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 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:
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.
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:
What are each candidates plans for Kerr Street? It’s a topic that affects the whole town.
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?
How will you actively work to engage the residents in the ward to ensure a greater sense of community?
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?
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?
Glen Abbey Golf Club. As this issue will impact all of Oakville including ward two what is your position on this development plan?
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?
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.
What are your plans for Kerr Street?
What experience have you had in the past working with Town Council on behalf of the residents of Ward 2?
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
What experience or success does the candidate have in working for Ward 2 residents at Oakville’s Town Council and its various committees?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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:
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
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.
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 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.
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.”
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.