10,000 Years Stuck in Traffic: Infrastructure gaps block productivity, new Chamber report finds

Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, released a report Stuck in Traffic for 10,000 Years: Canadian Problems that Infrastructure Investment Can Solve. The report examines the effects of traffic congestion in major cities, ranging from lowered employee productivity to delays in moving goods and services.

Lack of proper transportation infrastructure is a major barrier to Canada’s access to market and to its competitiveness, leading to lost opportunities and wasted time for both Canadian companies and residents, says the report.

“As Canadians head out on vacation this summer, they will be spending longer periods in their cars, stuck in traffic because of inadequate road infrastructure, including poorly-maintained roadways, interchanges and bridges. Unfortunately, it won’t stop after their vacations, either. Congested transportation systems – and the loss of time and productivity that comes with them – have become a reality for tens of thousands of businesses and their employees,” said Perrin Beatty, CEO and President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

“The Oakville Chamber partnered with the Canadian Chamber to release this important report” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “It supports the results from our 2016 Advocacy Survey, in which 64% of our survey respondents believe that traffic congestion for getting staff to work is a significant obstacle for business. The survey also found that our members’ top 3 infrastructure priorities were all transportation related being local roads and bridges, public parking, and transit.”

The report outlines several other infrastructure challenges that government must target to keep Canada competitive such as:

  • Facilitating trade along the Asia-Pacific Gateway and corridor
  • Improving digital access and infrastructure
  • Maximizing potential in Canada’s North
  • Enhancing the Ontario-Quebec trade corridor
  • Getting Canadian oil and gas to markets
  • Green electrification and transmission  

“Inconsistent public investment in our transportation systems is a hindrance to small and large businesses alike with real environmental and economic costs. Canadians in the country’s largest cities are collectively losing over 10,000 years sitting in their cars every year, time that could be much better spent,” Perrin Beatty said. “As MPs tour Canada this summer making infrastructure announcements, we need to ask, ‘are these investments being spent in the right places?’” he concluded.

This report supports the Oakville Chamber’s resolution that was passed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to link investment in core infrastructure to productivity performance and enhancement. The Oakville of Commerce will be bringing this policy resolution forward to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce at their Annual General Meeting in September.

“Infrastructure funds need to be allocated effectively and efficiently to the right types of projects. It is vital that investments are made strategically into projects that support the long-term growth of our economy” stated John Sawyer.

Read the report.

Watch the video and read the infographic.



Labour Relations and Employment Standards Changes: Too Much, Too Fast

The Keep Ontario Working coalition calls for Ontario Government to give employers more time to adjust to sweeping reforms

 Today, the Keep Ontario Working group, a coalition of Ontario’s leading industry and sector associations, sent an open letter to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne which urges the Government of Ontario to slow down the implementation of Bill 148. The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act will bring about major changes in less than six months, and Ontario’s employer community is concerned that the pace of change will seriously injure our economic growth. The Keep Ontario Working coalition is calling on the provincial government to give businesses more time to better prepare.                               

In their letter, the Keep Ontario Working group calls on the government to consider the timing of implementation. As it stands now, Ontario’s minimum wage will increase by 32 per cent in only 18 months.

 “To demonstrate true fairness and compassion for workers, we must ensure Ontario has a strong economy to help create jobs and increase economic growth,” said Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Spokesperson for the Keep Ontario Working Coalition. “To plan effectively and protect jobs, employers need predictability and time to adjust to these changes. There is no way to absorb and adjust to a 32 per cent hit in less than 18 months.”

The Keep Ontario Working coalition has commissioned an independent economic analysis to better understand the economic impact of these changes. The results of the coalition’s economic analysis will be shared this coming August.
                                        

Read the open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne:                                             


Dear Premier Wynne:                                  

On behalf of Ontario’s employer community, the Keep Ontario Working coalition is writing to you today with a call for fairness and restraint as the Ontario legislature’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs begins province-wide consultations. As we have said since the introduction of Bill 148, the impacts from this legislation will create tremendous uncertainty for Ontario businesses. Realistic legislative timelines can only be proposed following a full economic impact analysis.

Economic Impact Analysis                         

Ontario’s small and medium sized businesses are the lifeblood of communities, creating local jobs and increasing economic growth around the province. In recent months we have received emotional stories from employers who believe that the impacts from Bill 148 will be profoundly negative and cause significant job loss and financial burden. Many of these businesses have expressed concern that the planned implementation of such drastic labour reforms does not give them the appropriate time to adjust.                         

Due to the Government of Ontario’s unwillingness to appropriately test the economic impacts of your legislation, the Keep Ontario Working coalition has commissioned our own thorough and comprehensive assessment to fully evaluate the damage these changes will generate. This independent analysis will be completed in August and we will share it with you and all of Ontario’s workers and employers at that time.                                            

Pace of Change                                

Many Ontario employers, especially small businesses, are now considering closing their business because they do not have the capacity to successfully manage such reforms. In the case of the minimum wage, for example, the business community was wholly aligned with your government’s previous approach, which allowed for increases to the minimum wage that were predictable and protected against arbitrary political decision-making. We object to this new approach, which will provide an arbitrary increase. If your government is intent on this public policy change, we ask that you proceed in a way that allows businesses to better prepare.                     

Since 2010, the minimum wage in Ontario has increased by 12 per cent. Under your proposed changes, employers would be required to increase the minimum wage by a further 23 per cent in six months, followed by another 11 per cent a year later. This represents a total increase of 32 per cent over just 18 months.

When looking at other jurisdictions who have introduced similar wage increases, the timelines for full implementation are significantly longer than ours. For example, the State of California is taking five years to increase their minimum wage by 50 per cent to $15/hour with employers of less than 25 employees. Seattle has allowed for a 4-year implementation for a 36 per cent wage increase. However, even there, recent evidence by the National Bureau of Economic Research has suggested that the costs of the Seattle minimum wage increases outweigh the benefits by 3:1. In that instance, low-wage workers are losing $125 per month due to less hours of work scheduled.                                   

We know that over the planning period, especially with an increase to minimum wage, the cost of goods will rise, as will utility and occupancy costs (such as leases and ownership), as well as municipal taxes.                         

To plan effectively and protect jobs, employers need predictability and time to adjust the cost of other inputs where we can. There is no way to absorb and adjust to a 32 per cent hit in less than 18 months, the bulk of which is an even more unmanageable 23 per cent increase a mere seven months out.

Our concern surrounding the pace of change is not isolated to the minimum wage in Ontario, but encompasses all aspects of the legislation. We know that changes to other areas – such as equal pay for temporary and part time workers and scheduling – will carry significant new costs for employers, costs that must be contended with in order to avoid maximum job losses.                                                                        

We urge you to slow the pace of the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Act. We are extremely concerned that the proposed legislation will have negative impacts on the growth of our province’s economy, our people, and our communities. This does not demonstrate fairness.                             

To demonstrate true fairness and compassion for workers, we must ensure Ontario has a strong economy to help create jobs and increase economic growth. Ontario’s workers and employers deserve to truly understand the impact of your decisions. That is why we urge you not to rush these reforms, and to consider the economic impacts that will be revealed as a result of our comprehensive economic impact analysis in August.                           

We are committed to working collectively with your government to ensure that workers in this province can continue to prosper. For that to occur, we must continue to work together and ensure we are doing all we can to protect against job losses, increased costs to consumer goods, and economic hardship.                                           

Sincerely:

The Keep Ontario Working coalition:                                            

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

Canadian Franchise Association (CFA)

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 Real Estate Association (OREA)

Restaurants Canada

Retail Council of Canada (RCC)

Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)

 

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 on the Keep Ontario Working coalition please visit www.keepontarioworking.ca.   


Half of Ontarians fear their skills will soon be obsolete: Oakville Chamber of Commerce

New Ontario Chamber of Commerce report urges action into alignment of skills, education and career opportunities

Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released a comprehensive report, Talent in Transition: Addressing the Skills Mismatch in Ontario, which identifies ten recommendations that will better align the skills acquired by Ontarians with those required by employers. The report, which was developed in partnership with leading officials in the private and educational sectors, as well as with representatives from across Ontario, includes exclusive, new research of both Ontario Chamber Network members as well as the general population on sentiment toward skills development.

Of the six in ten businesses who attempted to recruit staff in 2016, 82 per cent experienced a challenge in hiring someone with the proper qualifications. “Ontario employers are finding it more and more challenging to recruit properly qualified talent. If improvements are not made, we will find ourselves in a situation where there are ‘people without jobs and jobs without people” said Richard Koroscil, interim-President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Our latest report identifies opportunities to improve alignment of skills, education, career opportunities.”

It is not just employers who are concerned with the growing skills mismatch. Of the general population, half of Ontarians are concerned their skills and expertise will no longer be useful or will become less valuable in the next decade. Over the last decade, the skills mismatch has been a major concern for the future growth of Ontario’s economy. The report states that as Ontarians move into the knowledge-based economy, with rapidly changing technological advancement, it is essential to leverage our greatest asset, human capital.

The Ontario Chamber’s report outlines a strategy that unites government and industry to work collaboratively to ensure that all regions across Ontario have access to the skilled workforce required to compete in the global economy. In working together on the recommendations presented in this report, Government and industry can:
  • Improve the transition from school to the workplace (through the expansion of experiential learning opportunities).
  • Improve the labour market outcomes (achieved through Employment Ontario programs).
  • Develop a modernized apprenticeship system (reflective of the current business climate and focused on the integration of young people into the trades).
“We hear from employers in Oakville who are experiencing challenges to find qualified employees all the time,” said John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “If we align government, employers and educators to find solutions to the skills mismatch, we can strengthen our economy and ensure there are meaningful career opportunities here in Oakville.”

Ontario’s Chamber Network has been active on the skills issue since 2012. This report is part of larger advocacy work to ensure all regions across Ontario have access to the skilled workforce that they require to compete in the global knowledge economy.


Minimum Wage Increase & Proposed Labour Reform: Advocacy and Policy Update

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce shares the desire for broadly inclusive growth, where everyone has the opportunity to obtain a living wage. However, in order to achieve this, we need to ensure that we are not risking job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship as a result of over-regulation.

Thank you to all of our members who have shared their comments regarding the proposed new labour reforms including the minimum wage increase to $15.00 in the next 18 months. We have heard you and we will continue to focus our advocacy efforts on your behalf.

In the past few weeks, the Oakville Chamber has met with the Minister of Labour, our local MPP Kevin Flynn, to share our members’ thoughts on the unintended consequences of the proposed changes. Namely, job losses due to rising costs, the inability to remain competitive, the possibility of shutting down local employers and increased costs to consumers. We are working with our local Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) and combining our efforts to communicate our concerns related to the reforms and in particular, the pace at which these changes are scheduled to occur.

To that end, the Oakville Chamber is working with the Keep Ontario Working (KOW) group, a coalition of Ontario’s leading industry and sector associations as well as major employers. KOW brings together divergent voices to strengthen our collective advocacy. Our goal will be to address elements of the legislation where we think there is still room for negotiation, while bringing evidence to the table to support the notion of a broader package of offsets to help the business community transition into these new changes. The KOW website has been updated with new content and calls to action. You can visit it at www.KeepOntarioWorking.ca

We encourage you to submit a letter to our local MPP’s through the Coalition’s website (to submit a letter, click here). Please take the time to share your stories with Minister Kevin Flynn and continue to send us your emails. Your voice matters.


Read the May/June Issue!


Deadline to Register for our China Trip is Fast Approaching!

Join the Oakville Chamber of Commerce for this once-in-a-lifetime China adventure!

Space is limited. To register, or for more information, please contact Gary Hill and Judith Neal at 905-845-6631, toll free at 1-800-368-3273, or email chambertripinfo@advhouse.com

Registration Deadline: Thursday, July 20th 

For only $2,499* your trip includes:

  • Round-trip International airfare & tax from Pearson International Airport
  • Chinese domestic airfare & tax
  • 4 and 5 star hotel accommodations 3 full meals per day
  • Deluxe bus tours
  • Fluent English-speaking tour guides
  • Admission to all tours and attractions
*Trip cost is $2,499 Canadian per person. Price reflects double occupancy for Oakville Chamber Members. Additional $200 per person for non-members. Add $500 for single occupancy. Addition 3% user fee for payments by credit card.

12-day Itinerary:

Day 1 – Toronto / Beijing Check in at Pearson International Airport for your afternoon flight, HU7976 by 5:15pm to Beijing. Your adventure begins as you fly trans-Pacific aboard a wide cabin jetliner. Cross the International Dateline. Day 2 – Beijing Arrive in Beijing, the Capital of China at 6:40pm. You will be met at the airport by your local tour guide and transferred to the hotel after dinner. Day 3 – Beijing Sightseeing includes the Tian An Men Square, the largest square in the world; the Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, home of 24 emperors with a total space of 9,999 rooms. Visit the Pearl Market and the Summer Palace, known for many significance such as the Long Corridor with painted gallery, Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill, Seventeen Arch Bridge and Marble Boat. Peking Roast duck dinner is arranged. Day 4 – Beijing Photo stop at the 2008 Beijing Olympic venues for the outside views of National Stadium, the Bird’s Nest and the National Aquatic Center. Continue the tour to the Great Wall. En route visit the Jade Factory. The Great Wall, the 4,000- mile long and 2,000 years old construction is said to be the only man-made structure visible by naked eye from the moon. Visit one of the Ming tombs, 1 of 13 Ming Emperors’ Tombs is fully excavated and open for exploration. Day 5 – Beijing Morning sightseeing to the Temple of Heaven, built in 1420 A.D., where the emperors prayed to the heaven for a good harvest. Afternoon visit to the Lama Temple of the religion of Lamaism. Day 6 – Beijing/Xi’an Morning flight to Xi’an. Sightseeing at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Visit the Chinese Lacquer Ware Workshop. Evening entertainment of Tang Style Dancing Show. Day 7 – Xi’an Morning bus excursion to the Terra-Cotta Warriors at the Tomb of the First Emperor of Qin Dynasty. Enroute, visit the Xian Art Ceramic & Terra Cotta Factory. On the way back, visit the Ancient City Wall and Banpo Museum, a preserved pre-historical cavemen site. Day 8 – Xi’an/Shanghai/Suzhou Morning flight to Shanghai, follwed by a bus ride to Suzhou. Sightseeing at the Tiger Hill. Day 9 – Suzhou/Shanghai Morning visit to the Suzhou Silk factory. Continue to the centuries old Lingering Garden. Afternoon visit to the National Embroidery Institute to see silk embroidery, an important local craft with 1,000 years history. Then visit Jinji Lake situated centrally at Suzhou Industrial Park. Bus ride to Shanghai. Day 10 – Shanghai Visit the Pudong New Development District. The Bund, a famous waterfront park and landmark of the city. Yu Garden, a maze of marvelous pavilions, ponds, rocky works and over arching trees. Free time exploration of the old town bazaar. Visit the Shanghai Silk Rug Factory. Day 11- Shanghai Free day for your own exploration of the city. Only hotel room and breakfast included. Day 12 – Shanghai/Toronto You may take the morning flight to transit at Beijing then HU7975 at 1:55 pm for Toronto where you will arrive at 2:55pm on the same day.

Register now! 

Please contact Gary Hill and Judith Neal at 905-845-6631, toll free at 1-800-368-3273, or email chambertripinfo@advhouse.com

I’m A Member Because…

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce has launched their I’m A Member Because… campaign, which consists of Oakville Chamber members stating why Chamber Membership is important to them.

Thank you to our featured members (listed in order as shown):  The Cardamone Group, Core Online Marketing, Cupid’s Gourmet Bakery, Elm Hill Cookies, Euro-Line Appliances Inc.Ristorante Julia, Zarr Tech, Oakville Blueprinting, Integra Tire and Zuri Fashions. A special thank you to Media Rez Studios for producing the video and Fotografia Boutique for the member photographs.

The first video of the I’m A Member Because…campaign will be airing at Film.ca before every movie for 6 weeks beginning Friday, June 9. You can also view the videos on Intrigue Media‘s screens throughout Oakville and on CogecoTV!

Participate in the campaign, tell us why you’re a member on social media using #ImAMemberBecause


The Unintended Consequences of a $15 minimum Wage

The provincial government has introduced legislation that will increase the current minimum wage by over 30% from $11.40 to $15.00 per hour over the next 18 months.

Small business owners are expressing concern about the size and, in particular, the timing of the changes. Chamber members share the Government’s desire for broadly inclusive growth. However, in order to achieve this, we need to ensure that we are not risking job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship as a result of over-regulation. The Ontario Government’s announcement of the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan which proposes numerous changes to current labour and employment standards legislation will go to committee over the summer months. 

The recommendations include:
  • Raising Ontario’s general minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018, and then to $15 on January 1, 2019, followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation
  • Mandating equal pay for part-time, temporary, casual and seasonal employees doing the same job as full-time employees; and equal pay for temporary help agency employees doing the same job as permanent employees at the agencies’ client companies
  • Expanding personal emergency leave to include an across-the-board minimum of at least two paid days per year for all workers
  • Ensuring at least three weeks’ vacation after five years with a company
  • Updating employee scheduling rules, including requiring employees to be paid for three hours of work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its scheduled start time.
The cost of all of these benefits will be borne by small business owners.  We believe the government has not yet fully understood the unintended consequences of these changes.   Chamber members have expressed their frustration and concern over rising costs and over regulation.

“It will impact our business cash flow and the costs will have to be passed on to the consumer.  Because taxes with source deductions are going to be higher. We are not against an increase if it is done in increments and not as a total 32% increase over a short period of time.” – Noel Lourenco, Boffo’s

Many affected employers have told us that these changes will have the opposite effect of what the Government is looking to achieve.  One small business owner told us that “Since higher costs for delivery will be passed down from the supplier to the merchant, it will result in inflation. I will be forced to pass the higher costs on to the consumer.” We have also heard from members who say the impact will be felt throughout their businesses.

“If something isn’t done this dramatic and unrealistic increase may force us to close our doors after being a Kerr Street merchant for the last 18 years.” – Dean MacLean, The Mermaid and The Oyster

Higher costs for employers will inevitably lead to higher prices for consumers.  If the businesses cannot transfer these new costs to the consumer, employers will be looking to reduce overhead by cutting staff hours and possibly cutting the number of staff.  This will reduce the job opportunities available to youth and other low-skilled individuals who need employment.

While we understand the commendable intentions of these proposals, it is clear that the government can’t legislate prosperity.  Instead of creating more opportunity for workers, changes like these often have the opposite effect by reducing jobs and increasing the cost of living. That is why the Oakville Chamber and the Chamber network with the Keep Ontario Working Coalition  have called on the government to conduct a comprehensive economic impact analysis.

As the provincial government moves this legislation through the committee process over the summer we urge them to truly understand the economic impact of these changes that have great potential to hurt job creation, consumer costs, and economic growth.  

How will this affect your business? Let us know: faye@oakvillechamber.com 


Ontario Deserves Evidence-Based Reform: Statement on Ontario’s Fair Workplaces Plan

Changes Will Hurt Job Creation, Consumer Costs and Economic Growth

The Keep Ontario Working coalition, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber Network, expressed concern that the Government of Ontario’s Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan, commits to unproven sweeping reforms without ensuring protection against unintended consequences, including job losses, rising consumer costs and economic hardship.

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. As noted in the Business Prosperity Index of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Ontario Economic Report, despite projections that Ontario will lead Canada in economic growth in the coming years, diminished profitability, lower labour market participation, and sluggish market activity; along with other key factors have resulted in a risk-averse atmosphere that businesses are disinclined to grow production. Businesses are questioning if they should grow in Ontario or expand offshore. Despite that, Ontario’s private sector is still doing its part to support workers. As the Government pointed out in Budget 2017, 98 per cent of all new jobs since the recession in Ontario have been full time, and 78 per cent in above-average wage industries. This positive economic activity by Ontario’s private sector demonstrates a clear commitment to good jobs throughout our province.

OCC AND KEEP ONTARIO WORKING STATEMENT

The following is a statement by the Keep Ontario Working Coalition on the Government’s proposed workplace reforms:

We share in the Government’s desire for broadly inclusive growth. However, in order to achieve this, we need to ensure that we are not risking job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship as a result of over-regulation. “Government cannot regulate prosperity. To demonstrate true fairness and compassion for workers, we must ensure Ontario has a strong economy to help create jobs and increase economic growth. “That is why we are urging the government to take time this summer to have an independent third party conduct a comprehensive economic impact analysis on the proposed reforms to consider the unintended consequences to employers. In addition, as the province’s biggest employer, the government must fully understand what these changes will cost in relation to the provincial treasury as well as social services and other government agencies. “Why is evidence-based policy important? Only three years ago, the Premier’s own Minimum Wage Advisory Panel conducted extensive research and concluded: ‘In the Canadian context, researchers have generally found an adverse employment effect of raising minimum wages especially for young workers…typically those studies find that teen employment would drop by 3 to 6 per cent if the minimum wage is raised by 10 per cent.’ “While the Changing Workplaces Review cautioned that any regulatory change shouldn’t impair the competitiveness of businesses in the province, the reforms outlined in Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan thus far do not provide the balance needed to help ensure a competitive environment for Ontario. “But we have time. Now we must work cooperatively with government to identify the scale of the economic impact of these changes and help employers transition into any new policy regime. We will continue to be cooperative partners with government to find solutions that will, where possible, inhibit negative impacts on the growth of Ontario’s economy, our people, and our communities.”

Your Business Could Be Eligible to Save On Their Electricity Bills

Your business could be eligible to save on their bills the the Ontario Government’s Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) program. This program offers significant cost saving for businesses with average peak demand of over 500 kilowatts (kW). Many of your members might be eligible to save on average one-third off their electricity bills if they apply before June 15, 2017. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has developed an Informational Flyer on the details about the ICI program and how and when to apply. The deadline to apply for the ICI is approaching, please share with your members as soon as possible. Eligible businesses must apply between June 1 – 15. For additional information see the Ministry of Energy’s backgrounder on the ICI program. You can also help us collect data to inform our future policy work on electricity pricing. Please fill out the Ontario Chamber’s short survey. It is only 3 questions and takes 1 minute to complete! Take the Survey Now!

Oakville Chamber strongly objects to potential labour and employment standards reforms

Changes would discourage investment, eliminate jobs and diminish economic opportunities in Ontario, especially among small business owners

 The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, has sent a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne warning against potential changes to Ontario’s Labour Relations Act (LRA) and the Employment Standards Act (ESA), including the introduction of a $15 minimum wage. The letter is cautioning that these reforms may have unintended consequences impacting job creation and competitiveness, as well discouraging investment in the province.

The potential reforms are coming at a time when costs for consumers and the cost of doing business is high and putting Ontario at a competitive disadvantage. Ontario has experienced slower growth in GDP and job creation than in the past, and drastic reforms to labour and employment run the risk of causing serious damage to the future prosperity of the province. “These sweeping changes could seriously impact job creation and the health of our local economy in Oakville” said Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy at the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We need to get the message out that the proposed changes would discourage investment in Ontario, thereby discouraging investment and diminishing economic opportunities in Ontario.”

On issues of non-standard and part-time work, Statistics Canada data shows that part-time work has risen 22 percent since 2003, down from the 36 percent increase in the previous 12-year period. Recent studies show that 76 percent of part-timer workers voluntarily choose part-time work to better accommodate schooling or personal life.

“We are urging Premier Wynne to complete an economic impact analysis of the proposed reforms to limit potential consequences that could seriously jeopardize our future growth,” said Richard Koroscil, Interim-President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “We support reform where and when it is needed, but we caution against change for change’s sake.”

The Ontario Chamber’s letter reminds the Premier that Ontario’s employer community is doing its part to create a better jobs and working conditions in the province. Budget 2017 points out that 98% of all new jobs created since the recession have been full time, and 78% have been above- average wage for their respective industries. The letter notes that the goals of economic growth and improved employee rights are not mutually exclusive. The Ontario Chamber believes that what supports the competitiveness of Ontario’s economy can also help enhance quality of work. Increased education and enforcement may assist with compliance to Government regulations and can improve worker environments. Regulatory reform that raises costs for business, only to reduce the ability of business to invest in and grow the labour force is counterproductive.

Read the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s letter to Premier Wynne.
For more information on how the proposed reforms could affect Ontario’s economy, see the Ontario Chamber’s Rapid Policy Update.

Oakville Chamber policy recommendations for infrastructure become key priority for the Ontario Chamber

 The Oakville Chamber’s policy recommendations for infrastructure spending were approved this weekend at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting, in Sarnia, Ontario.

The policy resolution, and the recommended actions, will become one of a number of key priorities identified by the Ontario Chamber and form part of the framework for the advocacy efforts undertaken by the organization at the provincial level. The resolution submitted to the Ontario Chamber states that Ontario’s infrastructure deficit is delaying recovery in all parts of the province.  Meanwhile, congestion in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) costs the region an estimated $6 billion in lost productivity each year. With Ontario’s population expected to grow approximately 30% by 2041, infrastructure needs will justifiably grow with it. “Infrastructure funds need to be allocated effectively and efficiently to the right types of projects. It is vital that investments are made strategically into projects that support the long-term growth of our economy” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. Sawyer also notes that “According to the Canadian Infrastructure Report Card (CIRC) almost 60% of Canada’s core public infrastructure is owned and maintained by municipal governments and the total value of core municipal infrastructure assets is estimated at $1.1 trillion dollars.  While most of our infrastructure challenges are the responsibility of local governments, both the federal and provincial government 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 and co-sponsored by the Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce is driven by Chamber member opinion obtained through advocacy surveys which revealed that congestion continues to be an obstacle for success for businesses and that infrastructure priorities need to be transportation related.

Link Investment in Core Infrastructure to Productivity Performance and Enhancement

Oakville Chamber of Commerce, co-sponsored by the Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce Issue: Provincial and federal infrastructure investments must support the long term growth of our economy and quality of life.

Background:   Ontario’s infrastructure deficit is delaying recovery in all parts of the province.  Meanwhile, congestion in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) costs the region an estimated $6 billion in lost productivity each year. With Ontario’s population expected to grow approximately 30% by 2041 our infrastructure needs will justifiably grow with it. Roads, bridges and highways are all critical to our economic competitiveness. Canada’s current infrastructure deficit is estimated to be approximately $200 billion, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) claims that left unattended this deficit could potentially rise to as much as $2 trillion by 2065.

The Ontario government has committed to invest approximately $150 billion over 12 years in direct infrastructure spending however it is not yet clear where these funds will be deployed and which principles will guide infrastructure spending. According to the Canadian Infrastructure Report Card (CIRC) almost 60% of Canada’s core public infrastructure is owned and maintained by municipal governments and the total value of core municipal infrastructure assets is estimated at $1.1 trillion dollars. 

While most of our infrastructure challenges are the responsibility of our local government, both the federal and provincial government 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.

Infrastructure funds need to be allocated effectively and efficiently to the right types of projects. It is vital that investments are made strategically into projects that support the long-term growth of our economy. 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. Under current federal infrastructure programs, Public Transit Infrastructure Fund, Clean Water and Wastewater Fund, funding recipients are required to demonstrate that projects are “incremental” – i.e. new or accelerated projects – rather than projects funded and/or prioritized through asset management plans.

Moving into Phase Two of the federal government’s distribution of federal funds, investments in productivity-enhancing projects need to be the criteria.  The government needs to adopt an outcomes-based approach to infrastructure funding instead of a project-based approach. The government also needs to find a balance between its strategic objectives and ensuring that eligibility criteria for Phase Two infrastructure programs are flexible to ensure that municipalities can meet their diverse needs. The need for a long term sustainable infrastructure plan will still be essential. 

The new infrastructure demands coupled with the maintenance and future rehabilitation will further strain our resources.  This will only be compounded by further population growth. The federal government also needs to expand the use of public, private partnerships (P3s) while making it easier for smaller projects, like those at the municipal level, to attract private sector investment. Canada is a global leader in the use of public, private partnerships. Both the provincial and federal governments should look for innovative and collaborative approaches to help ensure that private sector money and know-how can be directed to projects that benefit communities of all sizes.

Recommendations: The Ontario Chamber of Commerce urges the Government of Ontario to:
  1. Develop an infrastructure strategy that demonstrates how infrastructure dollars will be allocated linking investment in core infrastructure to productivity performance and enhancement, economic growth and job creation;
 
  1. Work with the federal government on developing a principled approach to the design of the federal government’s funding commitments;
 
  1. Continue to use Alternate Finance Projects (AFP’s) and Private, Public Partnership (P3) models to develop large infrastructure projects, where appropriate and develop strategies to encourage private sector investment in smaller, municipal level projects;
 
  1. Recognize the many years of critical capital planning and prioritization work already undertaken by municipal asset management plans and work with the federal government on a flexible approach by not imposing “incrementality” requirements for project eligibility.

Ontario Chamber Network sends a letter to Minister Bains promoting nuclear innovation in Canada

Yesterday, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, calling for increased support for nuclear innovation in Canada.

The Ontario Chamber Network has long recognized the important role of nuclear technology and its contribution to our economy. Aided by Ontario’s leadership and expertise, we believe that continued Canadian investment in nuclear innovation will benefit not only our environment, but the future prosperity of our nation. On May 3, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to the Hon. Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, calling on the federal government to continue Canadian leadership in nuclear innovation.

Read the letter.

Provincial Budget 2017: Back to Balance But Not Prudence

The Ontario Chamber Network challenges government to clarify where business growth will come from  In response to Budget 2017, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Oakville Chamber of Commerce today expressed concern that there is no clear path for long-term fiscal prudence, while commending the government for Ontario’s first balanced budget since the global recession. While there is no deficit over the planning period, there is also no plan for surplus. Given that, downward payment on the debt will be pushed beyond the medium-term. This will place tremendous fiscal burden on future generations and considerable pressure on future economic planning. “Budget 2017 demonstrates that much of Ontario’s fiscal outlook will depend on the prosperity of our private sector,” said Richard Koroscil, Interim President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “The government acknowledged that business investment spending slowed in 2016, though expects firms to increase investment by 3.1 percent, annually, to 2020 – an amount that would outpace growth in real GDP growth and household spending. These assumptions depend upon business confidence – which has fallen precipitously in recent years according to the Ontario Economic Report – and U.S. demand, which is subject to considerable risk given recent comments by American President Donald Trump.” Ontario’s revenues rely on the level and pace of economic activity of the province, but Budget 2017 offers limited vision for how to ensure that private-sector economic growth will continue to rise. Promised Corporate Income Tax rate relief, which the government paused following the economic downturn, were not reinstated. In the 2009 budget, the province pledged to reduce the Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate to 10 percent by 2013. Within ten years it was estimated that the value of this CIT reduction would see Ontario benefit by increased capital investment of $47 billion, increased annual incomes of $29.4 billion and an estimated 591,000 net new jobs. However, the CIT reduction promise was halted in 2012 in light of the province’s deteriorating fiscal situation, and so the CIT rate remained at 11.5 percent. One bright spot in Budget 2017 were details provided around the clear commitment by Ontario’s private sector to providing job growth for the province. The budget suggests that 98 percent of all new jobs since the recession in Ontario have been full time, and 78 percent in above-average wage industries. This positive economic activity by Ontario’s private sector demonstrates a clear commitment to good, quality jobs throughout our province. “Government must listen to its own budget document on the consistent creation of high-quality jobs when they consider the final report of the Changing Workplaces Review, expected in the coming weeks,” said Koroscil. “While Premier Wynne and others have recently spoken about the rise of part-time work and concern over precarious work more generally, Budget 2017 states that the majority of the jobs created since the recession were in industries that pay above-average wages, in the private sector and in full-time positions.”   Key Points for Ontario’s Business Community:
  • Ontario will not return to planned Corporate Income Tax cuts, jeopardizing tens of billions of dollars in potential capital investment and hundreds of thousands of news jobs.
  • While there is no deficit over the planning period, there is also no plan for surplus. Ontario’s debt will rise by 21 per cent in the next three years as a result of interest charges, with no plans to begin debt repayment.
  • 98% of all new jobs since the recession in Ontario have been full time, and 78% in above-average wage industries. This positive economic activity by Ontario’s private sector demonstrates a clear commitment to good jobs throughout our province and challenges many recent comments about precarious work and the need for the Changing Workplaces Review.
  • Private sector investment is predicted to grow by 3.1 per cent, annually, to 2020, an amount that would outpace growth in real GDP growth and household spending.
Read the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s breakdown of the Budget for Business. Read the 2017 Provincial Budget.

The March/April Issue Is Out!

The latest Business Advocate Magazine issue features the Annual Leaders’ Reception, YPEG Mental Health Breakfast and the Canadian Chamber’s 10 Ways to Build a Canada Wins! Read the member profiles: Aerosports Trampoline Parks Oakville, Dave & Buster’s and iFLY Toronto and volunteer profille: Wayne Fowler. Read it online now.

Mayor Rob Burton to Present Town Economic Update

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton will speak at an Oakville Chamber breakfast on Wednesday, April 26 at the Oakville Conference & Banquet Centre. The Mayor will provide an update on Oakville’s economy, and more specifically the Town’s 2017 budget. During the address, Mayor Burton will announce a number of major milestones in Oakville’s economic development, new proposals to revitalize Oakville’s three business improvement areas and various ways the Town is working to foster innovation to grow the local economy. “Innovation is at the heart of any good business and any effective government,” said Mayor Burton. “I am pleased to have this opportunity to share the ways we are working to promote and harness innovation to benefit Oakville businesses.” Attendees are encouraged to bring their own questions and concerns for Mayor Burton, as there will be a moderated question and answer period following his keynote address. “The Annual Town Economic Update breakfast is popular among our members, who are interested in issues affecting our local economy,” said Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We are pleased to offer them this opportunity to hear directly from the Mayor about initiatives from Oakville’s Municipal Government.” The event is open to Oakville Chamber members, their guests, and the Oakville community at large.  For more information, or to register, please visit www.oakvillechamber.com, or contact the Oakville Chamber at 905-845-6613 or e-mail info@oakvillechamber.com. Event Details: Date:             Wednesday, April 26, 2017 Time:             8:00am – Registration & Networking; 8:30am – 9:30am – Event Location:      Oakville Conference & Banquet Centre, 2515 Wyecroft Road Tickets:         Members $30; Non-Members $40. Tables of 8 are available. Register now!

Businesses Need More Support to Limit Cap and Trade Impact

Ontario Chamber Network calls on Premier Wynne to Prevent Exporting Jobs During the Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy

 Today the Ontario Chamber of Commerce with the support of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce sent an open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne calling on the government take action through Budget 2017 to contain the costs of the cap and trade system to better support Ontario’s business community.

At a time of low business confidence across the province, and increasing competition from the United States, rising input costs for Ontario business risk negatively impacting jobs and investment in Oakville and across province. In fact, President Donald Trump’s administration is proposing a 30% cut to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget; eliminating its climate change programs. This means that the cost gap between Canada and the United States will only grow wider, to the competitive detriment of Canadian businesses.

In the letter, the Ontario Chamber warns that the province must measure the impact of cap and trade among other input costs to fully understand the cumulative burden facing Ontario’s business community. Because businesses are directly affected by the costs associated with cap and trade, the Government of Ontario must ensure that the revenue and design of the system is allocated and developed in a way that supports Ontario’s business community.

“On behalf of our members, the Oakville Chamber will continue the dialogue with the provincial government to try to limit the impact on business competiveness.  We also believe that it is important to ensure that our members understand the program and what it means for their bottom-line,” said Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Along with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, we are calling on the Premier to take action and support our businesses and local economy.”

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has identified four priority actions that would assist the business community to better navigate the cap and trade system:
  1. Prioritize the allocation of cap and trade revenue for businesses, in addition to other efforts to offset the cost of cap and trade. Making the process to access resources as quickly as possible will be important, especially for smaller businesses who have little time or money to dedicate to program applications.
  2. Prioritize innovation funding. Many Ontario businesses have already taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Achieving further reductions could be difficult and will often require the implementation of new technologies.
  3. Create greater post-2020 design certainty. Post-2020 certainty is important for businesses looking to make long-term investments in Ontario.
  4. Monitor and respond to regional impacts. To ensure the strategic allocation of cap and trade revenues, government should conduct a regional analysis of the impacts.
“Increased input costs imposed on the private sector mean that Ontario risks losing out on jobs and investment, and risks an economically and environmentally damaging shift in production to jurisdictions that are not taking action to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” said Graham Henderson, Chair of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “More action must be taken. In all policy decisions, the provincial government must consider how we can prevent exporting jobs while importing pollution.”

The letter is aimed at impacting government policy in Budget 2017, and builds on the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s meetings with senior government officials. These meetings have emphasized the need to ensure Ontario’s businesses remain competitive and confident in the face of a changing economy.

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and Ontario’s Chamber Network have engaged in significant advocacy on the cap and trade issue since 2015. This letter builds on the Ontario Chamber’s earlier communications to government calling on the Ontario Energy Board to disclose cap and trade costs to taxpayers as a line-item on natural gas bills.  Last year, the Ontario Chamber Network also called on the government to delay the implementation of the cap and trade system until 2018.

Read the letter.

Oakville Chamber to host Breakfast and a Conversation with Patrick Brown

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce will host the Leader of the Official Opposition and Leader of the PC Party of Ontario at a special breakfast on Tuesday, April 18. The event, which begins at 7:30 a.m. at Glen Abbey Golf Club, will include breakfast, a keynote presentation by Patrick Brown, and a moderated Question and Answer Forum. The April 18 breakfast will be Patrick Brown’s first public address to the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, their members, and the Oakville business community. He will discuss Ontario’s 2017 budget, hydro challenges for business, infrastructure needs, red tape and more. “We are pleased to be presenting our members with the opportunity to hear directly from the Leader of the Official Opposition and Leader of the PC Party of Ontario” stated Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “As a strictly non-partisan organization we invite guest speakers, like Patrick Brown, to provide an opportunity for our members and their guests to hear directly from key decision makers. We also want to provide our members with the opportunity to discuss key issues with senior elected officials.” The Oakville Chamber of Commerce invites Oakville Chamber members and the greater Oakville community to attend. The event is proving to be quite popular, as it is almost sold out! Event Details: Date: Tuesday, April 18 Time: 7:30am – 8:00am: Registration, networking and hot breakfast buffet 8:00am – 9:00am: Formal Event Location: Glen Abbey Golf Club, 1333 Dorval Drive Tickets: $35 for Members, $55 for Non-Members. Tables of 8 available. Register now!

2017 Federal Budget: Work in Progress for Oakville’s Business community

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is encouraged by the focus on skills development, but calls for increased investment in competitiveness trade-enabling infrastructure.

Yesterday afternoon, the federal government released their 2017 budget. The Oakville Chamber of Commerce welcomes the Government of Canada’s decision to focus on skills and innovation; however, the Budget delivers underwhelming implications for Oakville’s business community. Oakville’s businesses face more regulation and increased costs imposed by all levels of government for fees, taxes and essential inputs, like electricity. The Oakville Chamber believes more urgency is needed in reducing business costs and improving competitiveness. The Oakville Chamber has heard from its members for the need to address the current skills gap and has advocated this to all levels of government. The Chamber is encouraged with the Budget’s plan to invest $225 million over four years, starting in 2018-2019, to develop an organization which has three main goals: identify the skills sought and required by Canadian employers, explore new and innovative approaches to skills development, and share information and analysis to help future skills investments and programming. The Oakville Chamber is also encouraged with the Budget’s increased funding for work-integrated learning, which aligns with their policy priorities for 2017.
“Addressing the current skills gap is essential to creating a sustainable workforce. Our members have been asking for this type of investment and we are pleased to see the federal government delivering” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.
Investing in the workforce helps create a competitive advantage, however; there is a pressing need for investment in trade-enabling infrastructure. The Oakville Chamber has been urging investment in the type infrastructure that will boost productivity.
“From our 2016 Advocacy Survey, our members stated the need for infrastructure investments in Oakville. In particular, their top three infrastructure priorities were all transportation related. They are local roads and bridges, public parking and transit” stated Faye Lyons, Vice President Government Relations & Advocacy, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Increased spending must be directed towards this kind of trade-enabling infrastructure that can transition our economy to an innovative and high-growth phase.”
Unfortunately, these types of investments represent just 11% of the total $120 billion in infrastructure spending. The Oakville Chamber is concerned about the lack of funding for this type of infrastructure in the Budget. Trade-enabling infrastructure delivers a significant return on investment and responds to the need for Canadian goods in the global market. Lastly, the Oakville Chamber would like to see the federal government recognize the increasing cost to doing business in Oakville, Ontario and Canada. In our 2016 Advocacy Survey our members stated rising costs as the most significant factor impacting business and industry, and this is an unfortunate reality faced by businesses across the province and throughout Canada. While the Oakville Chamber applauds the federal government for its focus on skills development and innovation, the infrastructure gap and the rising cost of doing business must be addressed in order for Oakville’s, Ontario’s and Canada’s businesses to be competitive. Read the full Budget 2017 Analysis by the Chamber.

YMCA of Oakville to receive Oakville’s Charity/ Not-for-Profit Excellence Award at the 22nd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence Gala

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West are pleased to announce that the YMCA of Oakville will be the recipient of Oakville’s Charity/Not-for-Profit Excellence Award at the 22nd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence (OABE) that will culminate in a Gala Dinner on Wednesday, March 29th at the Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre. “The Charity/Not-for-Profit Excellence Award honours not-for-profit organizations who are highly regarded in the area for raising funds and providing services to improve the lives of people within our community. This year the YMCA of Oakville has been chosen as the recipient of this prestigious award” stated David Abboud, President of the Rotary Club of Oakville West. For more than 50 years, the YMCA of Oakville has played a crucial role in improving the quality of health and life for residents in Oakville. The YMCA’s original mandate in Oakville was to provide a room registry for factory workers; later it provided a day camp for kids, expanded to provide physical fitness opportunities and finally childcare services for working parents.  Today, the YMCA of Oakville continues to offer these programs with a dedication to the health of both individuals and the Oakville community. The YMCA of Oakville brings the community together with a focus on inclusiveness and accessibility for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities through all stages of life. Each November, people from all walks of life join together for YMCA Peace Week to promote and celebrate peace and kindness in the community. The highlight of which is the Peace Week Breakfast celebrating youth, adults and groups in Oakville who have gone above and beyond to make a difference in our community. They are recognized for the positive impact they’ve made on the lives of others through their charitable work, helping those less fortunate, and taking action to inspire positive social change. In 2016, the YMCA of Oakville provided more than $726,000 in membership assistance, including the YMCA Strong Kids campaign, to support more than 2,200 individuals and their families. The YMCA of Oakville invests in youth through the Peter Gilgan Foundation bursaries, which assist recipients with their post-secondary education and the charitable organization is a large provider of youth employment in Oakville. “The YMCA of Oakville also serves more than 31,000 people in our community each year. With their dedication to inclusiveness and bringing our community together, the YMCA of Oakville is an exemplary model of Charitable/Non-for-Profit Excellence. Through their inclusive programming they work to ensure that everyone in Oakville has an opportunity to succeed” stated Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West thank their event partners for their generous support of the 22nd Annual Awards for Business Excellence. Platinum Partner RBC Royal Bank Diamond Partners Bell Canada Genworth Canada Cogeco Edge Hospitality Henderson Partners LLP, Chartered Accountants KPMG Oakville Hydro O’Connor MacLeod Hanna, LLP Gold Partners Euro-Line Appliances Inc. Snap-on-Tools Virox Technologies Inc. Silver Partners Access Abilities Business Development Bank of Canada Halton Region Economic Development Department Holiday Inn Oakville – Centre Town of Oakville Economic Development Department Bronze Partners Duncan McLeod, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage HighView Financial Group Metrican International Inc. Naylor, Building Partnerships Inc. Via Rail Canada Supporting Partners Charles Havill, Chartered Accountant Chisholm Academy Dorado Web Technologies Dr. Simon Pong Family and Cosmetic Dentistry Intelligent Office Oakville Oakville Centre for Vision, Dr. Ronald Gall, Optometrist The Oakville Beaver   Event Details: Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 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.     About the Oakville Awards for Business Excellence The Oakville Awards for Business Excellence (OABE) are dedicated to recognizing exemplary models of excellence and community service by Oakville’s businesses. The Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with The Rotary Club of Oakville West organizes the OABE now in its 22nd year. The proceeds from the Gala Awards Dinner, including the considerable support from our many Partners, provide funds for the Rotary Club’s numerous youth and academic programs such as the Oakville Awards for Academic Excellence, the Oakville Youth Development Centre, and Camp Enterprise.   About the Oakville Chamber of Commerce The Oakville Chamber is the voice of the Oakville business community, providing member benefits including: advocacy, corporate benefits, networking opportunities, business development and educational forums. Its mission is to foster a healthy, engaged and sustainable business environment and economy in Oakville.   About the Rotary Club of Oakville West The Rotary Club of Oakville West (RCOW) members are neighbors, friends, and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in Oakville, Halton and around the world. Overall Rotary has over 1.2 million members in thousands of clubs in most countries. The Rotary motto is “Service Above Self” and speaks for itself. Members of Rotary clubs are known as Rotarians and are well known for their successful Polio Plus vaccination efforts. RCOW, is well known locally for its youth academic excellence awards, its support of youth leadership programs and for its 22 year history with the OABE. Interact is the high school level for Rotary and Rotaract is the service club for 18-30 year old university and college students. RCOW meets every Tuesday morning from 7:15 AM to 8:30 AM at the Holiday Inn Oakville Centre, 590 Argus Rd. Oakville Ontario.

Bot Construction Group to be recognized as Oakville’s Business Icon at the 22nd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence Gala

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West are pleased to announce that the Bot Construction Group will be the recipient of Oakville’s Business Icon Award at the 22nd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence (OABE) Gala. The Gala dinner will take place at the Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre on Wednesday, March 29th. “The Business Icon Award recognizes a prominent Oakville business which is highly regarded in the business community and this year Bot Construction Group has been chosen as the recipient of this prestigious award” stated David Abboud, President of The Rotary Club of Oakville West. Bot Construction Group has been proudly building Canada’s infrastructure for more than half a century. The company was founded by Silvio Bot in 1957 in Oakville, beginning as a small concrete forming company serving the local market. Over the decades, Bot Construction expanded its services and operations province wide and beyond, to become one of Ontario’s largest privately owned and operated civil engineering and construction companies and a leader in the transportation infrastructure sector. Their work includes highways, bridges and the installation of other public infrastructure projects. Bot Construction draws their workforce from the local community, and showing support for the communities in which they live and work is a longstanding tradition for the organization. They state it is the strength of their people that has earned them their reputation for excellence. Employees are recognized through the Bot Construction Service Awards. The Silvio Bot Charitable Foundation was established to commemorate the life of their founder through giving to others. Bot Construction proudly supports various local charitable organizations in the Oakville community, including a donation of $100,000 to the Oakville Hospital Foundation. Bot Construction is committed to protecting their employees and the environment. They established an Environmental Protection Program, which received the Green Leadership and Sustainability Award in 2012 from the Ontario Road Builders’ Association. In 2016 they received the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association Certificate of Recognition for their construction operations. Recently, Silvio Bot (receiving the award posthumously) was inducted into the Ontario Road Builders’ Association Hall of Fame. The induction recognizes Silvio’s strong relationships with his peers in the road building industry. “Bot Construction Group is a highly respected organization that serves the Oakville community. Their commitment to building excellence, recognizing their employees, protecting the environment and giving back to our community is an example for us all. This year Bot Construction celebrates their 60th Anniversary and we couldn’t think of a better way to honour them” stated Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West thank their event partners for their generous support of the 22nd Annual Awards for Business Excellence. Platinum Partner RBC Royal Bank Diamond Partners Bell Canada Genworth Canada Cogeco Edge Hospitality Henderson Partners LLP KPMG Oakville Hydro O’Connor MacLeod Hanna LLP Gold Partners Euro-Line Appliances Inc. Snap-on-Tools Virox Technologies Inc. Silver Partner Access Abilities BDC Holiday Inn – Oakville Centre Town of Oakville Economic Development Department Bronze Partner Duncan McLeod, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage HighView Financial Group Metrican International Inc. Naylor Group Inc. Via Rail Canada Supporting Partner Charles Havill Chartered Accountant Dorado Web Technologies Dr. Simon Pong Family and Cosmetic Dentistry Intelligent Office Oakville Oakville Centre for Vision, Dr. Ronald Gall, Optometrist The Oakville Beaver   Event Details: Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 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.   About the Oakville Awards for Business Excellence The Oakville Awards for Business Excellence (OABE) are dedicated to recognizing exemplary models of excellence and community service by Oakville’s businesses. The Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with The Rotary Club of Oakville West organizes the OABE now in its 22nd year. The proceeds from the Gala Awards Dinner, including the considerable support from our many Partners, provide funds for the Rotary Club’s numerous youth and academic programs such as the Oakville Awards for Academic Excellence, the Oakville Youth Development Centre, and Camp Enterprise.   About the Oakville Chamber of Commerce The Oakville Chamber is the voice of the Oakville business community, providing member benefits including: advocacy, corporate benefits, networking opportunities, business development and educational forums. Its mission is to foster a healthy, engaged and sustainable business environment and economy in Oakville.   About the Rotary Club of Oakville West The Rotary Club of Oakville West (RCOW) members are neighbors, friends, and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in Oakville, Halton and around the world. Overall Rotary has over 1.2 million members in thousands of clubs in most countries. The Rotary motto is “Service Above Self” and speaks for itself. Members of Rotary clubs are known as Rotarians and are well known for their successful Polio Plus vaccination efforts. RCOW, is well known locally for its youth academic excellence awards, its support of youth leadership programs and for its 22 year history with the OABE. Interact is the high school level for Rotary and Rotaract is the service club for 18-30 year old university and college students. RCOW meets every Tuesday morning from 7:15 AM to 8:30 AM at the Holiday Inn Oakville Centre, 590 Argus Rd. Oakville Ontario.  

Immediate Action Required to Address Deficiencies in the Provincial Interest Arbitration System

As a result of wage settlements resulting from the provincial arbitration system, the costs of emergency services have increased at over three times the rate of inflation annually since 2002.

  Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, formally released an open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne addressing deficiencies in the arbitration system. Cc’d on the letter were Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn and Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro. As recognized in the letter, the cost escalation resulting from settlements is unsustainable, particularly in an era of fiscal restraint generally, and especially in an environment where municipalities are greatly restricted in their options to raise new revenue. “Our principal concern is that the current system does not adequately consider the capacity of municipalities to pay” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “In order to ensure the fiscal sustainability of municipalities, we believe that immediate action is required to address deficiencies within the provincial interest arbitration system.” Therefore, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce is calling on the Ontario Government to take 3 important steps:
  1. Reform the provincial interest arbitration system to reflect the current capacity of Ontario municipalities to pay for increased service costs
  1. Improve efficiency by requiring that arbitration decisions be delivered in less than 12 months.
  1. Improve accountability and transparency for the taxpayer.
Read the letter here.

The Opportunities Canada Needs to Build the Next 150 Years of Business Success

In a year of political and economic uncertainty, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, has identified Ten Ways to Build a Canada That Wins, a list of key opportunities Canada can seize right now to regain its competitiveness, improve its productivity and grow its economy. “Our list outlines specific recommendations on what Canada can do better, and the opportunities to improve our economic success. Canada can’t sit still while our competitors run laps around us. We need every advantage, and the Canadian Chamber will work with government to put these new measures in place,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “If we take advantage of these opportunities, we’ll give our businesses new tools to ensure their growth and success.” In this fiercely competitive world, business needs more than its own skills to win—it also needs a supportive environment and public policies to encourage competitiveness. This new version of an annual Canadian Chamber report moves away from identifying self-inflicted wounds that have prevented Canada’s economy from achieving its full potential and instead describes the opportunities for us to do better. “From fighting protectionism to upgrading Canada’s regulatory system or building a stronger Canadian brand abroad, each of these measures can have real and lasting effects on our economy,” said John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve emphasized opportunities that touch Canada’s internal economy, from reducing the cost of doing business to dismantling internal barriers to trade. What we need now is a commitment to get the job done.” “As we celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, we can look back at the essential role business played in shaping our country. But as we look forward, it’s clear we’ll need every advantage to continue building a more prosperous country. These ten opportunities can provide a foundation for the next 150 years of Canadian business success,” said Mr. Beatty. Consult the Ten Ways to Build a Canada That Wins document. Watch a short video on the Ten Ways to Build a Canada That Wins.

Focus spring legislative session on strategic infrastructure and lowering costs to foster confidence: Oakville Chamber of Commerce

Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, formally released its 2017 pre-budget submission containing recommendations to the Ontario legislature as it looks to begin its spring 2017 legislative session. The submission outlines four key budget priorities and thirteen specific recommendations for Queen’s Park to adopt in order to restore fiscal balance and spur economic growth. Specifically, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce is looking for immediate support for strategic infrastructure investments and sound budget management. Oakville businesses have stated rising costs as the most significant factor impacting business and industry, according to the Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Advocacy Survey. The survey also revealed that transportation infrastructure and traffic congestion remains a top concern for the Oakville business community. In fact, 64% of respondents believe that traffic congestion is a significant obstacle for business. Furthermore, the top three infrastructure priorities identified by respondents were all transportation related, calling for investments in local roads and bridges, public parking, and transit. The Oakville Chamber of Commerce urges the provincial government to address the infrastructure deficit by investing infrastructure funds strategically to increase productivity and enable competitiveness for Oakville businesses. “The Ontario Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with our diverse Chamber Network, will continue to work with the provincial government to ensure that Ontario prioritizes reducing obstacles to business competitiveness,” said Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “By taking more authoritative action on this issue, we can ensure that Ontario remains an attractive environment for capital investment.” In the submission, Ontario’s Chamber Network is also calling on the government to send a clear message of fiscal stability by balancing the provincial budget by 2017-2018. Such action would result in a more attractive environment for business investment and growth as well as confront the challenge of mounting input costs, such as electricity prices. As signalled last week in the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Ontario Economic Report, businesses are maintaining their operations and holding onto cash rather than expanding production or investing. This indicates that industry sees the Ontario economy as high-risk. “The Government of Ontario must ensure that it addresses recommendations made by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in their provincial budget in order to support economic growth for Ontario businesses,” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Government must focus on reducing the costs of doing business in Ontario, supporting strategic infrastructure development and strengthening its efforts to bolster business competitiveness that allows Oakville to thrive.” Addressing the current fiscal context and achieving a balanced budget is an underlying theme throughout the pre-budget submission. Ontario’s Chamber Network is committed to working with the Ontario Government to ensure the future economic success of the province. The submission is largely comprised of policy recommendations that are supported by resolutions passed by Ontario’s Chamber Network at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s most recent Annual General Meeting.

Read the January/February Issue!

The latest Business Advocate Magazine issue features Lunch with Premier Wynne, The Changing Workplace In Ontario Breakfast with Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour and the RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast. Read the member profiles on next generation small business owners Barrington’s and Hynek Financial Group. Read it online here! 


Inaugural Ontario Economic Report Forecasts Outlook for Regional and Provincial Economy

Vulnerabilities in Ontario’s economy post challenges to our prosperity. Government must prioritize growing the economy, creating jobs and driving a competitive advantage.

Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released the inaugural Ontario Economic Report (OER), a landmark agenda aimed at shaping and informing future public policy. The OER includes entirely new economic analyses that demonstrate the difficult economic environment faced by Ontario businesses and consumers in 2017. The report also contains exclusive economic information pertaining to the Greater Toronto Area. The report includes the results of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s new Business Confidence Survey conducted in partnership with Fresh Intelligence, a Business Prosperity Index developed by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), and an Economic Outlook for 2017 prepared by Central 1 Credit Union. These datasets, viewed together, reveal broad challenges to Ontario’s economic health. “Our research shows that Ontario’s economic climate is posing challenges to the businesses we represent and Ontarians more broadly,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Investment is being held back because of a high perception of risk. We need immediate action in order for our province to continue to grow and prosper.” Economic outlook data reveals that the Toronto region will see a slight drop in the unemployment rate to 6.8 percent in 2017. The median residential housing price will rise 7.4 percent to $580,000, which is a considerable slowdown when compared to the jump of 15.9 percent between 2015 and 2016. Not surprisingly, this will continue to be the region of the province with the highest median housing price and the largest jump in prices year-over-year. “The OER reinforces many of our policy priorities that arose from our 2016 Advocacy Survey” stated John Sawyer, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Our members stated that rising costs were the most significant factor impacting business and industry; focusing on the rising cost of electricity and the need for investment in infrastructure. With these highlighted as priorities for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber Network, we can assure our members that government will hear our strong and unified voice.” Additional key findings in the OER are from the Business Prosperity Index. This index shows that, despite total business prosperity increasing since 2000, prosperity is increasingly generated from asset and liability management rather than the production of goods or services. This means that Ontario businesses are less likely to earn income from actual business activity today than they have in the past. While Ontario enjoyed an average 2.6 percent real GDP growth rate between 2000 and 2006, the source of wealth generated from the production of goods and services actually declined by 12 percent during that same period. Since the recovery from the “great recession”, production activities fell a further 12 percent over that period. Broadly, this means Ontario’s business prosperity is increasingly dependent upon non-production, financial activities. This challenge is a result of the current economic environment, in which increased costs associated with production, regulation and housing have resulted in weak market and labour force activity. Businesses in Ontario are operating in a risk-averse environment in which they are disinclined to grow production by investing or hiring. “For many years, the voice of Ontario business has cautioned that regulatory burdens, high input costs, and government policies not attuned to innovation have hampered economic growth,” added O’Dette. “The findings in the OER reinforce this, and indicate that there are also structural issues impeding our province’s potential.” The results of the OER highlight the key policy issues that the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber Network intends to prioritize in 2017, including workforce development, infrastructure, energy, and health care. Central to the organization’s work is the notion that industry and government tackle these issues together, in order to grow economic prosperity and drive positive change for all Ontarians.

Health Sustainability Most Important Issue for Ontario Voters While System Confidence Wanes: Ontario Chamber Network Survey Results Reveal

Final report of Ontario Chamber Network’s Health Transformation Initiative calls for immediate action to strengthen the public health care system

Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released Health Transformation: An Action Plan for Ontario, which includes new and exclusive survey data from two of Ontario’s top research firms that polled both Ontario Chamber members and all Ontarians. After a year of research and consultation, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber Network have developed three strategic recommendations to improve Ontario’s health care system. This action plan comes at a critical time, as recent Fresh Intelligence survey results reveal that only 14 per cent of Ontario’s business community is confident that the health care system is sustainable for the future. Despite other growing concerns surrounding topics like electricity pricing and climate change, health care sustainability still remains the most important issue for Ontarians. Additional data released in today’s report, from a survey conducted by the Gandalf Group, suggests that a mere 39 per cent of all Ontarians are confident that the province’s health care system will be able to fund a consistently high level of care in the future. Reflecting the Oakville Chamber of Commerce recommendations, half of Ontarians agree that the health care system doesn’t need more money; it just needs to be better managed. With this level of increased uncertainty in Ontario’s health care system, through its membership, the Ontario Chamber Network and the Oakville Chamber of Commerce wants to be a productive partner in revitalizing public care. “A strong public system is one that puts patients at the center of health care reform and provides Ontarians with the best-in-class care that they deserve,” said Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “There is a great opportunity for the private sector to play a productive role alongside a robust and sustainable public health care system. Partnering with both for- and non-profit experts can provide the public sector with new ideas, improve access to innovation and build confidence in Ontario industry.” Over the course of four reports, the Ontario Chamber Network’s Health Transformation Initiative has pointed to the overarching theme of making use of private sector expertise as a way to improve Ontario’s health care system. With a vision for a sustainable and prosperous health sector that involves private sector participation, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s fifth and final report, Health Transformation: An Action Plan for Ontario highlights the top three recommendations that government can implement today:
  • Shift Ontario towards a value-based health care system
  • Modernize procurement and supply chain processes
  • Better integrate Ontario’s technical discoveries and innovations into the public health care system
“Cross-industry collaboration is critical to solving some of the issues faced by Ontario’s health care sector,” said Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “It is our hope that this action plan will serve as a jumping off point for important discussions on healthcare sustainability in Oakville and demonstrate the Oakville Chamber’s readiness to be a problem solver in this health care area.” While the recommendations in this report are directed towards government, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce is also calling on the private sector to take on a collaborative role in health system reform and drive solutions that will strengthen the economic health of Ontario’s economy and put patients first. Click here for more survey data information. A total of 773 Ontario Chamber of Commerce members were polled by Fresh Intelligence via an online methodology between October 25th 2016 and November 30th 2016. A total of 1004 Ontarians were polled by The Gandalf Group between December 28th, 2016 and January 3rd 2017. A random probability sample of this size has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.  

RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast 2017

On Friday, January 20 the Oakville Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast. Over 300 Chamber members and their guests gathered at the Oakville Conference & Banquet Centre to gain valuable economic and social insights from Craig Wright, Senior Vice-President & Chief Economist, RBC and Sean Simpson, Vice-President, Ipsos Public Affairs. You can view both presentations below: Watch the broadcast of the RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast on Cogeco on:
  • Thursday, January 26 at 1pm
  • Thursday, January 26 at 8pm
  • Saturday, January 28 at 3pm

Ontario’s Cap and Trade Program: How Will It Impact Your Business?

The Ontario Chamber Commerce recently released a document for Ontario businesses outlining the Cap and Trade Program and how it will impact them. Read it here.   We Want to Hear From You We understand that the cost of doing business in Ontario is rising. We want to hear about your expectations for operating under the new cap and trade program. How do you feel about the cap and trade program? How do you expect the program to impact your business? We will use this information to ensure that the voice of business continues to be heard on this issue. To share your thoughts please contact: Faye Lyons Vice President, Government Relations & Advocacy Oakville Chamber of Commerce 905-845-6613 x 211 faye@oakvillechamber.com

Taxation of Employer Sponsored Health Benefits

The federal government is considering taxing employer-paid health and dental benefits. Along with adding hundreds or thousands of dollars to Canadians’ tax bills, this proposal could cause many employers to stop offering coverage to employees. When Quebec introduced a similar tax, 20% of employers dropped health and dental benefits for employees. Studies suggest the removal of this tax benefit across the board could result in a decrease of 50% of small firms that will be able to offer health benefits. Read the letter that the Oakville Chamber of Commerce sent out this morning to Mr. John Oliver, MP Oakville and Ms. Pam Damoff, MP Oakville North Burlington cc’ing Mr. Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance and local media.

Oakville Chamber Hosts RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast 2017

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce will host its annual RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast on Friday, January 20 at the Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre. RBC Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist Craig Wright and Ipsos Public Affairs Vice President Sean Simpson will share valuable economic insights and forecasts for the new year. The event provides an ideal opportunity for business professionals to understand how the economy may impact their business throughout 2017. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions during a moderated Question and Answer Forum following the presentations. “The RBC Economic Outlook Breakfast is one of the Chamber’s most popular annual events as businesses plan for the year ahead. Due to increasing demand, this year we’ve moved to the Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre” said Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board for Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We thank our partners RBC, Ipsos Public Affairs and Henderson Partners LLP for their support in making this annual event possible.” Event Details Date: Friday, January 20, 2017 Time: 7:30am – 9:30am Location: Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre (2515 Wyecroft Road) Tickets: Members $35; Non-members $55. Register online through the events calendar, by phone at 905-845-6613, or e-mail info@oakvillechamber.com Craig Wright, Senior Vice-President & Chief Economist, RBC Craig leads a team of economists providing economic, fixed income and foreign exchange research to RBC clients. Craig is a regular contributor to a number of RBC publications and is a key player in delivering economic analysis to clients and the media through the Economics Department’s regular economic briefings. A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Toronto, Craig was appointed Chief Economist in 2001 having joined RBC in 1994 after working at another financial institution for seven years. Craig is a participant in a number of the key RBC internal committees and is a member of the C.D. Howe Institute Monetary Policy Council, Wilfrid Laurier School of Business and Economics Dean’s Advisory Council and the British Columbia Economic Forecast Council.       Sean Simpson, Vice President of Ipsos Public Affairs Sean is Vice President of Ipsos Public Affairs, Canada’s leading polling and market research firm. He leads Ipsos’ public-opinion polling specialization, including conducting research on political, economic, consumer and social trends. Sean’s clients include corporations, NGOs, governments and industry associations. Sean is a primary spokesperson for Ipsos in Canada and is featured regularly in the news, and leads Ipsos’ relationship with its media partner, Global News. A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University (BA, MA), Sean regularly acts as a guest lecturer at universities and colleges in Ontario, and he teaches courses on sampling and survey design at the Laurier Summer Institute for Research Methods.  Sean lives in Kitchener with his wife Amie, where he is actively engaged in the arts.

Ontario Premier to Address Oakville and Burlington Business Community at Chamber Luncheon

  The Premier of Ontario, The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, will speak at a luncheon hosted by the Oakville and Burlington Chambers of Commerce on Friday, January 13. The Premier will be presenting on “A Balanced Plan to Build Ontario Up for Everyone”, outlining the Ontario government’s plan to grow Ontario’s economy and create jobs. “Our members represent a cross section of businesses of all sizes and sectors. This demonstrates their desire to be engaged within the community and to hear our political leaders first hand” stated Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We are very pleased the Premier has accepted our invitation to meet with our members.” Ms. Hughes further commented “Leaders tell us they very much appreciate speaking directly with our members. It gives them an opportunity to listen and interact with people in the real world who face the day-to-day challenges of operating a business.” Over the course of the summer both the Oakville and Burlington Chambers, along with Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade across the province, engaged in the Small Business: Too Big to Ignore campaign, which highlighted the important contributions of small businesses to our communities and investigated the top barriers to small business growth. Following the campaign, the Ontario Chamber Network released their report Obstacles and Opportunities for Small Business in Ontario. The report identified and offered solutions to the most pressing challenges that Ontario small business owners face; including infrastructure deficits and the rising cost of doing business in Ontario. “A key role for Chambers of Commerce is to bring people together and ensure there is meaningful dialogue” stated Marty Staz, Chair of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce. “This is why both the Burlington and Oakville Chambers of Commerce are pleased to be able to offer this unique opportunity for our Members and their guests to hear the Premier speak. I am sure they are keen to hear directly from Ms. Wynne about her vision for the province and how it will affect the business community.” “I’m looking forward to Premier Wynne’s visit to Oakville” stated Kevin Flynn, MPP for Oakville. “Her choice is a clear indication of the respect the Oakville and Burlington Chambers of Commerce have earned in Ontario’s economic circles. This visit offers the ideal opportunity to engage with their vibrant business communities on the progress we’re making as we continue to lead Canada, the United States, and all the G8 countries in business and economic growth.” Event Details Date: Friday, January 13, 2017 Time: 11:30am – 1:30am; The Premier speaks from 12:00pm – 12:30pm followed by a moderated Question and Answer forum Location: Oakville Conference Centre (2515 Wyecroft Road) Tickets: Members $35; Non-members $55 Register online through the events calendar, by phone at 905-845-6613, or e-mail info@oakvillechamber.com   The Premier of Ontario, The Honourable Kathleen Wynne Kathleen Wynne is Ontario’s 25th Premier. Since taking office in February 2013, some of Premier Wynne’s accomplishments include the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario’s history and completing the single-largest climate change initiative in North America by eliminating coal-fired electricity generation in the province. She also introduced a ground-breaking plan to stop sexual violence and harassment. Premier Wynne’s economic plan for Ontario builds on her number-one priority: growing the economy and creating jobs. Her four-part plan invests in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. In addition to infrastructure investments in roads, bridges, transit, schools and hospitals, her plan is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement. Premier Wynne serves as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. During her first year as Premier, she also served as Minister of Agriculture and Food. Prior to becoming Premier, she served as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Minister of Transportation and Minister of Education. First elected to the Ontario Legislature in 2003 as the MPP for Don Valley West, Premier Wynne was re-elected in 2007, 2011 and 2014. She became the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party in January 2013.  On June 12, 2014 Premier Wynne’s government was re-elected with a majority mandate. Before becoming an MPP, Premier Wynne served as a trustee on the Toronto District School Board. Prior to that, she led citizens’ groups in a number of grassroots community projects and played a major role as an organizer and facilitator. Premier Wynne has lived with her partner, Jane, in North Toronto for more than 25 years. She has three children and three grandchildren.

Advocacy Wins for Business

 

As 2016 comes to an end, we’ve come to reflect on our meaningful advocacy wins for our members throughout 2016.

Here is a snapshot of some of the most recent progress we’ve made:

 
Closing Ontario’s Tourism Gap
Ask: In our recently release Closing the Tourism Gap: Creating a Long-Term Advantage for Ontario the Ontario Chamber Network advocated that the Ontario Government develop a government-wide Ontario tourism strategy with measurable targets. We also highlighted the need to work with tourism operators to reduce the regulatory and cost burdens within the industry by adding tourism to the Red Tape Challenge. Win: In Ontario’s Strategic Framework for Tourism in Ontario the government explicitly acknowledged the efforts and leadership presented by the Ontario Chamber Network through our solution based advocacy approach in the tourism sector. The report recognizes our efforts stating, that “The government is encouraged by the leadership that industry is already taking. Recently, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released a forward-looking report on how the sector can collaborate to improve avenues for success. The report provides an examination of provincial tourism industry trends and presents recommendations for government and industry to work together to boost long-term competitiveness and generate sustainable demand for Ontario tourism.” Win: The mission set out within the report “to meet or exceed global industry growth over a five-year period, which the world tourism organization estimates will grow by an average of 3.3 percent per year until 2030” satisfies the Ontario Chamber Network’s recommendation of a long-term strategy with a clear industry growth target. Win: The Ontario government has signalled that it will add tourism to the Red Tape Challenge, a direct recommendation of the Ontario Chamber Network to help improve the operating environment for businesses.  
Enhancing Ontario’s Agri-Food Trade Relationships
Ask: As recognized in our recent report Fertile Ground, global awareness and trust in Ontario agri-food products enhances the competitiveness of our industry abroad. Win: On November 14, 2016 Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Michael Chan, Minister of International Trade, arrived in India to lead Ontario’s first-ever agri-food trade mission. The mission was an attempt to attract new investment and aimed to continue to grow the agri-food sector globally. We are confident that the mission will enhance Ontario’s agri-food trade relationship with India. We look forward to continuing to work alongside government to ensure that the business community is well positioned to leverage new trade opportunities in the global marketplace.  
Increasing the Number of Economic Class Immigrants
Ask: In our recent report Passport to Prosperity: Ontario’s Priorities for Immigration Reform,  the Ontario Chamber Network urged the federal government to reinstate the economic category immigration target to the 2015 range of 172,100 to 186,700 by no later than 2017/18. Win: During his keynote address at the launch event of the Ontario Chamber Network report in April 2016, Minister McCallum indicated his support for this and the remaining recommendations in the report. Win: In October 2016, Immigration Minister John McCallum announced that the Federal government plans to keep the immigration targets for 2017 at 300,000. However, the new plan represents an increase in a higher target for economic immigrants – increasing from 160,6000 in 2016 to 172,500 in 2017. This measure will contribute to the ability of Canadian employers to attract the global talent that they need to remain competitive.  
Shaping the Future of Provincial Regulatory Reform
Ask: Over the course of our five-year Emerging Stronger series and in our pre-budget submissions, the Ontario Chamber Network has regularly called for a reduction in the regulatory burden on Ontario businesses. Win: In the Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, the government announced a series of steps to address the cumulative burden facing Ontario business:
  • The Red Tape Challenge, a strategy encouraging Ontarians to submit comments to a Regulatory Modernization Committee regarding regulations that impact them;
  • A Regulatory Centre of Excellence, which identifies and champions best practices from around the world;
  • A Government Modernization Fund to address the cost of modernizing outmoded regulatory processes;
  • A pledge to reduce the time taken to review air and noise approvals by at least 50 percent within the next two years, allaying concerns surrounding environmental compliance; and,
  • A promise to maintain the industrial exception in the Professional Engineers Act.
Shaping the Future of Mining in Ontario
Ask: The Ontario Chamber Network called for matching federal and provincial commitments for infrastructure investment in the mining sector in its report, Beneath the Surface: Uncovering the Economic Potential of Ontario’s Ring of Fire. Win: The Ontario Government announced it was committing $1 billion to the mining sector irrespective of federal funding.  
Establishing Greater Transparency and Lower Costs in Energy Pricing
Ask: The Ontario Chamber Network called on the Ontario government, in its July 2015 report Empowering Ontario: Constraining Costs and Staying Competitive in the Electricity Market, to provide greater transparency in energy pricing. Win: The updated Ontario Energy Report, released in March 2016, included an industrial price chart that provides a clearer cost picture for Class A businesses. Win: In the September 2016 Throne Speech, the government announced that the Industrial Conservation Initiative will be expanded so that any company that consumes more than 1MW will be eligible. Accordingly, an additional 1000 companies in Ontario are now eligible to save between 14% to 30% on their bill, a noticeable increase from the 300 companies currently enrolled in the program. Win: The removal of the Debt Retirement Charge on commercial, industrial, and other non-residential electricity users on April 1, 2018, nine months earlier than expected.  
Supporting Investment in High-Speed Broadband Infrastructure
Ask: In the Ontario Chamber Networks’s federal pre-budget submission, we urged the federal government to move beyond its Connecting Canadians initiative and invest in critical broadband infrastructure. Win: The federal government announced in its most recent budget that it is investing $500 million over five years in a new program to increase high-speed broadband service in rural and remote communities. Ask: On July 19th, 2016, the Ontario Chamber Network sent a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne asking the provincial government to commit infrastructure dollars to developing and expanding broadband infrastructure across rural and remote Ontario. Win: On July 26th, 2016, the Ontario government announced their plans to invest $90 million dollars to bring high-speed Internet access to over 300 communities in Ontario.  
Improving Income Reporting Practices
Ask: In the August 2015, report Harnessing the Power of the Sharing Economy, the Ontario Chamber Network called on the provincial government to analyze income reporting levels in order to better understand the motivating factors behind providers’ decisions to report or not report income, and establish and clarify appropriate rules moving forward (e.g. minimum income thresholds). Win: On February 19th, 2016, the Ontario government announced a pilot project with Airbnb to help educate the home-sharing service’s hosts on how to report their income and other key regulatory aspects of their service industry.  
Modernizing the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
Ask: Recognizing that the proposed Preliminary Rate Framework from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board could increase the premium rates paid by employers and, subsequently, the cost of doing business in the province, the Ontario Chamber Network provided the WSIB with a written submission outlining 10 recommendations that the WSIB and the Government of Ontario should adopt to mitigate the impact of the proposed reforms. Win: In December 2015, the WSIB released an updated Rate Framework that incorporates a number of suggestions and recommendations from the Ontario Chamber Network, including 6 of the 7 recommendations directed to the WSIB in our September 2015 submission:
  • Provide a public and detailed analysis of how the proposed rate framework changes will impact employers;
  • Introduce a surcharge mechanism to ensure that employers with effective health and safety programs don’t pay the cost of poor performing employers within their class;
  • Expand the proposed class structure;
  • Reconsider implementing the predominant class model;
  • Retain the Second Injury and Enhancement Fund (SIEF);
  • Implement a weighted cost claims ‘window’; and
  • Eliminate the Fatal Claims Adjustment Policy.
Win: In September 2016, WSIB Chair Elizabeth Witmer announced a 5% reduction on the average premium rates for 2017, the first rate reduction since 2001.  
Mitigating the Impact of Retirement Security Reform
Ask: Recognizing the burden of the proposed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP), the Ontario Chamber Network called on the government to delay its implementation to provide more time for businesses to adjust to the new financial obligations. We also asked that the government provide greater clarity and broader classification for “comparability” to include some Defined Contribution plans. All the while, the Ontario Chamber Network was working toward our stated, preferred option to support retirement security through a national Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) enhancement instead of a stand-alone ORPP. Win: In June 2016, Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced that the Government of Ontario would be abandoning the ORPP in favour of an enhanced CPP, avoiding increased regulatory fragmentation and thus administrative burden – avoiding significant consequences for Ontario’s business community.  Win: In February 2016, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that her government was delaying the first phase of ORPP contributions from January 1, 2017 until 2018. Win: The government expanded the definition, meaning that employers who already provide certain DC pension plans for their employees will be exempt from contributing to the new ORPP.

Oakville Chamber of Commerce – Holiday Hours

Please note that the Oakville Chamber office will be closed from Monday, December 26th to Monday, January 2nd. The office will re-open at 8:30am on Tuesday, January 3rd.
On behalf of all of us at the Oakville Chamber, have a Happy Holiday Season!


Oakville Chamber “leading the charge” on increased affordability and transparency for energy system

Local business group calls on government to adopt auction style process when procuring for future sustainable energy supply   
Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber Network is calling on the provincial government to take bold steps to address the affordability challenge of energy pricing in Oakville. In its submission on the Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP), Leading the Chargethe organization is calling on government to ensure that future policies regarding energy pricing are affordable, transparent and flexible. One of the submission’s top recommendations includes a call for the adoption of a capacity market system. Under the new Climate Change Action Plan, businesses are already facing additional costs. Since the 2013 LTEP, industrial rates in the province have increased by 16 percent, while the rate for households and small businesses have climbed by 25 percent. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and its members have consistently reported that the price of electricity is undermining business’ capacity to grow, hire new workers, and ultimately remain competitive. “Ontario is at a turning point in its planning process regarding the future energy needs of the province. In order for businesses in to grow and succeed, it is imperative that future energy policies address the concerns of businesses and support future economic growth,” said Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “In our 2016 Advocacy Survey , 83% of respondents believe that energy costs are becoming a serious obstacle to doing business. Furthermore, 82% agree that the Cap and Trade Plan for Ontario should be delayed until its impact on business is fully understood.” Ontario’s energy system would benefit from the implementation of a capacity market. Under this structure there would be significant cost-savings for Ontario’s energy consumers through procuring shorter term supply on a cost efficient basis. For a capacity market to be successful in Ontario, the system would feature an auction style process where resources, such as generation facilities, imported resources, electricity storage and demand-side resources, are compensated for the potential energy they could produce. “As the provincial government seeks to find solutions to the province’s energy challenges, Ontario must strive to balance objectives regarding climate change, renewable resources and maintaining a diverse supply mix without forfeiting the competitiveness and transparency of the capacity market system,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “This will result in increased accountability and confidence in the energy market for Ontario businesses.” While the Ontario government is to be commended for some of the results it has achieved on the energy file (such as being a world leader in renewable energy resources) the status quo is presently unsustainable for ratepayers.

Ontario Labour Minister to Address the Changing Workplace in Ontario at Oakville Chamber Breakfast

The Honourable Kevin Flynn, Ontario Minister of Labour, will speak at a breakfast hosted by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce at the Holiday Inn – Oakville Centre on Friday, December 16. “We are very pleased to host the Labour Minister” stated Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Oakville Chamber. “We invite guest speakers, like Minister Flynn, to provide an opportunity for our members and their guests to hear directly from key decision makers. We also want to provide our members with the opportunity to discuss key issues with important elected officials. This is a crucial time for us to host the Labour Minister to discuss the Changing Workplaces Review and the changes the Province is considering to the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Standards Act.” “Ontario’s Ministry of Labour is currently undertaking a review of the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Standards Act through its Changing Workplaces Review. The Review has been tasked with examining key workplace trends, including the increase in non-standard working relationships such as temporary jobs, involuntary part-time work, and self-employment.” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber. “We are presenting our members with the opportunity to hear directly from the Labour Minister, ask questions and provide their feedback on the proposed changes.” Minister Flynn will be speaking on the Changing Workplaces Review, followed by an engaging Q&A Forum. Event Details: Date: Friday, December 16, 2016 Time: 7:30am – 9:00am; Minister Flynn speaks at 8:00am Location: Holiday Inn – Oakville Centre, 590 Argus Road, Oakville, ON  L6J 3J3 Tickets: $25 for Members, $45 for Non-Members. Tables of 8 are available. (All prices are subject to HST.) To register: Register online through the Event Calendar or contact the Chamber directly at 905-845-6613.   The Honourable Kevin Flynn, Ontario Minister of Labour kevin-flynnThe Hon. Kevin Flynn was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2003 as MPP for Oakville. He was re-elected in 2007, 2011 and 2014, making his the longest serving MPP in the Oakville riding. Minister Flynn has been Ontario’s Minister of Labour since March 2014 and is a member of Treasury Board. Having been Chair of the Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions prior to being named minister, he has made health and safety in the workplace a major component of his mandate. He has also extended workplace protections, pushed for more fairness for vulnerable workers, promoted health and safety action plans and training, increased workplace inspections, and improved the minimum wage by tying it to the rate of inflation

China Trip – October 2017

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For only $2,499* your trip includes:

  • Round-trip International airfare & tax from Pearson International Airport
  • Chinese domestic airfare & tax
  • 4 and 5 star hotel accommodations 3 full meals per day
  • Deluxe bus tours
  • Fluent English-speaking tour guides
  • Admission to all tours and attractions
*Trip cost is $2,499 Canadian per person. Price reflects double occupancy for Oakville Chamber Members. Additional $200 per person for non-members. Add $500 for single occupancy. Addition 3% user fee for payments by credit card.  

12-day Itinerary:

Day 1 – Toronto / Beijing Check in at Pearson International Airport for your afternoon flight, HU7976 by 5:15pm to Beijing. Your adventure begins as you fly trans-Pacific aboard a wide cabin jetliner. Cross the International Dateline. Day 2 – Beijing Arrive in Beijing, the Capital of China at 6:40pm. You will be met at the airport by your local tour guide and transferred to the hotel after dinner. Day 3 – Beijing Sightseeing includes the Tian An Men Square, the largest square in the world; the Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, home of 24 emperors with a total space of 9,999 rooms. Visit the Pearl Market and the Summer Palace, known for many significance such as the Long Corridor with painted gallery, Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill, Seventeen Arch Bridge and Marble Boat. Peking Roast duck dinner is arranged. Day 4 – Beijing Photo stop at the 2008 Beijing Olympic venues for the outside views of National Stadium, the Bird’s Nest and the National Aquatic Center. Continue the tour to the Great Wall. En route visit the Jade Factory. The Great Wall, the 4,000- mile long and 2,000 years old construction is said to be the only man-made structure visible by naked eye from the moon. Visit one of the Ming tombs, 1 of 13 Ming Emperors’ Tombs is fully excavated and open for exploration. Day 5 – Beijing Morning sightseeing to the Temple of Heaven, built in 1420 A.D., where the emperors prayed to the heaven for a good harvest. Afternoon visit to the Lama Temple of the religion of Lamaism. Day 6 – Beijing/Xi’an Morning flight to Xi’an. Sightseeing at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Visit the Chinese Lacquer Ware Workshop. Evening entertainment of Tang Style Dancing Show. Day 7 – Xi’an Morning bus excursion to the Terra-Cotta Warriors at the Tomb of the First Emperor of Qin Dynasty. Enroute, visit the Xian Art Ceramic & Terra Cotta Factory. On the way back, visit the Ancient City Wall and Banpo Museum, a preserved pre-historical cavemen site. Day 8 – Xi’an/Shanghai/Suzhou Morning flight to Shanghai, follwed by a bus ride to Suzhou. Sightseeing at the Tiger Hill. Day 9 – Suzhou/Shanghai Morning visit to the Suzhou Silk factory. Continue to the centuries old Lingering Garden. Afternoon visit to the National Embroidery Institute to see silk embroidery, an important local craft with 1,000 years history. Then visit Jinji Lake situated centrally at Suzhou Industrial Park. Bus ride to Shanghai. Day 10 – Shanghai Visit the Pudong New Development District. The Bund, a famous waterfront park and landmark of the city. Yu Garden, a maze of marvelous pavilions, ponds, rocky works and over arching trees. Free time exploration of the old town bazaar. Visit the Shanghai Silk Rug Factory. Day 11- Shanghai Free day for your own exploration of the city. Only hotel room and breakfast included. Day 12 – Shanghai/Toronto You may take the morning flight to transit at Beijing then HU7975 at 1:55 pm for Toronto where you will arrive at 2:55pm on the same day. Join the Oakville Chamber of Commerce for this once-in-a-lifetime China adventure! Space is limited. For more information, contact Gary Hill and Judith Neal at 905-845-6631, 1-800-368-3273, or chambertripinfo@advhouse.com Registration Deadline: Thursday, July 20th     

Oakville Chamber urges government to link investment in core infrastructure to productivity performance and enhancement

The Oakville Chamber recently co-hosted a Symposium with the Professional Engineers of Ontario – Oakville Chapter on “Smart Infrastructure”.  We brought together representatives from business, academia, government and leading industry experts to discuss one of the most critical issues facing Canada’s economy today, infrastructure. Canada’s infrastructure gap is not a new problem however, it has gained political attention as Canadians have become cognisant of both the financial costs associated with this underinvestment coupled with their personal costs.  The missed opportunities both economically and socially are being felt on a daily basis. Case in point, the most recent Oakville Chamber Advocacy survey revealed that congestion continues to be an obstacle to success for businesses and that infrastructure priorities need to be transportation related. Roads, bridges, highways, water systems, energy and communications are all services that are critical to our economic competitiveness. Canada’s current infrastructure deficit is estimated to be approximately $200 billion, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities claims that left unattended this deficit could potentially rise to as much as $2 trillion by 2065. According to the Canadian Infrastructure Report Card (CIRC) almost 60% of Canada’s core public infrastructure is owned and maintained by municipal governments and the total value of core municipal infrastructure assets is estimated at $1.1 trillion dollars.  While most of our infrastructure challenges are the responsibility of our local government, both the federal and provincial government 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. To that end, the Oakville Chamber welcomes both the federal and provincial government’s commitment of infrastructure funding, however we must ensure that the infrastructure funds are allocated effectively and efficiently to the right types of projects for Oakville. It is vital that investments are made strategically into projects that support the long-term growth of our economy. Many studies conducted share similar conclusions.  Investment in public infrastructure contributes to growth in labour productivity.  The largest occurring in construction, transportation and the wholesale/retail sectors. Consequently, moving into Phase Two of the federal government’s distribution of federal funds, the Oakville Chamber will be a strong advocate on behalf of our members to ensure that investments in Oakville are appropriately funded on productivity-enhancing projects.  We will be encouraging the government to adopt an outcomes-based approach to infrastructure funding instead of a project-based approach. Moreover, we will encourage the government to find a balance between its strategic objectives and ensuring that eligibility criteria for Phase Two infrastructure programs are flexible to ensure that communities like Oakville can meet their diverse needs. Moving forward, the need for a long term sustainable infrastructure plan will still be essential.  The new infrastructure demands coupled with the maintenance and future rehabilitation will further strain our resources.  This will only be compounded by further population growth. To this end, the Oakville Chamber will encourage the federal government to expand the use of public, private partnerships (P3s) while making it easier for smaller projects, like those at the municipal level, to attract private sector investment. Canada is a global leader in the use of public, private partnerships.  Locally we have seen the results of successful P3s through the construction of Oakville’s new hospital. We will encourage the government to look for innovative and collaborative approaches to help ensure that private sector money and know-how can be directed to projects that benefit communities of all sizes. On behalf of the Oakville Chamber members, we continue to advocate on this important issue to ensure that our local community benefits from strategic infrastructure projects to improve our economy and quality of life.    

$16 Billion Ontario Tourism Gap Requires a Dedicated Government Strategy

 

Lost Revenue From The Province’s Tourism Industry Impacting Job Creation and Growth

  Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has released new data that reveals a significant tourism opportunity gap when compared to international growth rates. According to the organization’s report, Closing the Tourism Gap: Creating a Long-Term Advantage for OntarioOntario has foregone nearly $16 billion in visitor spending between 2006 and 2012 by not keeping up with global growth trends. While this year has been a strong year for tourism in Ontario, it is important that this recent growth is translated into long-term, sustainable gains in tourism visitation. “The tourism industry is an important economic driver in Oakville as well as in many other communities across the province,” said John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber.  “However, through research outlined in this report, we’ve found that Ontario is missing out on significant tourism growth in comparison to international trends. Our local industry and the province as a whole must take steps to boost our reputation as a global destination for foreign visitors and close the tourism gap.” The Oakville Chamber’s report identifies a number of challenges faced by tourism operators and the broader tourism community in Ontario, while presenting a series of action items to address them. The Oakville Chamber is encouraged that the provincial government is moving ahead with an action plan for the province’s tourism industry, a key consideration highlighted by its membership. We are also very pleased with the local support for visitor attraction that we have seen from the Town of Oakville through the Visit Oakville committee. “Visit Oakville’s board of directors is reassured by the report and the support of the Chamber’s network” stated Meggan Gardner, Chair of Visit Oakville. “We look forward to a heightened focus on tourism and will continue to work with our partners within the industry, at the Chamber, and at all levels of government, to grow the economic impact of tourism that is both sustainable and supportive of a livable Oakville.” The Oakville Chamber’s report is clear about the need for any provincial strategy to include measurable targets, a practice currently employed by many successful tourism destinations. These targets would help to organize and coordinate tourism activities amongst the diverse group of public and private tourism organizations in Ontario, another key recommendation of the report. “Ontario’s tourism sector needs a dedicated strategy driven by the provincial government that not only promotes tourism within Ontario, but also focuses on drawing in visitors from around the world,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “If we can do this successfully, the province will achieve substantial economic gains while keeping up with global growth trends. To produce this report, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce convened a group of Ontario’s leading thinkers within the tourism community. The report builds on previous initiatives undertaken by members of the tourism industry and further substantiates the need for a focused and measured approach targeted towards supporting the future of tourism in Ontario.  

Canadian Chamber of Commerce 2016 Policy Resolutions

Every year the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, along with Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade from across the country, are invited to submit resolutions of a national scope to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s policy process. This process culminates in a democratic vote on the floor at the Annual General Meeting. This year our submitted resolution, Tax Fairness for the Sports Entertainment Industry, passed.
For many years, the Federal Tax Code has discriminated against claiming golf memberships and related entertainment amounts as a business expense. You are aloud to take a client out to a hockey game and write off 50% of the cost as a business expense for tax purposes, but the same does not apply to golf. In a 2014 study, the golf industry employed just over 300,100 Canadians and contributed about $8.3 billion to the economy in household income, $1.4 billion in property and other indirect taxes and $2.2 billion in federal and provincial taxes. Based on direct, indirect and induced impacts, Canada’s 2013 golf cluster economic impact accounts for about $14.3 billion of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), up from $12.2 billion in 2008. Our recommendation is that the Federal Government amend the Tax Code to permit golf as a business expense similar to other business entertainment expenses, and that the cost of green fees and meals at a golf course be an eligible business entertainment expense. Learn more about the Tax Fairness for the Sports Entertainment Industry Resolution.
Review all of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce 2016 Policy Resolutions. 

Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Ontario Minister of Infrastructure to Speak at Smart Infrastructure Symposium

Governments pledge to invest billions in infrastructure spending, how do we ensure the funds are invested to increase Canada’s competitiveness? Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and MP for Spadina–Fort York, will kick off the Smart Infrastructure Symposium to be held on Friday, November 25. His keynote presentation will be followed by a lineup of top government, business and industry leaders including The Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure; Bruce McCuaig, President and CEO of Metrolinx; Michael Lindsay, Global Director, Infrastructure Planning & Advisory, Hatch; Andrew Fuller, Assistant Vice President, CN; Lucy Casacia, Vice President, Cities and Infrastructure Projects, Siemens Canada Limited.; and Dr. Rick Huijbregts, Vice President, Innovation, Cisco Canada. “With the investments in infrastructure promised by senior levels of government, the Smart Infrastructure Symposium provides an opportune time for the industry’s decision makers and innovators to gather to discuss the issues surrounding infrastructure” stated Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “I encourage you to join us on November 25 to get involved in the discussion with political leaders, business leaders, academics, and technical experts.” This dynamic event is jointly presented by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce and the Oakville Chapter of Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) at the Oakville Conference Centre. Media Availability Date:   Friday, November 25 Time: 7:30am – 2:30pm Location: Oakville Conference Centre, 2515 Wyecroft Road, Oakville Sessions:
  • Infrastructure Metrics with PwC
  • Prioritizing Infrastructure with Hatch
  • Movement of Goods with CN
  • Smart Cities and Intelligent Infrastructure with Siemens Canada Limited
  • Digital Infrastructure and Communications with Cisco Canada
peo-header Register Now!


The Success of Small Business Will Determine the Success of Ontario’s Economy

small-biz-report

The latest report by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce  highlights the contributions of small businesses to the provincial economy, while also identifying, and offering solutions to, the most pressing challenges that small business owners face. The report’s recommendations are the result of detailed consultations over the course of six months held by 25 chambers of commerce and boards of trade with hundreds of small business owners throughout the province as part of the Ontario Chamber Network’s Small Business Too Big To Ignore campaign. The campaign revealed that the three major barriers that small businesses face are Business Education Tax (BET) rate reductions, a lack of access to the workers employers need, and government funding alignment on infrastructure projects. “In Oakville, local businesses are working hard to expand their operations, however they are facing some big obstacles including the rising cost of doing business in Ontario,” said Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “The results of our 2016 Advocacy Survey showed that our members find rising costs to be the most significant factor impacting business and industry. Additionally, 64% of respondents believe that traffic congestion for getting staff to work is a significant obstacle for business, and almost 70% of respondents believe that current regulations are unreasonable and excessive. It is critical that regional governments work with the provincial and federal government to ensure that investments and programs are targeted to reduce operational costs and to support business growth in our region,” added Hughes. The report also highlights that businesses with fewer than 100 employees make up 98 percent of total Ontario businesses and two-thirds of private sector employment in Ontario. They contribute approximately 28 percent to the provincial GDP and created 87.7 percent of the new jobs nationally from 2005 to 2012. Given the significance of small businesses to the provincial economy, the Ontario Chamber Network urges the government to take immediate action to implement the following three recommendations in the near term:
  1. Continue the scheduled Business Education Tax (BET) rate reductions
  2. Develop a single access point for all government-funded workforce, training, and employment services.
  3. Have all three levels of government commit coordinated infrastructure dollars to connect all Ontario businesses to the 21st century global economy.
“Small businesses in Ontario are being held back by a diverse set of challenges that need to be addressed by all three levels of government.” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “We are encouraging the provincial government to implement our report’s recommendations so that we can ensure that our economy will have sustained economic growth for many years to come.” added O’Dette. The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, along with the Ontario Chamber Network, encourages the provincial government to work closely with the employer community to implement the recommendations in the report. These recommendations will feature prominently in the Ontario Chamber Network’s advocacy work leading up to the 2018 provincial election. At that time, the advocacy organization will evaluate the political platforms of each party with a particular consideration as to how their campaign commitments align with the interests of small business owners in Ontario. Read the report: Obstacles and Opportunities for Small Business in Ontario

Ontario’s Employers Caution Government on Changing Workplaces Review: “You Can’t Legislate Prosperity”

Keep Ontario Working Group of Leading Ontario Employers Urge Government to Proceed with Evidence-Based Policy Modernization Through the Changing Workplace Review Keep Ontario Working (KOW), a group of Ontario’s leading employers, industry and sector associations submitted its final set of recommendations to the Special Advisors of the Changing Workplaces Review (CWR). While the group acknowledges that work is changing and that labour and employment legislation should be modernized, they caution that employers and employees alike cannot risk public policy changes that would place an unintended burden on them. “The Changing Workplaces Review interim report of the Special Advisors is a large document that contains hundreds of options to the legislation that guides Ontario’s workplaces. The options laid out and that are presently being considered by the Special Advisors will impact nearly every aspect of the relationship between employers and employees, as well as the ability of Ontario businesses to create jobs and grow the economy” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.” In light of these concerns, the Keep Ontario Working group has developed several key policy options in their submission calling for evidence-based workplace modernization, with a particular focus of caution in the following areas: Education and Enforcement, Scheduling Provisions, Labour Certification Rules, Sector Exemptions, Joint/Common Employers, Sectoral Bargaining, and Minimum Standards. As part of their submission, the Keep Ontario Working group commissioned Philip Cross, Executive Fellow with the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary and former Chief Economic Analyst at Statistics Canada, to analyze the issue of precarity. Cross’ analysis indicates that by several metrics, the concern around precariousness is overstated. For example, part-time employment in Ontario and Canada shrank in 2015 as compared to 25 years ago. Data also indicates that at no time in Ontario’s recent history have employees in this province enjoyed such stable employment; the average employee in Ontario has worked for the same employer for a record 106.3 months (or nearly 9 years). Currently there is insufficient data to support major reforms to labour legislation. The group has called on government to strengthen their data by developing and releasing a new regional survey. This type of data would help to identify the real gaps existing in employment legislation. The group cautions government against making sweeping amendments to legislation without sufficient statistical and economic data as it could result in unintended consequences and negatively impact the ability of Ontario’s businesses to create jobs and grow the economy. “We support the Government’s efforts to address the challenge of precarious work, but we think it’s critical that there be a robust, evidence-based, and common understanding of who Ontario’s precarious workers are and how we can best help them” stated John Sawyer. “Our goal as part of the Keep Ontario Working Group is to increase employee experience and their ability to realize more income, without introducing new regulatory burdens that will compromise the ability of Ontario employers to create jobs and grow the economy” added Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy at the Oakville Chamber. “What we do want is for the government to enhance enforcement of the existing legislation so that those employers who abuse their employees are held to their responsibilities under the existing legislation.” Read the full report: Reform That Works For more information on the Keep Ontario Working initiative, visit www.KeepOntarioWorking.ca. For employers who wish to provide their input to the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, please contact Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy at faye@oakvillechamber.com or at (905) 464-0659.   About “Keep Ontario Working” Keep Ontario Working is an initiative of the leading employer and sector associations in the province, who are working together to motivate employers and employees alike to take a more active interest in the Changing Workplaces Review. Our goal is to ensure that we are improving legislation to support workers’ rights, create jobs and grow the economy. Members of the initiative include: o   Ontario Chamber of Commerce o   Canadian Franchise Association o   Restaurants Canada o   Retail Council of Canada o   Ontario Restaurant, Hotel & Motel Association o   Food & Beverage Ontario o   Ontario Forest Industries Association o   Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services, o   National Association of Canadian Consulting Businesses o   Other employers and employer groups.  

Save on Shipping with Canada Post through October for Small Business Month

We’re pleased to share that, as part of Small Business Month, our good member, Canada Post, is thanking Canada’s small business owners with free shipping on Tuesdays in October. This special offer entitles customers to one domestic Xpresspost™ or one Expedited™ parcel shipment at no cost every Tuesday in October. The offer is open to Canada Post Solutions for Small BusinessTM customers. To sign up for the program, customers can go to canadapost.ca/freetuesdays. A promotion code will appear on the page each Tuesday in October to take advantage of free shipments available online. Happy shipping!

Oakville Chamber Advocacy Survey Finds Rising Costs the most significant factor impacting business and industry

Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce released the results of its 2016 advocacy survey.  Rising costs are impacting local businesses and congestion continues to be an obstacle for success. The survey represents a broad sector of business including big, medium and small representing approximately 20,000 jobs. Here is a snapshot of the survey results: Cost of doing business
  • Rising costs are the most significant factor impacting business and industry
  • 83% believe that energy costs are becoming a serious obstacle to doing business
  • 78% believe that WSIB rates are becoming a serious obstacle to doing business
  • 82% agree that the Cap and Trade plan should be delayed until its impact on business is fully understood
Transportation
  • 64% of respondents believe that traffic congestion for getting staff to work is a significant obstacle for business
  • The top 3 infrastructure priorities are transportation related being:
    • Local roads and bridges
    • Public parking
    • Transit
Planning and Development- local issues
  • Almost 70% believe that regulations are unreasonable and excessive
  • 77% are supportive of a modest increase in density in the Kerr Street, Bronte and Oakville business district
  • A slim majority, felt local government in Oakville is supportive and sensitive to the needs of business
Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce commented “it is important for the Chamber to hear from our members as to the issues that are impacting Oakville businesses so that we can effectively advocate on their behalf.  It is clear from the results that businesses continue to feel tapped and overburdened with regulation. Investment in local roads and bridges, public parking and transit were identified as the top 3 infrastructure priorities.  This is timely feedback for Town Council as they deliberate on how to allocate the infrastructure money committed by senior levels of government.”  

Highlights from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce attended the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) this past September in Regina Saskatchewan. The Canadian Chamber’s Annual General Meeting focuses on the latest issues important to the Canadian business community and brings together Chambers of Commerce from across Canada to find solutions to address the challenges that Canadian businesses face. The Canadian Chamber network works to set its policy agenda for the upcoming year during its annual general meeting.  Resolutions submitted this year covered a broad range of topics that were successfully endorsed by delegates on issues such as Employment Insurance (EI) Reform, Bridging the Broadband Gap, Pension Reform, Enabling More Canadian Firms to Scale Up, Tax Fairness for the Sports Entertainment Industry and the Increase of GST/HST Filing Threshold. These issues are important to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and its network of chambers of commerce and boards of trade across Canada who represent 200,000 Canadian businesses. These resolutions are now policy positions of the Canadian Chamber and its members and will be pursued with the federal government over the coming months. The Oakville Chamber will continue to support the Canadian Chamber’s efforts and these resolutions in its daily operations to help ensure that Oakville continues to maintain a competitive businesses climate, and maximizes the potential of its business community and membership.

Caroline Hughes Appointed as Oakville Chamber Chair

caroline-hughes The Board of Directors of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Caroline Hughes has officially begun her term as Board Chair. Caroline was sworn in at the Oakville Chamber’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday, September 8th. Caroline has served as a member of the Chamber Board of Directors since 2010 and she has served on the Oakville Chamber’s Executive Committee as Vice-Chair of the Chamber Board since 2012. “Caroline brings a wealth of business experience and knowledge to her new role that will undoubtedly contribute to the ongoing success of the Oakville Chamber” said Immediate Past Chair Kerry Colborne. “For six years she has provided her expertise to the Board as a director and we look forward to her leadership in the coming year.” Caroline Hughes is the Vice President, Government Relations at Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd., where she and her staff conduct strategic analyses and dialogue with all levels of government regarding public policy and economic issues of importance to Ford of Canada and the Canadian vehicle industry. Ms. Hughes is also responsible for developing Ford of Canada’s long-range forecasts for new vehicle sales in Canada, and for evaluating and reporting Canadian economic trends to Ford’s global corporate economics office. Ms. Hughes has more than 25 years’ experience with Ford Motor Company of Canada, having worked in several capacities within Ford’s Finance and Canadian Vehicle Sales Division. Ms. Hughes holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto and an M.B.A. (Finance) from the Schulich School of Business, York University. Immediate Past Chair Kerry Colborne has completed a two-year term as Chair of the Board and Oakville Chamber President John Sawyer congratulates her on an outstanding job. “Kerry’s background and experience have helped frame our research, comments and recommendations throughout her two years as Chair. A significant achievement during her term was the Oakville Chamber earning its Accreditation with Distinction from the Chamber Accreditation Council of Canada. This level of accreditation has only been awarded to 9% of the Chambers and Boards of Trade in Canada. Accreditation recognizes Chambers that follow the highest standards of governance, programming and policy.” In the 67 year history of the Chamber Kerry was the sixth Chair to serve two consecutive terms as Chair of the Board. Kerry Colborne will be recognized at the Annual Chair’s Dinner, where Caroline Hughes, 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 of Commerce is pleased to announce that this year’s guest speaker will be Dianne Craig, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company of Canada. “We are excited to have Dianne Craig as our special guest speaker” said John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber. “Ford has been an important part of the Oakville community for 64 years and has been a supportive and active Oakville Chamber member for 56 years. Ford is by far the largest private sector employer in Halton Region, so we are pleased to present our members and the community with the opportunity to hear directly from Ford Motor Company of Canada’s President and CEO.” You can register for the 62nd Annual Chair’s Dinner online at www.oakvillechamber.com, by emailing jad@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 still available. All prices are subject to HST. The 62nd Annual Chair’s Dinner takes place: Date:               Tuesday, September 27 Time:              5pm Networking Reception; 6pm Dinner Gala Location:        Oakville Conference & Banquet Centre 2515 Wyecroft Road, Oakville Register now!   The Oakville Chamber thanks all Event Partners for their generous support: Title Partner rbc Diamond Partners cn                     sheridan-wordmark-tagline          the-weather-network Platinum Partners bdc          bell_blue_lg          cogeco        edge euro-line-appliances              hynek-financial-group     oconnor-macleod-hanna       union-gas Gold Partners           tim-hortons

Ontario Chamber Network sends letter to the Ontario Energy Board

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce outlines why cap and trade related costs need to be a separate line item on utility bills

On September 2, 2016, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) regarding their decision to have cap and trade costs included in the delivery charge of utilities on behalf of the Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade across Ontario. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has publicly indicated support for the Province’s efforts in dealing with climate change through the Climate Change Action Plan and specifically the decision to move forward with a cap and trade program which is designed to significantly reduce GHG emissions and deliver a lower carbon future for all Ontarians. However, given the Premier’s commitment to transparency around energy pricing, the Ontario Chamber Network believes that the OEB should reverse their decision and align with other Canadian jurisdictions on this issue. Read this letter.

Celebrate BDC Small Business Week with the Oakville Chamber of Commerce October 17 – 21

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada, is pleased to present Julia Hanna as the keynote speaker for the Small Business Week Kick-off Breakfast on Monday, October 17th. Julia Hanna is the Founder and Owner of Ristorante Julia and Ritorno Restaurant, Founder of HealthyFam, and Host of “Return to the Table” in partnership with Cogeco TV. “Family is whoever sits around the dinner table” has been Julia Hanna’s lifelong philosophy. At the age of 26, Julia opened Café Galleria in downtown Oakville. In 1993 she moved on and established Paradiso, the first Mediterranean inspired restaurant in Oakville. Today, Julia runs 2 successful restaurants, Ristorante Julia and Ritorno. However, Julia’s most passionate undertaking is her non-profit initiative HealthyFam, which teaches at-risk kids, families and seniors about kitchen literacy. An award winning and dynamic entrepreneur, Julia will share her most interesting tales about life in and out of the kitchen. The schedule of events is as follows: Kick-Off Breakfast with Julia Hanna Founder and Owner of Ristorante Julia and Ritorno Restaurant, Founder of Healthy Fam and Host of “Return to the Table” Monday, October 17  7:30-9:00am Pre-registration required. Tickets are $35 Members; $45 Non-members. Tables of 8 available. Register now! Business After Hours Tradeshow Wednesday, October 19  5:00-8:00pm No registration required, unless registering as an exhibitor. Free to Members and first-time guests. Returning non-members $20 at the door. Register as exhibitor. Lunch & Learn: If It Wasn’t For The People, This Job Would Be Easy Presented by Tim Brennan, Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Fit First Technologies Friday, October 21 11:30am-1:00pm Pre-registration required. Tickets are $35 Members; $45 Non-members Register now!   All events will take place at the Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre, located at 2515 Wyecroft Road. Chamber members and non-members are welcome to register and attend all Small Business Week events. Follow the conversation using #SBW2016 & #SBWoakville2016   BDC                         Print                                Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre                       pwc                      firstontario-blue-orange-300-dpi

Nominations Open for the 22nd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence

OABE logo.new   The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Oakville West, is now accepting nominations for the 22nd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence (OABE). Nominations will be accepted until September 30th 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,” notes David Abboud, President of the Rotary Club of Oakville West. “It is a wonderful opportunity to formally acknowledge their hard work.” The 22nd Annual OABE award categories open for nomination are:
  • RBC Royal Bank Small Business of the Year: This award recognizes a business of 1-5 full time equivalent employees and/or primarily services Oakville and district and/or generates up to approximately $2 million 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.
  • 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.
  • Franchisee of the Year:This award recognizes a Franchisee, serving the Oakville market, who is recognized by their customers and their Franchisor for the outstanding operation of their business.
  • Professional Services Provider of the Year: This award recognizes a person or employee team with a professional designation or whose practice is regulated by a provincial, federal or regulatory body.
  • The Morris Mercanti Restaurateur of the Year:This award recognizes a restaurateur with an establishment in Oakville that is open to the public. Please note this is a business award.
  • 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.
  • Genworth Community Builder of the Year: This award recognizes a business that has, over a period of time, demonstrated exemplary business practices and dedicated involvement in the community.
“The Oakville Awards for Business Excellence celebrates the many contributions our business community makes to the outstanding quality of life we enjoy here in Oakville,” says Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Last year over 150 nominations were put forward and we expect a similar result this year. If you know a business that excels in one of the above categories, honour them by submitting a nomination.” All nominations are sent to the OABE Judges, who carefully review the submission and evaluate it accordingly to the category criteria. 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 on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at the Oakville Conference and Banquet Centre. 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. awardwhite-1  

Oakville Requires a Dedicated Innovation Strategy to Support, Retain and Grow Our Health Science Sector: Oakville Chamber of Commerce

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At a time when the province is trying to address the major challenge of fiscal sustainability, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce is suggesting a different approach to fixing the province’s health care system and putting patients first. In a report released today in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Ontario Chamber network is calling on the provincial government to turn its focus from budget cuts to empowering the health care system to become an economic and productivity driver that is responsive to emerging innovation being developed in our own backyard. The report, Adopting Our Advantage: Supporting a thriving health science sector in Ontario, is the third in a series of health policy reports and is part of the organization’s year long Health Transformation Initiative. Currently in Oakville, the health science sector is struggling to attract local capital, find experienced managerial talent, and access the most important market in the province – the health care system. These challenges mean that entrepreneurs are more likely to partner with foreign investors, as they struggle to find the resources that would give them a strong foothold in Ontario. “In order for the government to receive a return on its investments in research, and patients in Oakville to gain access to the kind of innovations that will improve their quality of life, there needs to be a unified strategy to support Ontario’s health science sector” stated Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Today, we are not supporting our own discoveries. If we were able to change that, it would have a great impact on our provincial economy, on our provincial health industry and on our local health care system.” Oakville’s Town Council recently endorsed the land use parameters for a Health, Science and Technology District (HSTD) located at the northeast corner of Third Line and Dundas Street West. “We are pleased to see that the Town of Oakville recognizes  the need for innovation related to health care. We hope to see them move as quickly as possible on this” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. The provincial government invests a significant amount of money into research funding, education and seed development funds. However, if the companies that emerge from this environment are unable to access the markets or resources they need to scale their business, they are more likely to leave the province causing Ontario taxpayers to lose out on our investment. With innovation being identified as a priority at both the provincial and federal levels, now is the time for government to adopt a cohesive strategy to address the challenges facing this sector and take hold of the opportunity presented by our strengths in health sciences that will lead to a self-sustaining, vibrant health economy. “If we can establish an integrated system that has a collective vision, the potential rewards for Ontario are great. A lack of focused investment in the province’s home-grown innovation will only lead to missed opportunity.” added Allan O’Dette, President of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. The report’s recommendations suggest a cohesive approach to health care that would make it easier to capitalize innovative health science start-ups, attract and retain experienced talent, and provide market access to the public health care system. For this to take place, Ontario requires a dedicated vision for health science innovation, one that recognizes our competitive advantages and makes use of our single-payer system as an economic driver.  


2016 Peel Halton Employer Survey

This is the sixth annual Peel Halton employer survey. Last year over 484 responses were collected from employers, representing over 50,000 jobs in Peel and Halton Regions. The results of the survey will enhance business, employment service and educational planning in the regions of Peel and Halton. Oakville Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Peel Halton Workforce Development Group to implement this survey. This year, the survey focuses on:
  • Experiential Learning
  • Precarious Employment
  • Inclusion
  • Skill and Labour Shortages
Please go to the following link and complete this confidential survey: 2016 Peel Halton Employer Survey Link Thank you for helping us better understand the workforce challenges faced by employers like you. If you wish to see results from earlier surveys, please follow these links: 2015 Peel Halton Employer Survey    2014 Peel Halton Employer Survey   All Other Surveys    

Oakville Chamber of Commerce Calls On the Provincial Government To Push Broadband Strategy into High Speed

Today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has called on Premier Kathleen Wynne to commit dedicated provincial infrastructure funds to developing and expanding broadband internet access in remote and rural areas of the province. With record investments being made by government in transit and transportation infrastructure, the business advocacy organization is calling upon the provincial government to recognize, through infrastructure dollars, that access to high speed internet is also essential for Ontario businesses to compete in the 21st century global economy. “Local businesses in Oakville are becoming increasingly dependent on internet access for their everyday business practices,” said Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “High-speed internet access has become a necessity for doing business in today’s economy and it is critical that all regions across Ontario have access to this essential infrastructure.” While the Oakville and the Ontario Chamber acknowledge broadband investments made by the Government of Canada in the recent federal budget, internet access continues to be an issue in parts of Ontario. The letter to the Premier identifies three key recommendations that the Ontario government should address in the coming term to ensure all communities in the province are able to compete in the global economy:
  1. Develop a robust broadband investment strategy that acknowledges that broadband is an essential infrastructure investment, and creates space for continued private-sector investment.
  1. Build partnerships across all levels of government in order to leverage funding and respond to local need. Recognizing that the private sector has driven investment in broadband infrastructure, the OCC recommends an intergovernmental funds matching formula that will continue to incentivize large private sector investments.
  1. Benchmark Ontario’s internet speeds and access. In order to ensure Ontario is able to compete in a technology-driven global economy, we need to create broadband infrastructure that is equal with those of other globally-competitive jurisdictions.
“Just as businesses depend on roads and electricity, high-speed Internet is fundamental to advancing the province’s economic interests,” said Allan O’Dette, CEO & President of the Ontario Chamber “Committing funds to broadband infrastructure in rural and remote regions of the province will ensure that economic fragmentation is reduced in Ontario.” With government services increasingly shifting to online platforms, universal access to high speed internet is becoming more important than ever. By working with the Oakville and the Ontario business community, government can develop broadband policy that is responsive to existing needs while not dissuading private sector investment.

Ontario Finance Minister to Address Oakville, Burlington and Milton Chambers of Commerce

The Honourable Charles Sousa, Ontario Minister of Finance, will speak at a breakfast at the Burlington Convention Centre on Thursday, July 21. This event is jointly hosted by the Oakville, Burlington and Milton Chambers of Commerce. “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to host the Finance Minister” stated Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber. “We invite guest speakers like the Finance Minister to provide an opportunity for our Members and their guests to hear directly from key decision makers. We also want to provide our Members with the opportunity to discuss key issues with important elected officials.” Heidi Cowie, Chair of the Burlington Chamber added “Many of the leaders we have hosted have told us they very much appreciate the chance to hear directly from our Members at events such as this. They really value the feedback they receive from our Members.”   Event Details: Date: Thursday, July 21, 2016 Time: 7:30am – 9:00am; Minister Sousa speaks 8:10am – 8:35am Location: Burlington Convention Centre, 1120 Burloak Drive, Burlington Tickets: $45 for Members, $65 for Non-Members. Tables of 8 are available. (All prices are subject to HST.) To register: Register online or contact the Chamber directly at 905-845-6613.     The Honourable Charles Sousa, Ontario Minister of Finance 9050Charles Sousa is the Member of Provincial Parliament for the riding of Mississauga South and Ontario’s Minister of Finance. Charles also serves as Vice-Chair of Treasury Board and Management Board of Cabinet. Charles was first elected in 2007. Previously, he was the President of Treasury Board, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan & ParaPan American Games, and Minister of Labour. He also served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Economic Development and Trade and the Minister of Government and Consumer Services.    

Chamber releases report “The Infrastructure that Matters Most: The Need for Investment in Canada’s Trade Infrastructure”

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, released their recommendations on infrastructure spending entitled “The Infrastructure that Matters Most: The Need for Investment in Canada’s Trade Infrastructure” with a focus on spending to improve Canada’s global competitiveness and economic well-being.  Read the full report. Specifically, the recommendations for the federal government are:
  1. Make Trade Infrastructure an Equal Priority in the $120-billion Federal Infrastructure Plan
To improve Canada’s global economic competitiveness, the government should make trade-enhancing infrastructure investments an equal priority in the federal plan, commensurate with the funding allocated to the new social, transit and green infrastructure categories.
  1. Make Trade Infrastructure Investment Decisions Using Merit-based Criteria.
The federal government should ensure new trade infrastructure projects are selected on the basis of national objectives according to merit-based criteria. A merit-based approach ensures critical investments are not held captive to local or regional interests or undermined by inadequate financial support.
  1. Renew the Federal Commitment to Canada’s Trade Corridors
A renewed program focusing on trade corridors that recognizes that Canada must improve the quality, speed, and cost effectiveness of its trade networks can usher in a new era of Canadian competitiveness.
  1. Partner with Industry to Develop a National Trade Infrastructure Committee
The federal government should establish a National Trade Infrastructure Committee of public sector and industry experts as an institutional mechanism to guide long-term national trade infrastructure priorities.
  1. Consider the Proposed Federal Infrastructure Bank to Enhance Trade Infrastructure Investment
As the government develops its promised infrastructure bank, there is an opportunity to use this new tool to provide more than just low-cost financing for municipal infrastructure projects. The government should consult with investors to determine whether the bank should be used to generate more public-private investments in trade-enabling infrastructure. Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce said “the government has a unique opportunity to reshape Canada’s economic future by making trade infrastructure a priority in its national infrastructure plan. For a plan that will set the course for the next decade of infrastructure investment across the country, making trade infrastructure a priority will send an important signal to global customers, Canada’s businesses and its workers. It will be a message that Canada is committed to improving its international trade competitiveness to generate more wealth and employment for its citizens.”

The May/June Issue is out!

The latest Business Advocate Magazine issue features the 2015 Oakville Awards for Business Excellence Gala, which took place on March 23rd at the Oakville Conference Centre.  This issue’s member profile is on Halton’s largest law firm: O’Connor MacLeod Hanna LLP. Also be sure to read the Oakville Chamber’s Review of the 2016 Federal Budget. Read it online here!

Oakville Chamber of Commerce 2016 Advocacy Survey

Are energy costs, WSIB rates, taxes and traffic congestion barriers to the success of your business? Have your voice heard.

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce has released its 2016 Advocacy Survey requesting assistance from their members and the Oakville business community in focusing their advocacy work.

“The results of this survey will help us set our advocacy priorities,” said Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “By taking a few minutes to complete our survey, you will assist us in making sure our government relations and advocacy work continues to meet the needs of business in Oakville.”

As a thank you for taking the time to complete the survey, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Ristorante Julia to offer a $150 Gift Certificate as a prize. You can enter the draw to win this prize when you complete the survey.

The link to the survey is: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/occadvocate2016


Leverage the private sector to put patients first: Chamber Report

Oakville Chamber positions commissioning as solution to health system woes Today, the Oakville Chamber, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released a new report, Prescription for Partnership, which points to the need for health care stakeholders, both public and private, to put patients first. This report takes a closer look at the role commissioning can play in re-orienting a system that too often operates in response to budgetary pressure. Commissioning allows public and private sector perspectives to be in conversation much earlier in the decision-making process. The Oakville Chamber cites commissioning as a way of focusing our system on outcomes for patients rather than inputs from providers. This kind of collaboration is a key enabler of innovations in access, quality, and cost. “The provincial government needs to work with the private sector in order to meet its goal of putting patients first,” said John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber “We need the public and private sectors to problem-solve together and leverage one another’s expertise throughout the decision making process.” The private sector has long been an active participant in Ontario’s health care system. In fact, the level of private sector involvement in Canadian health care is slightly above the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average – 12th highest overall, and greater than 22 other countries in the OECD. However, the current relationship between the public sector and private health vendors (both for-profit and non-profit) lacks a co-operative structure and culture. “Today, the public sector is largely making decisions based on strict budgets and inflexible guidelines,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber. “We cannot allow patient needs to continue to finish second.” Prescription for Partnership: How New Models of Collaboration in Health Care Can Make Outcomes a Priority is the second of five reports within the Ontario Chamber’s year-long Health Transformation Initiative. Visit transformhealth.ca for more information.  

Mayor to Present Oakville Economic Update

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton will speak at an Oakville Chamber of Commerce breakfast on Thursday, June 2, 2016 at the Holiday Inn, Oakville Centre. The Mayor will provide an update on Oakville’s economy, and more specifically, the Town’s 2016 budget. “This annual breakfast is popular among our members, who are interested in issues affecting our local economy,” says Chamber Chair Kerry Colborne. “We are pleased to offer them this opportunity to hear directly from the Mayor about initiatives from Oakville’s Municipal Government.” There will be a moderated question and answer period following the Mayor’s presentation. Questions for Mayor Burton can be submitted in advance of the breakfast via email to faye@oakvillechamber.com with the subject line: ‘Question for the Mayor’. The Chamber would like to thank presenting partners Cogeco, Union Gas and supporting partners CN, Ford and Remax Aboutowne for making this event possible. For ticket information, please contact the Oakville Chamber of Commerce at 905-845-6613 or info@oakvillechamber.com. Date: Thursday, June 2, 2016 Time: 7:30am – Registration 8:00am – 9:00am – Event Location: Holiday Inn, Oakville Centre 590 Argus Road, Oakville

62nd Annual Golf Tournament

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s 62ndAnnual Golf Tournament will take place on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at Glen Abbey Golf Club. “We are thrilled to be back at Glen Abbey again this year,” said Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Providing our members with networking opportunities such as this tournament, advocating for their needs to all four levels of government, bringing high-profile speakers to Oakville and offering exclusive benefits are some of tools we use to foster and sustain a healthy economic environment in Oakville.” The Annual Golf Tournament would not be possible without the support of our partners. Thank you to all of our sponsors: Platinum Partner Cogeco   Silver Partners Dan Lawrie Insurance Brokers Ltd. FirstOntario Credit Union Oakville Hydro Oakville Volkswagen and Audi Centre Oakville Union Gas Ltd. Virox Technologies Inc. The Cardamone Group, Royal Le Page   Dinner Partner Hynek Financial Group   Lunch Partner The Weather Network   Cart Partner SB Partners   Exclusive Hole Partners FCT FirstOntario Credit Union Intrigue Media WeirFoulds LLP Whole Foods Market   Contest Partners Cameron’s Brewing Company Holiday Inn Oakville Centre Intrigue Media Oakville Volkswagen and Audi Centre Oakville RBC Private Banking

Small Business: Too Big To Ignore

too big to ignore logo - web The Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber Network is proud to be a part of the ambitious campaign, Small Business: Too Big to Ignore. This campaign highlights the important contributions of small businesses to our economy and communities, and seeks to actively engage small businesses across the province in investigating the top barriers to small business growth – and identify solutions to overcome those challenges. To kick off this campaign the OCC has released the report, Top 3 Obstacles to Small Business Growth. The Oakville Chamber looks forward to leading discussions in our community about the underlying challenges that are weighing on small businesses and stifling job creation. A strong and vibrant small business sector is important for all business. Small businesses are the wealth creators, job creators and risk takers. Small businesses have important relationships with big businesses as part of the economic ecosystem. Big businesses are often highly dependent on small businesses as suppliers, distributors, customers, innovators, and for developing a skilled and experienced workforce to draw from. Small businesses also make up the vast majority of our local membership, our volunteers, and are often the people actively involved in community service. We want to hear from you. Please engage with us on the Small Business Too Big To Ignore campaign on Facebook and Twitter, share your input, and help spread the message about the importance of small business and why it cannot be ignored. Join the campaign.

Small Business: Too Big To Ignore

Nearly 3 million Ontarians are employed by small businesses of 100 or less employees, but the rising cost of doing business in the province is stunting their growth.   The Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce is launched Small Business Too Big Too Ignore, a six month campaign that will highlight the important contributions of small businesses to our communities and investigate the top barriers to small business growth. Coinciding with the launch of this campaign, the Ontario Chamber also released its report, Top 3 Obstacles to Small Business Growth, aimed at starting a conversation about the underlying challenges that are weighing on small businesses and stifling job creation.   In the report, the Chamber cites the rising cost of doing business as a major impediment to small business growth. In fact, Ontario Chamber survey results show that one in twenty businesses in the province expect to close their doors in the next five years due to rising electricity prices. In addition, 38 percent will see their bottom line shrink, with the cost of electricity delaying or canceling investment in the years to come.   “Rising electricity prices is just one of the many elements adding to the cost of doing business in the province,” said Kerry Colborrne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber. “The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is launching this campaign to take a look at how we can mitigate these types of costs by engaging both government and business leaders in a productive conversation to the answer the question ‘what exactly is ailing small business?’.”   In addition to the rising cost of doing business, the report also lists key infrastructure gaps and a lack of access to skilled workers as the top three obstacles weighing on small business. According to a recent Ontario Chamber survey, 39 percent of employers have had difficulty filling a job opening over the past year and a half – an increase of 11 percentage points since 2014.   “Building a 21st century workforce has been a cornerstone of our advocacy efforts for quite some time,” said John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber. “We’ve seen tremendous progress on this file over the past few years but we recognize the need to foster greater connections between skilled workers and employers.”   Over the next six months, local chambers of commerce and boards of trade will hold consultations with small business owners throughout the province to identify the barriers that they face.   “Small businesses of 100 or less employees are the core of our membership and employ nearly 3 million Ontarians, which is why we’ve decided to undertake the Small Business Too Big Too Ignore campaign,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “The insights gained from the local chamber consultations will inform an upcoming Chamber report to be released during Small Business week in October 2016. We’re really looking forward to the feedback.”

Too Few Entrepreneurs Able to Scale Up Their Business: The Oakville Chamber of Commerce Report Identifies Six Barriers to Growth

Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), released the report, Breaking Barriers: Ontario’s Scale Up Challenge, which identifies the major roadblocks preventing Ontario businesses from expanding and presents recommendations to best support business owners in taking their ventures to the next stage of growth. According to the report, based on interviews with nearly two dozen business owners, sector associations, and other organizations, as well as a survey of over 350 Ontario business owners, too few entrepreneurs are continuing to build their business, or “scale up”, in the province. The report adds to a recent chorus of voices calling for governments, the business community, and other actors to build on the province’s entrepreneurial spirit by creating the conditions to enable our most promising firms to scale. “This is an important time to be talking about this issue faced by the Oakville business community.  We have a great opportunity to align with government to more effectively tackle this challenge. ” said Kerry Colborne, Chair, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. To position Ontario for long-term success, the report proposes recommendations to address six specific barriers preventing businesses from growing, which includes a lack of access to talent with scale up experience, gaps in the right kinds of financing, and lower incentives to growth offered through public programs. Chief among the Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s recommendations are for governments to improve businesses’ access to talent in the short-term by creating a scale-up visa to quicken access to essential international managerial talent. According to an OCC survey, 63 percent of businesses that are looking to grow face a talent shortage. The Oakville Chamber of Commerce also encourages governments to gain a better understanding of where current gaps exist in the Canadian financing landscape. Other recommendations of the report include:
  • Realign public programs and incentives to focus supports on high-growth firms
  • Encourage greater international trade activity by linking more business support programs to trade
  • Improve access to public and private anchor customers by leveraging procurement to strategically invest in growing businesses
  • Enable accurate measurement and monitoring of the scale up challenge by ensuring collaboration between Statistics Canada and industry groups to collect and publicize relevant data
The OCC’s survey also revealed that the cost of doing business remains a top issue for Ontario employers as 69 percent of business owners looking to grow identified this as a barrier. Through its advocacy efforts on other key policy issues, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the OCC, continues to highlight the cost of doing business as a major challenge facing Ontario’s business community. Survey conducted online between March 3 and April 11, 2016. N=359.

The March/April Issue is out!

The latest Business Advocate Magazine issue features the 2016 Leaders Reception, which took place at the iconic Tim Horton’s Head Office in March. Also read Charting an Economic Course for Ontario, an excerpt from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Stronger Report. Read the volunteer profile on David Carroll and member profile on Canada’s largest supplier of parts and whole goods for the lawn and garden and construction markets – Power Source Canada. Read it online here!

The Oakville Chamber is calling on businesses and residents to take the Red Tape Challenge

The Oakville Chamber is asking businesses and residents to help identify and improve regulations that are unclear, outdated, redundant or unnecessarily costly through the Ontario Government’s new online consultation tool – The Red Tape Challenge. Through this platform, the government is looking for input from business, industry associations and other stakeholders to identify regulatory challenges in an effort to streamline services that will ultimately help businesses and economy grow. Community engagement is critical to helping the government create faster, smarter and more streamlined government-to-business services. “The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is encouraged to see the Ontario Government taking steps to reduce the regulatory burden through the launch of the Red Tape Challenge.  Last summer, the Ontario Chamber called on the province to adopt a crowd-sourced approach to regulatory change.  We encourage the government to make burden reduction a priority.  By seeking new opportunities to reduce the cumulative regulatory burden on businesses, we are helping to grow Ontario’s economy.” said Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.  “The Province wants to hear from Oakville businesses and residents.” Making sure that regulations are up to date and relevant is part of the Ontario’s Business Growth Initiative – the government’s plan to modernize business regulations, lower business costs and make more Ontario firms into global industry leaders. “By ensuring our regulations are up to date and relevant, the government is creating the right climate to help Ontario including Oakville businesses invest and grow, creating rewarding , high paying jobs and a more prosperous economy.” said Kevin Flynn, MPP Oakville. Based on a number of economic factors, including investment and export opportunities, the Ontario Government identified 6 business sectors to focus on over the next 2 years:
  1. Auto parts manufacturing
  2. Food processing
  3. Financial services
  4. Mining
  5. Chemical manufacturing
  6. Forestry
The Province is currently consulting on auto parts manufacturing sector regulations until May 31, 2016. To provide your input or learn more, visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/red-tape-challenge  today.

Ward 2 All Candidates Meeting

Last night over 300 residents and community members packed into the theatre of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School for the Ward 2 All Candidates Meeting. The event was hosted by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with West Harbour Residents Association, West River Residents Association, Coronation Park Residents Association, Hopedale Residents Association, the Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board. IMG_4472 As a politically non-partisan organization, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce believes it must have an effective working relationship with any individual that holds elected office. The Chamber and Ward 2 residents represent a broad range of options and attitudes and the Chamber welcomes that diversity. The Chamber’s objective for All Candidates Meetings is to provide Chamber members, residents and the general public the opportunity to hear comments directly from the candidates on issues that directly affect the residents and business community. The Chamber solicited input regarding questions for the candidates from Chamber members, Ward 2 residents and the general public. All 11 registered candidates were present and took turns addressing the key issues that affect the Ward 2 community. Listed below is a full recap of submitted questions:
  1. What are each candidates plans for Kerr Street? It’s a topic that affects the whole town.
  2. Kerr Village is a vital part of our community and in recent years, it has been neglected. Can you please ask each candidate what their plan is for Kerr Village?  How do they plan to revitalize it?
  3. How will you actively work to engage the residents in the ward to ensure a greater sense of community?
  4. As you may know, the Town is now in negotiations with the Oakville Yacht Squadron on the use of the land that it leases from the Town. One of the central issues is how to strike a balance between access by the public to the water and the safe and secure operation of the club including the sailing school, borrow a boat program, and the moorings of members and guests. How would you strike this balance?
  5. I am a ward 2 Resident and have been for 25 years. I have questions for the candidates: 1) Can you please help me understand each candidate’s vision for Kerr Street & Downtown Oakville? 2) Can you please disclose candidates plan for gentrification and development in Ward 2? 3) Can you please help me understand each candidate’s platform to ensure strong engaged communities?
  6. Glen Abbey Golf Club. As this issue will impact all of Oakville including ward two what is your position on this development plan?
  7. Our Oakville downtown is on life support. There is a proliferation of store closings and the sense is that Oakville’s downtown is becoming a ghost town.  What do you think about the municipal plan to develop a renewed streetscape in Oakville’s downtown?  Do you think this is a viable plan that will bring new retail to downtown or are we wasting money with this plan?
  8. I have 2 questions: 1) with new families moving in to ward 2, I would be interested to know how each candidate would encourage improved neighbourhoods, where people actually got to know each other. 2) I would like to know specifics of candidate’s ideas they have to encourage the Kerr st businesses, including benefits and anticipated costs to the town.
  9. What are your plans for Kerr Street?
  10. What experience have you had in the past working with Town Council on behalf of the residents of Ward 2?
  11. What opportunities do you see to collaborate with the Halton District School Board? This could be expanded to include both school boards if you think it’s appropriate.
  12. Because there are two parking lots on Coronation Park I have edited my question. For your understanding of the question I have attached a PDF. The Parking lot issue is illustrated in panel six of the brochure and will become visible if you move the cursor down and then increase the frame to about 100% to 150%.  In view of the fact that trees were illegally planted at the eastern exit of the Parking Lot at the eastern end of Coronation Park in violation of Park Regulation Sections 7(f) and 8 (a,b,&g), thereby impeding the view of drivers exiting the park and so endangering public safety, what will the candidates do about this problem if and when they are elected to the office of Councillor for Ward 2?
  13. What experience does each candidate have in doing something that has actually benefitted the Ward 2 community residents? If elected, how will they use their past experience to accomplish things of importance to the residents?
  14. I’m disappointed – I thought I would get a strong commitment by someone to propose an amendment to the bylaw. Furthermore, it is my understanding that contractors are seldom fined for violating this bylaw and if so, consider it just a small cost of doing business. A previous town administration was very focused on the wants of developers, constructors, and realtors – I feel strongly that you are the ones who can change this focus to the taxpayers rather than private interest groups. If there are 300 people in my neighbourhood inconvenienced by weekend construction noise, how can it be in the ‘public interest’ to allow it to continue? Many of my neighbours are upset about this issue but they don’t believe that any one in government will address it… My biggest concern is stated in the email below. It seems the wants of real estate agents, developers, and construction companies are more important than those of the taxpayer. Why is it considered reasonable to have construction going on 7-7 every day except Sunday? What if I want to have guests for a barbecue on a Saturday? If one of you will pledge to propose an alteration to the bylaw  (suggestion: 8-6 Monday to Friday) you’ll get my vote.
  15. We live in the 3rd line/Rebecca area and have talked to many of the neighbours. I think we’re all tired of the continual construction noise – 7 days a week. I understand they are allowed to work 7-7 every day except Sunday (they work on Sunday too and I’ve had to call the police to stop them – ). Most of us only have Sat/Sun off and Saturdays are no longer quiet and peaceful. Is there any hope in pursuing this issue with the town? The noise will not be stopping since they’re knocking down every house in the neighbourhood – one after the other. There is also the issue of dust, nails left on roadways, and trucks blocking the roadways. We pay an extremely high tax rate – we are now living in an area that is more appropriately zoned industrial.
  16. After becoming the newest Councillor would you vote against any motion or law/bylaw put forth by The Mayor’s Office that you knew was against your constituents wishes or was unethical or against the rules in place?
  17. Given the lack of commercial development in downtown Oakville the last decade or so with the large number of vacancies, what are you going to do to encourage and create new development in Kerr Village to prevent the same situation from occurring?
  18. There is considerable construction going on in ward 2, especially in the south-west area of the ward where many existing homes are being demolished and huge, new homes are replacing them. This is causing many inconveniences for the existing home owners. One of these is excessive noise ( 7 days a week from pre-dawn until after dusk) and construction vehicles parked on both sides of the street, blocking traffic. My question is this: As the councillor for ward 2, what plan do you have to address this? Parking by-laws for these vehicles are not being enforced (i.e. 3 hour maximum), heavy trucks are dropping off materials, using their back up alarms, often before dawn in some cases, waking up residents. Dirt and dust from construction is coating surrounding homes’ exteriors/windows etc. and noise from construction is inhibiting homeowners from enjoying their yards particularly on the weekends.
  19. What experience or success does the candidate have in working for Ward 2 residents at Oakville’s Town Council and its various committees?
  20. You did not run for this position in the 2014 elections. What issues prompted you to run now and not then? What is your position on the construction of a new centre for the performing arts/main library?
  21. Two questions: 1) What would you do if a home in your neighbourhood looked very unkept, i.e. like a junkyard? There is a home at the corner of Stewart Street and Queen Mary Drive, on the northwest corner that is a total mess.  It has been this way for years. 2) If a double lot with one home was sold and converted to have a home on each lot, would the person that is elected to council oppose this and have it remain as one property? What can the neighbours do to make sure it remains one property?
  22. The Town has an ambitious and full agenda for 2016 – as the new Councillor for Ward 2, what is your plan for the first 90 days of your term to have impact at Town Hall so the needs and priorities of the residents and businesses of Ward 2 are heard and dealt with?
  23. Oakville has one of the highest ecological footprints in Canada and in the world.  What are you going to do if you are elected to help Oakville become a more sustainable ecological community and lower the ecological footprint?
  24. Given 1) that there is a great concern for the future of downtown Oakville, concern about  the number of empty stores , which is assumed to be due to existence of other ways to shop  ( malls, on-line etc.), high rents/taxes in downtown Oakville,  and a small residential base, and  2) given an apparent new interest on the part of the town, to re-examine the height restrictions in downtown Oakville, with the idea of helping to bring in more people to downtown to support the local businesses and the community, and 3) given the recent success of Burlington in developing the downtown area (only 6% vacancy, which is considered ideal. Above 6% is problematic. Oakville has 12%.) and their height restriction being much less severe than Oakville’s. What would your position be on: a) supporting downtown Oakville with increased population, possibly by means of increased building heights b) supporting downtown Oakville and Kerr St area with increased population possibly by means of increased building heights in the areas adjacent to downtown?
  25. Given the lack of commercial development in downtown Oakville the last decade or so with the large number of vacancies, what are you going to do to encourage and create new development in Kerr Village to prevent the same situation from occurring?
  26. I just hate the way architects and city planners and everyone else responsible for urban life seems to have lost sight of what cities are for. THEY ARE FOR PEOPLE. That seems obvious enough, but for half a century we have been building cities that are for almost anything else: for cars, for businesses, for developers, for people with money, and bold visions who refuse to see cities from ground level, as places in which people must live, function and get around. Why should cars be given priority over people. We need to plan walkable/cyclable neighbourhoods …and look at repurposing older ones to include all ages and capabilities.
Voting Day is Monday, April 11th. For information on where to vote, please visit: http://elections.oakville.ca/.

Sold Out Crowd Celebrates Business Excellence at Oakville Awards Gala

OABE Oakville celebrated business leaders in their community at the 21st Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence Gala on Wednesday, March 23 where over 570 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 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 Chamber Chair, Kerry Colborne. “We offer a sincere congratulations to all the nominees and award recipients.” The award recipients were recognized throughout the course of the evening, interspersed with videos that featured last year’s recipients. This year’s Business Icon Award was presented to Shred-it. Vince De Palma, President and CEO of Shred-it, accepted the award presented by John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “What started with one man, an idea and a truck 28 years ago has grown to be a global leader, providing secure document destruction services. Today the company has over 400,000 customers, operates in 170 markets in 18 different countries, employs more than 5,000 associates and operates a fleet of over 2,000 trucks” commented Sawyer. The Charity or Not-for-Profit Excellence Award was presented to the Oakville Hospital Foundation. Tina Triano, CEO of the Oakville Hospital Foundation, accepted the award on behalf of the organization. The Oakville Hospital Foundation raised a record-breaking $65 million for their campaign to fund the equipment needs of the new Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. To date, they have received donations from over 28,000 donors. In a town with only 61,000 households, that is a remarkable accomplishment. This year the Oakville Awards of Business Excellence received nominations for over 150 businesses. After careful consideration, the 150 nominees were reduced to a list of 55 finalists.To learn more about the Oakville Awards for Business Excellence, or to nominate a business for next year, please visit http://oabe.ca/wp/ 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 recipients of the 21st Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence: Oakville’s Large Business of the Year Geotab Inc. KPMG Entrepreneur of the Year Surround Integrated Oakville’s Professional Services Provider of the Year Hearing Excellence Inc. The Morris Mercanti Restaurateur of the Year El Spero Family Restaurant Genworth Community Builder of the Year Lakeside Logistics Inc. RBC Royal Bank Small Business of the Year Pretty in Pink Spa Studio Inc.

Oakville’s Franchisee of the Year

Sunset Grill – Oakville South Bell Mid-size Business of the Year Blue-Pencil Information Security Inc. Oakville Hydro Conservation Leadership Award Denninger’s Oakville’s Business Icon Award Shred-it Oakville’s Charity or Not-for-Profit Excellence Award The Oakville Hospital Foundation

62nd Annual Golf Tournament

2015 Golf College 2    

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to present the 62nd Annual Golf Tournament that will take place on Wednesday, May 18th at the Glen Abbey Golf Club.

The golf tournament is important to the Chamber because it raises the funds that allow us to advocate on behalf of the business community. The 62nd Annual Golf Tournament could not be possible without the valuable support of the golfers along with our partners, volunteers, prize donors, and the exemplary staff at Glen Abbey Golf Club. Partnership opportunities are still available!

If you would like to support the tournament, please contact Jad Haffar at 905-845-6613 or e-mail jad@oakvillechamber.com.


Chamber’s Analysis of 2016 Federal Budget

After 140 days in office, the new Federal Government has released their budget for 2016. There is a strong emphasis for increased spending on infrastructure, tourism, and the environment. The Canadian Chamber evaluated the Federal Budget with an overall score of a B+. The breakdown is:
  • Fiscal Discipline: C (Needs more effort)
  • Infrastructure: B (Wait and see)
  • Environment: A (A green revolution)
  • Taxes: D- (A hit to small business)
  • Tourism: A (Thank goodness)
  • Innovation and Technology: C (Needs more effort)
  • Skills: B (Wise investment)
  • Stimulus Effect: B+ (But it’s OK)
Read the Full Report Card

Oakville Chamber of Commerce to Co-Host 2016 Municipal By-Election for Ward 2 All Candidates Meeting

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is hosting an All Candidates Meeting for the 2016 By-Election for Ward 2 on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 in partnership with the West Harbour Residents Association, Coronation Park Residents Association, West River Residents Association, Hopedale Residents Association and The Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board. All eleven registered candidates have been confirmed to participate in the Meeting that will take place from 6:00 pm to 8:40pm. Ward 2 residents are encouraged to attend the event and get to know the candidates running for their Ward’s Town Councillor seat. Questions to the candidates can be submitted in advance of the meeting via email to Kristen@oakvillechamber.com with subject line: ‘All Candidates Question’. “The All Candidates Meeting will provide an opportunity for the residents of Ward 2 to engage with the candidates,” said Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.  “This important event enables Ward two voters to hear the candidates discuss issues that directly affect their homes, families, and community at large.” “We are delighted to work with the Oakville Chamber and the other residents associations,” said Diana Gurd-Trask, President of the West Harbour Residents Association. “We hope Ward 2 residents and businesses take advantage of this opportunity to have their questions answered so that they can make an informed vote.” The Chamber would like to thank the candidates for agreeing to take part in this event. Without their participation the event could not take place.   Date:              April 5, 2016 Time:             6:00 pm – Doors Open 6:30-8:40 pm Event Location:      St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School Theatre 124 Dorval Drive, Oakville  


Members of the Oakville business community sit down with new MP’s to talk budget priorities

Recently a diverse group of Chamber members sat down with our newly elected federal representatives, John Oliver, Member of Parliament (MP) for Oakville and Pam Damoff, MP for Oakville North Burlington to participate in a pre-budget roundtable. Both John and Pam expressed their interest in hearing from the Oakville Chamber members and their commitment to sharing the information gathered during the session with the Minister of Finance. The group of members from the business community that gathered at the Oakville Chamber made it clear that a focus on growing the economy was the most pressing issue.  They urged the MPs to focus on three areas of policy development:  Infrastructure, Tax policy and Education and Training. The business community believes that the federal infrastructure commitment can definitely improve Canada’s economic performance if implemented carefully with economic goals.  In fact, the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) shows that a sustained 10% increase in infrastructure investment could reduce manufacturing production costs by 5% per year.  The same study has indicated that the returns on investment in public infrastructure could be as high as 17% to 25%. In other words, this proposed infrastructure program could significantly change our competitive situation for the better if we spend on trade- enabling, economically productive infrastructure—roads, ports, technology, transport corridors and borders. Congestion in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) costs the region $6 billion in lost productivity every year (Metrolinx, 2008).  Oakville’s economic growth is an important factor in the success of the GTHA. Ensuring its continued success, as a generator of jobs and prosperity, requires partnerships on vital municipal infrastructure. Businesses believe that we need a federal partner that will engage municipalities, and the private sector, on a long-term infrastructure investment strategy to increase productivity to enable competitiveness. Secondly, the roundtable participants urged the government to support an improved tax system to support new small businesses that will stimulate the economy. The current tax system has become increasingly complex, multi-layered, and a costly challenge for businesses of all sizes. The system is particularly onerous, in both time and labour cost, for small and medium sized enterprises which make up over 88% of Oakville businesses. The MPs were encouraged to focus on employment versus taxes and relook at the capital tax calculations for smaller institutions that invest locally. Lastly, there was a focus on education and training.  Employers are unable to fill job openings because they cannot find individuals with the right skills.  Partnerships between institutions, and small and medium size enterprises, are needed as well as the need for research that drives innovation. Canada is falling short in addressing the current and future skills needs of the workplace. The underlying issues range from training to labour mobility.  Consequently, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is focused on four priority areas in its advocacy and action on skills shortages: upskilling, immigration policies, education-employment alignment and Aboriginal education and workforce development. In a closing remark by one of the roundtable participants it was conveyed that governments are only part of the solution.  They are indeed responsible for developing policy, and have a significant role to play in supporting business.  However, we must always acknowledge and appreciate the integral role of small and medium size business and its contribution to the success of our economic growth. Both Pam Damoff and John Oliver reiterated the importance of the open dialogue between themselves and the business community. We, at the Oakville Chamber will continue our commitmet to working with the newly elected MPs to ensure that local business has a voice.

Welcome New Members

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to introduce their newest members, joining in November & December

Ana Jancevska Cisco Systems Canada Co. Ana Jancevska www.cisco.com Technology b.good Amanda Schenck www.bgood.ca Restaurant Best Version Media –Our Neighbourhood (Oakville) Liz Lant www.bestversionmedia.com Marketing – Publishing Crown Pest Control Services Haseena Mandel www.crownpest.ca Pest Control Services Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption Canada Susan Towle Susantowle16@gmail.com Registered Charity Eggsmart Restaurant Susan Soliman www.eggsmart.com Restaurant Freshii Kathryn Lahaie www.freshii.com Restaurant Group of 3 Inc. Lindsay Brennan linzybrennan@gmail.com Clothing Store Growth Advisors Inc. Greg Peterson www.growthadvisors.ca Management Consulting and Training Happy Life Wealth Management Nilo Hao www.happylifewealthmanagement.ca Wealth Management LHH Knightsbridge John Penaligon www.lhhknightsbridge.com Management Consulting Investigative and Corporate Evaluation Inc. (ICE) Suzanne Kernohan www.iceinc.ca Consulting, Investigation Invisor Investment Management Inc. Dan Poole www.invisor.ca Financial & Insurance Services John Vail Sales@johnvail.com Consulting Laker Energy Products Ltd. Chris Hughes www.lakerenergy.com Nuclear Manufacturing MMI Professional Services Steve Ryan www.mmiproservices.com Business Consulting Pamela Damoff MP Pam.DamoffA1@parl.gc.ca Politician Patrick Pacenti Edward Jones Patrick Pacenti www.edwardjones.com Wealth Management Reddin Global Inc. Allison Christilaw www.e-suite.com Coach Training Saltbox Partners Kathleen Creighton www.saltboxpartners.ca Professional Organizers Sergey Kunyev FDS Broker Services Sergey Kunyev www.fdsbroker.com Mortgage Broker Spiral By Design Consulting Darcy Robert www.spiralbydesign.ca Life Coaching SportClips Dorval Robert Stalony www.sportclips.ca Hairstylists Strategic Property Management Dane Fader www.strategicpm.ca Property Management Strategic Property & Asset Management Robert Bellisimo www.strategicpm.ca Property Management Style Expressions by Monica Rolling Monica Rolling www.styleexpressions.ca Home Staging The Reid Method Everold Reid www.thereidmethod.com Sales Consulting & Seminars Troy McLean Group Troy McLean www.ffmcapital.com Wealth Management

Congratulations to 2015 Nominees for Oakville Awards for Business Excellence

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West are pleased to present the 21st Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence that will culminate in a Gala Dinner on Wednesday, March 23rd at the Oakville Conference Centre. The nominees for this year’s awards were officially announced at the OABE Nominee reception on Tuesday, February 2nd at the Holiday Inn, Oakville Centre. This year, the winners will be chosen from nominees in nine categories: RBC Small Business of the Year, Bell Mid-size Business of the Year, Large Business of the Year, Franchisee of the Year, Professional Services Provider of the Year, The Morris Mercanti Restaurateur of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Genworth Community Builder of the Year, and Oakville Hydro Conservation Leadership Award. At the gala, the winner of Oakville’s Business Icon Award and the Charity or Not-for-Profit Excellence Award will be announced. The Business Icon Award recognizes a prominent Oakville business which is highly regarded in the business community. The Charity or Not-for-Profit Excellence Award honours a charity or not-for-profit organization which is highly regarded in the community and raises funds or provides services to improve the lives of people within the community. “As Chair of the Judging Committee for the OABE’s, I am honoured and thrilled to take part again in celebrating the incredible businesses that make up Oakville’s community,” said Oakville Chamber of Commerce Chair, Kerry Colborne. “I want to congratulate all our nominees. They are truly representative of the best that Oakville’s business community has to offer.” 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. “The Oakville Awards gala has raised more than $500,000 since it began twenty years ago,” said Rotary President, Dr. Simon Pong. “Last year’s dinner set a record for attendance comprised of over 600 business, community and political leaders. We are looking forward to a fantastic evening.” The Nominees for the 21st Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence are: Oakville’s Large Business of the Year Bennington Financial Services Corp. Reunion Island Coffee Roasters Geotab Inc. Oakville’s Entrepreneur of the Year Zarr Tech Prism Care Corporation Live to Dance Academy Britnell Ventures Oakville Nutritionist Hearing Excellence Inc. The Clarity Centre Surround Integrated Oakville’s Professional Services Provider of the Year Hearing Excellence Inc. Oakville Naturopathic Wellness Centre CHR Health Centre Inc. iCare Home Health Services Inc. WeirFoulds LLP West Oak Medical Clinic Positive Accounting Peter Watson Investments The Morris Mercanti Restaurateur of the Year Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill, Oakville il Fornello Oakville Kerr Street Café Taste of Colombia – Fair Trade Coffee & Gift Shop El Spero Family Restaurant Genworth Community Builder of the Year Lakeside Logistics Inc. The Cardamone Group – Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. Brokerage Nachla Law Office (aka Nachla Law Office Professional Corporation) RBC Small Business of the Year Spartan Impressions Inc. That Pie Place Rock Star Real Estate Inc. MTC Tire Oakville Inc. Hopedale Bowl One Health Clubs Aroma Kitchens & Baths Inc. Oakville Kitchen & Bath Centre Otello’s Banquet & Convention Centre Pretty in Pink Spa Studio Inc. Painters Place Nancy Robertson Team, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Franchisee of the Year Par-T-Perfect Toronto West/Halton/Peel Winmar Oakville/Mississauga Sunset Grill – Oakville South  Bell Mid-size Business of the Year Top Notch Cabinets Inc. Ace Auto Collision Knar Jewellery Thorvin Electronics Inc. Blue-Pencil Information Security Inc. Finewood Products Limited Ancam Solutions Company Ltd. Total Tech Pools and Leisure Infinity Communications Inc. Oakville Hydro Conservation Leadership Award UPS Procor Denninger’s Home Depot The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West thank Platinum Partner RBC for their generous support of the 21st Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence.

Landmark Agenda to Grow Economy and Spur Job Creation by Ontario Chamber and Oakville Chamber of Commerce

Oakville, January 26 2016: Today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Mowat Centre, released the fifth and final iteration of Emerging Stronger. A detailed economic agenda for Ontario, Emerging Stronger 2016 identifies the immediate steps that government and the private sector must take to enhance Ontario’s economic competitiveness and spur job creation in the province. Ontario businesses are increasingly unsure about the direction of the provincial economy, according to a new survey from the OCC and Leger. The annual Ontario Business Confidence Index, featured in Emerging Stronger 2016, shows that business confidence in the Ontario economy is at a five-year low. The Index shows that only 30 percent of businesses are confident in Ontario’s economy, compared to 47 percent in 2012. It also shows that 62 percent of businesses are confident in their own organization’s outlook, down from a high of 74 percent in 2014. “These stats only emphasize the need for government and business to work together so that we can together improve the business climate in the Province,” said Kerry Colborne, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. Among the key findings of the Ontario Business Confidence Index: the Ontario
  • 30 percent of businesses believe the Ontario economy is going in the right direction, compared to 42 percent in 2012.
  • 48 percent of businesses plan to expand in the next five years, down 14 points from 2013.
  • The automotive/manufacturing sector is among the least confident in the province. Just 53 percent of businesses in that sector are confident in their own organization’s economic outlook, compared to a 62 percent provincial average.
The detailed policy recommendations in Emerging Stronger 2016 are focused on increasing economic stability, supporting investment and fostering business growth across the province. In order to achieve this, some of the key areas that need to be addressed are: fostering a culture of innovation and smart risk-taking in order to become a productivity leader, building a 21st century workforce, restoring fiscal balance by improving the way government works, taking advantage of new opportunities in the global economy, and strategically investing in our competitive advantages. “Ontario businesses are looking for stability and economic certainty,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the OCC. “Emerging Stronger offers a detailed roadmap for how government can work with the business sector to achieve their shared goals. Uncertainty throughout the global economy and, specifically in the resources industry, is further compounding concerns in the private sector, and it is important that public policy address the concerns of the business community.” About the Ontario Business Confidence Index: The annual Ontario Business Confidence Index is the most comprehensive survey of business opinion in the province (1,310 respondents, survey conducted in November 2015). The margin of error for the survey is 2.71%, 19 times out of 20. The OCC began collecting this data in 2012. Read the Report: Emerging Stronger 2016 Read the two-pager: Emerging Stronger 2016

The Chamber is Hiring a New Communications Manager

The key to successful relationships in life and in business is good communication. Everyone communicates but not everyone is understood. Are you awesome at getting the right message to the right person? Are you creative, results-oriented, can work to a deadline, love working with words, managing social media, detail-oriented, trustworthy, a team player, strategic thinker and you have a good sense of humour? If so, we have a position for you. As the Communication Manager for the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, you will create and manage the strategic communications for the organization.  Strategic Communications
  • Develop and execute integrated communication strategies that support the chamber’s organizational goals
  • Develop, write, and produce public relations, marketing and advertising material to build the chamber’s profile with key internal and external stakeholders
  • Provide communications support and expertise to all levels of staff, including management and the board of directors
  • Write copy for President & Chair of the Board
  • Conduct government relations and advocacy research, analysis and messaging
  • Publish Chamber Advocate Magazine, manage editorial and production of content and Chamber online newsletter
  • Periodically coordinate Membership surveys
  • Support event promotion by creating/distribution of flyers, email communications, social media and post event coverage
  • Adhere to brand guidelines in all outside communications
Media Relations
  • Support crisis communications
  • Support media relations including media list development and maintenance, drafting media materials and conducting outreach including advertising
Social Media
  • Coordinate and administer social media outreach
  • Conduct social media measurement and tracking
  • Create content for social media vehicles; twitter, facebook, linkedin and youtube
  • Lead email campaigns for Chamber events
  • Maintain Hootsuite Account to schedule social media posting to ensure regular postings
  • Coordinate weekly with the Vice-President Operations & Event Manager on email campaigns
Website Development and Maintenance
  • Write and update website content including regular blog posts
  • Update website with all events including management of partnership commitments
  • Work with Vice President of Membership to manage online advertising programs
Other Duties
  • Assist with and execute events as required
  • Database maintenance
  • Assist with administrative duties
  • Support Chamber advocacy work
Education Requirements
  • Post Graduate Public Relations Certificate
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Publishing
  • Honours Degree in English
Technical Skills
  • WordPress, Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, Constant Contact, Survey Monkey & Hootsuite
Personal Attributes
  • Ability to manage multiple deadlines
  • Highly developed writing skills
  • Editorial skills
  • Proficient with social media
  • Diplomacy
  • Excellent people skills
Interested in apply? Online form is here. Or paste this url into your browser: https://talentseeker.com/apply/occ/browse.jsp

Oakville Chamber Renews its Accreditation with Distinction

distin-e-r2016-2018The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce it has successfully renewed its Chamber Accreditation of Distinction. The national accreditation program was designed to recognize chambers who satisfy a set of high standards and practices – chambers who look to the future and want to stand out.

What is Accreditation?

In 2004, representatives from all levels of the chamber network formed the Chamber Accreditation Council of Canada (CACC) and launched a national accreditation program designed to recognize chambers that satisfy a set of high standards and practices—chambers that seek to stand out, that look to the future. Accreditation is a formal acknowledgement that member chambers of commerce/boards of trade have been successfully evaluated by the CACC against rigorous national standards of policy, service and performance.

Benefits

Accreditation will ensure:
  • 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.
The Oakville Chamber of Commerce truly values its members and maintaining this Accreditation of Distinction is an essential part of this ongoing commitment.  

The Governor General of Canada Visits Oakville

Governor GeneralThe Oakville Community Foundation, in partnership with the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, welcomed His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston to Oakville on the evening of December 15. With 650 guests in attendance at the Oakville Conference Centre, His Excellency addressed the Syrian refugee crisis and Canada’s resettlement plan. In his speech, Mr. Johnston iterated that the refugees aren’t numbers – they’re people who have specific needs. He further called upon communities to focus on those needs, and match them with the extraordinary outpouring of generosity from people in Oakville, as well as across Canada. Following the Governor General’s address, Wendy Rinella, CEO of Oakville Community Foundation, announced the Oakville Resettlement Fund which will make grants to registered charities who are playing a role in refugee re-settlement issues, needs and solutions in the Oakville community. Below is the Governor General of Canada’s Address: What a pleasure it is to be here in Oakville with all of you to talk about giving a warm welcome to Syrian refugees. Let me say how wonderful it is that many of you have travelled here today from other communities in the region. It’s so important that we share our best thinking and work together. This of course isn’t the first time you’ve gathered to discuss refugee resettlement. And  what you’ve achieved herewith the Oakville Resettlement Fund—which is one of many across the country—is so impressive. Bravo to everyone involved! As you know, two weeks ago we held a forum at Rideau Hall on welcoming Syrian refugees to Canada. And at that event, I called this humanitarian effort a defining moment for our country. What do I mean by that? I mean that it’s a moment to reflect upon our fundamental values as Canadians; to test the depth of our commitment to diversity, inclusiveness and tolerance; and to demonstrate our willingness, and our ability, to help people in desperate need. Let me pause there for a moment and share with you an important point made by one of our panellists at the Rideau Hall forum: Conrad Sauvé of the Canadian Red Cross. “We’re dealing with people who are fleeing war,” he said. “Nobody wants to leave their home. They’re leaving because they don’t have a choice, because they’ve lost hope.” But he added: “Their hope now is Canada.” Mr. Sauvé has been to the refugee camps, and his was an important reminder that refugees aren’t numbers, they’re people—people who have very specific needs. Our job is to focus on those needs, and to match those needs with the extraordinary outpouring of generosity coming from people here in Oakville and right across Canada. Without a doubt, we are caring—now we have to be smart about it. Now, let me build on the idea that this is a defining moment for Canada and for communities such as this one. Because it’s something else too. It’s an opportunity. This is an opportunity to strengthen communities throughout southern and southwestern Ontario and right across the country; to re-imagine how we care for the marginalized and vulnerable among us; and to reaffirm our cities and towns as smart and caring communities that balance both equality of opportunity and excellence. On this, let me again invoke the resettlement funds that many of your communities are creating. While these funds are being created as a response to the needs of Syrian refugees, they can also be used for future resettlement challenges and to strengthen inclusiveness overall. So this is a great example of what I mean when I say we have an opportunity to build our communities for the future. All of you who are here today understand that this is both a challenge and an opportunity for our respective communities. So how do we proceed? Let me share a few insights and ideas that were shared by those who attended the refugee forum at Rideau Hall. They are leaders in the field, some of Canada’s best and brightest when it comes to welcoming and integrating refugees. These insights and ideas can be grouped into three broad themes or categories: coordination, inclusiveness and communication. Naturally, they overlap to some degree. First, the importance of coordinating our efforts. This of course means working together, but it also means not reinventing the wheel. This may be the first time your community has welcomed large numbers of refugees, but ask yourselves what kind of resources and organizations already exist here that you can adapt, leverage and build upon. This includes organizations that don’t have refugee or humanitarian causes in their mandates. What skills and facilities already exist that could be put to good use? One aspect of coordination comes in paying close attention to your local strengths and limitations. As with most of the challenges we face in Canada, one size does not fit all. Why would refugee settlement be any different? The community of Oakville, for example, has specific strengths that can be leveraged to great effect. Focus on using those unique strengths to support the areas where you or nearby communities may be lacking. The second theme I want to emphasize is the importance of inclusiveness. This is so important. After all, inclusiveness is really just another way of saying “community,” and this is where the expertise of so many people in this room can be invaluable. Being successfully inclusive is a community effort, from the services a city or town can provide—language lessons, resource centres, recreation—to the critical role of the private sector. The centrality of finding employment was one of the points raised at the Rideau Hall forum. Employers can play a key role by hiring refugees, holding an open house, acting as mentors, and creating welcoming workplaces. On this, we’re very fortunate in Canada to have a strong appreciation of diversity in the workplace. As Margaret Eaton, the executive director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council pointed out at the forum, employers understand that talent is what matters, which means that highly-skilled and educated Syrian refugees can be a strong asset to any organization. Let me move to my third theme: the critical importance of communication. Before the discussions got underway at the Rideau Hall forum, we watched a video message recorded specially for the occasion by a representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, who simply said: “What we need most in times of turmoil are visible signs of solidarity.” It was a reminder not only that the world is watching Canada, but also of the key role communications play in the effort to welcome and settle refugees. This means a number of things. One, it means clearly communicating our plans and initiatives to each other, a point which goes back to the need for coordination. Two, it also means effectively communicating with refugees themselves, a requirement that underscores the need for interpreters and translation services. And three, it means paying attention to how we communicate with the general public. In this, as in all of our efforts to create a more just society, the message must be that helping those in need helps us all. It’s not a zero-sum equation, or an either/or situation. Rather, the more we’re able to integrate and support those in need, the more we create prosperity across our society. This is especially true given our changing demographics in Canada, as well as our vast geography. So with this in mind, I’d like to challenge all of you to find ways to talk to the people who aren’t in this room—your neighbours, members of your community, your kids’ hockey coach or the people you see at the dog park. Make the case to as many people as you can as to why this is both the right and the bright thing to do. Because in the end, a refugee family is no different than a family of recent immigrants or a family that has been here for generations: all seek a better life for themselves and their children, and all contribute through their striving for a stronger, more prosperous Canada. Quite simply, this is the story of our country, past, present and future. And just as we look back with pride on the welcome that was given to Vietnamese boat people or that the First Nations gave to early settlers who were starving and dying of scurvy in the 17th century, your grandchildren and your grandchildren’s grandchildren will look back on this as a moment when we did the right thing. Let it be known: to help people in need is to be on the right side of history. On that note, I think of the nationwide My Giving Moment campaign, which aims to celebrate and inspire giving by encouraging people to share their stories of helping others. We can think of this effort to welcome and resettle Syrian refugees as one giant My Giving Moment for Canada. What a wonderful display of empathy and generosity to inspire not just all Canadians, but the world! You are leaders in your communities in various fields in the public, private and non-profit sectors. You are committed to successful refugee settlement and to ensuring an inclusive society for all. You know how important this work is, and you know that individual Canadians will determine the extent of our success in this project. We must seize this window of opportunity. As you all know, right now there is a sense of momentum among Canadians, but we can’t be sure it will be there in two weeks or a month. We must make the most of it. I know we can and will, because the cause and the company are very good. Now let me close with a story that inspires me that comes from this part of the province. This being southern Ontario, no doubt you’re all familiar with the Mennonite tradition of barn-raising. The story is set just outside Waterloo, where my wife, Sharon, and I lived on a farm before our move to Ottawa. One day, our neighbour, Edgar—a kind and generous member of the local Mennonite community—was over at our house while Sharon was going over the budget for our farm. At one point, she asked Edgar, “How much would it cost to replace the barn?” Edgar replied, “Why do you need to know?” To this, Sharon explained that she was trying to reduce our farm’s operating costs, and so was going over the insurance portfolio. For this, she needed to put a price on the barn in the event that it burned down. Edgar replied that there was no need to put a price on the barn, because if it burned down, the neighbours and community members would volunteer their time and recycled lumber to come together to replace it, free of charge. He then hesitated for a moment, before adding, “Put $2,000 down because we’ll need to buy new asphalt shingles.” Now, this story may seem extraordinary, but everywhere I go in this country, I see evidence of this impulse to help others, and how it is both generous and practical. It has led me to see barn-raising as a metaphor for how we can build a smarter, more caring Canada. The welcome that people in this community and right across the country are giving to Syrian refugees is a great example of barn-raising. Quite literally, you’re putting roofs over the heads of those who have lost everything. A warm Canadian welcome in a cold Canadian winter—what could be more fitting? Canada’s diverse, tolerant, multicultural society is one of our great strengths and perhaps our greatest contribution to the world. That’s why it’s so important that we succeed in welcoming refugees. That, and simply because it’s the right thing to do. I’m so glad you’re all here today for those people in need, and for Canada. Let’s work together and meet this defining giving moment for our country head-on. Thank you.  


Members in the News

mye photo for BA   Mye Restaurant celebrated its 28th Anniversary and 4th Annual Feast for Good on Nov 2nd. Since 2012, Owner and Executive Chef Motoaki Aoki has celebrated the anniversary with a fundraiser dinner that donates 100% of money raised to the New Oakville Hospital. Now a local tradition, this year’s event raised $14,000, donating a grand total of $164,000 to the hospital since its inception three years ago. The funds will aid in the purchase of hospital beds and lifesaving equipment at the New Oakville Hospital which opens in December 2015.     UnionGas Union Gas has donated $3000 to the Town of Oakville to help fund future tree planting efforts in a local woodlot devastated by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB.) Chamber Director, Mark Egbedeyi-Emmanuel, Union Gas district manager for Hamilton/Halton, presented Mayor Burton with the donation.         infinitycommInfinityComm™, a full service marketing and creative agency, located in Oakville is proud to be the only Canadian company to win a Dolphin at the Cannes Corporate Media and TV awards 2015. InfinityComm took home a Silver Dolphin in the category of Sponsoring, Non-Profit and CSR, at the festival honouring the world’s finest corporate films, for “Yellow Pages’ Shop The Neighbourhood™” series of videos. The award winning video series was created to remind us of the benefits local shopping can have in creating healthy thriving neighbourhoods. InfinityComm is a proud member of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce a participant in Shop The Neighbourhood.   john wilmott John Willmott, award-winning architect and chamber member, held his fifth annual JWA Student Design Competition in November. The unique contest was initiated in 2011 as a way to give back to Oakville and to “inspire students to embrace the creativity of architectural design.” Any local grade 11 or 12 student with vision and enthusiasm can apply. Each year a new theme is the focus — a skating rink, a new stage for the Jazz Fest, a Little League announcer’s booth, and a bus station have been featured in the past. This year’s winner, Siren Xiang from grade 12 at St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School, created a redesign of the Oakville Harbour lighthouse.     Congratulations to Neil Cawse, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Geotab Inc.—an industry leader in fleet management, driver safety and vehicle-tracking technology—is this year’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Ontario winner. Neil Cawse, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Geotab Inc.—an industry leader in fleet management, driver safety and vehicle-tracking technology—is this year’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Ontario winner. Oakville Community FoundationThe Oakville Community Foundation released its annual Vital Signs® report which aims to identify the major issues affecting quality of life in the Oakville community while shining a light on the good work being done by charitable agencies, citizens and local governments to improve the lives of vulnerable individuals and families. The OCF is one of 29 community foundations across Canada that presented its own local report.


Greater Toronto Area Leads Province in Economic Growth: Ontario Economic Update 2016

The most wide-reaching provincial economic forecast of the year, the Ontario Economic Update 2016, was released today by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Credit Unions of Ontario. According to the data, the Toronto Economic Region underwent an economic resurgence in 2015 and will continue to perform strongly over the next two years. The Toronto Economic Region, which spans from Clarington to Milton, is projected to create 79,000 net new jobs by the end of 2015, after stagnant job growth numbers in 2014. Similarly, the projected unemployment rate for 2015 is 7.3 percent, down from 8.0 percent in 2014. Meanwhile, the labour force is projected to grow by 1.6 percent in 2015. Most employment growth in 2015 has been in three service industries: professional, scientific and technical; finance, insurance and real estate; and transportation and warehousing. Some sectors saw notable declines, including manufacturing and public administration. The analysis suggests, however, that the public administration sector will probably see some growth over the coming years given the new federal government’s agenda. Looking ahead, job growth in the Toronto Economic Region is forecast at 1.7 percent in 2016 and 1.5 percent in 2017, while the unemployment rate will shrink to 6.7 percent by 2017. The high-profile Toronto housing market continues to be red hot. It led all Ontario regions with the largest average price increase of over nine percent in 2015. The average residential sales price in the Toronto Economic Region will rise to a projected $680,000 in 2016, up over $100,000 since 2014. According to the provincewide data, most areas of Ontario will enjoy improving economic conditions in the coming year. Growth will be driven in part by an uptick in exports, the result of a stronger U.S. economy and a low Canadian dollar. Government fiscal policy will also be a key driver, as federal and provincial infrastructure commitments will stimulate growth across a variety of sectors.


Governor General of Canada to visit Oakville

Governor General of CanadaThe Oakville Community Foundation, in partnership with the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, is honoured to present a thought-provoking keynote address by His Excellence the Right Honourable David Johnston. The Governor General of Canada will speak about the community effort to welcome Syrian refugees to Canada. This dinner event will take place Tuesday, December 15 at the Oakville Conference Centre, starting at 5:30pm with registration and reception. Business attire is recommended. Purchase tickets online or call the Oakville Chamber at (905)845-6613.

About the Governor General of Canada

David Johnston began his professional career as an assistant professor in the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University in 1966, moving to the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law in 1968. He became dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario in 1974. In 1979, he was named principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University, and in July 1994, he returned to teaching as a full-time professor in the McGill Faculty of Law. In June 1999, he became the fifth president of the University of Waterloo. Mr. Johnston has served on many provincial and federal task forces and committees, and has also served on the boards of a number of public companies. He was president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and of the Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec. He was the founding chair of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy and chaired the federal government’s Information Highway Advisory Council. His academic specializations include securities regulation, information technology and corporate law. Mr. Johnston holds an LL.B. from Queen’s University (1966); an LL.B. from the University of Cambridge (1965); and an AB from Harvard University (1963). While at Harvard, he was twice selected for the All-American hockey team and was named to Harvard’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He was the first non-American to chair Harvard’s Board of Overseers. He is the author or co-author of 24 books including new editions, holds honorary doctorates from over 20 universities and is a Companion of the Order of Canada. He was born in Sudbury, Ontario, and is married to Sharon Johnston. They have five daughters and 12 grandchildren. Sworn in on October 1, 2010, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston is the 28th governor general since Confederation.  

These Three Businesses are Thriving in Kerr Village

Elm Hill CookiesThe Oakville Chamber of Commerce recently visited three businesses in the Kerr Village BIA to learn about their products and offer chamber members an opportunity to discover some of the unique retailers situated in this eclectic and welcoming community.

Elm Hill Cookies

There’s no place quite like Elm Hill Cookies, where the sweet aroma of freshly baked cookies is only surpassed by the taste of these scrumptious baked treats. A sprinkling of tables and chairs invite visitors to stay in this cozy and charming shop to indulge their sweet tooth. Owner, Janis Smith, opened the doors to this unique shop in 2010 and her reputation for supplying mouth-watering cookies has been growing steadily. “The cookies are baked fresh every morning,” says Janis who has turned cookie making into an art form. “Our focus is on taste, not decoration, and providing an experience like no other.” Judging by the assortment of bars and cookies in the glass showcase, it’s hard to believe the beauty of the cookie comes second. But maybe that’s a good thing – these morsels are too tasty for mere gazing. All baking is done in the kitchen, situated at the back of the store, from the dough to the toffee in the Oat Toffee Crunch Cookie. Compromising on freshness and quality is not an option, says Janis, which is why she has no plans to expand beyond her Kerr Street shop, except through wholesale. Today, a number of retailers across the GTA now stock Elm Hill Cookies on their shelves. She also offers businesses corporate gifts which can be customized to suit any budget. When asked what is the most-requested cookie, Janis is hesitant. “For a hundred people that come through the door, there’s a hundred different tastes, but if I had to choose, it would be the Kerr Street Cookie and the Carrot Pumpkin Whoopee Pie.” She makes a good point – having to choose just one cookie is a next-to-impossible feat for anyone who visits Elm Hill Cookies.

Jenso Upholstering

jenso upholsteryJenso Upholstering has been breathing new life into furniture with impeccable quality since 1991. Starting out of the basement of their home, this family-run business moved to its current Oakville location in Kerr Village in 1996 where they’ve specialized in upholstering, drapery, slip-covers, and re-finishing ever since. “We get all kinds of requests,” says Suzette Jeffers-Smith. “We’ll do it all. From re-upholstering motorcycle seats to making custom headboards, our priority is craftsmanship. And, that’s what we’ve become known for through word-of-mouth.” Much of the furniture that comes through Jenso’s doors are anywhere from one year to twenty years old. Customers often recognize the quality of an older piece of furniture and would prefer to give it a facelift than risk buying a new piece of lower quality with a potentially shorter life. “Everything we do is custom,” explains Suzette. “We go right to the bone of your furniture and replace with only high quality material.” When asked about do-it-yourselfers, Suzette concedes that they are happy to offer them whatever resources they need from fabrics to high-quality eco-friendly foam because of the recent rise in customer requests. However, she cautions DIY customers that sometimes it’s worth it to use the professionals if the intent is to use the upcycled piece of furniture for another 20 years. “I will tell customers the truth,” Suzette admits. “If a piece of furniture has good bones, I’ll recommend they keep it and fix it. But I’ll also tell them if it’s not worth fixing, even if it means admitting that a one-year-old sofa just isn’t high enough quality to do an expensive repair.” With an increasing awareness of the environment and the desire to reduce, re-use and recycle, the interest in reupholstering is not likely to wane anytime soon; that’s good news for Jenso. With their eye for good quality and commitment to delivering fine craftsmanship, it’s quite possible the facelift they provide a piece of furniture may result in a product even better than when it was first purchased.

The Mermaid and the Oyster Seafood Market

Mermaid and OysterThe Mermaid and the Oyster evokes a Maritime feel the second one walks into this seafood market and bistro. This comes as no surprise considering the owner, Dean Maclean, grew up in PEI, moving to Ontario when he was 24 years old to start a business selling lobsters to wholesalers. That idea evolved into this Kerr Street Village gem. They specialize in fresh seafood and oyster shucking, as well as offer a hearty selection of Maritime-worthy dishes served in their casual bistro. Customers who visit the store appreciate the fisherman-level knowledge of every piece of seafood sold. “We know all about what we sell,” says Dean. “Unlike a grocery store where the level of expertise isn’t necessarily available, we can tell you where it came from, how to cook it, and make recommendations based on what the customer is looking for.” Dean, however, spends a large portion of his time shucking oysters. The Mermaid and the Oyster will set up oyster stations to shuck for up to 70 events a month during the busy summer season at weddings, bars or poolside parties. “We’ve become well-known for our oysters over the past ten years,” explains Dean. “It wasn’t easy, but we slowly built our reputation and now have a great clientele.” Now that the holiday season is in full swing, the orders for lobsters and seafood platters are a popular choice for party menus. As the current Chair of the Kerr Village BIA, Dean is thrilled with the area improvements that have taken place over the past few years and is committed to continuing the pace in this up-and-coming community. He has no intention of leaving any time soon because, he explains, Kerr Village will only get better. This article is published in the November-December issue of the Business Advocate Magazine. Photos courtesy of Janet Bedford. 

Former CFL player Orlando Bowen to Address Young Professionals

Orlando BowenMotivational speaker and former CFL player, Orlando Bowen, will share his journey in overcoming adversity and using his passion to found and lead his youth leadership organization, One Voice, One Team at the Harbour Banquet & Conference Centre on Thursday November 19. The Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs Group (YPEG) has partnered with PwC to welcome Chamber members and non-members to come hear his inspirational story and enjoy networking among their professional peers. Renowned for motivating his audience to find their passion and use their gifts to serve, the former Argonaut decided to dedicate himself to serving communities after a very challenging period in his own life. Over a decade ago, he was savagely beaten by two plainclothes police officers. They planted drugs on him and charged him with assaulting police and possession of drugs. Although he was soon acquitted, he was forced into early retirement from his CFL career due to a concussion he suffered during the beating. The ordeal nearly destroyed his reputation and many of his friendships. However, he maintains the experience made him a better man and was what compelled him to found and lead One Voice, One Team – an organization that empowers youth to become leaders. “We hope this event inspires young professionals to bring passion and positive change to their professional lives,” explained YPEG Chair and Chamber Director, Jennifer Kazmaier. “We are excited to welcome Orlando Bowen to Oakville to share his incredible story.” YPEG engages young professionals and entrepreneurs between 18 and 40 years old through connection, collaboration, and learning opportunities that enhance and support the Oakville business community. This event is open to chamber members and non-members of all ages. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased HERE. Ticket prices are $35 plus HST, and includes appetizers, networking, and features a cash bar. Details Date:               Thursday, November 19, 2015 Time:               5:30-6:00pm Registration; 6:00pm Keynote speaker Location:         Harbour Banquet & Conference Centre 2340 Ontario Street, Oakville  


Oakville Chamber Welcomes New Members – October 2015

Advance Financial Group Ltd. Av Kapoor www.advancegroupbenefits.com Group Benefits Century 21 Dreams Inc. Shireen Preksta Shireen Preksta www.century21dreams.ca Real Estate Change Energy Services Rymal Smith www.changeenergy.ca Energy CJ’s Coffee Fundraising CJ Martin www.cjscoffeefundraising.com Fundraising Services Crimson Rose Living Jacob Sharaw www.crimsonroseliving.com Custom Home Builder CStorelife Media Inc. Peter Karris peterkarris@icloud.com Media Go Touch Down Travel and Tours Ltd. Michael Degli-Angeli www.gotouchdowntravelandtours.com Travel Grout Expectations Chris Soper www.groutexpectations.ca Grout Cleaning Keyser Mason Ball LLP Joanne Gilbert www.kmblaw.com Law Firm Kingsway Realty Elite Jacob.sharawi@gmail.com Jacob Sharawi Real Estate Services Maserati Alfa Romeo of Oakville Paul Lazzari www.maseratiofoakville.com Automotive Otello’s Banquet & Convention Centre Inc. Joanne Isabella www.otellos.com Banquet Centre Willow Strategic Marketing Inc. Jennifer Stothers www.willowstrategy.com Advertising and Marketing

Oakville Chamber Wins Gold

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce received first place honours in the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s annual best practices competition. This tenth year of the competition was focused on creating community partnerships to expand the opportunities for community success. Submissions were received from chambers across Canada. The Oakville Chamber was among the top three entries and was asked to present at the Canadian Chamber Annual General Meeting, held on October 17 & 18, in Ottawa. During his presentation, Oakville Chamber President, John Sawyer, explained the importance of developing a strategy to build partnerships that will increase the organization’s influence and raise its profile in the community. Such a strategy has helped enhance the Oakville Chamber’s image as the “go to” organization that connects business with government. Valuable partnerships that the Chamber has   developed over the years include many well-respected, high profile businesses, not-for-profits, charities, and community-based organizations. “It was an honour to share the Oakville Chamber’s partnership strategy with chambers across the country,” said Chamber Chair, Kerry Colborne. “This simple approach to building relationships can be used by any chamber to become the go-to organization to partner with in the community. We are thrilled to be recognized by our peers.”


Welcome New Members – September 2015

Better Events Management Group Inc. Johnathan Reiser www.betterbusinessexpo.ca Canadian Grain Inc. Jamal Shihadeh www.canadiangraininc.com Charge Electric Inc. Nicholas Pezzi www.chargeelectric.ca Chrysalis Scientific Technologies Inc. Stephen Timmings www.chrysalisscientific.com Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa Lesley Whyte www.handandstone.ca Karl Wulf Royal LePage Karl Wulf www.thejeffhamteam.ca Kaufman Online Erin Kaufman www.kaufmankingdom.acnibo.com Kids & Company – Cornwall Road Christie White www.kidsandcompany.com Kids & Company – Dundas Location Christie White www.kidsandcompany.com Kids & Company – Ford Location Christie White www.kidsandcompany.com MEI Modern European Interiors Helena Asikainen www.meiinteriors.com Network Group of Oakville Inc. o/a MYNGO Shirley Tom www.myngo.ca Powerful Life Consulting Silvia Pencak www.silviapencak.com RPT Communications Curtis Lush www.zigee.ca Shenglin Financial Group Inc. Sam Li www.shenglin.com  


Oakville Chamber of Commerce Looks Forward to Working with John Oliver and Pam Damoff on Making our Region More Competitive

  The Oakville Chamber of Commerce congratulates both Pam Damoff and John Oliver on being elected and looks forward to working with both of our new MPs on key issues such as the shortage of skilled workers, investment in infrastructure and developing a manufacturing strategy focused on global competiveness.  Making these policies a priority will create an environment that will encourage business and economic growth. John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber said: “We have had the opportunity to work with Pam and John in the past and I want to congratulate them on their successful campaigns.  The Chamber and the businesses we represent look forward to working with John and Pam to put in place a context wherein local businesses can thrive and grow”. “Our chamber also extends its congratulations to Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau and the Liberal team on winning a majority government. Having a stable majority government will permit the Liberal team to put in place a strong plan to promote Canada’s competitiveness. During the campaign, the Liberals set out their vision for our economy. Their plan to invest in new infrastructure, done strategically, will be positive for Canada’s economy. New transportation infrastructure will increase access to markets for Canadian businesses of all sizes.” Having just returned from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) this past weekend Mr. Sawyer emphasizes that the Oakville Chamber is confident that there is common ground to be found with the new government from the resolutions passed at the AGM that will help grow the economy. Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Hon. Perrin Beatty concurred:  “When I looked across the room at our AGM over the weekend, I saw hundreds of chambers like the Oakville Chamber, collectively representing over 200,000 businesses, all working together to make our economy stronger. The will to work together with other chambers across Canada is strong. We all welcome the prospect of working with the government on building a stronger, more competitive Canada; a Canada that wins.”    

READ THE FALL ISSUE

The Business Advocate print magazine is published bi-monthly, covering what’s new in policy, chamber events, members and business topics. This latest issue features the Chamber’s Annual Chair’s Dinner which took place October 1st. Read the September/October 2015 Issue


Packed House for 2015 Candidates’ Debate in Oakville

The Oakville Chamber hosted a Candidates’ Debate for Oakville and Oakville North-Burlington candidates on Tuesday, October 6th at Glen Abbey United Church. The room was packed with residents eager to hear candidates’ responses to a wide range of questions from taxes to daycare, and marijuana to infrastructure. Moderators Wendy Rinella and Aby Alameddine kept the pace moving and were compelled to control the crowd a number of times on contentious issues. The Oakville Chamber is strictly non-partisan, and is committed to working with all major political parties, elected officials, and senior staff at all four levels of government. TVCogeco will air the debate on Thursday, October 8 at 10am and Monday October 12 at 7pm. You can also view the debate here. Candidates were invited to submit a summary on their platform and a few issues that were not addressed at the debate to the Oakville Chamber. Responses are posted below: Dave ClementDave Clement, Libertarian Party Candidate, Oakville North-Burlington
Contact Information
David Clement was born and raised in Oakville and proudly calls Oakville home. He holds both an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Wilfrid Laurier University. David’s work experience represents his diverse skillset, having worked as a Market Risk Analyst at Scotia Capital, a Segregated Fund Analyst at Manulife Financial, and most recently as the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David is currently working in the consulting field and has worked on projects that discuss energy security, youth engagement in electoral politics, and municipal issues. David has a strong commitment to non-profit work and is currently the Vice President of Operations for the Mises Institute of Canada, which is an organization focused on economics education. David’s non-profit work has extended internationally with his involvement in Students For Liberty. David was the first Canadian appointed to the North American Executive Board, and sat on SFL’s International Executive Board. David’s passion for politics and political involvement has been present from a young age, and he hopes to bring fiscal accountability and social tolerance to Ottawa.
In your opinion what are Oakville’s top infrastructure needs and how does your party plan to address them? There are a variety of infrastructure issues in Oakville and Burlington that need to be accommodated for. That being said, the Libertarian Party of Canada does not think that local infrastructure projects are an appropriate use of federal funds. The reason for this is that whenever a political party talks about expanding local infrastructure with federal funds, they ultimately end up taxing Canadians in Alberta, and elsewhere, to pay for it. I think we need to move away from the idea that we need to expand infrastructure locally from the taxes of people who live thousands of kilometers away. I also do not want to tax people in this riding to pay for infrastructure elsewhere. If the region has infrastructure issues, we should be looking to our local and provincial politicians regarding funding. Focusing on local and regional solutions to local issues ensures that problems are dealt with by those who actually experience the problems, which makes the created policies far more responsive to the needs of residents. One local issue that I do continuously see is business turnover. Our plan to combat this is to significantly reduce the amount of red tape that small businesses face, and reduce business taxes. This makes starting a business, and staying in business, much easier. What measures would your party pursue to ensure Oakville manufacturers can compete globally? The Libertarian platform is by far the strongest when it comes to the economy, job creation and global competitiveness. The first step in spurring innovation and competition is lowering personal income taxes, corporate taxes, and small business taxes. By lowering taxes across the board, Canada as a whole, and Oakville/Burlington specifically, can continue to be a hot spot for investment and economic development. In today’s global economy, tax rates are a leading factor in a region’s competitiveness, which is why we want to lower taxes across the board to continue to make Canada more attractive and competitive. Being globally orientated is a requirement in today’s economic environment. The Libertarian Party is the only party that will end all tariffs on foreign goods. Doing so will open up Canadian consumers, and Canadian manufacturers, to the world economy. Eliminating tariffs ensures that our economy is open to the world, and encourages the world to open its doors to us. Eliminating tariffs also saves consumers and manufacturers over $7 billion/year in inflated prices caused by tariffs, which is a huge step in ensuring manufacturing remains competitive. Along with eliminating tariffs we will also eliminate all forms of corporate welfare to level the economic playing field. We do not think that Canadians should be taxed, only to have their money be given to large corporations. Furthermore, eliminating corporate welfare means that government is no longer picking winners and losers in the marketplace, which empowers consumers (citizens), and creates a truly competitive market. How will you and your party fill the growing gap in skilled trades? And in particular, how will you attract young people to the trades?  Please provide a concrete example. First off, it has to be pointed out that education (which includes education for trades) is handled by the provincial government, and not the federal government. Although this is ultimately a provincial responsibility, there are policies that the Libertarian Party would enact that would help fill the trades gap. One policy we would enact to help solve this problem is to eliminate the point system for immigrants. The government has a bad track record of “picking” the right immigrants which further drives the trade shortfall. Simply put, increasing immigration without the current strings of the point system will allow for the trade labour gap to be reduced. The Libertarian Party of Canada would replace the point system with a comprehensive background check to ensure that the immigrants who do come to Canada are not linked to criminal/terror related organizations. Would you please define “middle class”?  And how would Oakville families and businesses benefit from your policies? There isn’t much value in defining the middle class, however, if I were to define it I would define it as families with an income near the median income nationally. That income is approximately $70,000 and is the middle quintile for Canadian families. When it comes to how residents and businesses would benefit from our policies it is important to first realize that Canadians pay more in taxes than they do for food, clothing and shelter combined. That is why the Libertarian Party wants to reduce taxes for all Canadians. The process for this is quite simple:
  • Increase the Basic Exemption by over 50% to $17,300. This automatically means that every Canadian sees a dramatic increase in their tax free earnings
  • Eliminate all tax credits in exchange for 4, $4,000 tax exemptions (Child, Disability, Senior and Student).
  • Reduce taxes to a maximum rate of 15%
In practice, this means that families are immediately keeping more of their hard earned money. The average Oakville family saves over $5,500 per year under this system, and a low income family (under $42,000) would pay no taxes at the federal level. The average middle class family would save $4,110. Our tax plan benefits all Canadians and gives everyone the tax break they deserve. If you would like to see this tax plan in action, click here. che marvilleChe Marville, New Democratic Party Candidate, Oakville
Che Marville is a community leader and social entrepreneur who’s ready to deliver positive change for Oakville. With Tom Mulcair, she’ll work to fix the damage done by Stephen Harper and build a stronger middle class. As head of her own consulting firm, Che has worked with thousands of health care professionals to improve patient care by building healthier workplaces. She is currently Strategic Advisor for a national seniors’ wellness program for Origin Retirement Community, where she focusses on preventative health care—for patients and caregivers alike. Earlier, Che was Senior Advisor for Human Resources and Wellbeing for Toronto’s University Health Network. She also chaired the first employee health and wellness centre at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Che began her career in the museum sector, starting out as a project manager for the Ontario Science Centre, where she led a series of ground-breaking programs for 16 years. She later co-founded the Children’s Own Media Museum. Che is a lifelong community volunteer and a proud 13-year resident of Oakville. She holds a BA from York University’s Glendon College and a Professional Certificate in Project Management from the Schulich School of Business. Building on her 30 years of experience in the volunteer sector, Che is ready to be a strong voice for Oakville in Parliament. In your opinion what are Oakville’s top infrastructure needs and how does your party plan to address them? The top infrastructure needs of Oakville are the ongoing ones related to improving roads, bridges and public transit, together with more affordable housing. This is one of major challenges facing most municipalities across Canada. The NDP has developed a comprehensive plan to reverse the ongoing trend of minimizing investments in Oakville’s and other municipalities’ infrastructure. The main features include:
  • Ensure roads, bridges and vital infrastructure are there when we need them. We’ll start with the equivalent of one additional cent of the existing gas tax – ramping up an additional $1.5 billion at the end of a first mandate; to reach $3.7 billion annually instable long-term investment in core infrastructure.
  • Tackle gridlock and cut commute times with the NDP’s Better Transit Plan, developed in partnership with provinces, providing $1.3 billion annually in predictable, stable and transparent public transit investment over the next 20 years.
  • Make housing more affordable in our communities by sustaining investment in Canada’s affordable housing agreements, and by providing incentives for the construction of 10,000 affordable and market rental housing units.
What measures would your party pursue to ensure Oakville manufacturers can compete globally? Tom Mulcair and the NDP have committed to establishing an innovation tax credit for businesses that invest in machinery, equipment and property used in innovation-boosting research and development. This plan will save Canadian businesses making these critical R&D investments approximately $40 million each year. To revitalize Canada’s auto sector and protect good jobs, Tom Mulcair and the NDP have announced a comprehensive plan to get the sector back on track after a decline in manufacturing and a growing automotive trade deficit. The plan will:
  • Improve financial incentives for automakers and parts suppliers in exchange for firm commitments on jobs and investment.
  • Make it easier for automakers to setup operations in Canada with ICanada, a one-stop shop inside the federal government.
  • We will support research and innovation in the auto sector by nearly doubling the Automotive Supplier Innovation Program with new funds.
  • Support research and innovation in the auto sector including immediate funding renewal.
How will you and your party fill the growing gap in skilled trades? And in particular, how will you attract young people to the trades?  Please provide a concrete example. To build a skilled workforce in Canada, the NDP will help 40,000 young Canadians get jobs, paid internship or coop placements. To achieve this, we will partner with small business, industry, NGOs and government. In addition to this $200 million plan, we will create apprenticeship spaces through federal infrastructure projects, in federally regulated airports or Port Authorities, and with crown corporations, while establishing apprenticeship ratios. And, an NDP Government will partner with municipalities and Indigenous governments to hire apprentices for infrastructure projects. Require youth apprenticeships in all major federally-owned infrastructure and public works projects.
  • We will require all federal infrastructure projects greater than $10 million to hire apprentices.
  • This will apply to all development projects at federally regulated airports, port authorities, and Crown corporations.
  • This measure will create thousands of apprenticeships each year.
  • In partnership with Labour and Business we will establish firm apprenticeship ratios.
Provide grants to municipalities and Indigenous governments to hire apprentices in local infrastructure projects. o We will provide $5 million in grants annually so that local governments can create 1,250 youth apprenticeships each year. Protect Young Canadians o We will crack down on the use of unpaid internships and extend full health protections to interns under federal jurisdiction. Would you please define “middle class”?  And how would Oakville families and businesses benefit from your policies? Millions of Canadians identify themselves as middle class. They work hard, play by the rules and strive to give their children a better future. There are also families who despite their hard work, feel that they are struggling to get into the middle-class. The NDP understands what it’s like for today’s families to juggle work and family, and save for retirement. That’s why we have a plan to help middle-class families that includes creating quality affordable childcare and reducing the age of eligibility for Old Age Security from 67 to 65. Too many parents, mothers in particular, are sacrificing career goals because they can’t find affordable care.  The NDP is committed to delivering a Canada-wide early childhood education and childcare program. We will create or maintain a million quality childcare spaces in Canada – where parents pay no more than $15 a day. Studies show that for every dollar invested in childcare, our economy grows by $2. A national childcare program could generate more than $3 billion for the federal government through additional revenues and reduced costs. By helping more women return to the workforces, we will generate billions of new dollars for our economy. The climbing cost of tuition is an issue of great concern, and we’re asking for an unacceptable level of debt to be shouldered by young people. That’s why New Democrats will boost support for student grants, and work with the provinces to ensure that our post-secondary institutions can get the resources they need to provide a quality, affordable education that gives young people a strong start. Successive Liberal and Conservative governments have left students and their families on their own to deal with skyrocketing tuition levels. The result has been unmanageable debt loads – and at a moment when the quality of jobs available to young people has never been worse.  Right now, youth unemployment is double the national average, and CIBC has reported that the quality of jobs is at an all-time low. The NDP has a plan to create the quality jobs that young people need to thrive. We will kick-start manufacturing and small business job creation. Our plan for youth employment will partner with the private sector and NGOs to create an additional employment opportunities for 40,000 young Canadians. And we will put an end to the abuse of unpaid interns in federal jurisdiction, ensuring that young Canadians are fairly paid and receive important workplace protections.
janice bestJanice Best, New Democratic Party Candidate, Oakville North-Burlington
Contact Information
Unit #8, 1450 Headon Rd., Burlington, ON   L7M 3Z5, (289)636-4424 Janice Best is an experienced leader and small business owner who’ll be a strong voice in Parliament for Oakville North—Burlington. A recognized leader in Canada’s labour movement, Janice has a track-record of fighting for middle-class workers and families. Since 2007, she has served as the Ontario provincial Director of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union (C.O.P.E.). Earlier, she was Vice President of the Ontario Federation of Labour. And for 14 years, she was a Canadian Vice President with the Office and Professional Employees International Union. Throughout her career, Janice has worked to build links between small business and labour. She is currently growing her own independent jewelry business. Through extensive networking with other Chamber of Commerce members, she has deepened her understanding of the needs and challenges of local small businesses. Here in our community, Janice has volunteered at Telecare Burlington, taking calls from people in crisis. She is also a member of several networking organizations, including Business Network International, Company of Women and Women Who Excel. The Liberals promise of a “middle class” tax cut has no impact on the precariously employed, the working class or even the middle class – if their taxable income is below $44,700. Two thirds of tax filling Canadians, nearly 18 million people will not benefit from the so-called Liberal “middle class” tax break. As an article in Maclean’s pointed out back in May, under that plan, people with taxable incomes of $50,000 benefit less than those with taxable incomes of $150,000. The Conservatives always try to talk a good game about economic management but the facts, as outlined by economist Jim Stanford in his report “Rhetoric and Reality,” are a little harsher. Mr. Stanford’s conclusion is worth quoting directly, he said, “To the contrary, Canada’s economy has never performed worse, since the end of World War II, than under the present conservative government.” However, it should be noted that some Conservatives – like Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, Dean Del Mastro and Peter Penashue – are really good at managing their own personal economies. Janice is a 32-year local resident. As part of Tom Mulcair’s team, she’s determined to deliver results that matter here in Oakville North—Burlington. That starts with affordable childcare, a $15/hour federal minimum wage, better health care and strong pensions. On Oct. 19 – vote for the Best candidate – vote for Janice Best. In your opinion what are Oakville’s top infrastructure needs and how does your party plan to address them? Canada’s municipal infrastructure deficit is a staggering $172 billion–and rising. Municipalities own 60% of our public infrastructure. After years of downloading and neglect, too many municipalities like Oakville are struggling. We will ensure that roads, bridges and vital infrastructure are there when we need them. We’ll start with the equivalent of one additional cent of the existing gas tax— ramping up to an additional $1.5 billion at the end of a first mandate to reach $3.7 billion annually in stable, long-term investment in core infrastructure. We will tackle gridlock and cut commute times with Tom Mulcair’s Better Transit Plan, developed in partnership with provinces and territories, providing $1.3 billion annually in predictable, stable and transparent public transit investment over the next 20 years. Make housing more affordable in our communities by sustaining investment in Canada’s affordable housing agreements, and by providing incentives for the construction of 10,000 affordable and market rental housing units. What measures would your party pursue to ensure Oakville manufacturers can compete globally? Tom Mulcair and the NDP have committed to reducing the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% to better support a sector of our economy that creates 78% of all new private sector jobs in Canada. An NDP government would immediately cut small business taxes by one point in 2016-17, and by a second point in 2017- 18. Once fully implemented, this will cut small business taxes by nearly 20 percent. Additionally, the NDP has committed to extend the accelerated capital cost allowance for manufacturing and processing machinery and equipment. This will encourage new investment and help make Canada’s manufacturers more globally competitive and help manufactures attract new investors, grow their exports and create good, family-supporting jobs. How will you and your party fill the growing gap in skilled trades? And in particular, how will you attract young people to the trades?  Please provide a concrete example. The NDP will commit a total of $100 million dollars to leverage a similar amount of private sector investment to create approximately 20,000 youth positions in the form of jobs, coop placements, paid internships, and paid on-the-job training opportunities. Partnership opportunities will be open to small business, corporations, and NGOs to hire paid interns with a particular focus on the non-profit sector. The program will largely be based in the private sector, but the federal government will also provide employment where necessary or desired in areas such as the national parks system, community centres, and elsewhere. A particular emphasis will be placed on creating positions that provide meaningful training opportunities. Wherever possible, funds will be directed in a manner to ensure that young Canadians can continue to live and work in their home region. Additionally, we will require the use of apprentices in all major federal infrastructure projects and provide local governments with supplemental funding to hire 1,250 apprentices. Would you please define “middle class”?  And how would Oakville families and businesses benefit from your policies? Tom Mulcair has the plan to strengthen the middle-class and create well-paying jobs. An NDP government will cut taxes on small business owners by two per cent over two years. We will support jobs in the manufacturing sector by working with the provinces to create ICanada, a one-stop shop inside the federal government to help investors turn their plans for Canadian investment from blueprint into reality. We will create an Innovation Tax Credit for businesses that invest in machinery, equipment and property used in innovation-boosting research and development. We will also make targeted investments in Canada’s aerospace and automotive sectors by investing in space technology development, creating an aerospace advanced manufacturing fund, improving financial incentives for automakers, and working with stakeholders, provinces and municipalities to arrive at a National Automotive Strategy. Tom Mulcair will also help 40,000 young Canadians get jobs, paid internship or coop placements, and apprenticeship spaces. And, our commitment to introducing childcare across the country at no more than $15 a day will not only help tens of thousands of Canadian parents re-enter the labour market, but it will also create as many as 119,000 childcare-related jobs over four years. terence youngTerence Young, Conservative Party Candidate, Oakville
Contact Information
150 Randall St., Suite 100, Oakville, (905)842-4343 voteterenceyoung@gmail.com
I love my job working for the people of Oakville.  In the last seven years, I have achieved much for our community and the country. I introduced my Private Member’s Bill, Vanessa’s Law, to keep Canadians safe when using prescription drugs.  My legislation was adopted as a government bill and was unanimously passed by the House and the Senate. I need to be re-elected to ensure it gets enforced. I also seconded and supported Green Party Leader Elizabeth May’s Bill to create a framework for Lyme disease in Canada that is now law.  I have all party support for my Private Member’s Bill, C-648, to place safety warnings on cell phones, tablets and other devices that emit electromagnetic radiation. I need to be re-elected to make sure that bill doesn’t die on the Order Paper. My motion on The Status of Women Committee ordered a report on eating disorders in Canada that is a great resource for the provinces, those who suffer from eating disorders, and the families of sufferers. My attendance for votes in the House of Commons is 97%, and I return to Oakville from Ottawa every Thursday evening to meet with my constituents on Fridays. Prime Minister Harper is a brilliant economist who led us out of the great recession better than any other G7 nation. Since the depth of the global recession, Canada created 1.3 million new jobs.  Our current numbers on growth, banking stability and job creation are the best in the world.  Canada recently exceeded expectations by adding 12,100 jobs in September according to Statistics Canada.  Canada has created over 200,000 full-time jobs in the last year, mostly in the private sector. A re-elected Conservative Government will create an additional 1.3 million new jobs by 2020. We live in an era of increasing global economic uncertainty. The Liberal Platform promises to run massive, permanent deficits to finance $145 billion in new spending. We’ve seen how this out-of-control spending plays out in countries like Greece. Our Conservative plan will protect our economy by focusing on several key priorities:
  • Achieving balanced budgets;
  • Lowering taxes on small businesses and workers;
  • Creating another 1.3 million new, well-paying jobs by 2020;
  • Opening new markets for Canadian products through trade agreements, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership;
  • Aiming to add more than 700,000 new homeowners by 2020;
  • And providing new tax relief and benefits to families and seniors.
To view our complete plan, visit www.conservative.ca/plan/ In your opinion, what are Oakville’s top infrastructure needs and how does your party plan to address them? My government has invested over $70 million in Oakville infrastructure projects since 2008, by far the largest amount in history, including: $20.5 million for the Oakville GO Transit Parking Structure; $16.7 million for the Oakville Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant; and $15 million to the Oakville Transit Facility. We also established a steady stream of additional money for Oakville’s infrastructure needs with a permanent gas tax refund.  Oakville and Halton Region will receive $5.3 million and $14.3 million respectively this year alone. Last year, our Conservative government announced $53 billion for municipal and provincial infrastructure projects. I will ensure Oakville gets its fair share.  For example, I recently announced a $100 million commitment for GO Transit that includes a $35 million road-under-rail pass on Burloak drive south of the QEW. I will support projects that are agreed upon by other levels of government whenever possible and firmly believe the federal government should continue to fund transportation projects.  Traffic congestion costs our economy billions of dollars, diminishes our quality of life, and increases air pollution. Downtown Oakville has plan for a much needed tiered parking facility. As the province is the lead on these projects, the ball is in their court on that project for which I have been advocating. What measures would your party pursue to ensure Oakville manufacturers can compete globally? We will continue to keep business taxes the lowest in fifty years, including reducing the small business tax to 9% over two years.We will lower payroll taxes. For example, the EI tax will decrease from $1.88 per hundred dollars to $1.49 per hundred. The Liberals would charge business thousands more yearly at $1.65 per one hundred dollars, which will cause thousands of lay-offs.  We will fund $30 million over five years to establish an advanced manufacturing hub in the centre of Halton, so smaller manufacturers can turn their innovations into final products ready for global markets. Our capital cost allowance has provided a $1.3 billion injection into manufacturing and will continue to improve competitiveness. We recently completed the Trans Pacific Partnership, the largest trade deal in history.  Canadian businesses now have access to 800 million new consumers. The Automotive Innovation Fund will increase to $1 billion.  It will help fund new automotive plants, expansions to existing plants, and fund mandates for auto manufacturers that make long term commitments to Canada. Ford of Oakville may be eligible. We established a $53 billion municipal infrastructure program over ten years to build the bridges and roads that industry needs to get goods to market. Furthermore, we have invested over $1.3 billion dollars in science and technology research, post-secondary support, and skills training to lay the groundwork for transforming technologies that industry needs. How will you and your party fill the growing gap in skilled trades? And in particular, how will you attract young people to the trades?  Please provide a concrete example. Our top priority has always been jobs and growth. We spent $2.7 billion to support skills and training programs between 2013 and 2014, and continue such investments. We also provided $1.95 billion to the provinces and territories through Labour Market Development Agreements and $2.18 million to provinces for Persons with Disabilities to help employ those with skills in the trades. We created the Canada Jobs Plan that provides $5,000 per worker to be trained to be matched by the employer and province, providing $15,000 for each individual trained. Thousands will benefit. We provide over $100 million in interest-free loans for apprentices in Red Seal Trades and created the Apprenticeship System to expand training for apprentices along with a Flexibility and Technical Training Pilot Project. My government has offered many tax breaks for apprentices and employers: The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant, The Apprenticeship Completion Grant, The Apprenticeship Tools Deduction, and the Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit. Would you please define “middle class”?  And how would Oakville families and businesses benefit from your policies? This question is very odd to me. In past elections, no one ever talked about ‘class.’ We are not a class society in Canada. Why are we talking about class in this election?  Because Justin Trudeau and the Liberals want to divide Canadians into two groups: high income earners targeted for a 4% tax increase and won’t get any benefits for their children and those who don’t.  This divides Canadians into classes, like a hundred years ago, so the Liberals can choose who gets the most from the government. This is class warfare created to help them gain power. The Liberal Party used to say our government programs should all be universal; that there should never be a means test. That is un-Canadian, they preached. But this is the new Justin Trudeau party. Instead, all our Conservative programs are universal.  They apply to all Canadians, period. Our health care, the Universal Child Care Benefit, Tax Free Savings Accounts, the Home Renovation Tax Credit, child care deductions, and income splitting are available to every Canadian. No one should take them away.  I believe governments should work to advance everyone in society, so that their incomes increase and their security and quality of life improve. That’s what our programs do. Once we allow the Liberals to divide us based on our income, who is next? And once we allow the Liberal leader to cut programs from people who earn more, what programs will they cut next for those people? Health Care? john oliverJohn Oliver, Liberal Party Candidate, Oakville 
Contact Information
99 Bronte Road, Oakville L6L 3B7, 905-601-5646 john@voteoliver.ca John Oliver is the former President and CEO of Halton Healthcare Services, following a lengthy and successful career in public service. John envisioned the future needs of the community and ensured those needs would be met by leading the $2.7B infrastructure project for the new Oakville Hospital. The new hospital is one of the largest infrastructure projects in Canada, and John is proud of its innovative, patient-centric and environmentally responsible design. Once it opens in December, the hospital will begin to employ an additional 1,000 people over the current hospital’s staffing levels. John has considerable experience working with various levels of government, both through the new hospital project and from having served as Assistant Deputy Minister to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. John currently sits as Chair of the Partnerships for Health System Improvement Review Panel of the Canadian Institute for Health Research, and he served as Pension Observer of the Hospitals of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) Board. Part of John’s desire to enter federal politics stems from his passion for our universal health care system and the principles of the Canada Health Act, and the failure of the current government to renew the Federal/Provincial Health Accord. Also, John is motivated by the need to solve the significant economic and social challenges that lie ahead—such as economic development and diversification, and income and wealth inequality—and renew our commitment to democratic principles. The Liberal Party platform focuses on a three-point plan to:
  • Create jobs with the most significant infrastructure investment in Canadian history – almost $60 billion in new funding over the next ten years;
  • Grow the middle class by raising taxes on the wealthiest one percent and cutting taxes for middle class Canadians; and
  • Help those working to join the middle class by investing in essential social infrastructure, including affordable housing and child care, as well as providing more money to help families with the high cost of raising their kids.
John has lived in Oakville for 19 years with his wife Joanna and his children Rachel, Alex and William. John is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, and he holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University and a Master’s degree in Health Sciences Administration from the University of Toronto. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 for service to Canada. In your opinion, what are Oakville’s top infrastructure needs and how does your party plan to address them? In Oakville, I believe that the top infrastructure needs are public transit, green infrastructure, and social infrastructure. Public transit As is the case throughout the GTA, Oakville needs more public transit to shorten commute times, cut air pollution, strengthen our communities, and grow our economy. Canadian cities have been growing at a rapid rate, but investment in public transit has not kept pace. Stephen Harper’s failure to invest has led to worsening traffic congestion, making it harder for families to spend time together. This gridlock also costs our economy billions of dollars in lost productivity each year. We will get our communities moving again by giving our provinces, territories, and municipalities the long-term, predictable federal funding they need to make transit plans a reality. Over the next decade, we will quadruple federal investment in public transit, investing almost $20 billion more in transit infrastructure. Green infrastructure Green infrastructure refers to infrastructure that makes our communities safer and more resilient, given the challenges inherent in extreme weather brought about by climate change. Responsible governments do not walk away from challenges, or pretend they do not exist. We will protect our communities from the challenges of climate change and grow our economy by making significant new investments in green infrastructure. This includes investments in local water and wastewater facilities; clean energy; climate resilient infrastructure, including flood mitigation systems; and infrastructure to protect against changing weather. We will boost investment in green infrastructure by nearly $6 billion over the next four years, and almost $20 billion over ten years. Social infrastructure There is a pressing need for more affordable housing in Oakville. The recently released Vital Signs 2015 report found that 96% of homes sold in Oakville were unaffordable, because house prices have greatly outpaced the living wage in Oakville. Even though the Regional Municipality of Halton has introduced innovative programs to address affordability, the average wait time for rent-geared-to-income housing is 2.5 to 5 years. Clearly, more needs to be done to improve housing affordability in Oakville. Today, one in four Canadian households is paying more than it can afford for housing, and one in eight cannot find affordable housing that is safe, suitable, and well maintained. When affordable housing is in short supply, Canadians feel less secure and our whole economy suffers. We will renew federal leadership in housing, starting with a new, ten-year investment in social infrastructure. We will prioritize investments in affordable housing and seniors’ facilities, build more new housing units and refurbish old ones, give support to municipalities to maintain rent-geared-to-income subsidies in co-ops, and give communities the money they need for Housing First initiatives that help homeless Canadians find stable housing. What measures would your party pursue to ensure Oakville manufacturers can compete globally? Canada is a trading nation. A Liberal government will expand trade because it is good for Canada’s economy and for job creation. Exporting industries pay 50% higher wages than non-trading industries and lead to economic growth that will deliver a real and fair chance for middle class families. Free trade opens international markets to Canadian goods and services, grows export-oriented businesses, creates jobs, and provides Canadians with choice and lower prices. A Liberal government will re-energize cooperation and collaboration inside and outside of Canada to reduce trade and commerce roadblocks between Canada and other countries. The Conservative government’s one-dimensional view of the world leads to trade negotiations conducted in secrecy and without consultation, and final agreements that Canadians do not trust are in their best interests. Liberals strongly believe in the need to deepen our economic relationship with China. The Liberal Party of Canada supports free trade, as this is how we open markets to Canadian goods and services, grow export-oriented businesses, create jobs, and provide choice and lower prices to Canadian consumers. The Conservative government has refused to meaningfully engage with China which has hurt Canada’s trade, bilateral, and tourism relationship. A Liberal government will reengage with China to rebuild our historically strong bilateral relationship. The Liberal Party of Canada supports free trade as this is how we open markets to Canadian goods and services, grow Canadian businesses, and create good paying jobs. Liberals will take a responsible approach to thoroughly examining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal. If the Liberal Party of Canada forms government after October 19, we will hold extensive consultations and have a full and open public debate in Parliament. We are committed to ensuring that Canadians are fully consulted on this trade agreement. We are also broadly supportive of the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), which stands to remove trade barriers, including regulatory barriers, widely expand free trade between Canada and the European Union, and increase opportunity for the middle class. How will you and your party fill the growing gap in skilled trades? And in particular, how will you attract young people to the trades? There are too many hard-working Canadians who are looking to upgrade their skills and find better jobs, but they do not have access to the training that they require. A Liberal government will make it easier for adults to get the additional skills they need to acquire and retain good jobs throughout their working lives. A Liberal government will increase investment in skills training, through a $750 million annual increase in funding for training programs delivered in partnership with the provinces and territories. This will include:
  • A $500 million annual increase in funding to the Labour Market Development Agreements with provinces;
  • A $200 million annual increase in funding to be delivered by the provinces and territories and focused on training for workers who are not currently eligible for federal training investment. This will undo Stephen Harper’s cuts in 2014 to the Labour Market Agreements, which help Canadians outside the labour market get the basic literacy and numeracy skills they need to find a decent job;
  • Renewing and expanding funding to the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) by $50 million;
  • Investing $25 million per year in training facilities, partnering with labour unions so that more facilities have the equipment they need to train workers across the country; and
  • Working with employers and workers to determine an appropriate apprenticeship ratio for all federal infrastructure projects.
During the Harper decade, thousands of young Canadians remain unemployed or underemployed, and opportunities are so scarce that many have stopped looking for work altogether. This lack of job opportunities places a heavy burden on young Canadians and their parents. It is time to invest in our shared future, and that means investing in young Canadians. As part of our $1.3 billion investment over three years to create jobs and opportunity for young Canadians, a Liberal government will invest $40 million annually to help employers create new co-op placements for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and business students. Would you please define “middle class”? And how would Oakville families and businesses benefit from your policies? It is difficult and perhaps unwise to define ‘middle class’ in terms of income ranges. I believe that Canadians whose working income affords them decent housing, quality of life, and a good education for their families—while saving for a dignified retirement—fall into this category. Help for the Middle class The Liberal Party offers a very comprehensive set of strategies to assist the middle class. A Liberal government will cut taxes for middle class Canadians. Canadians with taxable income between $44,700 and $89,401 per year will see their income tax rate fall – from 22 percent to 20.5 percent. This tax relief is worth up to $670 per year, per person – or $1,340 per year for a two-income household. We will also create the Canada Child Benefit (CCB): one bigger, fair, tax-free, automatic monthly child benefit that puts more money back in the pockets of Canadian families who need it most. This is one, simple benefit which replaces the current, complicated system of benefits and tax breaks, including the Universal Child Care Benefit, the Canada Child Tax Benefit and National Child Benefit Supplement, and the unfair Income Splitting policy. Other policies that will help Canada’s middle class include:
  • Investments to create more jobs and better opportunities for young Canadians
    • We will create 40,000 good youth jobs – including 5,000 youth green jobs – each year for the next three years, by investing $300 million more in the renewed Youth Employment Strategy.
    • We will more than double the almost 11,000 Canadians who access Skills Link each year. This program helps young Canadians – including Aboriginal and disabled youth – make a more successful transition to the workplace.
    • After this initial three-year boost in funding, we will set the renewed Youth Employment Strategy’s funding level at $385 million per year – a $50 million increase from 2015/16.
    • We will invest $40 million each year to help employers create more co-op placements for students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and business programs. And to encourage companies to hire young Canadians for permanent positions, we will also offer a 12-month break on Employment Insurance premiums. We will waive employer premiums for all those between the ages of 18 and 24 who are hired into a permanent position in 2016, 2017, or 2018.
    • We will also work with provinces, territories, and post-secondary institutions to develop or expand Pre-Apprenticeship Training Programs. This will provide up to $10 million per year to help young Canadians gain the skills they need to enter high-demand trades.
  • Providing Canadian seniors with a more secure retirement
    • We will help Canadians realize their goal of a secure retirement. That security starts with a strong and stable pension program. We will work with the provinces and territories, workers, employers, and retiree organizations to enhance the Canada Pension Plan.
    • We will maintain pension income splitting for seniors.
    • We will also restore the eligibility age for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement to 65, putting an average of $13,000 into the pockets of the lowest income Canadians each year, as they become seniors.
    • We will help to lift hundreds of thousands of seniors out of poverty by increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement for single low-income seniors by ten percent. This will give one million of our most vulnerable seniors – who are often women – almost $1,000 more each year.
    • Because many seniors live on fixed incomes, we will introduce a new Seniors Price Index to make sure that Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits keep up with seniors’ actual rising costs.
  • Making it easier for Canadians to find an affordable place to call home
    • Today, one in four Canadian households is paying more than it can afford for housing, and one in eight cannot find affordable housing that is safe, suitable, and well maintained.
    • When affordable housing is in short supply, Canadians feel less secure and our whole economy suffers.
    • We will renew federal leadership in housing, starting with a new, ten-year investment in social infrastructure.
    • We will prioritize investments in affordable housing and seniors’ facilities, build more new housing units and refurbish old ones, give support to municipalities to maintain rent-geared-to-income subsidies in co-ops, and give communities the money they need for Housing First initiatives that help homeless Canadians find stable housing.
    • We will encourage the construction of new rental housing by removing all GST on new capital investments in affordable rental housing. This will provide $125 million per year in tax incentives to grow and renovate the supply of rental housing across Canada.
    • We will modernize the existing Home Buyers’ Plan to allow Canadians impacted by sudden and significant life changes to buy a house without tax penalty. This will ease the burden on Canadians facing job relocation, the death of a spouse, marital breakdown, or a decision to accommodate an elderly family member.
    • We will direct the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the new Canada Infrastructure Bank to provide financing to support the construction of new, affordable rental housing for middle- and low-income Canadians.
  • Making post-secondary education more affordable
    • For too many Canadians, rising costs have made post-secondary education increasingly out of reach.
    • It is harder and harder for middle class families to save for their kids’ education, while many lower-income families are not able to save at all. At the same time, the federal government spends billions each year on non-refundable tax credits that offer little direct help for students when they need it.
    • We will provide direct help to students from low- and middle-income families to help them pay for their education and ensure that debt loads are manageable.
    • We will increase the maximum Canada Student Grant for low-income students to $3,000 per year for full-time students, and to $1,800 per year for part-time students.
    • In addition, to help more students from middle class families qualify for Canada Student Grants, we will increase the income thresholds for eligibility, giving more Canadian students access to even larger grants. This investment will be funded by cancelling the poorly targeted education and textbook tax credits. The tuition tax credit will be maintained.
    • This will increase the level of non-repayable grant assistance to students by $750 million per year, rising to $900 million per year by 2019/20.
    • We will also make our student loan system more flexible. We will ensure that no graduate with student loans will be required to make any repayment until they are earning an income of at least $25,000 per year.
Help for small and medium sized businesses Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the backbone of the Canadian economy, often face serious barriers to success including red tape, difficulty finding skilled labour, and poor access to capital. A Liberal government will help SMEs grow, secure funding, and innovate, and create an environment that reduces barrier to their success. We believe SMEs are vital to strengthen Canada’s economy and stimulate job growth. The Liberal party has a plan to support small- and medium-sized enterprises in Canada and ensure their continued success and important contributions to the Canadian economy. Our plan includes:
  • We will reduce EI Premiums from $2.63 to $2.31 and follow through on Budget 2015’s reduction of the small business tax rate from 11% to 9%.
  • We will reinstate the Labour Sponsored Venture Capital Corporation (LSVCC) tax credit, allowing labour funds to make significant investments in small- and medium-sized enterprises which need a steady source of capital to succeed.
  • We will invest $100 million annually in clean technology producers, many of whom are small and medium sized companies.
  • We will invest $500 million in the federal-provincial Labour Market Agreements to help ensure small- and medium-sized business owners have access to a well-trained labour force.
  • We will make the largest federal investment in community infrastructure in Canadian history helping to not only create immediate jobs but help improve productivity and reduce costs for business over the medium to long term.
  • We will also introduce a significant overhaul of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) operating practices to develop a client relationship rather than that of simply a taxpayer. These reforms will include ensuring CRA correspondence is user-friendly.
Pam Damoff, Ward 2 Councillor Pam Damoff, Liberal Party Candidate, Oakville North-Burlington 
Contact Information
905-331-1114    info@pamdamoff.ca    Twitter  @pamdamoff Facebook  pamdamoffoakvillenorthburlington A business professional with over 25 years corporate experience on Bay Street and an Oakville Town Councillor since 2010, I believe it is the responsibility the federal government to develop policies which are environmentally and economically sustainable. Instead of short term fixes, we need long term solutions which will ensure our quality of life is maintained. We need a federal government that will work with the provinces, municipalities and stakeholders to develop solutions to our complex problems. As a municipal Councillor, I see the need for a federal partner on infrastructure and public transit, and a Liberal government will make historic investments in both. We need to once again become a leader in environmental policy. I have always advocated environmental sustainability, encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle by walking, cycling and taking transit, as well as the preservation of greenspace. I strongly believe what is good for the environment is good for our health and our economy. A Liberal government will create a strong economic environment for new job creation while ensuring that we maintain the jobs we have. It is especially important that we provide young people with the tools they will need to enter an evolving workforce as many of them struggle to find meaningful work. Canadians have long valued our reputation as an inclusive and caring society, but recent federal policies have seen that reputation erode. I believe we need to reclaim those values so we can once again become that country which shows respect for all people regardless of their culture, religion or economic status. Most importantly, I believe a Liberal government will provide an environment that allows for respectful disagreement, without silencing its critics. We must build an inclusive community in which we can strive for consensus whenever possible. I am inspired by the people I have met who work hard for their families, and I believe that the Liberal plan for fairness will provide real relief to improve their lives. Our plan is clear and focused: grow the economy, create jobs, protect the environment, improve our infrastructure and restore Canadian democracy. That is the Canada we deserve. In your opinion what are Oakville’s top infrastructure needs and how does your party plan to address them? A new Liberal government will work in partnership with municipalities like Oakville to identify what infrastructure needs are most important to Oakville Council and the residents it represents. Just last month, Council started a Stormwater Management Plan to address infrastructure needs to deal with infrastructure needs, and the third phase is looking at how to pay for the plan when complete. This is exactly the type of project that our plan can address. A Liberal government would help bring Regional Express Rail to Oakville and Burlington. Under the $2 billion investment, a newly elected Liberal government would help electrify the Lakeshore West line, allowing for more frequent two-way, all day service. This is part of the Liberal commitment to make an historic $125 billion investment in infrastructure over the next 10 years and to quadruple the federal contribution for public transit over the same period. To ensure these commitments are used to benefit local communities rather than just serve as political announcements, any unused balance each year will be added to the municipal gas tax rebate program. This commitment includes an additional $20 billion in social infrastructure for projects such as long-term care facilities and an additional $20 billion on green infrastructure to help build a framework to prevent flooding in Halton’s river valleys. Oakville and Burlington will be able to use the existing funding in the New Building Canada Fund for  other infrastructure needs such as roads, bridges, sewers, and water mains to support the needs of its growing neighbourhoods. What measures would your party pursue to ensure Oakville manufacturers can compete globally? We will take immediate steps to restore Canada’s relationships with its best trade partners, the United States and Mexico, to advance our many shared interests. We will  modernize border infrastructure and streamline cargo inspections to ensure our goods  can get to their markets quickly. A Liberal government will grow our economy and create good middle class jobs by making immediate, new investments in innovation including; • $775 million per year in additional job and skills training to ensure Canadians get the training they need to compete in a 21st century economy. • A Liberal government will create middle class jobs and strengthen our economy by investing $200 million per year, over the next three years, in a new innovation agenda. • An additional $100 million per year in the Industrial Research Assistance Program, which has a proven track record of helping small and medium businesses innovate and become world leaders. Most importantly, a Liberal government will work with the Province of Ontario and municipal leaders to ensure that they have a federal partner. Justin Trudeau has committed to holding a First Ministers’ Conference to address exactly this type of issue. How will you and your party fill the growing gap in skilled trades? And in particular, how will you attract young people to the trades? Please provide a concrete example. In today’s changing economy, it is critical that Canadians have the opportunity to improve their skills and work credentials. This not only ensures a labour force that meets the needs of a modern economy, but that Canadians have good-paying, middle class jobs well into the future. We will increase investment in skills training, through a $750 million annual increase in funding for training programs delivered in partnership with the provinces and territories. This will include: • A $500 million annual increase in funding to the Labour Market Development Agreements with provinces and territories. • A $200 million annual increase in funding – focused on training for workers who  are not currently eligible for federal training investment. • A Liberal government will renew and expand funding by $50 million to the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS). We will create 40,000 good youth jobs – each year for the next three years, by investing $300 million more in the renewed Youth Employment Strategy. After this initial 3-year increased funding, we will set the renewed funding level at $385 million per year. A Liberal government will invest $40 million each year to help employers create more co-op placements for students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and business programs and implement incentives for companies to hire young Canadians for permanent positions. We will also expand the Pre-Apprenticeship Training Programs which will provide up to $10 million per year to help young Canadians gain the skills they need to enter high-demand trades. Would you please define “middle class”? And how would Oakville families and businesses benefit from your policies? A Liberal government will help those in the Middle Class by cutting the middle income tax bracket to 20.5 percent from 22 percent decrease, which is a seven percent reduction. All Canadians will see their tax rate for taxable annual income between $44,700 and $89,401 fall. This tax relief is worth up to $670 per person, per year. We believe to grow the middle class the wealthiest one percentage of the population needs  to pay more. Therefore under the Liberal government no one who makes less than $217,000 will see a tax increase. We are also working on helping families join the middle class by investing in essential social infrastructure, including affordable housing and child care, as well as providing more money to help families with the high cost of raising their kids. The Oakville Community Foundation recently released its vital signs report which described the “precarious class”, those that are most at risk of falling from the middle class because of under-employment and the high cost of living. A Liberal plan will lift 315,000 children out of poverty across Canada and our plan to reduce taxes will directly benefit those in this “precarious class”.
david doelDavid Doel, Green Party Candidate, Oakville 
Contact Information
david.doel@greenparty.ca     daviddoel.com    @daviddoel David Doel is a self-employed video producer and longtime resident of Oakville. Prior to running his own video production business, David worked as a video editor in broadcast news and as a web marketing specialist for a technology company. David is an advocate for the rights of all individuals. David believes investment in green energy is key to a sustainable economy. He envisions a fairer tax system and agrees with the majority of Canadians that Bill C-51 needs to be repealed. He is also passionate about drug policy and treating addiction as a health issue. New to the political field, David’s desire to empower and inform voters, along with his eagerness to make a positive impact with like-minded individuals, led him to join the Green Party of Canada. In your opinion what are Oakville’s top infrastructure needs and how does your party plan to address them? Oakville’s infrastructure needs reflect the rest of Canada’s needs. Among those being fast and reliable public transportation – which continues to be an issue that is raised in this riding – as well as accessible cyclist and pedestrian facilities that encourage active transportation – just to name a couple. The Green Party of Canada is committed to providing $6.4 billion annually (one point of the GST) to municipal infrastructure, ensuring local government has the resources they need to improve their infrastructure. What measures would your party pursue to ensure Oakville manufacturers can compete globally? The need for sustainability, energy efficiency, and secure energy supplies is changing the way we think about and do business.  The shift to a sustainable economy and increasing demand for environmentally friendly products and services creates new opportunities to build on our strengths and develop a wide array of new businesses and jobs. Small businesses and sole proprietorships in Canada represent 70% of private sector employment.  The Green Party supports a much larger focus on nurturing small business as an important way to strengthen a dynamic sustainable economy. Whatever the economic sector, from manufacturing goods to delivering services, Canada needs economic diversification. We also need a national energy strategy and energy policies that serve both Canada’s economic prosperity and the planet’s goal of carbon neutrality by the end of the century, encouraging the development of cleaner energy sources, and rationalizing Canada’s fragmented electricity market. For a secure future, we need to think like a country, diversify our energy portfolio and maximize value added to production in Canada. Our solutions lie in renewable energy, clean technologies and energy productivity. How will you and your party fill the growing gap in skilled trades? And in particular, how will you attract young people to the trades? Please provide a concrete example. Canada urgently needs to reduce the energy wasted through inefficient infrastructure. We need a massive energy retrofit plan that employs skilled trades across the country.  Among other things, the Green Party supports a Home Energy Retrofit program with the goal of cutting building emissions 80% by 2040, and retrofitting 100% of all Canadian buildings to a high-level of energy efficiency by 2030. The Green Party is committed to creating an environment for more skilled trades jobs. To fill these jobs we need to invest in our youth by abolishing tuition fees for post-secondary education and skills training for Canadians by 2020 through constructing a system of federal grants collaboratively with the universities and colleges. We will also create a national Community and Environment Service Corps, which will provide $1 billion/year to municipalities to hire Canadian youth – which not only will reduce youth unemployment, but will also improve our infrastructure in the process. Would you please define “middle class”? And how would Oakville families and businesses benefit from your policies? “Middle class” is a subjective term, so it depends on who you ask – it does not refer to anything specifically, which is why sometimes you hear reference to “median wage earners”. I think it’s largely on you to decide how you want to define it, and voters need to be aware of this when casting their ballot – the devil’s in the details. What we need to be focused on is the betterment of the country as a whole, and the Green Party has a progressive stance on every issue that will lead us into a future that is beneficial for all. One example of this is the Guaranteed Livable Income (GLI) – a huge step towards a Canada that ensures everyone is able to live the life they want. The use of a GLI could eliminate poverty and allow social services to concentrate on problems of mental health and addiction. The essential plan is to provide a regular payment to every Canadian without regard to a needs test. The level of the payment will be regionally set at a level above poverty, but at a bare subsistence level to encourage additional income generation. No surveillance or follow-up is required. I advise everyone to visit greenparty.ca and read our platform as you will see how a Green Party government would benefit you.

Ontario Chamber Releases Report: Harnessing Power of the Sharing Economy

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce released a new report, Harnessing the Power of the Sharing Economy, which calls on governments to move quickly and boldly to ensure that Canada and Ontario realize the full potential of the sharing economy. The report calls for immediate action to be taken to fill any insurance gaps and ensure tax compliance. If adopted, the recommendations would make Ontario the first jurisdiction in the world to take a comprehensive approach to address the growth of the sharing economy. The past several years have witnessed the rise of new models of consuming and accessing goods and services, often referred to as the “sharing economy”. Fueled by companies such as Uber, Autoshare, and Airbnb, the sharing economy enables individuals to obtain rides, accommodations, and a wide range of other goods and services via online platforms in exchange for monetary and non-monetary benefits. The report finds that nearly two thirds of Ontarians believe that the growth of companies in the sharing economy is good for Ontario’s economy. It also finds that nearly 40 percent of young Ontarians (18-34) are consumers in the sharing economy.

Kerry Colborne to Serve Second Term as Chair of the Board

Kerry ColborneThe Board of Directors of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Kerry Colborne will serve a second year as Chair of the Board for the year 2015/16. Kerry officially began her second term on September 17th at the Oakville Chamber’s Annual General Meeting. Kerry has served on the Chamber’s Executive Committee as Vice-Chair of the Chamber Board from 2011 to 2014; and as a member of the Chamber Board of Directors for the three preceding years. Kerry is the sixth Chair to serve two consecutive terms for the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. Previous Chairs include Evelyn Hartwell (1975-1977), Paul Tibault (1971-1973), Larry Morris (1969-1971), Bud Paterson (1965-1967), and Jim Fry (1958-1960). “I’m honoured to have the opportunity to serve the members of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce for a second year,” said Kerry. “In the months ahead, the Board will focus on developing our key areas including membership development, making business connections, providing valuable benefits programs, hosting relevant events, and advocating on behalf of our members.” Kerry Colborne is a seasoned business executive with international experience gained through a long career in the finance, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Specific roles include Managing Director (CEO) of New Zealand and Global Marketing Director (in both Lyon, France and Duluth, Georgia) for Merial a leading company in the animal health sector. More recently, she played a role in supporting small and medium sized businesses in the Oakville and Burlington area by providing financing as a Senior Manager of Loans with the Business Development Bank of Canada. Finally, she has returned to her entrepreneurial roots by working full time for her own company, Force 10 Capital Management Inc., which she established in 2007. Upon returning to Canada in 2005 she made it her mission to give back to the community and has done so by becoming a Big Sister. She also served as a Director for the Board of the Oakville Arts Council for four years before acting as Treasurer for one year. She has served as Chair of the Judging Committee for the Oakville Awards for Business Excellence. In her spare time she is an avid sailor, soccer player and art collector.  


Oakville Chamber to host Attorney General, Yasir Naqvi

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce will host Yasir Naqvi, the Provincial Attorney General, Government House Leader and MPP Ottawa Centre. Mr. Naqvi will be speaking at an Oakville Chamber breakfast on Thursday, July 13th at the Harbour Banquet & Conference Centre.

The July 13th breakfast will be Yasir Naqvi’s first public address to the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, their members, and the Oakville business community at large. The Attorney General will be discussing Digital Innovation and the Justice Sector.  

Following Mr. Naqvi’s speech, there will be a moderated Question & Answer Session where guests can submit their questions to the Attorney General.

“We are pleased to be presenting our members with the opportunity to hear directly from the Provincial Attorney General” stated Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We invite guest speakers to provide an opportunity for our members and their guests to hear directly from key decision makers. We also want to provide our members with the opportunity to discuss key issues with senior elected officials.”

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce invites Oakville Chamber members and the greater Oakville community to attend.

Event Details:

Date: Thursday, July 13th

Time: 7:30am – 9:00am (The formal event will begin at 8:00am)

Location: Harbour Banquet & Conference Centre, 2340 Ontario Street

Tickets: Oakville Chamber Members $35; Non-Members $55. Tables of 8 are available.


Register now!




Welcome New Members: March & April 2017

Ayva Educational Solutions

Dianne Beveridge

www.ayva.ca

Technology & Education

 

Beatissima Law Firm

Evelyn Egbeniran

www.beatissimalaw.com

Legal Services

 

Bergs Law

Christopher Bergs

www.bergslaw.ca

Employment Law

 

BMO Nesbitt Burns

Skylar Mahwanie

www.bmo.com/nesbittburns

Wealth Management

 

Bramm Research Inc.

Gerald Bramm

www.brammresearch.com

Marketing Research

 

CBRE – Suburban Toronto Office Group

Michael S. Navo

www.cbre.com

Commercial Real Estate

 

Canadian BBQ Boys

Matt McCoy

www.canadianbbqboys.com

Home Maintenance

 

Canedge International Inc.

Arun Kaul

www.canedge.ca

International Food Trading

 

Candybox Marketing Inc.

Neil Persaud

www.candyboxmarketing.com

Digital Marketing

 

Catherine Wang – CHRP

Catherine Wang

wmckwang@gmail.com

Human Resources Professional

 

Ceridian Canada

Thomas Mroziewicz

thomas.mroziewicz@ceridan.com

Payroll Services

 

EmbroidMe Oakville

Jeffrey Gross

www.embroidme-oakville.com

Embroidery

 

Epik Networks

Ashfaq Ahmad

www.epiknetworks.com

Telecommunications

 

FirstOntario Credit Union

David Corbett

www.firstontariocu.com

Financial Services

 

Green, Meikle, Smith Chartered Accountants

Ken Green

www.greenmeiklesmith.com

Accounting

 

Gruggen Photography

Dave Gruggen

www.gruggenphotography.com

Commercial Photography

 

Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP

Brad Moscato

www.hshlawyers.com

Legal Services

 

John Sawyer and Associates

John Sawyer

john.sawyer@sympatico.ca

Out of Home Advertising

 

Lighting Centre

John George

www.lightingcentre.ca

Lighting

 

Maison Apothecare Inc.

Natacha Rey

www.maisonapothecare.ca

Bath & Body Care

 

MyGoon.com

Litian Cai

www.MyGoon.com

Advertising & Internet Services

 

Ontario Terra

Dario Di Nardo

ontarioterra@gmail.com

Property Maintenance

 

PC Oakville Riding Association

Jeffrey Smith

jwgsmith1@gmail.com

Political Provincial Party

 

PoleFit Nation

Jane Wilson

www.polefitnation.com

Fitness Centre

 

Prostate Cancer Canada

Rocco Rossi

rocco.rossi@prostatecancer.ca

Charitable Organization

 

Pusateri’s Fine Foods

Luka Cuvalo

www.pusateris.com

Grocery Store

 

ROMAG Contracting Ltd.

Mary Hanna

www.romagcontracting.ca

General Contractors

SandBox Media Corporation

Sandeep Sambhi

www.sandboxmedia.ca

Digital Marketing

 

Sarah Fenwick – Mortgage Agent

Sarah Fenwick

www.sarahfenwick.ca

Mortgage Agency

 

Silc Inc.

Parisa Zoghi

www.silcinc.ca

Leadership

 

Soble, Davis & Day LLP

Matthew Soble

www.sobledavis.ca

Legal Services

 

Solution Studio Inc.

Paulette G. Vinette

www.solutionstudioinc.com

Not for Profit – Business Consultants

 

The Pacific Institute Canada

Peter Romeo

www.ca.thepacificinstitute.com

Performance Improvement

 

Willow Tree Family Mediation

Trish Thomas

www.willowtreemediation.ca

Family Services

 

Ultimate Pool Service Inc.

Grant Hildebrand

www.ultimatepools.ca

Swimming Pool Services


Members in the News: May & June 2017

Congratulations Par-T-Perfect on receiving multiple awards at the Canadian Franchise Association 2017 Awards of Excellence in Franchising! Par-T-Perfect received the following awards: Mature Established Franchise (for the 3rd year in a row), Best Non-Traditional Franchise System in Canada and Franchisees Choice (for the 4th year in a row). 


Maggie Habieda of Fotografia Boutique received her Masters of Photographic Arts from the Professional Photographers of Canada. Congratulations! 

Piper Foods/McDonald’s Restaurant completed their $250,000 pledge to the Oakville Hospital Foundation! The 7th Floor South inpatient unit of the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital is named in their honour. 

 Congratulations to Cameron’s Brewing Company on celebrating 20 Years of brewing delicious, quality, locally crafted beer. 

Sheridan makes history with 7 Tony Award Nominations, including Best Musical, for the Broadway blockbuster musical Come From Away.

Congratulations to the following Oakville Chamber members who made The Great Places to Work® Institute Canada and The Globe and Mail’s 2017 list of “Best Workplaces in Canada – Large and Multinational: BMO Bank of Montreal, FCT, Grant Thornton LLP, Microsoft Canada Inc., RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Canada Trust

In April, Michael McCloskey, Founder & President of GreensKeeper Asset Management, published an article in The Globe and Mail and appeared on BNN to discuss the turmoil engulfing Canada’s alternative mortgage lenders. 

Congratulations to Michele Bailey, President and CEO of Blazing The Agency on your recognition for Expansion and Growth in Small Business by BMO’s Celebrating Women Program! 

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to introduce their newest staff member, Katherine Marino, Administrative Coordinator.