Minister of Labour, will speak at a breakfast hosted by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce at the Holiday Inn – Oakville Centre on Friday, December 16.

    “We are very pleased to host the Labour Minister” stated Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Oakville Chamber. “We invite guest speakers, like Minister Flynn, to provide an opportunity for our members and their guests to hear directly from key decision makers. We also want to provide our members with the opportunity to discuss key issues with important elected officials. This is a crucial time for us to host the Labour Minister to discuss the Changing Workplaces Review and the changes the Province is considering to the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Standards Act.”

    “Ontario’s Ministry of Labour is currently undertaking a review of the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Standards Act through its Changing Workplaces Review. The Review has been tasked with examining key workplace trends, including the increase in non-standard working relationships such as temporary jobs, involuntary part-time work, and self-employment.” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber. “We are presenting our members with the opportunity to hear directly from the Labour Minister, ask questions and provide their feedback on the proposed changes.”

    Minister Flynn will be speaking on the Changing Workplaces Review, followed by an engaging Q&A Forum.

    Event Details:

    Date: Friday, December 16, 2016

    Time: 7:30am – 9:00am; Minister Flynn speaks at 8:00am

    Location: Holiday Inn – Oakville Centre, 590 Argus Road, Oakville, ON  L6J 3J3

    Tickets: $25 for Members, $45 for Non-Members. Tables of 8 are available. (All prices are subject to HST.)

    To register: Register online through the Event Calendar or contact the Chamber directly at 905-845-6613.

     

    The Honourable Kevin Flynn, Ontario Minister of Labour

    kevin-flynnThe Hon. Kevin Flynn was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2003 as MPP for Oakville. He was re-elected in 2007, 2011 and 2014, making his the longest serving MPP in the Oakville riding. Minister Flynn has been Ontario’s Minister of Labour since March 2014 and is a member of Treasury Board. Having been Chair of the Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions prior to being named minister, he has made health and safety in the workplace a major component of his mandate. He has also extended workplace protections, pushed for more fairness for vulnerable workers, promoted health and safety action plans and training, increased workplace inspections, and improved the minimum wage by tying it to the rate of inflation


    China Trip – October 2017

    china-trip-twitter-image

    For only $2,499* your trip includes:

    • Round-trip International airfare & tax from Pearson International Airport
    • Chinese domestic airfare & tax
    • 4 and 5 star hotel accommodations 3 full meals per day
    • Deluxe bus tours
    • Fluent English-speaking tour guides
    • Admission to all tours and attractions

    *Trip cost is $2,499 Canadian per person. Price reflects double occupancy for Oakville Chamber Members. Additional $200 per person for non-members. Add $500 for single occupancy. Addition 3% user fee for payments by credit card.

     

    12-day Itinerary:

    Day 1 – Toronto / Beijing
    Check in at Pearson International Airport for your afternoon flight, HU7976 by 5:15pm to Beijing. Your adventure begins as you fly trans-Pacific aboard a wide cabin jetliner. Cross the
    International Dateline.

    Day 2 – Beijing
    Arrive in Beijing, the Capital of China at 6:40pm. You will be met at the airport by your local tour guide and transferred to the hotel after dinner.

    Day 3 – Beijing
    Sightseeing includes the Tian An Men Square, the largest square in the world; the Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, home of 24 emperors with a total space of 9,999 rooms. Visit the Pearl Market and the Summer Palace, known for many
    significance such as the Long Corridor with painted gallery,
    Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill, Seventeen Arch Bridge and Marble Boat. Peking Roast duck dinner is arranged.

    Day 4 – Beijing
    Photo stop at the 2008 Beijing Olympic venues for the outside views of National Stadium, the Bird’s Nest and the National Aquatic Center. Continue the tour to the Great Wall. En route visit the Jade Factory. The Great Wall, the 4,000- mile long and 2,000 years old construction is said to be the only man-made structure visible by naked eye from the moon. Visit one of the Ming tombs, 1 of 13 Ming Emperors’ Tombs is fully excavated and open for exploration.

    Day 5 – Beijing
    Morning sightseeing to the Temple of Heaven, built in 1420 A.D., where the emperors prayed to the heaven for a good harvest.
    Afternoon visit to the Lama Temple of the religion of Lamaism.

    Day 6 – Beijing/Xi’an
    Morning flight to Xi’an. Sightseeing at the Big Wild Goose
    Pagoda. Visit the Chinese Lacquer Ware Workshop. Evening entertainment of Tang Style Dancing Show.

    Day 7 – Xi’an
    Morning bus excursion to the Terra-Cotta Warriors at the Tomb of the First Emperor of Qin Dynasty. Enroute, visit the Xian Art Ceramic & Terra Cotta Factory. On the way back, visit the Ancient City Wall and Banpo Museum, a preserved pre-historical cavemen site.

    Day 8 – Xi’an/Shanghai/Suzhou
    Morning flight to Shanghai, follwed by a bus ride to Suzhou.
    Sightseeing at the Tiger Hill.

    Day 9 – Suzhou/Shanghai
    Morning visit to the Suzhou Silk factory. Continue to the
    centuries old Lingering Garden. Afternoon visit to the National Embroidery Institute to see silk embroidery, an important local craft with 1,000 years history. Then visit Jinji Lake situated
    centrally at Suzhou Industrial Park. Bus ride to Shanghai.

    Day 10 – Shanghai
    Visit the Pudong New Development District. The Bund, a famous waterfront park and landmark of the city. Yu Garden, a maze of marvelous pavilions, ponds, rocky works and over
    arching trees. Free time exploration of the old town bazaar. Visit the Shanghai Silk Rug Factory.

    Day 11- Shanghai
    Free day for your own exploration of the city. Only hotel room and breakfast included.

    Day 12 – Shanghai/Toronto
    You may take the morning flight to transit at Beijing then HU7975 at 1:55 pm for Toronto where you will arrive at 2:55pm on the same day.

    Join the Oakville Chamber of Commerce for this once-in-a-lifetime China adventure!

    Space is limited. For more information, contact Gary Hill and Judith Neal at 905-845-6631, 1-800-368-3273, or chambertripinfo@advhouse.com

    Registration Deadline: Thursday, July 20th 

     

     


    Oakville Chamber urges government to link investment in core infrastructure to productivity performance and enhancement

    The Oakville Chamber recently co-hosted a Symposium with the Professional Engineers of Ontario – Oakville Chapter on “Smart Infrastructure”.  We brought together representatives from business, academia, government and leading industry experts to discuss one of the most critical issues facing Canada’s economy today, infrastructure.

    Canada’s infrastructure gap is not a new problem however, it has gained political attention as Canadians have become cognisant of both the financial costs associated with this underinvestment coupled with their personal costs.  The missed opportunities both economically and socially are being felt on a daily basis.

    Case in point, the most recent Oakville Chamber Advocacy survey revealed that congestion continues to be an obstacle to success for businesses and that infrastructure priorities need to be transportation related.

    Roads, bridges, highways, water systems, energy and communications are all services that are critical to our economic competitiveness. Canada’s current infrastructure deficit is estimated to be approximately $200 billion, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities claims that left unattended this deficit could potentially rise to as much as $2 trillion by 2065.

    According to the Canadian Infrastructure Report Card (CIRC) almost 60% of Canada’s core public infrastructure is owned and maintained by municipal governments and the total value of core municipal infrastructure assets is estimated at $1.1 trillion dollars.  While most of our infrastructure challenges are the responsibility of our local government, both the federal and provincial government 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.

    To that end, the Oakville Chamber welcomes both the federal and provincial government’s commitment of infrastructure funding, however we must ensure that the infrastructure funds are allocated effectively and efficiently to the right types of projects for Oakville. It is vital that investments are made strategically into projects that support the long-term growth of our economy.

    Many studies conducted share similar conclusions.  Investment in public infrastructure contributes to growth in labour productivity.  The largest occurring in construction, transportation and the wholesale/retail sectors.

    Consequently, moving into Phase Two of the federal government’s distribution of federal funds, the Oakville Chamber will be a strong advocate on behalf of our members to ensure that investments in Oakville are appropriately funded on productivity-enhancing projects.  We will be encouraging the government to adopt an outcomes-based approach to infrastructure funding instead of a project-based approach.

    Moreover, we will encourage the government to find a balance between its strategic objectives and ensuring that eligibility criteria for Phase Two infrastructure programs are flexible to ensure that communities like Oakville can meet their diverse needs.

    Moving forward, the need for a long term sustainable infrastructure plan will still be essential.  The new infrastructure demands coupled with the maintenance and future rehabilitation will further strain our resources.  This will only be compounded by further population growth.

    To this end, the Oakville Chamber will encourage the federal government to expand the use of public, private partnerships (P3s) while making it easier for smaller projects, like those at the municipal level, to attract private sector investment.

    Canada is a global leader in the use of public, private partnerships.  Locally we have seen the results of successful P3s through the construction of Oakville’s new hospital.

    We will encourage the government to look for innovative and collaborative approaches to help ensure that private sector money and know-how can be directed to projects that benefit communities of all sizes.

    On behalf of the Oakville Chamber members, we continue to advocate on this important issue to ensure that our local community benefits from strategic infrastructure projects to improve our economy and quality of life.

     

     


    $16 Billion Ontario Tourism Gap Requires a Dedicated Government Strategy

     

    Lost Revenue From The Province’s Tourism Industry Impacting Job Creation and Growth

     

    Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has released new data that reveals a significant tourism opportunity gap when compared to international growth rates. According to the organization’s report, Closing the Tourism Gap: Creating a Long-Term Advantage for OntarioOntario has foregone nearly $16 billion in visitor spending between 2006 and 2012 by not keeping up with global growth trends. While this year has been a strong year for tourism in Ontario, it is important that this recent growth is translated into long-term, sustainable gains in tourism visitation.

    “The tourism industry is an important economic driver in Oakville as well as in many other communities across the province,” said John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber.  “However, through research outlined in this report, we’ve found that Ontario is missing out on significant tourism growth in comparison to international trends. Our local industry and the province as a whole must take steps to boost our reputation as a global destination for foreign visitors and close the tourism gap.”

    The Oakville Chamber’s report identifies a number of challenges faced by tourism operators and the broader tourism community in Ontario, while presenting a series of action items to address them. The Oakville Chamber is encouraged that the provincial government is moving ahead with an action plan for the province’s tourism industry, a key consideration highlighted by its membership. We are also very pleased with the local support for visitor attraction that we have seen from the Town of Oakville through the Visit Oakville committee.

    “Visit Oakville’s board of directors is reassured by the report and the support of the Chamber’s network” stated Meggan Gardner, Chair of Visit Oakville. “We look forward to a heightened focus on tourism and will continue to work with our partners within the industry, at the Chamber, and at all levels of government, to grow the economic impact of tourism that is both sustainable and supportive of a livable Oakville.”

    The Oakville Chamber’s report is clear about the need for any provincial strategy to include measurable targets, a practice currently employed by many successful tourism destinations. These targets would help to organize and coordinate tourism activities amongst the diverse group of public and private tourism organizations in Ontario, another key recommendation of the report.

    “Ontario’s tourism sector needs a dedicated strategy driven by the provincial government that not only promotes tourism within Ontario, but also focuses on drawing in visitors from around the world,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “If we can do this successfully, the province will achieve substantial economic gains while keeping up with global growth trends.

    To produce this report, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce convened a group of Ontario’s leading thinkers within the tourism community. The report builds on previous initiatives undertaken by members of the tourism industry and further substantiates the need for a focused and measured approach targeted towards supporting the future of tourism in Ontario.

     


    Canadian Chamber of Commerce 2016 Policy Resolutions

    Every year the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, along with Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade from across the country, are invited to submit resolutions of a national scope to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s policy process. This process culminates in a democratic vote on the floor at the Annual General Meeting. This year our submitted resolution, Tax Fairness for the Sports Entertainment Industry, passed.

    For many years, the Federal Tax Code has discriminated against claiming golf memberships and related entertainment amounts as a business expense. You are aloud to take a client out to a hockey game and write off 50% of the cost as a business expense for tax purposes, but the same does not apply to golf.

    In a 2014 study, the golf industry employed just over 300,100 Canadians and contributed about $8.3 billion to the economy in household income, $1.4 billion in property and other indirect taxes and $2.2 billion in federal and provincial taxes. Based on direct, indirect and induced impacts, Canada’s 2013 golf cluster economic impact accounts for about $14.3 billion of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), up from $12.2 billion in 2008.

    Our recommendation is that the Federal Government amend the Tax Code to permit golf as a business expense similar to other business entertainment expenses, and that the cost of green fees and meals at a golf course be an eligible business entertainment expense.

    Learn more about the Tax Fairness for the Sports Entertainment Industry Resolution.


    Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Ontario Minister of Infrastructure to Speak at Smart Infrastructure Symposium

    Governments pledge to invest billions in infrastructure spending, how do we ensure the funds are invested to increase Canada’s competitiveness?

    Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and MP for Spadina–Fort York, will kick off the Smart Infrastructure Symposium to be held on Friday, November 25. His keynote presentation will be followed by a lineup of top government, business and industry leaders including The Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure; Bruce McCuaig, President and CEO of Metrolinx; Michael Lindsay, Global Director, Infrastructure Planning & Advisory, Hatch; Andrew Fuller, Assistant Vice President, CN; Lucy Casacia, Vice President, Cities and Infrastructure Projects, Siemens Canada Limited.; and Dr. Rick Huijbregts, Vice President, Innovation, Cisco Canada.

    “With the investments in infrastructure promised by senior levels of government, the Smart Infrastructure Symposium provides an opportune time for the industry’s decision makers and innovators to gather to discuss the issues surrounding infrastructure” stated Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “I encourage you to join us on November 25 to get involved in the discussion with political leaders, business leaders, academics, and technical experts.”

    This dynamic event is jointly presented by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce and the Oakville Chapter of Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) at the Oakville Conference Centre.

    Media Availability

    Date:   Friday, November 25

    Time: 7:30am – 2:30pm

    Location: Oakville Conference Centre, 2515 Wyecroft Road, Oakville

    Sessions:

    • Infrastructure Metrics with PwC
    • Prioritizing Infrastructure with Hatch
    • Movement of Goods with CN
    • Smart Cities and Intelligent Infrastructure with Siemens Canada Limited
    • Digital Infrastructure and Communications with Cisco Canada

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    Register Now!



    The Success of Small Business Will Determine the Success of Ontario’s Economy

    small-biz-report

    The latest report by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce  highlights the contributions of small businesses to the provincial economy, while also identifying, and offering solutions to, the most pressing challenges that small business owners face. The report’s recommendations are the result of detailed consultations over the course of six months held by 25 chambers of commerce and boards of trade with hundreds of small business owners throughout the province as part of the Ontario Chamber Network’s Small Business Too Big To Ignore campaign. The campaign revealed that the three major barriers that small businesses face are Business Education Tax (BET) rate reductions, a lack of access to the workers employers need, and government funding alignment on infrastructure projects.

    “In Oakville, local businesses are working hard to expand their operations, however they are facing some big obstacles including the rising cost of doing business in Ontario,” said Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “The results of our 2016 Advocacy Survey showed that our members find rising costs to be the most significant factor impacting business and industry. Additionally, 64% of respondents believe that traffic congestion for getting staff to work is a significant obstacle for business, and almost 70% of respondents believe that current regulations are unreasonable and excessive. It is critical that regional governments work with the provincial and federal government to ensure that investments and programs are targeted to reduce operational costs and to support business growth in our region,” added Hughes.

    The report also highlights that businesses with fewer than 100 employees make up 98 percent of total Ontario businesses and two-thirds of private sector employment in Ontario. They contribute approximately 28 percent to the provincial GDP and created 87.7 percent of the new jobs nationally from 2005 to 2012. Given the significance of small businesses to the provincial economy, the Ontario Chamber Network urges the government to take immediate action to implement the following three recommendations in the near term:

    1. Continue the scheduled Business Education Tax (BET) rate reductions
    2. Develop a single access point for all government-funded workforce, training, and employment services.
    3. Have all three levels of government commit coordinated infrastructure dollars to connect all Ontario businesses to the 21st century global economy.

    “Small businesses in Ontario are being held back by a diverse set of challenges that need to be addressed by all three levels of government.” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “We are encouraging the provincial government to implement our report’s recommendations so that we can ensure that our economy will have sustained economic growth for many years to come.” added O’Dette.

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, along with the Ontario Chamber Network, encourages the provincial government to work closely with the employer community to implement the recommendations in the report. These recommendations will feature prominently in the Ontario Chamber Network’s advocacy work leading up to the 2018 provincial election. At that time, the advocacy organization will evaluate the political platforms of each party with a particular consideration as to how their campaign commitments align with the interests of small business owners in Ontario.

    Read the report: Obstacles and Opportunities for Small Business in Ontario


    Ontario’s Employers Caution Government on Changing Workplaces Review: “You Can’t Legislate Prosperity”

    Keep Ontario Working Group of Leading Ontario Employers Urge Government to Proceed with Evidence-Based Policy Modernization Through the Changing Workplace Review

    Keep Ontario Working (KOW), a group of Ontario’s leading employers, industry and sector associations submitted its final set of recommendations to the Special Advisors of the Changing Workplaces Review (CWR).

    While the group acknowledges that work is changing and that labour and employment legislation should be modernized, they caution that employers and employees alike cannot risk public policy changes that would place an unintended burden on them.

    “The Changing Workplaces Review interim report of the Special Advisors is a large document that contains hundreds of options to the legislation that guides Ontario’s workplaces. The options laid out and that are presently being considered by the Special Advisors will impact nearly every aspect of the relationship between employers and employees, as well as the ability of Ontario businesses to create jobs and grow the economy” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.”

    In light of these concerns, the Keep Ontario Working group has developed several key policy options in their submission calling for evidence-based workplace modernization, with a particular focus of caution in the following areas: Education and Enforcement, Scheduling Provisions, Labour Certification Rules, Sector Exemptions, Joint/Common Employers, Sectoral Bargaining, and Minimum Standards.

    As part of their submission, the Keep Ontario Working group commissioned Philip Cross, Executive Fellow with the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary and former Chief Economic Analyst at Statistics Canada, to analyze the issue of precarity. Cross’ analysis indicates that by several metrics, the concern around precariousness is overstated. For example, part-time employment in Ontario and Canada shrank in 2015 as compared to 25 years ago. Data also indicates that at no time in Ontario’s recent history have employees in this province enjoyed such stable employment; the average employee in Ontario has worked for the same employer for a record 106.3 months (or nearly 9 years).

    Currently there is insufficient data to support major reforms to labour legislation. The group has called on government to strengthen their data by developing and releasing a new regional survey. This type of data would help to identify the real gaps existing in employment legislation. The group cautions government against making sweeping amendments to legislation without sufficient statistical and economic data as it could result in unintended consequences and negatively impact the ability of Ontario’s businesses to create jobs and grow the economy.

    “We support the Government’s efforts to address the challenge of precarious work, but we think it’s critical that there be a robust, evidence-based, and common understanding of who Ontario’s precarious workers are and how we can best help them” stated John Sawyer.

    “Our goal as part of the Keep Ontario Working Group is to increase employee experience and their ability to realize more income, without introducing new regulatory burdens that will compromise the ability of Ontario employers to create jobs and grow the economy” added Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy at the Oakville Chamber. “What we do want is for the government to enhance enforcement of the existing legislation so that those employers who abuse their employees are held to their responsibilities under the existing legislation.”

    Read the full report: Reform That Works

    For more information on the Keep Ontario Working initiative, visit www.KeepOntarioWorking.ca.

    For employers who wish to provide their input to the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, please contact Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy at faye@oakvillechamber.com or at (905) 464-0659.

     

    About “Keep Ontario Working”

    Keep Ontario Working is an initiative of the leading employer and sector associations in the province, who are working together to motivate employers and employees alike to take a more active interest in the Changing Workplaces Review. Our goal is to ensure that we are improving legislation to support workers’ rights, create jobs and grow the economy. Members of the initiative include:

    o   Ontario Chamber of Commerce

    o   Canadian Franchise Association

    o   Restaurants Canada

    o   Retail Council of Canada

    o   Ontario Restaurant, Hotel & Motel Association

    o   Food & Beverage Ontario

    o   Ontario Forest Industries Association

    o   Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services,

    o   National Association of Canadian Consulting Businesses

    o   Other employers and employer groups.

     


    Save on Shipping with Canada Post through October for Small Business Month

    We’re pleased to share that, as part of Small Business Month, our good member, Canada Post, is thanking Canada’s small business owners with free shipping on Tuesdays in October.

    This special offer entitles customers to one domestic Xpresspost™ or one Expedited™ parcel shipment at no cost every Tuesday in October. The offer is open to Canada Post Solutions for Small BusinessTM customers.

    To sign up for the program, customers can go to canadapost.ca/freetuesdays. A promotion code will appear on the page each Tuesday in October to take advantage of free shipments available online.

    Happy shipping!


    Oakville Chamber Advocacy Survey Finds Rising Costs the most significant factor impacting business and industry

    Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce released the results of its 2016 advocacy survey.  Rising costs are impacting local businesses and congestion continues to be an obstacle for success. The survey represents a broad sector of business including big, medium and small representing approximately 20,000 jobs.

    Here is a snapshot of the survey results:

    Cost of doing business

    • Rising costs are the most significant factor impacting business and industry
    • 83% believe that energy costs are becoming a serious obstacle to doing business
    • 78% believe that WSIB rates are becoming a serious obstacle to doing business
    • 82% agree that the Cap and Trade plan should be delayed until its impact on business is fully understood

    Transportation

    • 64% of respondents believe that traffic congestion for getting staff to work is a significant obstacle for business
    • The top 3 infrastructure priorities are transportation related being:
      • Local roads and bridges
      • Public parking
      • Transit

    Planning and Development- local issues

    • Almost 70% believe that regulations are unreasonable and excessive
    • 77% are supportive of a modest increase in density in the Kerr Street, Bronte and Oakville business district
    • A slim majority, felt local government in Oakville is supportive and sensitive to the needs of business

    Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce commented “it is important for the Chamber to hear from our members as to the issues that are impacting Oakville businesses so that we can effectively advocate on their behalf.  It is clear from the results that businesses continue to feel tapped and overburdened with regulation. Investment in local roads and bridges, public parking and transit were identified as the top 3 infrastructure priorities.  This is timely feedback for Town Council as they deliberate on how to allocate the infrastructure money committed by senior levels of government.”

     


    Highlights from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce attended the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) this past September in Regina Saskatchewan. The Canadian Chamber’s Annual General Meeting focuses on the latest issues important to the Canadian business community and brings together Chambers of Commerce from across Canada to find solutions to address the challenges that Canadian businesses face.

    The Canadian Chamber network works to set its policy agenda for the upcoming year during its annual general meeting.  Resolutions submitted this year covered a broad range of topics that were successfully endorsed by delegates on issues such as Employment Insurance (EI) Reform, Bridging the Broadband Gap, Pension Reform, Enabling More Canadian Firms to Scale Up, Tax Fairness for the Sports Entertainment Industry and the Increase of GST/HST Filing Threshold.

    These issues are important to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and its network of chambers of commerce and boards of trade across Canada who represent 200,000 Canadian businesses. These resolutions are now policy positions of the Canadian Chamber and its members and will be pursued with the federal government over the coming months.

    The Oakville Chamber will continue to support the Canadian Chamber’s efforts and these resolutions in its daily operations to help ensure that Oakville continues to maintain a competitive businesses climate, and maximizes the potential of its business community and membership.


    Caroline Hughes Appointed as Oakville Chamber Chair

    caroline-hughes

    The Board of Directors of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Caroline Hughes has officially begun her term as Board Chair. Caroline was sworn in at the Oakville Chamber’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday, September 8th.

    Caroline has served as a member of the Chamber Board of Directors since 2010 and she has served on the Oakville Chamber’s Executive Committee as Vice-Chair of the Chamber Board since 2012.

    “Caroline brings a wealth of business experience and knowledge to her new role that will undoubtedly contribute to the ongoing success of the Oakville Chamber” said Immediate Past Chair Kerry Colborne. “For six years she has provided her expertise to the Board as a director and we look forward to her leadership in the coming year.”

    Caroline Hughes is the Vice President, Government Relations at Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd., where she and her staff conduct strategic analyses and dialogue with all levels of government regarding public policy and economic issues of importance to Ford of Canada and the Canadian vehicle industry. Ms. Hughes is also responsible for developing Ford of Canada’s long-range forecasts for new vehicle sales in Canada, and for evaluating and reporting Canadian economic trends to Ford’s global corporate economics office.

    Ms. Hughes has more than 25 years’ experience with Ford Motor Company of Canada, having worked in several capacities within Ford’s Finance and Canadian Vehicle Sales Division. Ms. Hughes holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto and an M.B.A. (Finance) from the Schulich School of Business, York University.

    Immediate Past Chair Kerry Colborne has completed a two-year term as Chair of the Board and Oakville Chamber President John Sawyer congratulates her on an outstanding job. “Kerry’s background and experience have helped frame our research, comments and recommendations throughout her two years as Chair. A significant achievement during her term was the Oakville Chamber earning its Accreditation with Distinction from the Chamber Accreditation Council of Canada. This level of accreditation has only been awarded to 9% of the Chambers and Boards of Trade in Canada. Accreditation recognizes Chambers that follow the highest standards of governance, programming and policy.”

    In the 67 year history of the Chamber Kerry was the sixth Chair to serve two consecutive terms as Chair of the Board.

    Kerry Colborne will be recognized at the Annual Chair’s Dinner, where Caroline Hughes, along with the incoming Board of Directors, will be introduced to the community. This formal evening includes a networking reception, dinner and silent auction.

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that this year’s guest speaker will be Dianne Craig, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company of Canada.

    “We are excited to have Dianne Craig as our special guest speaker” said John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber. “Ford has been an important part of the Oakville community for 64 years and has been a supportive and active Oakville Chamber member for 56 years. Ford is by far the largest private sector employer in Halton Region, so we are pleased to present our members and the community with the opportunity to hear directly from Ford Motor Company of Canada’s President and CEO.”

    You can register for the 62nd Annual Chair’s Dinner online at www.oakvillechamber.com, by emailing jad@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 still available. All prices are subject to HST.

    The 62nd Annual Chair’s Dinner takes place:

    Date:               Tuesday, September 27

    Time:              5pm Networking Reception; 6pm Dinner Gala

    Location:        Oakville Conference & Banquet Centre

    2515 Wyecroft Road, Oakville

    Register now!

     

    The Oakville Chamber thanks all Event Partners for their generous support:

    Title Partner

    rbc

    Diamond Partners

    cn                     sheridan-wordmark-tagline          the-weather-network

    Platinum Partners

    bdc          bell_blue_lg          cogeco        edge

    euro-line-appliances              hynek-financial-group     oconnor-macleod-hanna       union-gas

    Gold Partners

              tim-hortons


    Ontario Chamber Network sends letter to the Ontario Energy Board

    The Ontario Chamber of Commerce outlines why cap and trade related costs need to be a separate line item on utility bills

    On September 2, 2016, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) regarding their decision to have cap and trade costs included in the delivery charge of utilities on behalf of the Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade across Ontario.

    The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has publicly indicated support for the Province’s efforts in dealing with climate change through the Climate Change Action Plan and specifically the decision to move forward with a cap and trade program which is designed to significantly reduce GHG emissions and deliver a lower carbon future for all Ontarians.

    However, given the Premier’s commitment to transparency around energy pricing, the Ontario Chamber Network believes that the OEB should reverse their decision and align with other Canadian jurisdictions on this issue.

    Read this letter.


    Celebrate BDC Small Business Week with the Oakville Chamber of Commerce October 17 – 21

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada, is pleased to present Julia Hanna as the keynote speaker for the Small Business Week Kick-off Breakfast on Monday, October 17th. Julia Hanna is the Founder and Owner of Ristorante Julia and Ritorno Restaurant, Founder of HealthyFam, and Host of “Return to the Table” in partnership with Cogeco TV.

    “Family is whoever sits around the dinner table” has been Julia Hanna’s lifelong philosophy. At the age of 26, Julia opened Café Galleria in downtown Oakville. In 1993 she moved on and established Paradiso, the first Mediterranean inspired restaurant in Oakville. Today, Julia runs 2 successful restaurants, Ristorante Julia and Ritorno. However, Julia’s most passionate undertaking is her non-profit initiative HealthyFam, which teaches at-risk kids, families and seniors about kitchen literacy. An award winning and dynamic entrepreneur, Julia will share her most interesting tales about life in and out of the kitchen.

    The schedule of events is as follows:

    Kick-Off Breakfast with Julia Hanna
    Founder and Owner of Ristorante Julia and Ritorno Restaurant, Founder of Healthy Fam and Host of “Return to the Table”
    Monday, October 17  7:30-9:00am
    Pre-registration required. Tickets are $35 Members; $45 Non-members. Tables of 8 available.
    Register now!

    Business After Hours Tradeshow
    Wednesday, October 19  5:00-8:00pm
    No registration required, unless registering as an exhibitor.
    Free to Members and first-time guests. Returning non-members $20 at the door.
    Register as exhibitor.

    Lunch & Learn: If It Wasn’t For The People, This Job Would Be Easy
    Presented by Tim Brennan, Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Fit First Technologies
    Friday, October 21 11:30am-1:00pm
    Pre-registration required. Tickets are $35 Members; $45 Non-members
    Register now!

     

    All events will take place at the Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre, located at 2515 Wyecroft Road.

    Chamber members and non-members are welcome to register and attend all Small Business Week events.

    Follow the conversation using #SBW2016 & #SBWoakville2016

     

    BDC                         Print                                Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre                       pwc                      firstontario-blue-orange-300-dpi


    Nominations Open for the 22nd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence

    OABE logo.new

     

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Oakville West, is now accepting nominations for the 22nd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence (OABE). Nominations will be accepted until September 30th 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,” notes David Abboud, President of the Rotary Club of Oakville West. “It is a wonderful opportunity to formally acknowledge their hard work.”

    The 22nd Annual OABE award categories open for nomination are:

    • RBC Royal Bank Small Business of the Year: This award recognizes a business of 1-5 full time equivalent employees and/or primarily services Oakville and district and/or generates up to approximately $2 million 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.
    • 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.
    • Franchisee of the Year:This award recognizes a Franchisee, serving the Oakville market, who is recognized by their customers and their Franchisor for the outstanding operation of their business.
    • Professional Services Provider of the Year: This award recognizes a person or employee team with a professional designation or whose practice is regulated by a provincial, federal or regulatory body.
    • The Morris Mercanti Restaurateur of the Year:This award recognizes a restaurateur with an establishment in Oakville that is open to the public. Please note this is a business award.
    • 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.
    • Genworth Community Builder of the Year: This award recognizes a business that has, over a period of time, demonstrated exemplary business practices and dedicated involvement in the community.

    “The Oakville Awards for Business Excellence celebrates the many contributions our business community makes to the outstanding quality of life we enjoy here in Oakville,” says Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Last year over 150 nominations were put forward and we expect a similar result this year. If you know a business that excels in one of the above categories, honour them by submitting a nomination.”

    All nominations are sent to the OABE Judges, who carefully review the submission and evaluate it accordingly to the category criteria. 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 on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at the Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre. 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.

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    Oakville Requires a Dedicated Innovation Strategy to Support, Retain and Grow Our Health Science Sector: Oakville Chamber of Commerce

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    At a time when the province is trying to address the major challenge of fiscal sustainability, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce is suggesting a different approach to fixing the province’s health care system and putting patients first. In a report released today in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Ontario Chamber network is calling on the provincial government to turn its focus from budget cuts to empowering the health care system to become an economic and productivity driver that is responsive to emerging innovation being developed in our own backyard. The report, Adopting Our Advantage: Supporting a thriving health science sector in Ontario, is the third in a series of health policy reports and is part of the organization’s year long Health Transformation Initiative.

    Currently in Oakville, the health science sector is struggling to attract local capital, find experienced managerial talent, and access the most important market in the province – the health care system. These challenges mean that entrepreneurs are more likely to partner with foreign investors, as they struggle to find the resources that would give them a strong foothold in Ontario.

    “In order for the government to receive a return on its investments in research, and patients in Oakville to gain access to the kind of innovations that will improve their quality of life, there needs to be a unified strategy to support Ontario’s health science sector” stated Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Today, we are not supporting our own discoveries. If we were able to change that, it would have a great impact on our provincial economy, on our provincial health industry and on our local health care system.”

    Oakville’s Town Council recently endorsed the land use parameters for a Health, Science and Technology District (HSTD) located at the northeast corner of Third Line and Dundas Street West. “We are pleased to see that the Town of Oakville recognizes  the need for innovation related to health care. We hope to see them move as quickly as possible on this” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

    The provincial government invests a significant amount of money into research funding, education and seed development funds. However, if the companies that emerge from this environment are unable to access the markets or resources they need to scale their business, they are more likely to leave the province causing Ontario taxpayers to lose out on our investment. With innovation being identified as a priority at both the provincial and federal levels, now is the time for government to adopt a cohesive strategy to address the challenges facing this sector and take hold of the opportunity presented by our strengths in health sciences that will lead to a self-sustaining, vibrant health economy.

    “If we can establish an integrated system that has a collective vision, the potential rewards for Ontario are great. A lack of focused investment in the province’s home-grown innovation will only lead to missed opportunity.” added Allan O’Dette, President of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

    The report’s recommendations suggest a cohesive approach to health care that would make it easier to capitalize innovative health science start-ups, attract and retain experienced talent, and provide market access to the public health care system. For this to take place, Ontario requires a dedicated vision for health science innovation, one that recognizes our competitive advantages and makes use of our single-payer system as an economic driver.

     



    2016 Peel Halton Employer Survey

    This is the sixth annual Peel Halton employer survey. Last year over 484 responses were collected from employers, representing over 50,000 jobs in Peel and Halton Regions. The results of the survey will enhance business, employment service and educational planning in the regions of Peel and Halton.

    Oakville Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Peel Halton Workforce Development Group to implement this survey.

    This year, the survey focuses on:

    • Experiential Learning
    • Precarious Employment
    • Inclusion
    • Skill and Labour Shortages

    Please go to the following link and complete this confidential survey:

    2016 Peel Halton Employer Survey Link

    Thank you for helping us better understand the workforce challenges faced by employers like you.

    If you wish to see results from earlier surveys, please follow these links:

    2015 Peel Halton Employer Survey    2014 Peel Halton Employer Survey   All Other Surveys

     

     


    Oakville Chamber of Commerce Calls On the Provincial Government To Push Broadband Strategy into High Speed

    Today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has called on Premier Kathleen Wynne to commit dedicated provincial infrastructure funds to developing and expanding broadband internet access in remote and rural areas of the province. With record investments being made by government in transit and transportation infrastructure, the business advocacy organization is calling upon the provincial government to recognize, through infrastructure dollars, that access to high speed internet is also essential for Ontario businesses to compete in the 21st century global economy.

    “Local businesses in Oakville are becoming increasingly dependent on internet access for their everyday business practices,” said Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “High-speed internet access has become a necessity for doing business in today’s economy and it is critical that all regions across Ontario have access to this essential infrastructure.”

    While the Oakville and the Ontario Chamber acknowledge broadband investments made by the Government of Canada in the recent federal budget, internet access continues to be an issue in parts of Ontario. The letter to the Premier identifies three key recommendations that the Ontario government should address in the coming term to ensure all communities in the province are able to compete in the global economy:

    1. Develop a robust broadband investment strategy that acknowledges that broadband is an essential infrastructure investment, and creates space for continued private-sector investment.
    1. Build partnerships across all levels of government in order to leverage funding and respond to local need. Recognizing that the private sector has driven investment in broadband infrastructure, the OCC recommends an intergovernmental funds matching formula that will continue to incentivize large private sector investments.
    1. Benchmark Ontario’s internet speeds and access. In order to ensure Ontario is able to compete in a technology-driven global economy, we need to create broadband infrastructure that is equal with those of other globally-competitive jurisdictions.

    “Just as businesses depend on roads and electricity, high-speed Internet is fundamental to advancing the province’s economic interests,” said Allan O’Dette, CEO & President of the Ontario Chamber “Committing funds to broadband infrastructure in rural and remote regions of the province will ensure that economic fragmentation is reduced in Ontario.”

    With government services increasingly shifting to online platforms, universal access to high speed internet is becoming more important than ever. By working with the Oakville and the Ontario business community, government can develop broadband policy that is responsive to existing needs while not dissuading private sector investment.


    Ontario Finance Minister to Address Oakville, Burlington and Milton Chambers of Commerce

    The Honourable Charles Sousa, Ontario Minister of Finance, will speak at a breakfast at the Burlington Convention Centre on Thursday, July 21. This event is jointly hosted by the Oakville, Burlington and Milton Chambers of Commerce.

    “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to host the Finance Minister” stated Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber. “We invite guest speakers like the Finance Minister to provide an opportunity for our Members and their guests to hear directly from key decision makers. We also want to provide our Members with the opportunity to discuss key issues with important elected officials.”

    Heidi Cowie, Chair of the Burlington Chamber added “Many of the leaders we have hosted have told us they very much appreciate the chance to hear directly from our Members at events such as this. They really value the feedback they receive from our Members.”

     

    Event Details:

    Date: Thursday, July 21, 2016

    Time: 7:30am – 9:00am; Minister Sousa speaks 8:10am – 8:35am

    Location: Burlington Convention Centre, 1120 Burloak Drive, Burlington

    Tickets: $45 for Members, $65 for Non-Members. Tables of 8 are available. (All prices are subject to HST.)

    To register: Register online or contact the Chamber directly at 905-845-6613.

     

     

    The Honourable Charles Sousa, Ontario Minister of Finance

    9050Charles Sousa is the Member of Provincial Parliament for the riding of Mississauga South and Ontario’s Minister of Finance. Charles also serves as Vice-Chair of Treasury Board and Management Board of Cabinet. Charles was first elected in 2007. Previously, he was the President of Treasury Board, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan & ParaPan American Games, and Minister of Labour. He also served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Economic Development and Trade and the Minister of Government and Consumer Services.

     

     


    Chamber releases report “The Infrastructure that Matters Most: The Need for Investment in Canada’s Trade Infrastructure”

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, released their recommendations on infrastructure spending entitled “The Infrastructure that Matters Most: The Need for Investment in Canada’s Trade Infrastructure” with a focus on spending to improve Canada’s global competitiveness and economic well-being.  Read the full report.

    Specifically, the recommendations for the federal government are:

    1. Make Trade Infrastructure an Equal Priority in the $120-billion Federal Infrastructure Plan

    To improve Canada’s global economic competitiveness, the government should make trade-enhancing infrastructure investments an equal priority in the federal plan, commensurate with the funding allocated to the new social, transit and green infrastructure categories.

    1. Make Trade Infrastructure Investment Decisions Using Merit-based Criteria.

    The federal government should ensure new trade infrastructure projects are selected on the basis of national objectives according to merit-based criteria. A merit-based approach ensures critical investments are not held captive to local or regional interests or undermined by inadequate financial support.

    1. Renew the Federal Commitment to Canada’s Trade Corridors

    A renewed program focusing on trade corridors that recognizes that Canada must improve the quality, speed, and cost effectiveness of its trade networks can usher in a new era of Canadian competitiveness.

    1. Partner with Industry to Develop a National Trade Infrastructure Committee

    The federal government should establish a National Trade Infrastructure Committee of public sector and industry experts as an institutional mechanism to guide long-term national trade infrastructure priorities.

    1. Consider the Proposed Federal Infrastructure Bank to Enhance Trade Infrastructure Investment

    As the government develops its promised infrastructure bank, there is an opportunity to use this new tool to provide more than just low-cost financing for municipal infrastructure projects. The government should consult with investors to determine whether the bank should be used to generate more public-private investments in trade-enabling infrastructure.

    Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce said “the government has a unique opportunity to reshape Canada’s economic future by making trade infrastructure a priority in its national infrastructure plan. For a plan that will set the course for the next decade of infrastructure investment across the country, making trade infrastructure a priority will send an important signal to global customers, Canada’s businesses and its workers. It will be a message that Canada is committed to improving its international trade competitiveness to generate more wealth and employment for its citizens.”


    The May/June Issue is out!

    The latest Business Advocate Magazine issue features the 2015 Oakville Awards for Business Excellence Gala, which took place on March 23rd at the Oakville Conference Centre.  This issue’s member profile is on Halton’s largest law firm: O’Connor MacLeod Hanna LLP. Also be sure to read the Oakville Chamber’s Review of the 2016 Federal Budget.

    Read it online here!


    Oakville Chamber of Commerce 2016 Advocacy Survey

    Are energy costs, WSIB rates, taxes and traffic congestion barriers to the success of your business? Have your voice heard.

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce has released its 2016 Advocacy Survey requesting assistance from their members and the Oakville business community in focusing their advocacy work.

    “The results of this survey will help us set our advocacy priorities,” said Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “By taking a few minutes to complete our survey, you will assist us in making sure our government relations and advocacy work continues to meet the needs of business in Oakville.”

    As a thank you for taking the time to complete the survey, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Ristorante Julia to offer a $150 Gift Certificate as a prize. You can enter the draw to win this prize when you complete the survey.

    The link to the survey is: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/occadvocate2016


    Leverage the private sector to put patients first: Chamber Report

    Oakville Chamber positions commissioning as solution to health system woes

    Today, the Oakville Chamber, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released a new report, Prescription for Partnership, which points to the need for health care stakeholders, both public and private, to put patients first. This report takes a closer look at the role commissioning can play in re-orienting a system that too often operates in response to budgetary pressure. Commissioning allows public and private sector perspectives to be in conversation much earlier in the decision-making process. The Oakville Chamber cites commissioning as a way of focusing our system on outcomes for patients rather than inputs from providers. This kind of collaboration is a key enabler of innovations in access, quality, and cost.

    “The provincial government needs to work with the private sector in order to meet its goal of putting patients first,” said John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber “We need the public and private sectors to problem-solve together and leverage one another’s expertise throughout the decision making process.”

    The private sector has long been an active participant in Ontario’s health care system. In fact, the level of private sector involvement in Canadian health care is slightly above the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average – 12th highest overall, and greater than 22 other countries in the OECD. However, the current relationship between the public sector and private health vendors (both for-profit and non-profit) lacks a co-operative structure and culture.

    “Today, the public sector is largely making decisions based on strict budgets and inflexible guidelines,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber. “We cannot allow patient needs to continue to finish second.”

    Prescription for Partnership: How New Models of Collaboration in Health Care Can Make Outcomes a Priority is the second of five reports within the Ontario Chamber’s year-long Health Transformation Initiative. Visit transformhealth.ca for more information.


    Mayor to Present Oakville Economic Update

    Oakville Mayor Rob Burton will speak at an Oakville Chamber of Commerce breakfast on Thursday, June 2, 2016 at the Holiday Inn, Oakville Centre. The Mayor will provide an update on Oakville’s economy, and more specifically, the Town’s 2016 budget.

    “This annual breakfast is popular among our members, who are interested in issues affecting our local economy,” says Chamber Chair Kerry Colborne. “We are pleased to offer them this opportunity to hear directly from the Mayor about initiatives from Oakville’s Municipal Government.”

    There will be a moderated question and answer period following the Mayor’s presentation. Questions for Mayor Burton can be submitted in advance of the breakfast via email to faye@oakvillechamber.com with the subject line: ‘Question for the Mayor’.

    The Chamber would like to thank presenting partners Cogeco, Union Gas and supporting partners CN, Ford and Remax Aboutowne for making this event possible.

    For ticket information, please contact the Oakville Chamber of Commerce at 905-845-6613 or info@oakvillechamber.com.

    Date: Thursday, June 2, 2016
    Time: 7:30am – Registration

    8:00am – 9:00am –
    Event

    Location: Holiday Inn, Oakville Centre
    590 Argus Road, Oakville


    62nd Annual Golf Tournament

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s 62ndAnnual Golf Tournament will take place on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at Glen Abbey Golf Club.

    “We are thrilled to be back at Glen Abbey again this year,” said Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Providing our members with networking opportunities such as this tournament, advocating for their needs to all four levels of government, bringing high-profile speakers to Oakville and offering exclusive benefits are some of tools we use to foster and sustain a healthy economic environment in Oakville.”

    The Annual Golf Tournament would not be possible without the support of our partners.

    Thank you to all of our Partners:

    Platinum Partner

    Cogeco

     

    Silver Partners

    Dan Lawrie Insurance Brokers Ltd.

    FirstOntario Credit Union

    Oakville Hydro

    Oakville Volkswagen and Audi Centre Oakville

    Union Gas Ltd.

    Virox Technologies Inc.

    The Cardamone Group, Royal Le Page

     

    Dinner Partner

    Hynek Financial Group

     

    Lunch Partner

    The Weather Network

     

    Cart Partner

    SB Partners

     

    Exclusive Hole Partners

    FCT

    FirstOntario Credit Union

    Intrigue Media

    WeirFoulds LLP

    Whole Foods Market

     

    Contest Partners

    Cameron’s Brewing Company

    Holiday Inn Oakville Centre

    Intrigue Media

    Oakville Volkswagen and Audi Centre Oakville

    RBC Private Banking


    Small Business: Too Big To Ignore

    too big to ignore logo - web

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber Network is proud to be a part of the ambitious campaign, Small Business: Too Big to Ignore.

    This campaign highlights the important contributions of small businesses to our economy and communities, and seeks to actively engage small businesses across the province in investigating the top barriers to small business growth – and identify solutions to overcome those challenges. To kick off this campaign the OCC has released the report, Top Obstacles to Small Business Growth. The Oakville Chamber looks forward to leading discussions in our community about the underlying challenges that are weighing on small businesses and stifling job creation. A strong and vibrant small business sector is important for all business. Small businesses are the wealth creators, job creators and risk takers. Small businesses have important relationships with big businesses as part of the economic ecosystem. Big businesses are often highly dependent on small businesses as suppliers, distributors, customers, innovators, and for developing a skilled and experienced workforce to draw from. Small businesses also make up the vast majority of our local membership, our volunteers, and are often the people actively involved in community service.

    We want to hear from you. Please engage with us on the Small Business Too Big To Ignore campaign on Facebook and Twitter, share your input, and help spread the message about the importance of small business and why it cannot be ignored.


    Small Business: Too Big To Ignore

    Nearly 3 million Ontarians are employed by small businesses of 100 or less employees, but the rising cost of doing business in the province is stunting their growth.

     

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce is launched Small Business Too Big Too Ignore, a six month campaign that will highlight the important contributions of small businesses to our communities and investigate the top barriers to small business growth. Coinciding with the launch of this campaign, the Ontario Chamber also released its report, Top 3 Obstacles to Small Business Growth, aimed at starting a conversation about the underlying challenges that are weighing on small businesses and stifling job creation.

     

    In the report, the Chamber cites the rising cost of doing business as a major impediment to small business growth. In fact, Ontario Chamber survey results show that one in twenty businesses in the province expect to close their doors in the next five years due to rising electricity prices. In addition, 38 percent will see their bottom line shrink, with the cost of electricity delaying or canceling investment in the years to come.

     

    “Rising electricity prices is just one of the many elements adding to the cost of doing business in the province,” said Kerry Colborrne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber. “The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is launching this campaign to take a look at how we can mitigate these types of costs by engaging both government and business leaders in a productive conversation to the answer the question ‘what exactly is ailing small business?’.”

     

    In addition to the rising cost of doing business, the report also lists key infrastructure gaps and a lack of access to skilled workers as the top three obstacles weighing on small business. According to a recent Ontario Chamber survey, 39 percent of employers have had difficulty filling a job opening over the past year and a half – an increase of 11 percentage points since 2014.

     

    “Building a 21st century workforce has been a cornerstone of our advocacy efforts for quite some time,” said John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber. “We’ve seen tremendous progress on this file over the past few years but we recognize the need to foster greater connections between skilled workers and employers.”

     

    Over the next six months, local chambers of commerce and boards of trade will hold consultations with small business owners throughout the province to identify the barriers that they face.

     

    “Small businesses of 100 or less employees are the core of our membership and employ nearly 3 million Ontarians, which is why we’ve decided to undertake the Small Business Too Big Too Ignore campaign,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “The insights gained from the local chamber consultations will inform an upcoming Chamber report to be released during Small Business week in October 2016. We’re really looking forward to the feedback.”


    Too Few Entrepreneurs Able to Scale Up Their Business: The Oakville Chamber of Commerce Report Identifies Six Barriers to Growth

    Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), released the report, Breaking Barriers: Ontario’s Scale Up Challenge, which identifies the major roadblocks preventing Ontario businesses from expanding and presents recommendations to best support business owners in taking their ventures to the next stage of growth. According to the report, based on interviews with nearly two dozen business owners, sector associations, and other organizations, as well as a survey of over 350 Ontario business owners, too few entrepreneurs are continuing to build their business, or “scale up”, in the province.

    The report adds to a recent chorus of voices calling for governments, the business community, and other actors to build on the province’s entrepreneurial spirit by creating the conditions to enable our most promising firms to scale. “This is an important time to be talking about this issue faced by the Oakville business community.  We have a great opportunity to align with government to more effectively tackle this challenge. ” said Kerry Colborne, Chair, Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

    To position Ontario for long-term success, the report proposes recommendations to address six specific barriers preventing businesses from growing, which includes a lack of access to talent with scale up experience, gaps in the right kinds of financing, and lower incentives to growth offered through public programs.

    Chief among the Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s recommendations are for governments to improve businesses’ access to talent in the short-term by creating a scale-up visa to quicken access to essential international managerial talent. According to an OCC survey, 63 percent of businesses that are looking to grow face a talent shortage. The Oakville Chamber of Commerce also encourages governments to gain a better understanding of where current gaps exist in the Canadian financing landscape.

    Other recommendations of the report include:

    • Realign public programs and incentives to focus supports on high-growth firms
    • Encourage greater international trade activity by linking more business support programs to trade
    • Improve access to public and private anchor customers by leveraging procurement to strategically invest in growing businesses
    • Enable accurate measurement and monitoring of the scale up challenge by ensuring collaboration between Statistics Canada and industry groups to collect and publicize relevant data

    The OCC’s survey also revealed that the cost of doing business remains a top issue for Ontario employers as 69 percent of business owners looking to grow identified this as a barrier. Through its advocacy efforts on other key policy issues, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the OCC, continues to highlight the cost of doing business as a major challenge facing Ontario’s business community.

    Survey conducted online between March 3 and April 11, 2016. N=359.


    The March/April Issue is out!

    The latest Business Advocate Magazine issue features the 2016 Leaders Reception, which took place at the iconic Tim Horton’s Head Office in March. Also read Charting an Economic Course for Ontario, an excerpt from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Stronger Report. Read the volunteer profile on David Carroll and member profile on Canada’s largest supplier of parts and whole goods for the lawn and garden and construction markets – Power Source Canada.

    Read it online here!


    The Oakville Chamber is calling on businesses and residents to take the Red Tape Challenge

    The Oakville Chamber is asking businesses and residents to help identify and improve regulations that are unclear, outdated, redundant or unnecessarily costly through the Ontario Government’s new online consultation tool – The Red Tape Challenge.

    Through this platform, the government is looking for input from business, industry associations and other stakeholders to identify regulatory challenges in an effort to streamline services that will ultimately help businesses and economy grow. Community engagement is critical to helping the government create faster, smarter and more streamlined government-to-business services.

    “The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is encouraged to see the Ontario Government taking steps to reduce the regulatory burden through the launch of the Red Tape Challenge.  Last summer, the Ontario Chamber called on the province to adopt a crowd-sourced approach to regulatory change.  We encourage the government to make burden reduction a priority.  By seeking new opportunities to reduce the cumulative regulatory burden on businesses, we are helping to grow Ontario’s economy.” said Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.  “The Province wants to hear from Oakville businesses and residents.”

    Making sure that regulations are up to date and relevant is part of the Ontario’s Business Growth Initiative – the government’s plan to modernize business regulations, lower business costs and make more Ontario firms into global industry leaders.

    “By ensuring our regulations are up to date and relevant, the government is creating the right climate to help Ontario including Oakville businesses invest and grow, creating rewarding , high paying jobs and a more prosperous economy.” said Kevin Flynn, MPP Oakville.

    Based on a number of economic factors, including investment and export opportunities, the Ontario Government identified 6 business sectors to focus on over the next 2 years:

    1. Auto parts manufacturing
    2. Food processing
    3. Financial services
    4. Mining
    5. Chemical manufacturing
    6. Forestry

    The Province is currently consulting on auto parts manufacturing sector regulations until May 31, 2016.

    To provide your input or learn more, visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/red-tape-challenge  today.


    Ward 2 All Candidates Meeting

    Last night over 300 residents and community members packed into the theatre of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School for the Ward 2 All Candidates Meeting. The event was hosted by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with West Harbour Residents Association, West River Residents Association, Coronation Park Residents Association, Hopedale Residents Association, the Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board.

    IMG_4472

    As a politically non-partisan organization, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce believes it must have an effective working relationship with any individual that holds elected office. The Chamber and Ward 2 residents represent a broad range of options and attitudes and the Chamber welcomes that diversity. The Chamber’s objective for All Candidates Meetings is to provide Chamber members, residents and the general public the opportunity to hear comments directly from the candidates on issues that directly affect the residents and business community.

    The Chamber solicited input regarding questions for the candidates from Chamber members, Ward 2 residents and the general public. All 11 registered candidates were present and took turns addressing the key issues that affect the Ward 2 community. Listed below is a full recap of submitted questions:

    1. What are each candidates plans for Kerr Street? It’s a topic that affects the whole town.
    2. Kerr Village is a vital part of our community and in recent years, it has been neglected. Can you please ask each candidate what their plan is for Kerr Village?  How do they plan to revitalize it?
    3. How will you actively work to engage the residents in the ward to ensure a greater sense of community?
    4. As you may know, the Town is now in negotiations with the Oakville Yacht Squadron on the use of the land that it leases from the Town. One of the central issues is how to strike a balance between access by the public to the water and the safe and secure operation of the club including the sailing school, borrow a boat program, and the moorings of members and guests. How would you strike this balance?
    5. I am a ward 2 Resident and have been for 25 years. I have questions for the candidates: 1) Can you please help me understand each candidate’s vision for Kerr Street & Downtown Oakville? 2) Can you please disclose candidates plan for gentrification and development in Ward 2? 3) Can you please help me understand each candidate’s platform to ensure strong engaged communities?
    6. Glen Abbey Golf Club. As this issue will impact all of Oakville including ward two what is your position on this development plan?
    7. Our Oakville downtown is on life support. There is a proliferation of store closings and the sense is that Oakville’s downtown is becoming a ghost town.  What do you think about the municipal plan to develop a renewed streetscape in Oakville’s downtown?  Do you think this is a viable plan that will bring new retail to downtown or are we wasting money with this plan?
    8. I have 2 questions: 1) with new families moving in to ward 2, I would be interested to know how each candidate would encourage improved neighbourhoods, where people actually got to know each other. 2) I would like to know specifics of candidate’s ideas they have to encourage the Kerr st businesses, including benefits and anticipated costs to the town.
    9. What are your plans for Kerr Street?
    10. What experience have you had in the past working with Town Council on behalf of the residents of Ward 2?
    11. What opportunities do you see to collaborate with the Halton District School Board? This could be expanded to include both school boards if you think it’s appropriate.
    12. Because there are two parking lots on Coronation Park I have edited my question. For your understanding of the question I have attached a PDF. The Parking lot issue is illustrated in panel six of the brochure and will become visible if you move the cursor down and then increase the frame to about 100% to 150%.  In view of the fact that trees were illegally planted at the eastern exit of the Parking Lot at the eastern end of Coronation Park in violation of Park Regulation Sections 7(f) and 8 (a,b,&g), thereby impeding the view of drivers exiting the park and so endangering public safety, what will the candidates do about this problem if and when they are elected to the office of Councillor for Ward 2?
    13. What experience does each candidate have in doing something that has actually benefitted the Ward 2 community residents? If elected, how will they use their past experience to accomplish things of importance to the residents?
    14. I’m disappointed – I thought I would get a strong commitment by someone to propose an amendment to the bylaw. Furthermore, it is my understanding that contractors are seldom fined for violating this bylaw and if so, consider it just a small cost of doing business. A previous town administration was very focused on the wants of developers, constructors, and realtors – I feel strongly that you are the ones who can change this focus to the taxpayers rather than private interest groups. If there are 300 people in my neighbourhood inconvenienced by weekend construction noise, how can it be in the ‘public interest’ to allow it to continue? Many of my neighbours are upset about this issue but they don’t believe that any one in government will address it… My biggest concern is stated in the email below. It seems the wants of real estate agents, developers, and construction companies are more important than those of the taxpayer. Why is it considered reasonable to have construction going on 7-7 every day except Sunday? What if I want to have guests for a barbecue on a Saturday? If one of you will pledge to propose an alteration to the bylaw  (suggestion: 8-6 Monday to Friday) you’ll get my vote.
    15. We live in the 3rd line/Rebecca area and have talked to many of the neighbours. I think we’re all tired of the continual construction noise – 7 days a week. I understand they are allowed to work 7-7 every day except Sunday (they work on Sunday too and I’ve had to call the police to stop them – ). Most of us only have Sat/Sun off and Saturdays are no longer quiet and peaceful. Is there any hope in pursuing this issue with the town? The noise will not be stopping since they’re knocking down every house in the neighbourhood – one after the other. There is also the issue of dust, nails left on roadways, and trucks blocking the roadways. We pay an extremely high tax rate – we are now living in an area that is more appropriately zoned industrial.
    16. After becoming the newest Councillor would you vote against any motion or law/bylaw put forth by The Mayor’s Office that you knew was against your constituents wishes or was unethical or against the rules in place?
    17. Given the lack of commercial development in downtown Oakville the last decade or so with the large number of vacancies, what are you going to do to encourage and create new development in Kerr Village to prevent the same situation from occurring?
    18. There is considerable construction going on in ward 2, especially in the south-west area of the ward where many existing homes are being demolished and huge, new homes are replacing them. This is causing many inconveniences for the existing home owners. One of these is excessive noise ( 7 days a week from pre-dawn until after dusk) and construction vehicles parked on both sides of the street, blocking traffic. My question is this: As the councillor for ward 2, what plan do you have to address this? Parking by-laws for these vehicles are not being enforced (i.e. 3 hour maximum), heavy trucks are dropping off materials, using their back up alarms, often before dawn in some cases, waking up residents. Dirt and dust from construction is coating surrounding homes’ exteriors/windows etc. and noise from construction is inhibiting homeowners from enjoying their yards particularly on the weekends.
    19. What experience or success does the candidate have in working for Ward 2 residents at Oakville’s Town Council and its various committees?
    20. You did not run for this position in the 2014 elections. What issues prompted you to run now and not then? What is your position on the construction of a new centre for the performing arts/main library?
    21. Two questions: 1) What would you do if a home in your neighbourhood looked very unkept, i.e. like a junkyard? There is a home at the corner of Stewart Street and Queen Mary Drive, on the northwest corner that is a total mess.  It has been this way for years. 2) If a double lot with one home was sold and converted to have a home on each lot, would the person that is elected to council oppose this and have it remain as one property? What can the neighbours do to make sure it remains one property?
    22. The Town has an ambitious and full agenda for 2016 – as the new Councillor for Ward 2, what is your plan for the first 90 days of your term to have impact at Town Hall so the needs and priorities of the residents and businesses of Ward 2 are heard and dealt with?
    23. Oakville has one of the highest ecological footprints in Canada and in the world.  What are you going to do if you are elected to help Oakville become a more sustainable ecological community and lower the ecological footprint?
    24. Given 1) that there is a great concern for the future of downtown Oakville, concern about  the number of empty stores , which is assumed to be due to existence of other ways to shop  ( malls, on-line etc.), high rents/taxes in downtown Oakville,  and a small residential base, and  2) given an apparent new interest on the part of the town, to re-examine the height restrictions in downtown Oakville, with the idea of helping to bring in more people to downtown to support the local businesses and the community, and 3) given the recent success of Burlington in developing the downtown area (only 6% vacancy, which is considered ideal. Above 6% is problematic. Oakville has 12%.) and their height restriction being much less severe than Oakville’s. What would your position be on: a) supporting downtown Oakville with increased population, possibly by means of increased building heights b) supporting downtown Oakville and Kerr St area with increased population possibly by means of increased building heights in the areas adjacent to downtown?
    25. Given the lack of commercial development in downtown Oakville the last decade or so with the large number of vacancies, what are you going to do to encourage and create new development in Kerr Village to prevent the same situation from occurring?
    26. I just hate the way architects and city planners and everyone else responsible for urban life seems to have lost sight of what cities are for. THEY ARE FOR PEOPLE. That seems obvious enough, but for half a century we have been building cities that are for almost anything else: for cars, for businesses, for developers, for people with money, and bold visions who refuse to see cities from ground level, as places in which people must live, function and get around. Why should cars be given priority over people. We need to plan walkable/cyclable neighbourhoods …and look at repurposing older ones to include all ages and capabilities.

    Voting Day is Monday, April 11th. For information on where to vote, please visit: http://elections.oakville.ca/.


    Sold Out Crowd Celebrates Business Excellence at Oakville Awards Gala

    OABE

    Oakville celebrated business leaders in their community at the 21st Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence Gala on Wednesday, March 23 where over 570 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 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 Chamber Chair, Kerry Colborne. “We offer a sincere congratulations to all the nominees and award recipients.”

    The award recipients were recognized throughout the course of the evening, interspersed with videos that featured last year’s recipients.

    This year’s Business Icon Award was presented to Shred-it. Vince De Palma, President and CEO of Shred-it, accepted the award presented by John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “What started with one man, an idea and a truck 28 years ago has grown to be a global leader, providing secure document destruction services. Today the company has over 400,000 customers, operates in 170 markets in 18 different countries, employs more than 5,000 associates and operates a fleet of over 2,000 trucks” commented Sawyer.

    The Charity or Not-for-Profit Excellence Award was presented to the Oakville Hospital Foundation. Tina Triano, CEO of the Oakville Hospital Foundation, accepted the award on behalf of the organization. The Oakville Hospital Foundation raised a record-breaking $65 million for their campaign to fund the equipment needs of the new Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. To date, they have received donations from over 28,000 donors. In a town with only 61,000 households, that is a remarkable accomplishment.

    This year the Oakville Awards of Business Excellence received nominations for over 150 businesses. After careful consideration, the 150 nominees were reduced to a list of 55 finalists.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 recipients of the 21st Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence:

    Oakville’s Large Business of the Year

    Geotab Inc.

    KPMG Entrepreneur of the Year

    Surround Integrated

    Oakville’s Professional Services Provider of the Year

    Hearing Excellence Inc.

    The Morris Mercanti Restaurateur of the Year

    El Spero Family Restaurant

    Genworth Community Builder of the Year

    Lakeside Logistics Inc.

    RBC Royal Bank Small Business of the Year

    Pretty in Pink Spa Studio Inc.

    Oakville’s Franchisee of the Year

    Sunset Grill – Oakville South

    Bell Mid-size Business of the Year

    Blue-Pencil Information Security Inc.

    Oakville Hydro Conservation Leadership Award

    Denninger’s

    Oakville’s Business Icon Award

    Shred-it

    Oakville’s Charity or Not-for-Profit Excellence Award

    The Oakville Hospital Foundation.


    62nd Annual Golf Tournament

    2015 Golf College 2

     

     

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to present the 62nd Annual Golf Tournament that will take place on Wednesday, May 18th at the Glen Abbey Golf Club.

    The golf tournament is important to the Chamber because it raises the funds that allow us to advocate on behalf of the business community. The 62nd Annual Golf Tournament could not be possible without the valuable support of the golfers along with our partners, volunteers, prize donors, and the exemplary staff at Glen Abbey Golf Club. Partnership opportunities are still available!

    If you would like to support the tournament, please contact Jad Haffar at 905-845-6613 or e-mail jad@oakvillechamber.com.


    Chamber’s Analysis of 2016 Federal Budget

    After 140 days in office, the new Federal Government has released their budget for 2016. There is a strong emphasis for increased spending on infrastructure, tourism, and the environment.

    The Canadian Chamber evaluated the Federal Budget with an overall score of a B+. The breakdown is:

    • Fiscal Discipline: C (Needs more effort)
    • Infrastructure: B (Wait and see)
    • Environment: A (A green revolution)
    • Taxes: D- (A hit to small business)
    • Tourism: A (Thank goodness)
    • Innovation and Technology: C (Needs more effort)
    • Skills: B (Wise investment)
    • Stimulus Effect: B+ (But it’s OK)

    Read the Full Report Card


    Oakville Chamber of Commerce to Co-Host 2016 Municipal By-Election for Ward 2 All Candidates Meeting

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is hosting an All Candidates Meeting for the 2016 By-Election for Ward 2 on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 in partnership with the West Harbour Residents Association, Coronation Park Residents Association, West River Residents Association, Hopedale Residents Association and The Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board.

    All eleven registered candidates have been confirmed to participate in the Meeting that will take place from 6:00 pm to 8:40pm. Ward 2 residents are encouraged to attend the event and get to know the candidates running for their Ward’s Town Councillor seat.

    Questions to the candidates can be submitted in advance of the meeting via email to Kristen@oakvillechamber.com with subject line: ‘All Candidates Question’.

    “The All Candidates Meeting will provide an opportunity for the residents of Ward 2 to engage with the candidates,” said Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.  “This important event enables Ward two voters to hear the candidates discuss issues that directly affect their homes, families, and community at large.”

    “We are delighted to work with the Oakville Chamber and the other residents associations,” said Diana Gurd-Trask, President of the West Harbour Residents Association. “We hope Ward 2 residents and businesses take advantage of this opportunity to have their questions answered so that they can make an informed vote.”

    The Chamber would like to thank the candidates for agreeing to take part in this event. Without their participation the event could not take place.

     

    Date:              April 5, 2016

    Time:             6:00 pm – Doors Open

    6:30-8:40 pm Event

    Location:      St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School Theatre

    124 Dorval Drive, Oakville

     



    Members of the Oakville business community sit down with new MP’s to talk budget priorities

    Recently a diverse group of Chamber members sat down with our newly elected federal representatives, John Oliver, Member of Parliament (MP) for Oakville and Pam Damoff, MP for Oakville North Burlington to participate in a pre-budget roundtable. Both John and Pam expressed their interest in hearing from the Oakville Chamber members and their commitment to sharing the information gathered during the session with the Minister of Finance.

    The group of members from the business community that gathered at the Oakville Chamber made it clear that a focus on growing the economy was the most pressing issue.  They urged the MPs to focus on three areas of policy development:  Infrastructure, Tax policy and Education and Training.

    The business community believes that the federal infrastructure commitment can definitely improve Canada’s economic performance if implemented carefully with economic goals.  In fact, the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) shows that a sustained 10% increase in infrastructure investment could reduce manufacturing production costs by 5% per year.  The same study has indicated that the returns on investment in public infrastructure could be as high as 17% to 25%.

    In other words, this proposed infrastructure program could significantly change our competitive situation for the better if we spend on trade- enabling, economically productive infrastructure—roads, ports, technology, transport corridors and borders.

    Congestion in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) costs the region $6 billion in lost productivity every year (Metrolinx, 2008).  Oakville’s economic growth is an important factor in the success of the GTHA. Ensuring its continued success, as a generator of jobs and prosperity, requires partnerships on vital municipal infrastructure. Businesses believe that we need a federal partner that will engage municipalities, and the private sector, on a long-term infrastructure investment strategy to increase productivity to enable competitiveness.

    Secondly, the roundtable participants urged the government to support an improved tax system to support new small businesses that will stimulate the economy.

    The current tax system has become increasingly complex, multi-layered, and a costly challenge for businesses of all sizes. The system is particularly onerous, in both time and labour cost, for small and medium sized enterprises which make up over 88% of Oakville businesses.

    The MPs were encouraged to focus on employment versus taxes and relook at the capital tax calculations for smaller institutions that invest locally.

    Lastly, there was a focus on education and training.  Employers are unable to fill job openings because they cannot find individuals with the right skills.  Partnerships between institutions, and small and medium size enterprises, are needed as well as the need for research that drives innovation.

    Canada is falling short in addressing the current and future skills needs of the workplace. The underlying issues range from training to labour mobility.  Consequently, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is focused on four priority areas in its advocacy and action on skills shortages: upskilling, immigration policies, education-employment alignment and Aboriginal education and workforce development.

    In a closing remark by one of the roundtable participants it was conveyed that governments are only part of the solution.  They are indeed responsible for developing policy, and have a significant role to play in supporting business.  However, we must always acknowledge and appreciate the integral role of small and medium size business and its contribution to the success of our economic growth.

    Both Pam Damoff and John Oliver reiterated the importance of the open dialogue between themselves and the business community.

    We, at the Oakville Chamber will continue our commitmet to working with the newly elected MPs to ensure that local business has a voice.


    Welcome New Members

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to introduce their newest members, joining in November & December

    Cisco Systems Canada Co. www.cisco.com
    b.good www.bgood.ca
    Best Version Media –Our Neighbourhood (Oakville)
    www.bestversionmedia.com
    Crown Pest Control Services www.crownpest.ca
    Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption Canada
    Susantowle16@gmail.com  

    Eggsmart Restaurant www.eggsmart.com
    Freshii www.freshii.com
    Group of 3 Inc.
    linzybrennan@gmail.com
    Growth Advisors Inc. www.growthadvisors.ca
    Happy Life Wealth Management nilo.hao@happylifewealth.com
    LHH Knightsbridge
    www.lhhknightsbridge.com
    Investigative and Corporate Evaluation Inc. (ICE)
    Invisor Investment Management Inc.
    www.invisor.ca
    John Vail

    Sales@johnvail.com
    Laker Energy Products Ltd.
    www.lakerenergy.com
    MMI Professional Services www.mmiproservices.com
    Pamela Damoff MP
    Pam.DamoffA1@parl.gc.ca
    Patrick Pacenti Edward Jones
    www.edwardjones.com
    Reddin Global Inc. www.emersonsuite.com
     Saltbox Partners www.saltboxpartners.ca
    Sergey Kunyev FDS Broker Services www.fdsbroker.com
    Spiral By Design Consulting
    www.spiralbydesign.ca
    SportClips Dorval www.sportclips.ca
    Strategic Property Management www.strategicpm.ca
    Strategic Property & Asset Management www.strategicpm.ca  

    Style Expressions by Monica Rolling
    www.styleexpressions.ca
    The Reid Method www.thereidmethod.com
    Troy McLean Group
    www.ffmcapital.com


    Congratulations to 2015 Nominees for Oakville Awards for Business Excellence

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West are pleased to present the 21st Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence that will culminate in a Gala Dinner on Wednesday, March 23rd at the Oakville Conference Centre. The nominees for this year’s awards were officially announced at the OABE Nominee reception on Tuesday, February 2nd at the Holiday Inn, Oakville Centre.

    This year, the winners will be chosen from nominees in nine categories: RBC Small Business of the Year, Bell Mid-size Business of the Year, Large Business of the Year, Franchisee of the Year, Professional Services Provider of the Year, The Morris Mercanti Restaurateur of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Genworth Community Builder of the Year, and Oakville Hydro Conservation Leadership Award.

    At the gala, the winner of Oakville’s Business Icon Award and the Charity or Not-for-Profit Excellence Award will be announced. The Business Icon Award recognizes a prominent Oakville business which is highly regarded in the business community. The Charity or Not-for-Profit Excellence Award honours a charity or not-for-profit organization which is highly regarded in the community and raises funds or provides services to improve the lives of people within the community.

    “As Chair of the Judging Committee for the OABE’s, I am honoured and thrilled to take part again in celebrating the incredible businesses that make up Oakville’s community,” said Oakville Chamber of Commerce Chair, Kerry Colborne. “I want to congratulate all our nominees. They are truly representative of the best that Oakville’s business community has to offer.”

    Working in partnership with The Rotary Club of Oakville West, the majority of funds raised from the Gala Dinner will be donated directly to the club’s local youth programs.

    “The Oakville Awards gala has raised more than $500,000 since it began twenty years ago,” said Rotary President, Dr. Simon Pong. “Last year’s dinner set a record for attendance comprised of over 600 business, community and political leaders. We are looking forward to a fantastic evening.”

    The Nominees for the 21st Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence are:

    Oakville’s Large Business of the Year

    Bennington Financial Services Corp.
    Reunion Island Coffee Roasters
    Geotab Inc.

    Oakville’s Entrepreneur of the Year

    Zarr Tech
    Prism Care Corporation
    Live to Dance Academy
    Britnell Ventures
    Oakville Nutritionist
    Hearing Excellence Inc.
    The Clarity Centre
    Surround Integrated

    Oakville’s Professional Services Provider of the Year

    Hearing Excellence Inc.
    Oakville Naturopathic Wellness Centre
    CHR Health Centre Inc.
    iCare Home Health Services Inc.
    WeirFoulds LLP
    West Oak Medical Clinic
    Positive Accounting
    Peter Watson Investments

    The Morris Mercanti Restaurateur of the Year

    Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill, Oakville
    il Fornello Oakville
    Kerr Street Café
    Taste of Colombia – Fair Trade Coffee & Gift Shop
    El Spero Family Restaurant

    Genworth Community Builder of the Year

    Lakeside Logistics Inc.
    The Cardamone Group – Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. Brokerage
    Nachla Law Office (aka Nachla Law Office Professional Corporation)

    RBC Small Business of the Year

    Spartan Impressions Inc.
    That Pie Place
    Rock Star Real Estate Inc.
    MTC Tire Oakville Inc.
    Hopedale Bowl
    One Health Clubs
    Aroma Kitchens & Baths Inc.
    Oakville Kitchen & Bath Centre
    Otello’s Banquet & Convention Centre
    Pretty in Pink Spa Studio Inc.
    Painters Place
    Nancy Robertson Team, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

    Franchisee of the Year

    Par-T-Perfect Toronto West/Halton/Peel
    Winmar Oakville/Mississauga
    Sunset Grill – Oakville South 

    Bell Mid-size Business of the Year

    Top Notch Cabinets Inc.
    Ace Auto Collision
    Knar Jewellery
    Thorvin Electronics Inc.
    Blue-Pencil Information Security Inc.
    Finewood Products Limited
    Ancam Solutions Company Ltd.
    Total Tech Pools and Leisure
    Infinity Communications Inc.

    Oakville Hydro Conservation Leadership Award

    UPS
    Procor
    Denninger’s
    Home Depot

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West thank Platinum Partner RBC for their generous support of the 21st Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence.


    Landmark Agenda to Grow Economy and Spur Job Creation by Ontario Chamber and Oakville Chamber of Commerce

    Oakville, January 26 2016: Today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Mowat Centre, released the fifth and final iteration of Emerging Stronger. A detailed economic agenda for Ontario, Emerging Stronger 2016 identifies the immediate steps that government and the private sector must take to enhance Ontario’s economic competitiveness and spur job creation in the province.

    Ontario businesses are increasingly unsure about the direction of the provincial economy, according to a new survey from the OCC and Leger. The annual Ontario Business Confidence Index, featured in Emerging Stronger 2016, shows that business confidence in the Ontario economy is at a five-year low.

    The Index shows that only 30 percent of businesses are confident in Ontario’s economy, compared to 47 percent in 2012. It also shows that 62 percent of businesses are confident in their own organization’s outlook, down from a high of 74 percent in 2014.

    “These stats only emphasize the need for government and business to work together so that we can together improve the business climate in the Province,” said Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

    Among the key findings of the Ontario Business Confidence Index: the Ontario

    • 30 percent of businesses believe the Ontario economy is going in the right direction, compared to 42 percent in 2012.
    • 48 percent of businesses plan to expand in the next five years, down 14 points from 2013.
    • The automotive/manufacturing sector is among the least confident in the province. Just 53 percent of businesses in that sector are confident in their own organization’s economic outlook, compared to a 62 percent provincial average.

    The detailed policy recommendations in Emerging Stronger 2016 are focused on increasing economic stability, supporting investment and fostering business growth across the province. In order to achieve this, some of the key areas that need to be addressed are: fostering a culture of innovation and smart risk-taking in order to become a productivity leader, building a 21st century workforce, restoring fiscal balance by improving the way government works, taking advantage of new opportunities in the global economy, and strategically investing in our competitive advantages.

    “Ontario businesses are looking for stability and economic certainty,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the OCC. “Emerging Stronger offers a detailed roadmap for how government can work with the business sector to achieve their shared goals. Uncertainty throughout the global economy and, specifically in the resources industry, is further compounding concerns in the private sector, and it is important that public policy address the concerns of the business community.”

    About the Ontario Business Confidence Index:

    The annual Ontario Business Confidence Index is the most comprehensive survey of business opinion in the province (1,310 respondents, survey conducted in November 2015). The margin of error for the survey is 2.71%, 19 times out of 20. The OCC began collecting this data in 2012.


    Oakville Chamber Renews its Accreditation with Distinction

    distin-e-r2016-2018The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce it has successfully renewed its Chamber Accreditation of Distinction. The national accreditation program was designed to recognize chambers who satisfy a set of high standards and practices – chambers who look to the future and want to stand out.

    What is Accreditation?

    In 2004, representatives from all levels of the chamber network formed the Chamber Accreditation Council of Canada (CACC) and launched a national accreditation program designed to recognize chambers that satisfy a set of high standards and practices—chambers that seek to stand out, that look to the future.

    Accreditation is a formal acknowledgement that member chambers of commerce/boards of trade have been successfully evaluated by the CACC against rigorous national standards of policy, service and performance.

    Benefits

    Accreditation will ensure:

    • 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.

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce truly values its members and maintaining this Accreditation of Distinction is an essential part of this ongoing commitment.