Vote Prosperity: Federal Election Platform

Vote Prosperity

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

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

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

Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce


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



Provincial Budget 2019

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

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

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

-Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce


Read the Ontario Chamber of Commerce analysis.

Read the Provincial Budget 2019.



24th Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence

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

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


Congratulations to the Award Recipients!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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



Federal Budget 2019

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

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

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

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

– Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce

Read the Canadian Chamber of Commerce analysis.



24th Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence Nominees

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


RBC Royal Bank Large Business of the Year

Bell Mid-size Business of the Year

Henderson Partners LLP Small Business of the Year

Professional Services Provider of the Year

The Morris Mercanti Service Industry Award

KPMG Young Professional or Entrepreneur of the Year (YPEG Award)

Oakville Hydro Conservation Leadership Award


The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West thank Platinum Partner RBC Royal Bank for their generous support of the 24th Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence.

Event Details:

Date: Wednesday, March 27th

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

Location: Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre, 2515 Wyecroft Road

Tickets: $135 per person. Register now.



Canadian Business Associations United To Press For Action On Resources

National Letter for National Day of Action and Senate Committee Testimony

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Drew Redden
President & CEO
Oakville Chamber of Commerce



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy






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



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

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

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

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





RBC Economic Outlook 2019

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

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

Coverage of the event:




Oakville Chamber receives Reaccreditation

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



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

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

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

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

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

Event Details

Date: Tuesday, January 22, 2018

Time: 7:30am – 9:30am

Location: Oakville Conference Centre (2515 Wyecroft Road)  

Tickets:

Oakville Chamber Members and OMDREB Members

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

Non-Members

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

Read the full outlook.


Sailing the Rhine: Holiday Markets

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

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

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

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


Learn more.



2018 Fall Economic Statement

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

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

Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce

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

Read the 2018 Fall Economic Statement.




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

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

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

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

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




By giving us your input, you will be:

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

Please provide your input!




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

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

Apply now!

   

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

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

What do these changes mean for business?

  1. Minimum wage paused at $14 per hour

  2. Partial repeal of scheduling provisions

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

  4. Returning to previous calculation of public holiday pay

  5. Return to previous union certification policies

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

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

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

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

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

Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) For Certain Steel Goods

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

Oakville Mayoral Debate 2018

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

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

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

You can also watch the Oakville Mayoral Debate online.



Read the Fall 2018 Issue!

Read the Fall 2018 issue of The Business Advocate magazine. This issue features A Roadmap for Business Success, a campaign outlining the Oakville business community’s priorities for the 2018 Municipal Election. The magazine also features the following events: 64th Annual Chairs Dinner with Ron MacLean,  Minister Scott Brison, and Minister Kirsty Duncan.  The magazine also includes a guest column from the Halton Region Global Business Centre and an article on co-working in Oakville. 

Read it online now!





Innovation: What are your Mayoral candidates saying?

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

What is your plan to foster innovation in Oakville?


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

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

John McLaughlin
No response received. 










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

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

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


John McLaughlin
No response received.

Rob Burton

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

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

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

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

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

Julia Hanna

Plugging Oakville’s Youth Brain Drain

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








Transportation: What are the Mayoral candidates saying?

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

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


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

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

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








Business Competitiveness: What are the Mayoral candidates saying?

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

What is your plan to strengthen business competitiveness in Oakville?


Rob Burton

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

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

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

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

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








Tim Caddigan Appointed Oakville Chamber Chair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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









  • A Roadmap for Business Success: Oakville Municipal Election 2018

    A Roadmap for Business Success

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

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

    1. Business Competitiveness

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

     2. Transportation

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

    3. Recruit and Retain Talent

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

    4. Innovation

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

    Ron MacLean keynote speaker at the 64th Annual Chairs Dinner

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

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

    Oakville Chamber joins Coalition to Keep Trade Free

    Keep Trade Free Coalition












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

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

    We must consider the facts:

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

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

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

    Learn more at KeepTradeFree.com



    Live Stream Lunch Survey

    Live Stream Lunch Logo

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

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

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

    Annual General Meeting 2018

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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




    How Has Bill 148 Impacted Your Business?

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

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

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

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

    Your input is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

     


    Entire Cabinet Has a Role in Making Ontario Open For Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



    New Ontario Government Speech from the Throne

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

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

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

    Highlights:

    Job Creation and Business Competitiveness

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

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

    Trade

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

    Energy and the Environment

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

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

    Transit

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

    Government and Fiscal Accountability

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

    Health Care

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

    Read the Ontario Government’s Throne Speech



    2018 Municipal Election Advocacy Survey

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


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

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

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




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

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

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

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



    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 the deadline for Board nomination forms is approaching. The deadline for Board nomination forms is 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

    The Oakville Chamber of Commerce was pleased to present their members and the Oakville business community with the RBC Economic Outlook 2018. The event provided guests with the opportunity to hear from RBC’s Chief Economist Craig Wright, and Ipsos’ Canada Vice President Sean Simpson.

    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.

    Read the Fall 2017 Issue!


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The KOW Coalition will continue to advocate that the government:

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

    -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.


    How To Easily Offer Your Employees A Wellness Benefits Program

    Large companies aren’t the only ones that can provide their staff with a Wellness program. According to a recent (2017) Sanofi Health Survey, wellness and illness prevention are top priorities for employers. Let the Chambers Plan provide you with the resources to provide your staff with wellness options regardless of the size of your organization.

    Today, there are varying views about what a wellness program should look like. There are some that feel food stations at work and flex hours are a wellness program. Others feel it should include an Employee Assistance Plan and options like a Lifestyle Spending Account, allowing employees to claim benefits like gym memberships and active devices such as Apple Watches or a FitBit.

    Regardless of your point of view, one thing is very clear when it comes to Wellness. A more satisfied, happy employee is a more productive one. Often the increases in productivity while at work, the improvement in absenteeism and the general theory that happy people get along better can make this financially beneficial for employers.

    When people feel more taken care of it improves their entire lifestyle, not just their workplace environment. The Chambers Plan can help with that in so many ways. The employee portal for managing their plan, My-benefits.ca, has a health assessment tool an employee or their family members can use to help identify if they have any risks associated with their current health or lifestyle.

    The Chambers Plan has always had the goal of supporting business with less than 100 employees providing not only cost certainly but also additional supporting benefits that firms this size may require. All employees also receive the Best Doctors program. This can allow an employee to find access to specialists or get a second opinion on either a diagnosis or course of treatment. In addition, the Chambers Plan provides the BAS, or Business Assistance Service to all plan holders. This is invaluable to small to medium sized enterprises providing HR, Accounting and Legal assistance as part of the underlying program.

    Firms can also elect to add the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to their benefit plan. This is a low-cost item that can greatly impact mental Wellness in the workplace. It provides face to face counselling to employees and their family members and for only a few dollars a month, employers can add this non-taxable benefit to their plan. Consider the impact to someone dealing with mental health issues; even if it’s not the employee but instead a family member, that employee brings that stress with them to work everyday which does not result in a positive outcome. In addition, these resources can be accessed directly without employer involvement. This confidential treatment allows for resolution of issues without any impact or stigma for them in the workplace.

    Today there are so many issues that can affect an employee’s Wellness. More and more people are dealing with the stress of aging parents and the financial burden that goes with it. Some need grief counselling or even assisted living accommodations. Depression is also a very common problem in society that still carries some stigma and needs quiet resolution.

    Having security from a benefits plan, whether it includes income protection, health and dental claim protection or a combination of all things can really improve a firm’s perspective on wellness. A Chambers Plan advisor can also arrange for fiscal piece of mind with a Chambers Plan Group RRSP and as a by-product provide financial literacy sessions for employees that may need or wish to know more.

    With more than 35,000 firms insured, the Chambers Plan has become a place for SME’s to come for Wellness and benefits plan support. Combined with their partnership with local Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade there are many tools and resources available to help improve your workplace satisfaction. A Chambers Plan advisor can help you customize this to your staff, keeping in mind an older demographic consisting of Baby Boomers will have a different perspective than a younger firm composed mostly of Millennials.

    Add in the lower overhead of the not-for-profit Chambers Plan, the ease of use for both employees and employers and the consistent stable renewals, the employees won’t be the only ones satisfied. Under the Chambers Plan employees have a lot of resources at their fingertips, and having your advisor demonstrate how to use the Chambers Plan is extremely beneficial so your staff get the most out of it. Wellness is achievable whether you have 1 or 100 employees.

    Contact Hynek Financial Group to learn more about the Chambers Plan.



    65th Annual Golf Tournament Prizes

    Silent Auction Items


    Raffle Prizes


    & more!




    The Value In Protecting Yourself And Your Employees

    New venture

      Many entrepreneurs feel that when they leave their job to start their own enterprise they may have to forego things like benefits for a while. This isn’t the case. The Chambers Plan allows them to take the risk on their new venture without risking their personal or family’s health. The Chambers Plan can insure you before you take on employees and provide traditional group benefits even if you are your only employee.

      As a not for profit plan designed for start-ups and entrepreneurs, the Chambers Plan has assembled more than 30,000 other businesses into Canada’s largest pool of its kind providing additional protection and stability for small and medium business enterprises.

    One of the great things about the Chambers Plan is that it allows start-ups to participate fully in the pool if they have 3-9 employees, though some 1 and 2 person firms may also qualify. If they are fully pooled they join the other 35,000 businesses and renewals are based simply on what’s needed to sustain the pool. This keeps their costs predictable until they grow to a size where they can take on additional risk. If they had a bad year for claims due to an employee or their dependent it won’t impact rates the way it would if with a traditional carrier.

    In addition, as you grow you can move into the Chambers Plan’s partially pooled option. With this your firm takes on more risk as a portion of their claims will be rated against premiums, although for taking on that risk you benefit from reduced rates. As the Chambers Plan is a not-for-profit program, surpluses go back into your claims and provide reduced rates.

    Regardless of the firm size, the Chambers Plan offers typical benefits such as life, disability, critical illness, health and dental plans. To determine what levels of protection you want to put into place and also match your budget, a local Chambers Plan representative can help you marry up the two. It’s also important to prioritize the protection when you start your own benefits program, keeping in mind your advisor can help you to evolve your benefits plan as you grow your organization or should your needs change.

     The Chambers Plan also provides the best in class out-of-country protection which can be particularly important if you need to travel for your new business. If you and your staff must travel often this can save you significantly rather buying travel protection on each trip.

    Other benefits can be sculpted based on budgets. Costs for things such as paramedical benefits for physiotherapy, chiropractor and massage therapists etc., can be capped or limited to provide budget control. Dental coverage can also be tailored to the company budget as well as the needs of the staff. Drug coverage is another area where a variety of options will meet a variety of budgets. Benefits today are no longer a one size fits all product. Firms with younger demographics may prefer more wellness-related benefits such as paramedical with less drug coverage, while an older staff may prefer having the scripts in place.

    Protecting your staff shows them you care. It improves your staff retention, makes it easier to hire new employees and makes your workforce happier and more productive with less absenteeism. The advantages of providing protection over doing nothing are numerous. In fact, when workers are polled about either having a benefits plan or a $10,000 raise, the majority took the benefits option. In addition, it’s a great area to enhance compensation since health and dental premiums are not taxable benefits though are deductible for the employer. It may cost a lot less after tax than implementing a raise or bonus for both the employee and employer.

    Protecting your family and those of your employees is a feel-good thing to do for employers. The Chambers Plan gives you that ability regardless of the size of your organization. They insure most industries and the plan is guaranteed renewable. With the stability in premium provided by the program there’s no reason your small business can’t have a benefits plan as soon as your business is ready regardless of size. You don’t have to give up traditional benefits just because you’ve gone into business for yourself.

     Having the freedom to do what you love while protecting your family’s health and well-being is a part of the entrepreneurial wish-list. That’s why more than 30,000 small and medium sized business have chosen the Chambers Plan to help provide that protection.

    Learn more about the Chambers Plan.



    Oakville Chamber of Commerce gives thumbs up to Draft Economic Development Strategy

    The draft Economic Development Strategy being received by the Town’s Planning and Development Council signals that the Economic Development Department is committed to providing a foundation upon which businesses can prosper.

    Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce said “The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is encouraged to see that the Economic Development Department has listened to the business community and is making plans to improve the business climate in Oakville.”

    “Last fall we released The Roadmap to Business Success highlighting four pillars identified by our members: Business Competitiveness, Transportation, Recruiting and Retaining Talent and Innovation. This strategy clearly addresses many of our member priorities that will foster a business supportive environment while encouraging economic growth for the Town” Redden continued.

    The draft Strategy has been developed through research and community consultation of which the Oakville Chamber was part of, underscores key areas of concern to the business community such as reducing red tape, improving transportation services, and the ability to recruit and retain talent.

    The document also highlights professional and financial services, digital media, information communications technology film and life sciences as key sectors of growth. 

    Tim Caddigan, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce said “We commend the Town’s Economic Development Department for identifying opportunities where the Town can support existing businesses while promoting the long-term health of our local economy.”

     “As an advocate for the Oakville business community, we look forward to further consultation with the Town of Oakville as it embarks on finalizing its five-year strategy and its commitment to making Oakville the best place to work in Canada.”

    Geotab to be recognized as Oakville’s Business Icon

    The Oakville Awards for Business Excellence are pleased to announce that Geotab will be the recipient of Oakville’s Business Icon Award at the 24th Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence Gala. The gala will take place at the Oakville Conference Centre on Wednesday, March 27th.

    “The Business Icon Award recognizes a prominent Oakville business which is highly regarded in the community, and this year Geotab has been selected as the recipient of this award” stated Peter DeGroot, President of The Rotary Club of Oakville West.

    In 2000, forward thinker Neil Cawse founded Geotab in Oakville. The company name signifies the blending together of the concepts of geography (Geo) and tabulation (tab). In over 15 years, Geotab grew from a small family business, to a global leader in solutions for fleet management and vehicle tracking. They are now one of the largest telematics companies in the world with over 30,000 customers and over 1.4 million devices operating in more than 130 countries across all 7 continents.  

    Global demand for telematics is increasing and Geotab is rising to the challenge. Collecting over 3 billion data points every day, the company is focused on providing customers and communities with data-driven insights to help improve productivity, efficiencies and safety. Introducing new and cutting-edge technology to help businesses better manage their fleets, Geotab recently launched the GO0 device, the latest iteration of the company’s flagship product that will enable them to effectively expand globally and be utilized by new vehicle types including electric vehicles.

    One of the core values at Geotab is to innovate and continuously seek ways to improve. They are committed to advancing technology, empowering businesses and making the roads safer for everyone. Geotab is built upon a culture of trust, continuous learning and teamwork. They focus on employee well-being, having implemented many progressive initiatives including an inventor reward program, customer experience and support incentive training, training plans, community outreach, company-wide social events, theme days and team building activities. Geotab also invests in employee training and promotes ongoing development.

    Geotab encourages and supports giving back to the communities in which they work and live in. While Geotab has an organization supports a variety of local initiatives, such as food drives, clothing and toy drives, event sponsorships and a benefit concert to promote road safety, they also encourage employee driven engagement. Geotab employees are invited to bring forward initiatives that are meaningful to them with the potential for Geotab to get involved, whether it be through a monetary donation or the donation of time and resources.

    In addition to its philanthropic efforts, Geotab is dedicated to infinitives that contribute to the burgeoning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering Mathematics) job market. These initiatives include local high school mentorship events, on-campus recruiting, a robust research and development program for undergraduate students and a hands-on internship program.  

    A recipient of many prestigious awards, including Oakville’s Large Business of the Year Award in 2016, Geotab recently announced that is has been named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for a second consecutive year! In 2018 Geotab was also named the 2018 North American Company of the Year in the commercial fleet telematics industry by Frost & Sullivan, was included on the 500 list for Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies, as well as the Technology Fast 500 list by Deloitte for North America. The company is also Great Place to Work Certified and has received nods for being one of the Best Workplaces for technology, millennials and women.

    “Geotab is a highly respected organization that serves the Oakville community. Their commitment to innovation, giving back to the community, and building excellence is an example for us all. We are proud to honour Geotab this year with the Business Icon Award and we invite the Oakville community to join us in celebrating the innovative businesses that call Oakville home” stated Tim Caddigan, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce.  


    Date: Wednesday, March 27th

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

    Location: Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre, 2515 Wyecroft Road

    Tickets: $135 per person. Tickets can be purchased online .