Tag: ontario chamber of commerce

Oakville Chamber mobilizes businesses to put shared prosperity, economic development front-and-centre in upcoming election

Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, launched a major province-wide letter writing campaign urging businesses to encourage their local provincial candidates to support the Ontario Chamber Network’s election platform, Vote Prosperity. To ensure economic prosperity is at the forefront of the 2018 provincial election, the Chamber Network has developed 18 recommendations that will help bolster Ontario’s long-term economic outcomes.

This letter-writing campaign is the next phase of this advocacy effort, building on ongoing government relations activities. We are calling on our local candidates to read Vote Prosperity and engage with our local business community to ensure business priorities are heard.

“The upcoming provincial election provides our business community with an opportunity to ensure that our businesses are being heard by our future elected officials,” said Drew Redden, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Vote Prosperity provides political parties with tangible solutions to address the challenges businesses are currently facing and to ensure that Ontario is building a prosperous economy that supports local business in our community and across the province.”

Over the next 12 weeks, the Ontario Chamber Network will be advocating Vote Prosperity with local provincial candidates across the province through meetings, social media activation and with the letter writing campaign. Vote Prosperity is built around four fundamental pillars to support a strong economy in Ontario: strengthening business competitiveness, fostering job creation, building healthy communities and improving government accountability.

“We are calling on all political leaders to read Vote Prosperity and consider our recommendations as we aim to make Ontario the best place to start and grow a business,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “It’s simple, when you choose prosperity, Ontario wins.”

The Ontario Chamber Network released Vote Prosperity in October 2017, ahead of most of the major political parties’ platform development. Some of the recommendations from Vote Prosperity include:

  • Allow Ontario businesses to purchase surplus electricity at rates equal to or better than the exported price to other jurisdictions;
  • Allocate resources to focus support on high growth firms and those with high growth potential, by delaying taxation on corporate income growth to overcome Ontario’s scale-up challenge;
  • Focus on strategic growth policies by ensuring that land use planning and development regulations are aligned, to increase density and create more housing stock;
  • Create a meaningful plan to tackle the debt and move towards balanced or surplus budgets.

Read the Vote Prosperity platform.

Send a letter in support. 




Input Costs Soar as Confidence and Projected Profits Fall: Ontario Economic Report 2018

Ontario Chamber Network reveals consequences of a climate that discourages growth

Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released the second annual Ontario Economic Report (OER), a comprehensive analysis of data and emerging trends on the economic health of the province. Original economic research from the report reveals that 77 per cent of Ontario businesses say access to talent remains the largest impact on their competitiveness and nearly half report a lack of confidence in the province’s economy. Meanwhile, a lack of confidence in their own ability to sustain profits continues to decline.

The OER includes data from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Business Confidence Survey conducted by Fresh Intelligence, a Business Prosperity Index developed by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), and a 2018 Economic Outlook prepared by BMO Financial Group.

“Industry in Ontario are feeling the impact of the rising minimum wage, significant labour reforms, increasing global and US competition, NAFTA renegotiations, consistent overregulation, rising input costs, and challenges to accessing talent,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “This year’s Ontario Economic Report indicates that these challenges are creating a climate of low business confidence that will compromise the province’s future prosperity.”

According to OER findings, 68 percent of firms say the minimum wage increase is predicted to have a negative impact on their business. Compared to last year, they are more likely to project a decline in revenue and a shrinking of their workforce.

Some of the 2018 OER highlights on the outlook of Ontario’s economy include:

  • Businesses are losing confidence in Ontario’s economy. In 2012, 47 percent of businesses reported they were confident in Ontario’s economic outlook. Today, that share has been halved, as only 23 percent of businesses are confident in the economy.
  • Nearly two-thirds of businesses cite input costs for their lack of confidence, such as the price of electricity, taxes, and the increase in minimum wage. This is compared to only 31 percent who name competitive barriers such as declining consumer demand or changing client behaviour.
  • One quarter of small businesses in Ontario project declining revenue in 2018, which is twice the rate of large firms (26 percent vs. 13 percent). Given that the majority of businesses in this province are small, this will likely have a net-negative impact on economic growth.
  • The production of goods and services represents a shrinking contributor to business prosperity. Production activities represent only 15.3 percent of business prosperity, meaning that prosperity is increasingly becoming more dependent upon financial activities instead of productive activities. This is indicative of Ontario possessing a higher-risk operating environment.
  • Our historically low unemployment rate is a red herring, as more individuals remove themselves from the workforce or simply give up the search. The percentage of Ontarians not participating in the labour force is at a recent high of 35 percent, contributing to employers’ on-going struggle to attract talent.

“This important report identifies key vulnerabilities within our economy and provides decisions makers and community leaders with the understanding needed to find the solutions that will drive our economy forward,” said Ken Nevar, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “This year, the Ontario Chamber Network will continue to engage and advocate on behalf of Ontario’s business community to explore these issues and develop the necessary solutions for a more prosperous Ontario.”

“Looking at businesses in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA), 66 per cent said they are confident in their organization’s economic outlook, while only 35 per cent said they are confident in the province’s economic outlook” stated Drew Redden, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “75 per cent of these businesses cited poor economic policy from the government as a reason why they are uncertain with Ontario’s economic outlook. The Oakville Chamber looks forward to meeting with government officials to discuss economic policies that will facilitate growth for the province’s economy, many of those which are outlined in the Ontario Chamber Network’s Vote Prosperity platform.”

In addition to new economic research, the OER outlines the areas of focus for the Ontario Chamber Network’s policy and advocacy work in the year ahead. In 2018, the Ontario Chamber Network will be looking at the potential of the health and life sciences sector, examining challenges related to urbanization and housing affordability, and studying the critical transportation needs across the province. As businesses continue to cite access to talent as a top challenge, the Ontario Chamber Network will continue to provide proactive recommendations and solutions to ensure we are leveraging our greatest asset—human capital.

Read the Ontario Economic Report 2018.

For more information about the OER, visit: www.occ.ca/ontario-economic-report

View data from the responses of businesses in the GTHA. 


Further Offset Measures Needed in Upcoming Budget to Keep Ontario Competitive



The Ontario Chamber Network calls for tax reform, smart spending to support Ontario businesses

Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, provided the Ontario government with 11 recommendations for the upcoming provincial budget that will help businesses manage costs and secure the province’s competitive advantage. The submission, presented to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, calls on the government to implement taxation reforms and smart infrastructure and transportation spending to maximize growth and benefit all regions of Ontario.

As the cost of doing business in the province continues to increase, and Ontario employers take on one of the largest wage increases in recent history, Ontario’s Chamber Network is recommending the government reinstate the scheduled corporate income tax rate from 11.5 per cent to 10 per cent. The submission also calls on the harmonization of the Business Education Tax across the province, as well as targeted reductions to the Employer Health tax.  

“Employers in Oakville of all sizes are feeling the pressure from rising costs, and more than ever our local business communities are lacking confidence in the future of Ontario’s economy,” said John Sawyer, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “The recent minimum wage and labour and employment standard changes will cost Ontario businesses an estimated $23 billion over the next two years. We need more support for business and the government’s commitments made in last year’s Fall Economic Statement are simply insufficient.”

The pre-budget submission also recommends that the government create additional small business deduction tax brackets, as well as delay taxation on corporate income growth to overcome the scale-up challenge.  Currently, all businesses with an annual income of $500,000 or less are taxed at a flat rate. A bracketed taxation system would give startup and SMEs more room to grow. Currently in Ontario, 71 per cent of private sector jobs can be attributed to the activities of small and medium sized enterprises.

“Ontario needs a competitive taxation system, that encourages investment and minimizes red tape, must be in Ontario’s long-term strategic plan,” said Mr. Sawyer. “As the U.S. pursues tax reform that would lower their federal corporate tax rate by 15 per cent, and with the uncertain future of NAFTA, we must find ways to keep Ontario competitive.”

The Ontario Chamber Network also encourages members of the committee and government to consider how are we leveraging Ontario’s greatest asset—human capital.

The recommendations outlined in the Ontario Chamber’s pre-budget submission all come directly from Ontario’s Chamber Network through policy resolutions at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting.

Read the full submission and all 11 recommendations.



Looking for feedback on NAFTA

As part of a trade strategy pursued by the current U.S. government, NAFTA has been reopened, with discussions between the United States, Canada and Mexico ongoing since the summer. With NAFTA renegotiations continuing into 2018, we are seeking to understand the impact of the agreement on Ontario business by collecting feedback from our Chamber Network. 

We greatly appreciate your participation in this survey, the results of which will inform our policy advice to the Government of Ontario as they engage on this file, in cooperation with the Government of Canada. Your responses will be confidential.

Click here to fill out the survey.



2017 Fall Economic Statement

Yesterday, the Government of Ontario released its 2017 Fall Economic Statement, which provides an update on the government’s finances and progress on key commitments since the release of the 2017 Budget. The government is continuing to project a balanced budget in 2017–18 and ongoing balance in 2018–19 and 2019–20, unchanged from the 2017 Budget forecast. The province also boasts a steadily declining  unemployment rate which reached  5.9 percent in October 2017, and has been below the national average for 31 consecutive months.  

The fall statement forecasts real GDP growth of 2.8 percent in 2017, up from 2.3 percent in the 2017 Budget. Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP peaked  in 2014–15 at 39.3 percent, however it is projected to be 37.3 percent in 2017–18, lower than the 37.5 percent forecast in the 2017 Budget.  

The government also made announcements related to Strengthening Ontario’s Small Businesses, Encouraging Youth Employment and Modernizing Apprenticeships for Small Businesses.

What does this mean for business?

Strengthening Ontario’s Small Businesses

The Province is announcing more than $500 million in new initiatives, over three years, for small business. Most notably the province is proposing a 1 percent cut in the small business Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate from 4.5 percent to 3.5 percent. The Fall Economic Statement also includes enhanced financial support for small and medium‐sized fruit and vegetable farming businesses and investments to enhance the vibrancy of communities and main streets.

Our Response: As part of the Ontario Chamber Network’s Bill 148 advocacy work, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce has consistently urged the government to provide a comprehensive package of offsets, which includes a reduction in the small business tax rate. These measures will help to provide small businesses compensation for their limited access to capital financing, and the pressures placed on their revenue streams from Bill 148’s increased labour costs.

Encouraging Youth Employment

Ontario will provide $124 million over three years in supports for youth ages 15 to 29 years, working with Employment Service and Youth Job Connection to support employer hiring and retention beginning January 1, 2018. Through Ontario’s Employment Service program, a small employer with fewer than 100 employees would receive a $1,000 incentive for hiring a young worker and a $1,000 for retaining that worker for six months. Additionally, if workers are hired through Youth Job Connection, a separate program that recruits youth facing employment barriers, employers would receive retention payments of $1,000 after three months, with a further $1,000 payable after six months for each worker.

Our Response: In partnership with Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA) the Ontario Chamber Network conducted an independent economic analysis modelling  the impacts of Bill 148,. Evidence suggests that a 10% increase in the Ontario minimum wage could decrease youth employment by 2% to 6 % over time. Considering this challenge, funding for small business to link youth with the labour market is a step in the right direction.

Modernizing Apprenticeships for Small Businesses

The Province is proposing adding five service‐sector trades to the eligibility list for the new Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers: Hairstylist, Cook, Horticultural Technician, Baker/Patissier, and Appliance Service Technician. Additionally, the government is proposing supporting multiple employers to pool together and form consortia to hire, register and train their apprentices for skilled trades.

Our Response: In our report Talent-in-Transition, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce recommended that the government collaborate with business and education stakeholders to increase employers’ awareness of the consortium model. By allowing for multiple employers to join and form hiring consortium, apprentices will see an enhanced system flexibility while improving support for the development of a workforce that is responsive to Ontario’s local labour market needs.


Advocacy and Policy Update: 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP)

On October 26th, the Ontario Government released its 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan. The plan comes after a year-long consultation, which saw engagement from across the province. Below is a high-level synopsis of the plan, including the Ontario Chamber Network’s analysis and comparison to their Long-Term Energy Submission, Leading the Charge.

Key Initiatives identified in Delivering Fairness and Choice for Business:

Ensuring Affordable and Accessible Energy

The LTEP projects that the residential price for electricity will remain below the outlooks published in the 2010 and 2013 Long-Term Energy Plans.The LTEP highlights how The Fair Hydro Plan will reduce electricity bills by 25 per cent (on average) for residents, small businesses and farms.The government will continue to support the expansion of natural gas, providing customers with more choice and aiding economic development in their communities.

Analysis: In Leading the Charge, we advocated that government’s long-term energy plan must respect the principles of affordability and competitiveness. We are pleased to see the 2017 LTEP has placed an  emphasis on ensuring affordability as one of its fundamental pillars. Reducing electricity costs for industry and small business is a top priority of the Ontario Chamber Network. Under the Affordable and Accessible Energy section, the LTEP points to the government’s measures to help business and industry with energy costs. The plan points out the Save on Energy for Business programs, including the provincial government’s partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to raise awareness about these energy efficiency programs through Know Your PowerLearn more.

Ensuring a Flexible Energy System

The LTEP further emphasis  the Market Renewal Process currently being undertaken by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), allowing the province to adjust to changes and cost-efficiency and acquire electricity resources  needed to meet future demand.

Analysis: The 2017 LTEP  re-affirms that Ontario needs a flexible energy system that can meet possible future outlooks. Flexibility ensures that Ontario has the ability to respond to changing market conditions, allowing the province to balance electricity demand and supply. Market Renewal could transform Ontario’s wholesale electricity market and ultimately result in a more competitive and flexible energy procurement system.

Innovating to Meet the Future

The LTEP promises to invest in  cost-effective energy storage by updating regulations, including addressing how the Global Adjustment is charged for storage projects.

The Government plans to work with the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to provide customers greater choice in their electricity plans.

The LTEP proposes to expand the options for net metering to give building owners more opportunities to access renewable energy generation and energy storage technologies.

Analysis: Leading the Charge called on the government to continue to pursue and maintain a balanced supply mix, while seeking to invest in transformation and cost-saving technologies such as energy storage. The Ontario Chamber Network has long recognized that new technologies such as energy storage will be complementary to peaking resources such as wind and solar while supporting the baseload operation of nuclear power. We were pleased to see a commitment to nuclear refurbishment projects such as Darlington, the life extension project at the Bruce Power facility, and the continued operations of Pickering mentioned explicitly.


Improving Value and Performance for Customers

The government plans to enhance the energy sector becomes as a more consumer-focused, and commits to working with the OEB to improve the performance and efficiency of LCDs, and to redesign electricity bills to make it easier for consumers to understand and manage their energy costs.

The government will direct the IESO to develop a competitive selection or procurement process for transmission, and to identify possible pilot projects.

Analysis: Electricity bills need to be clearer and more understandable. While the 2017 LTEP  makes a positive step in this direction, the Ontario Chamber Network will continue to advocate for greater transparency and predictability in the energy system, including the need for the government to create a separate line item on natural gas bills for cap and trade-related costs.


Energy Conservation and Efficiency

The LTEP places a further emphasis on the importance of a Demand Response capacity auction.

The government provided insight into its Green Ontario Fund, which will provide energy consumers with a co-ordinated one-window approach to encourage conservation across multiple energy services and programs.

Analysis: The 2017 LTEP commits to conservation as a means for sustaining Ontario’s energy system and a tool for consumers to manage their energy costs, while emphasizing the importance of Demand Response mechanisms such as  a capacity auction. Since 2015,  the Ontario Chamber Network has called for a  capacity auction, as a means to create  greater opportunities for Demand Response to grow further and compete with other resources.   


Responding to Climate Change

The Government remains committed to an electricity system that includes renewable energy generation and supports the goals of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP).

The LTEP plans to strengthen the ability of the energy industry to anticipate the effects of climate change and integrates its impacts into its operational and infrastructure planning.

Analysis: The Ontario Chamber Network’s submission to the LTEP, Leading the Charge, called on the government to ensure energy planning is aligned with Ontario’s CCAP  goals. The 2017 LTEP reaffirms this ask and supports the alignment. Also, in the Ontario Chamber Network’s submission to the Long-Term Infrastructure Plan, Building Better: Setting up the Next Ontario Long-Term Infrastructure Plan for Success, we call on the government to ensure that the province’s infrastructure planning is also aligned with the Climate Change Action Plan.


Supporting Regional Solutions and Infrastructure

The government commits to working with local communities to develop plans for meeting their diverse energy requirements. The government has indicated with the first cycle of regional and municipal energy planning complete, the IESO will begin making recommendations that address the challenges and opportunities that have emerged in individual communities. 

Analysis: The Ontario Chamber Network is encouraged to see the expansion of natural gas, particularly for northern communities, giving consumers greater choice and aiding in economic development. Natural gas assets enabled the transition off coal-fired generation and provided a source of on-demand power to backstop wind and solar resources. As a flexible and responsive resource, natural gas adaptability will be instrumental for regional planning as a mechanism to keep costs down.

Our Position:

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, along with the Ontairo Chamber Network, has long been active in advocating for a principled and pragmatic approach to energy planning. We were encouraged to see that Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan 2017: Delivering Fairness and Choice delivers broad alignment with the Ontario Chamber Network’s previous policy stance. The 2017 LTEP, echoes the Network’s call for the need to ensure competitive and affordable rates through new procurement models.

The Ontario Chamber Network was pleased to see the strong commitment made to Ontario’s nuclear sector, including the refurbishment projects at Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) Darlington site and Bruce Power’s facility in Tiverton, as well as a renewed commitment  to pursue continued operations at OPG’s Pickering site.  We also applaud government on the initial integration of Ontario’s CCAP into our energy planning system.

While today’s plan places an emphasis on ensuring affordability and flexibility, the Ontario Chamber Network will continue to advocate that further rate mitigation strategies must be developed and aimed specifically at the business sector.


What’s Next?

The release of the LTEP today provides us with an encouraging glimpse into Ontario’s energy future. The Ontario Chamber Network will continue to advocate for the reduction of input costs for businesses and looks forward to working with the government to deliver on its energy priorities.


Steering Through Change: A Handbook to Help Ontario Businesses Understand and Manage Bill 148

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, alongside the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and management-consulting firm, MNP, have released a comprehensive handbook (Steering Through Change) to help Ontario businesses navigate the new costs and regulations associated with Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act. The handbook provides a summary of the incoming changes, outlines the potential risks to business, and identifies strategies to help mitigate the impact.

From substantial increases to the minimum wage, new scheduling provisions, reforms to the collective bargaining process and dozens of other changes, Bill 148 will present many challenges for employers.

The handbook includes important insights into the legislation and offers practical solutions and strategies to support businesses through the initial changes. As the implementation dates draw closer, employers will be able to turn to this handbook to understand the legislation and navigate change.

The handbook provides a better understanding of how to manage and plan for Bill 148, should the legislation pass. However, there is still an opportunity to provide

feedback on Bill 148 before it comes to a final vote. To date, the bill has passed the second reading and has now been referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. 

Business owners are strongly encouraged to send requests to deputize in front of the committee and send written submissions to the Standing Committee including your thoughts and concerns regarding Bill 148.

You can e-mail your submission to the following address:

Eric Rennie, Clerk
erennie@ola.org
cc:comm-financeaffairs@ola.org
416-325-3506

On November 2nd, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and MNP LLP hosted a webinar on Bill 148 featuring an overview of Bill 148, what the implications are, and what you can do for next steps. View the presentation slides. Watch the webinar recording


Comprehensive, Pro-Growth Policies Needed in 2018 Provincial Election

Ontario’s Chamber Network provides recommendations to Drive Economic Development to the Forefront of Political Discourse


Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released Vote Prosperity, a platform and campaign outlining the Ontario business community’s priorities for the upcoming 2018 provincial election. Vote Prosperity provides a series of proactive recommendations that all of Ontario’s political parties should adopt to ensure growth for the province’s economy.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Oakville’s economy, they support working families in our local community and across the province, and that’s why candidates from every party in every community will become familiar with Vote Prosperity,” said John Sawyer, President, Oakville Chamber. “Ontario’s business community is prepared to be bold and with Vote Prosperity we are seeking to motivate our political leaders to follow.”

In releasing the platform today, the Ontario Chamber Network will strengthen the political narrative between now and the 2018 election.
Vote Prosperity is based on four aspirational pillars for Ontario:

  1. Strengthen business competitiveness: Rising input costs, especially those costs deriving from government regulation and policy, are the most common and acute concern of the business community in Ontario.
  2. Foster Job Creation: A robust labour market consisting of good jobs is essential to prosperity for all Ontarians.
  3. Build Healthy Communities: Building strong communities through adequate and affordable housing, sustainable health care, and good infrastructure also supports business prosperity and growth, which supports those communities.
  4. Improve Government Accountability: Poor implementation of government initiatives can result in resource waste, political frustration and disruption for ordinary citizens, as demonstrated by a series of policy failures under governments of all political stripes.

“Ontario businesses have made it clear that the ever-rising costs of doing business from all levels of government has hindered their ability to prosper and grow,” said Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Our objective is to achieve coherent, comprehensive pro-growth policies from all political parties.  Our recommendations provide a prosperous path forward because when you vote for prosperity, Ontario wins.”

The platform provides 18 unique recommendations that will help bolster Ontario’s long-term economic future, while also addressing the pressing issues Ontario currently faces. Some of the 18 recommendations in Vote Prosperity include:

  • Reinstating scheduled reductions in the Corporate Income Tax, standardize the Business Education Tax and reduce the Employer Health Tax.
  • Conduct and publish the results for a comprehensive review of the electricity sector, including an objective economic impact analysis assessing the full range of inputs that make up the Global Adjustment (GA), and then pursue cost-reducing measures based on the results.
  • Focus on strategic growth policies by ensuring that land use planning and development regulations are aligned, to increase density and create more housing stock.
  • Create a meaningful plan to tackle the debt and more towards balanced or surplus budgets.

Over the coming months, ahead of the 2018 election, the Ontario Chamber Network will be voicing the concerns and recommendations outlined in Vote Prosperity with political parties and local MPPs and candidates. During the election, local chambers will be hosting debates where Vote Prosperity will be the primary focus of discussion.

Vote Prosperity outlines a number of current issues Ontario businesses face and includes original data from the Ontario Chamber Network’s member network. To learn more about the platform visit www.occ.ca/voteprosperity2018


Extending Minimum Wage Implementation Will Slash Job Loss Risk by 74%: Economic Analysis

Final analysis of Bill 148 reveals $12 billion economic problem that the Ontario Government must resolve

Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Keep Ontario Working (KOW) Coalition released two major reports that broadly capture the challenges associated with Bill 148 and the concerns of the employer community. The first report is the final economic impact analysis of Bill 148 by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis’ (CANCEA), which was peer-reviewed by Professor Morley Gunderson of the University of Toronto.

CANCEA’s analysis reveals that if Government were to do nothing other than implement the minimum wage increase over five years instead of in the next 15 months, jobs at risk would decrease by 74 per cent in the first two years. 

The analysis also indicates that while the proposed changes will see $11 billion in wage stimulus flow into the economy in the next two years, a remaining $12 billion problem exists which will lead to jobs lost, added costs, and general damage to the Ontario economy.

“Today’s final report by CANCEA is clear, while the Government is correct to say that there will be a stimulus from Bill 148, it does not cover the $23 billion cost challenge for business in the first two years – a substantial amount that poses great risk to our economy and cannot be resolved through offsets alone,” said Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “More must be done. The Ontario Government must resolve the economic challenges presented in Bill 148 through a combination of slowing down the implementation period, amending the legislation, and offsets. Business and Government must work together to avoid unintended consequences and protect our most vulnerable.”

The Keep Ontario Working Coalition and CANCEA released interim findings of this Analysis in August, ahead of final amendments being submitted for first reading of the legislation. To date, CANCEA’s work remains the only peer-reviewed economic analysis of Bill 148. In having been reviewed by Morley Gunderson, the work has benefited from one of the leading economists in Canada, who the Ontario Government has turned to on multiple occasions, such as during the Changing Workplaces Review which became the foundation for Bill 148.

“Our risk assessment of the Act is that there is more risk than reward for Ontarians despite the stated goal of the legislation in helping Ontario’s more vulnerable and the Ontario economy,” Paul Smetanin, President of CANCEA. “Given the risk of consolidating income and wealth inequality, putting about 185,000 people out of work, and the risks of small/medium businesses being exposed to their larger competitors, the unintended consequences are significant.”

In addition, the Keep Ontario Working coalition released a second report, The Flip Side of “Fair”, which showcases testimonials from employers and outline how they will be impacted by the legislation. The report gives a voice to those businesses who have felt excluded from the committee process and policy discussion around this legislation. The testimonials all share a common theme, that the minimum wage increase and labour reforms will have serious consequences for their business and their communities.

“This Bill is forcing businesses to automate where possible, reduce labour/staffing, absorb part of the costs, and pass along a price increase to the customers (consumers) where possible. …The very people that you are purporting to help are the ones who are going to be hurt the most. This will be the inexperienced and/or unskilled in Ontario. As these jobs disappear, they will be pushed onto social assistance… and will remain in poverty.” – Guenther Huettlin, President and Owner at GH Manufacturing, Belleville, Ontario

The KOW Coalition will continue to advocate that the government:

  1. Consider the risks outlined in this economic impact analysis while also conducting their own analysis;
  2. Implement broad amendments to Bill 148; and,
  3. Slow down implementation to avoid unintended consequences and protect Ontario’s jobs, communities and our most vulnerable.

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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 please visit www.keepontarioworking.ca.

Members include:

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

Canadian Franchise Association (CFA)

Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers

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 Home Builders’ Association (OHBA)

Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA)

Restaurants Canada

Retail Council of Canada (RCC)

Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)


Ontario Needs More Resilient Infrastructure to Confront Challenges of 21st Century

Report points to a $19 billion infrastructure gap which must be addressed through new accountabilities in Ontario’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan

Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released Building Better: Setting the 2017 Ontario Infrastructure Plan Up For Success, a report calling on the Ontario Government to implement key recommendations in its imminent Long-Term Infrastructure Plan (LTIP) that will help ensure accountable planning and building resilient, adaptable infrastructure for the future.

With relatively stagnant infrastructure investment since the 1970s, the province of Ontario currently faces a significant infrastructure gap, where it would need an estimated $19 billion to improve current infrastructure alone. The gap exists because governments have not invested in upholding original infrastructure and Ontario’s harsher climate has contributed to the deterioration of the province’s infrastructure.

“Here in Oakville, and across Ontario, there is a need for significant infrastructure spending to fill the current gap –  to ensure Oakville is equipped for the future; a future that has very different infrastructure needs from the past,” said John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “To succeed in our constantly evolving economy, we must ensure that infrastructure dollars are spent on innovative and forward-looking projects that will grow our province’s capacity to do business and grow our economy.”

The Government’s LTIP is expected to be released this fall with stakeholders greatly anticipating its release. Ontario’s Chamber Network is contributing to the development of the LTIP by recommending that: 

  • While the Government has made significant infrastructure investments, it should bring fresh accountability methods around how infrastructure dollars are spent to ensure spending and planning are transparent;
  • Governments of all levels should confront challenges of the 21st century by ensuring planning considers how we can build infrastructure that is resilient and adaptable and deals with variables such as climate change; and that,
  • The Long-Term Infrastructure Plan must be strategic, robust, and based on long-term thinking.

“We commend the Government of Ontario for their impressive allotment of infrastructure funds; this investment in our province’s infrastructure has the potential to yield tremendous benefits for all Ontarians,” said Richard Koroscil, Interim President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “To ensure the Ontario government’s investments do not suffer the same fate as those of federal government, where significant funds have been committed but few projects identified, we hope the Government of Ontario will implement our recommendations, to better strengthen the province’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan.”

“We have heard from our members about the need to invest in crucial transporation infrastructure in Oakville. In fact, the top three infrastructure priorities identified by our members in our 2016 Advocacy Survey were local roads and bridges, public parking, and transit” added Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “This is why we are recommending the Provincial Government to adopt an outcomes-based approach to infrastructure funding with project prioritization based on clear, transparent criteria such as resulting in economic growth, efficiency, sustainability, and community benefits.”

Research shows that investment in infrastructure, such as roads, transportation, communication, utilities and more, have resulted in lowered business costs and increased labour productivity. It is estimated that for every $1 billion in infrastructure spending 16,700 jobs are supported for one year and the GDP sees a $1.14 billion increase.


Read the report.