Tag: ontario chamber of commerce

Addressing Regional Imbalances Critical to Ontario’s Future

Industry report outlines strategies to unlock the economic potential of communities across the province

Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, 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.

“We are only as strong as our weakest link and our ability to prosper depends on the strength of our different regions. Economic and population growth rates in the Greater Golden Horseshoe and Ottawa have far surpassed those in other areas of the province,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Our communities – and the province as a whole – risk falling behind if we do not leverage the rich and diverse competitive advantages of our local economies.”

The Great Mosaic: Reviving Ontario’s Regional Economies examines the opportunities and challenges faced by different communities across the province and offers a framework for thinking about the present and future of Ontario’s regional economies.

“We urge policymakers to take a modern and comprehensive approach to economic development by leveraging the existing competitiveness advantages of Ontario’s regions, and implement deliberate strategies to support long-term growth in communities across the province,” added Rossi.

The Ontario Chamber Network’s report makes 17 recommendations to strengthen the well-being of Ontario’s regions. Key takeaways include:

  • The most cost-effective way to drive economic development is to cultivate talent, trade, and infrastructure. Governments should make it a priority to upgrade transportation and energy networks, modernize their regulations and business supports, offer dynamic education and training opportunities, and encourage labour mobility.

  • Building regional capacity for innovation is fundamental to productivity and growth. This means improving commercialization and technology adoption, strengthening regional innovation centres, expanding broadband internet access, and facilitating cluster development.

  • Modern governance of economic development should empower a wide range of stakeholders including businesses, post-secondary institutions, and not-for-profit organizations outside government. Regional collaboration, economic reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and the use of data are all critical to mobilizing local assets.

“In the face of technological transformation and globalization, there is no question that Ontario has what it takes to succeed. We are optimistic that the province can successfully navigate the modern economy if we work together to unlock the economic potential of our communities,” said Drew Redden, President and CEO, Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

 

Read the Ontario Chamber Network’s report, The Great Mosaic: Reviving Ontario’s Regional Economies.

Read the Ontario Chamber Network’s full list of recommendations.

 


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.



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).




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.

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.


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.




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.