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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tax Wins for Small Business!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Comprehensive, Pro-Growth Policies Needed in 2018 Provincial Election

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Reinstating scheduled reductions in the Corporate Income Tax, standardize the Business Education Tax and reduce the Employer Health Tax.
  • Conduct and publish the results for a comprehensive review of the electricity sector, including an objective economic impact analysis assessing the full range of inputs that make up the Global Adjustment (GA), and then pursue cost-reducing measures based on the results.
  • Focus on strategic growth policies by ensuring that land use planning and development regulations are aligned, to increase density and create more housing stock.
  • Create a meaningful plan to tackle the debt and more towards balanced or surplus budgets.

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

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


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.

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

Members include:

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

Canadian Franchise Association (CFA)

Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers

Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC)

Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO)

National Association of Canada Consulting Businesses (NACCB Canada)

Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA)

Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC)

Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA)

Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA)

Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA)

Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA)

Restaurants Canada

Retail Council of Canada (RCC)

Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)


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

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

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

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

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

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

Sample Letter to MP

Subject Line: Tax Changes will Hurt Small Businesses

Dear MP Name

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

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

(Please share your business story.)

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

The number of people I employ:

The type of business:

I started this business in…

My customer base is… e.g. mostly local

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

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

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

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

Yours truly,

Name