COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS: Oakville Chamber Event Update

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce (OCC) continues to monitor and assess new developments pertaining to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). In terms of the OCC’s upcoming events, we are taking our lead from Public Health, who is currently not suggesting the postponement or cancellation of any scheduled events. As a result, we are proceeding as planned with all upcoming OCC events.

The safety and well-being of our members and community are of the utmost importance to us. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update this policy as required. We will communicate any event changes to registrants, our members, and the public through email, social media posts, and updates on our website. Should the directive from the Region of Halton Public Health change, the OCC will have alternative options for our events – including holding virtual programs and consider rescheduling events.

Currently, we encourage all event attendees to:

Evaluate their own health (and the health of people they’re in close contact with), when deciding to attend an upcoming OCC event. A temporary change to our refund policy has been made for those who are no longer able to attend an event (see below).

Follow the guidance of the Region of Halton Public Health, everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of viruses, including but not limited to:
  • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Use sanitization materials offered complimentary at Chamber events
  • Greet other event attendees with a fist bump or wave, instead of a handshake
    Temporary Change to the OCC Refund Policy

    During this time, we have revised our OCC Event Refund Policy for registrants. If you are not able to attend an in-person event, please contact the Chamber by email prior to the event. For select events being held using virtual technology, the 3-Business Day Cancellation Policy will remain in effect; registrants for these events will be notified of this policy via email communication. If you are no longer able to attend an event that you are registered for, please send an email to info@oakvillechamber.com as soon as possible.

    As published on the Region of Halton Public Health site, symptoms of the COVID-19 Coronavirus can range from mild – like the flu and other common respiratory infections – to severe, and can include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. If you are unwell, we encourage you to stay home to recover.



    New Research Identifies Opportunities to Support Small Business Success

    Ontario Chamber Network releases the fourth annual Ontario Economic Report and introduces the Small Business Friendliness Indicator

    Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber Network, released the fourth annual Ontario Economic Report (OER) which reveals opportunities where both business and government can focus to create an environment more conducive to small business success.

    The inaugural Small Business Friendliness Indicator (SBFI) measures Ontario’s competitiveness from the perspective of small businesses. For 2020, the SBFI score is -9, (on a scale of 100 to -100) indicating that the business environment poses some challenges for firms with fewer than 99 employees. However, through measures such as investment in online services and support for regulatory compliance, industry and government could improve that score.

    “Small businesses are the backbone of economy; 98% of Ontario businesses are small business” stated Tim Caddigan, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Small businesses employ nearly three million Ontarians and represent over two-thirds of private sector workers. Given the share of the economy this sector represents, we must work to increase their competitiveness.”

    The SBFI is intended to provide an assessment of the ease of business in Ontario across seven different metrics; this year the scores for three metrics were positive: the helpfulness of the Province in starting a business, the ease of licensing, and the delivery of useful training and networking programs from a variety of sources.

    The SBFI also revealed that small business owners are eager to embrace more online services from government, especially with respect to regulatory compliance.

    Drew Redden, President and CEO of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce added “The Ontario Economic report revealed that investment in infrastructure, such as transportation and broadband, topped the list of business priorities for government, followed by reducing red regulatory burdens, lowering the cost of living, and reforming business taxes. This aligns with our members’ priorities for government as listed in our Roadmap for Business Success, which are: business competitiveness, recruiting and training talent, transportation and infrastructure, and innovation.”

    Other highlights from the Ontario Economic Report include:
    • The confidence gap, which measures the difference between business’ confidence in themselves and in Ontario’s economic outlook, widened in 2020 to near historical levels. Although organizational confidence remains high, business confidence in the broader economy dropped seven percentage points in 2020, explained in part by lowered growth expectations nationally and globally. Beyond this, challenges related to the costs of doing business, the high cost of living, and the province’s debt continue to be top of mind for Ontario Chamber members

    • Challenges related to accessing financial capital, attracting and retaining talent and burdensome regulations continue to compromise the ability of many of Ontario’s community to compete effectively with other jurisdictions.

    • Despite these challenges, Ontario’s principal economic indicators remain sound, albeit subdued, heading into 2020, but economic growth is expected to vary greatly across the province. The forecasts show employment and population growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe surpassing other parts of Ontario, reinforcing a decade-long trend of imbalanced economic growth across the province.

    Read the 2020 Ontario Economic Report.



    Chamber shares business priorities with Minister of Finance Rod Phillips, MPP Stephen Crawford and MPP Triantafilopoulos during Budget Consultation

    Remaining competitive, specifically when it comes to taxes and regulations, continues to be a priority for Oakville Chamber members. 

    Recognizing that the government already announced a reduction in the small business Corporate Income Tax rate, the Oakville Chamber believes that there is still more that can be done to encourage business growth and scale up with regard to the structure rather than the level of the Corporate Income Tax. 

    For example, the Small Business Deduction (SBD) reduces the Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate on companies’ first $500,000 of active business income.  The flat rate structure of the Small Business Deduction means that companies are faced with a substantial rise in their corporate tax rate when their annual income increases above $500,000 at which point the rate jumps from 3.2 percent to 11.5 percent.   To address this challenge, the Chamber network recommended creating a variable or bracketed Small Business Deduction for income below $500,000. 

    With a Corporate Income Tax rate that increases gradually as revenue grows, small business owners would no longer be discouraged from actively seeking opportunities to grow their firms.  This reform should be revenue-neutral, such that total tax revenue generated before and after the change remains the same. 

    Additionally, we encourage the Province to exempt businesses’ incremental income (additional earnings over the previous year) from the Corporate Income Tax in a given year.   With this exemption in place, firms that are growing can reinvest more into their businesses.  Eligibility could be restricted to target higher-growth firms by setting a threshold minimum rate of income growth over the previous year to qualify for the exemption. 

    Transportation infrastructure and congestion also remains a concern for the Oakville community. Population growth as well as increased employment growth, is positive for our local economy; however, it also underlines the need for building a resilient transportation network that works for all modes of transportation to supply the movement of goods and people. 

    Recognizing that the province has committed to a share of funding for local projects like the Wyecroft Bridge, the Burloak Underpass and the Kerr Street Underpass, the Chamber further calls on the government for a sustainable and planned funding program for infrastructure projects such as the network required for MidTown which was identified as an Urban Growth Centre. 

    As our communities become more connected through the collection of data, artificial intelligence and technology, it is vital that we are prepared for the business climate of the future and that we remain competitive with other jurisdictions.

    A report recently released by the Province signals that the province is positioning Ontario to be a leader in the development, commercialization and adoption of advanced manufacturing and mobility technologies.  Supporting new mobility technologies, enhancing the innovation ecosystem as well as supporting research and development and early stage technology development are all measures that will assist communities in their efforts to adopt new technologies.  

    Beyond providing the legislative and regulatory framework, the Chamber encourages the province to further connect municipalities and establish a common framework for the development of alternative Connected Vehicle/Autonomous Vehicle scenarios, readiness guidelines, and potential projects.  The creation of a dedicated program could further incent municipalities to invest in infrastructure/technological updates within their local jurisdictions; thereby creating a healthy environment for emerging transportation technologies.

    The future efficient movement of both people and goods and services will depend on the effective management of a connected infrastructure.

    As the industry evolves and becomes a reality, it will become a competitive economic advantage for communities that embrace it—and a disadvantage for those that don’t.

    The new market for automated and connected vehicles is expected to grow exponentially and large economic benefits are expected.  Other regions are not standing still (e.g. United States, Japan and China) and are already adopting strategies for automated vehicles and attracting investment in this field.   Companies could soon be including Autonomous Vehicle, connectivity and technology readiness in their decisions on where to locate a business or expand operations.

    To address concerns surrounding attracting and retaining talent, we believe that strong partnerships between government, industry, and post secondary institutions are fundamental to supporting a robust and dynamic workforce.  Experiential learning programs – including but not limited to work-integrated learning, co-operative education, and internships – are one of the ways these partnerships help ensure students are graduating with the skills in demand by today’s employers and the jobs of tomorrow. 

    To that end, we urge the government to explore options to incentivize greater employer participation in these programs.  For instance, this might involve expanding the Co-operative Education Tax Credit or offering a tax credit to employers who hire graduates of co-operative education. 

    On behalf of our Oakville Chamber members, we will continue to press all levels of government on policy reform that encourages business competitiveness and growth. 


    Why Every Ontario Employer Should Participate in the WSIB Excellence Program

    Workplace injuries affect all business sectors, it’s not only in the high-risk industries such as construction and manufacturing.  In 2018, the WSIB reported that 74 people lost their lives at work and accepted over 64,000 claims related to time off work as a result of a workplace injury or disease. 

    What is the WSIB Excellence Program?

    In Ontario, the newly launched Excellence program changes how WSIB works with employers to instill a company-wide culture of health and safety in order to develop a safer and prosperous province. 

    The goal of this program is to reward its safest employers and make available up to $250,0000 in rebates on an annual basis, with restrictions, to each of the current 300,000+ Ontario employers.  This incentive-based program is the first of its kind in Canada, replacing Safety Group, SCAP programs previously in place.  The program makes available $140 million is premium savings to Ontario employers.

    5 Reasons Why an Employer Should Join the Program

    1. The program totally changes how WSIB works with employers by rewarding its safest employers and making available rebates up to 75% of their WSIB premium.
    2. The program is a simple and fair roadmap for all Ontario employers. From small business to large corporations, the program helps employers strive for health, safety and wellness excellence.
    3. The pace of the journey is flexible for employers in terms of timelines, goals and immediate cost savings.
    4. The program is well organized and easy to start. The exact plan or order in which an employer completes the program modules is between the employer and the provider It begins with health and safety foundational building blocks and then moves onto intermediate and more advanced topics to achieve excellence.
    5. The journey is yours: It’s a framework that uniquely fits each company’s health and safety vision.

    Where Do We Begin?

    Familiarize yourself with the guidelines:   https://www.wsib.ca/sites/default/files/2019-10/program_guidelines.pdf

    Calculate your Rebates:  https://www.wsib.ca/en/health-and-safety-excellence-program-achieve-earn-rebates-and-recognition

    Attend a free WSIB Excellence Information Session near you: https://www.wsib.ca/en/health-and-safety-excellence-program-stay-connected


    Contributed by SOS First Aid and Safety Training

    Learn the skills and use the tools you need during your health and safety excellence journey.  Develop and safety culture, progress your career by developing new health and safety skills, get First Aid and CPR certifications, build employee resiliency during high stress workplace situations, implement an effective health and safety management system, or simply advance your knowledge for everyday life skills. Whatever the reason, SOS First Aid (www.sosfirstaid.ca) offers solutions that may align within your unique health and safety journey.

    In business since 2004 and a former Oakville Small Business Award recipient, SOS First Aid (SOS) has developed into one of the top Red Cross Training Partners in Canada. We can help you on your WSIB Excellence journey, ask us how? SOS provides comprehensive, high quality health and safety programs that apply AT WORK…IN THE COMMUNITY and AT HOME.

    To learn more contact Mario Sacco at 905-844-9813 x104 or email Mario.Sacco@sosfirstaid.ca 



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

    Assisting young business leaders who are seeking to start or actively involved in an entrepreneurial enterprise

    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.

    Apply to become an MNP Future leader and receive

    • One year of monthly professional mentoring, guidance and advice from an MNP partner
    • Year-long membership with the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, Mississauga Board of Trade, and Brampton Board of Trade
    • Consultation with media experts and profile enhancement strategy
    • Personalized award and recognition as an MNP Future Leader

    Visit mnp.ca/en/future-leaders for program eligibility and to submit your application by March 23, 2020.



    Today, Ontario’s Finance Minister is in Oakville for pre-budget consultations

    Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy will be presenting member priorities to the Minister.  Below are her remarks:


    Good morning.  My name is Faye Lyons and I am the Vice President of Government Relations for the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. 

    On behalf of the Chamber and our over 1100 members I thank you Minister for the opportunity for us to provide our recommendations for the upcoming Provincial budget. 

    As you know the Ontario Chamber of Commerce will be submitting a comprehensive list of recommendations on behalf of the network. 

    Today, with the three minutes allotted to me I will focus on the local business priorities identified by our Chamber.   

    In our most recent advocacy surveys, members identified business competitiveness, transportation, recruiting and retaining talent and innovation as their top priorities. 

    We commend the government on its intention to form a Premier’s Advisory Council on Competitiveness to identify opportunities for improving Ontario’s competitiveness. 

    Our members identified taxes as an obstacle to business competitiveness and growth.  To that end, recognizing that the government has already announced a reduction in the small business Corporate Income Tax rate, there is still more that can be done to encourage business growth and scale up with regard to the structure rather than the level of the Corporate Income Tax. 

    The Small Business Deduction (SBD) reduces the Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate on companies’ first $500,000 of active business income.  The flat rate structure of the Small Business Deduction means that companies are faced with a substantial rise in their corporate tax rate when their annual income increases above $500,000 at which point the rate jumps from 3.2 percent to 11.5 percent.   To address this challenge, the Chamber network recommends creating a variable or bracketed Small Business Deduction for income below $500,000. 

    With a Corporate Income Tax rate that increases gradually as revenue grows, small business owners would no longer be discouraged from actively seeking opportunities to grow their firms.  This reform should be revenue-neutral, such that total tax revenue generated before and after the change remains the same. 

    Additionally, we encourage the Province to exempt businesses’ incremental income (additional earnings over the previous year) from the Corporate Income Tax in a given year.   With this exemption in place, firms that are growing can reinvest more into their businesses.  Eligibility could be restricted to target higher-growth firms by setting a threshold minimum rate of income growth over the previous year to qualify for the exemption. 

    Transportation infrastructure and congestion remains a top concern for the Oakville community. Congestion on Oakville roads is a barrier to business, and members cite that Oakville does not have the road infrastructure for the development it needs. Additionally, Oakville’s economic growth is an important factor in the success of the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA).

    According to the Provincial Ministry of Finance, the Greater Toronto Areas (GTA) population is projected to increase from 6.9 million in 2017 to 9.7 million in 2041. Halton is projected to be the fastest-growing census division in Ontario over the projection period, with growth of 56.2 per cent to 2041.   

    Increased employment growth, as well as population growth, is positive for our local economy; however it also underlines the Chamber’s call for building a resilient transportation network that works for all modes of transportation to supply the movement of goods and people. 

    Recognizing that the province has committed to a share of funding for local projects like the Wyecroft Bridge and the Burloak Underpass, with the projected population growth mandated by the provincial growth plans, Oakville would benefit from a sustainable and planned funding program by the Province for infrastructure requirements for crucial transportation infrastructure projects  such as the network required for MidTown which was identified as an Urban Growth Centre. 

    A reliable transportation network is essential for trade, the movement of goods and services as well as people.  It is also integral to our province’s economic competitiveness.

    As our communities become more connected through the collection of data, artificial intelligence and technology, it is vital that we are prepared for the business climate of the future and that we remain competitive with other jurisdictions.

    Population growth as well as increased employment growth, is positive for our local economy; however, it also underlines the need for building a resilient transportation network that works for all modes of transportation to supply the movement of goods and people. 

    A report recently released by the Province signals that the province is positioning Ontario to be a leader in the development, commercialization and adoption of advanced manufacturing and mobility technologies.  Supporting new mobility technologies, enhancing the innovation ecosystem as well as supporting research and development and early stage technology development are all measures that will assist communities in their efforts to adopt new technologies.  

    Beyond providing the legislative and regulatory framework, the province can further connect municipalities and establish a common framework for the development of alternative Connected Vehicle/Autonomous Vehicle scenarios, readiness guidelines, and potential projects.  The creation of a dedicated program could further incent municipalities to invest in infrastructure/technological updates within their local jurisdictions; thereby creating a healthy environment for emerging transportation technologies.

    The future efficient movement of both people and goods and services will depend on the effective management of a connected infrastructure.

    As the industry evolves and becomes a reality, it will become a competitive economic advantage for communities that embrace it—and a disadvantage for those that don’t.

    The new market for automated and connected vehicles is expected to grow exponentially and large economic benefits are expected.  Other regions are not standing still (e.g. United States, Japan and China) are already adopting strategies for automated vehicles and attracting investment in this field.   Companies could soon be including Autonomous Vehicle, connectivity and technology readiness in their decisions on where to locate a business or expand operations.

    Chamber members have also identified recruiting and retaining talent as a barrier to their ability to succeed.  We believe that strong partnerships between government, industry, and post secondary institutions are fundamental to supporting a robust and dynamic workforce.  Experiential learning programs – including but not limited to work-integrated learning, co-operative education, and internships – are one of the ways these partnerships help ensure students are graduating with the skills in demand by today’s employers and the jobs of tomorrow. 

    To that end, we encourage the government to explore options to incentivize greater employer participation in these programs.  For instance, this might involve expanding the Co-operative Education Tax Credit or offering a tax credit to employers who hire graduates of co-operative education. 

    On behalf of the Oakville Chamber, I thank you for the opportunity to share our member’s priorities for the upcoming budget.




    Oakville Chamber presents an evening at Theatre Sheridan

    Spend the evening at the Kit Kat Klub and enjoy the music, the atmosphere, and the passion of Cabaret!

    Exclusive to Chamber Members, the night begins with appetizers and cocktails inspired by the musical, before becoming immersed in the show that features Sheridan’s talented music theatre performance and technical production students.

    Theatre Sheridan’s productions are known for launching the careers of the next generation of theatre stars. Come From Away, the smash-hit musical warming the hearts of audiences around the world, was originally developed at Sheridan’s Canadian Music Theatre Project!
    Cabaret
    Book by Joe Masteroff

    Based on the play by John Van Druten
    and Stories by Christopher Isherwood

    Music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb
    Tuesday, February 18
    Reception – 6:00pm
    Show – 7:30pm

    Theatre Sheridan
    1400 Trafalgar Road
    Macdonald-Heaslip Hall

    Tickets: $45*
    *Your exclusive Oakville Chamber Member ticket includes:
    Private reception, hors d’oeuvres, cash bar, and FREE parking in Staff Lott 2

    Purchase your exclusive Oakville Chamber member tickets.


    Advocacy: A Year in Review

    Building a stronger more competitive business environment is always a top priority for the Oakville Chamber. This past year we spearheaded policy resolutions that were supported by the majority of Chambers across Ontario and Canada that will help improve and promote success for the business community. These public policies around growth and planning will help pave the way for improved housing affordability, infrastructure productivity as well as the regional economy. 

    Recognizing that our members and their employees are often required to travel to the United States for critical business, we also helped shape public policy that will enhance Canada/US labour mobility by reducing administrative burden and misinformation to help improve the process for business travelers and border crossings.

    Read our resolutions for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

    Read our resolution for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.


    Events

    The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion*
    *at the time of the event
    The Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
    Mayor of Oakville, Rob Burton
    The Honourable Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Finance* 
    *at the time of the event
    The Honourable Bill Morneau, Canada’s Minister of Finance
    2019 Federal Election Candidates Debate: Oakville
    2019 Federal Election Candidates Debate:
    Oakville-North Burlington
    The Honourable Caroline Mulroney, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation

    Headlines


    Calls to Action

    Letter for National Day of Action and Senate Committee Testimony

    The Oakville Chamber joined 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. Read the letter.

    Vote Prosperity: Federal Election Platform

    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 seven priorities in their election platforms. Learn more.


    Unleashing the economic potential of Ontario’s beverage alcohol sector

    The Oakville Chamber, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber, of released a new report:  Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario.

    Oakville Chamber gives thumbs up to Draft Economic Development Strategy

    “The Oakville Chamber 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.” Read the statement.

    Addressing Regional Imbalances Critical to Ontario’s Future

    The Oakville Chamber, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber Network, released a new report,  The Great Mosaic: Reviving Ontario’s Regional Economies. The report outlines how government of all levels can work with industry to unleash the potential of Ontario’s regional economies and reinforce the competitiveness of the province as a whole.

    A Roadmap for Business Success

    A Roadmap for Business Success is the Oakville Chamber’s advocacy priorities. It is built on four pillars:
    1. Business Competitiveness
    2. Transportation
    3. Recruit and Retain Talent
    4. Innovation


    What the Candidates Are Saying: 2019 Federeal Election

    As part of the Oakville Chamber’s advocacy efforts leading up to the federal election on October 21st, we invited candidates to share with our members their vision with the Oakville business community. Specifically, how their party’s policies and/or platform would strengthen Oakville’s business competitiveness.
     Read the Oakville North-Burlington candidate responses.



    Letter to the Town of Oakville: Budget 2020

    The Oakville Chamber wrote a letter to Mayor Rob Burton and Town Councillors with their priorities for the Budget 2020. Read the letter.

    Columns

    Canada is at an economic and social tipping point

    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. Continue reading.


    Town report underscores Oakville chamber priorities

    Improving the business climate for our members is a top priority for the Oakville chamber. Breaking down barriers, helping to reduce red tape and navigating through the regulations and legislative requirements enforced by the various levels of government is what we do. Continue reading.


    It’s time for a comprehensive review of the Canadian Tax system

    Canada’s tax system is simply not working anymore. Businesses say it is deterring investment and driving it elsewhere. Continue reading.


    Oakville Chamber putting business priorities at forefront of federal election

    With a federal election only months away, the Oakville chamber, in conjunction with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, has launched its election policy website, Vote Prosperity, to highlight the needs of Canadian businesses to all parties in the upcoming federal election. Continue reading.

    Budget 2020: Oakville Chamber’s to do list for council

    The Oakville chamber’s submission focused on member’s concerns regarding the importance of supporting the growth of the existing business community, while remaining competitive against other jurisdictions when it comes to property taxes, development charges and industrial land sale values. Continue reading.


    Driving Oakville Forward

    As our communities become more “connected” through the collection of data, artificial intelligence and technology, it is vital that we are prepared for the business climate of the future. To that end, the Chamber is encouraging the Town to develop a Strategy for Urban Mobility and Transportation Planning. Continue reading.