By: Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy As 2022 wraps up confronting record inflation and a looming recession, we at the Oakville Chamber together with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce continue our call for the federal government to layout a blueprint to create strong, sustainable economic growth. We ask our political leaders and decision makers to prioritize and execute on policies that set a clear path for growth in 2023. Reducing red-tape is one of the most cost-effective tools to boost economic productivity. We are encouraged to see the provincial government signal a renewed focus on high-impact barriers such as obtaining permits and interprovincial trade barriers, which currently deter investment in Ontario. Consultation will be critical to the success of these reforms and to that end the Oakville Chamber looks forward to participating in this important discussion. The Oakville Chamber and the business community understand the need for collaboration to address job vacancies. Policymakers will need to take action to address skills mismatches and future workforce needs. This should include working with employers and post-secondary institutions to narrow the digital skills gap, advance skilled trades and tap into youth and immigrant talent pipelines. Immigration must be an important part of the strategy to address the labour Canada so desperately needs. While boosting immigration alone is not a silver bullet solution to our labour shortages, it is a critical part of the equation that must be addressed along with critical infrastructure in transportation and housing. Newcomers bring diversity, thought and innovation that is critical to Ontario’s competitive advantage. To that end, we look forward to further details surrounding the Immigration Agreement between the province and the federal government which is expected to include some additional control over economic immigration within the province and a new increase to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). Locally, the Chamber will continue its advocacy efforts in getting two integral transportation projects built, the Kerr Street Underpass and the Royal Windsor Interchange. The indefinite deferral of the Kerr Street Underpass is not consistent with the province’s plans to invest in infrastructure and transportation networks as part of the plan to increase growth and the supply of housing. To accommodate for future growth mandated by the province, making MidTown a reality is only possible by accelerating the planning and design for the Royal Windsor Interchange amongst other improvements. The Oakville Chamber strongly urges the province to make these necessary infrastructure projects a priority by allocating the appropriate funding. These road improvements will create jobs and provide congestion relief for the efficient movement of goods, services and people. Finally, given the headwinds that our economy currently faces, we will continue our call on governments from all levels to collaborate and work together for economic growth and stability. The Oakville Chamber believes that we have the tools needed to move forward, working together to create strong vibrant communities.