Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce Report to Members


In early May, members of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC) Executive Committee attended the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) Annual General Meeting in Cornwall, Ontario.

Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce President Mark Barsanti notes that the Ontario Chamber of Commerce plays an important role in our own local Chamber’s advocacy efforts. “The OCC AGM is a forum for all Chambers and Boards of Trade from across the province to come together to discuss and debate issues that are affecting, and possibly impeding, business and commerce.  What comes out of the discussions is a set of resolutions which guides the overall lobbying and advocacy efforts of the OCC at a provincial level and establishes suggested courses of action for our Chamber and other Chambers in respect to key economic issues. “

At the convention, the Chamber was directly involved in co-sponsoring two policy resolutions and supported a number of others by voting in favor of their adoption. The Chamber co-sponsored a policy resolution with the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce titled “RECONSIDER APPROACH TO ADDRESSING ONTARIO’S RETIREMENT SAVINGS PROBLEM”. This resolution would call on the OCC to advocate for clarity and reconsideration of the proposed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) as well as considerations to make other pension savings accounts more attractive.

In January 2015, we joined four other Ontario Chambers to support the Travel Rebate Incentive Plan (TRIP). This is a proposed tax rebate plan that would encourage U.S. residents to visit Canada by offering a 5% rebate (equal to the GST) on purchases made during their trip. It is for travelers passing through land borders. The Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Chamber of Commerce presented a resolution to gain support for the TRIP incentive from the Ontario Chamber. As a key Chamber supporting the original implementation of this program, the SSMCOC is satisfied that it was accepted by the OCC and will continue to work with other participating Chambers to lobby for the implementation of the program.

While at the OCC AGM, the SSMCOC strongly supported other policy resolutions that advocated for changes that would positively impact businesses in Sault Ste. Marie. Some of these resolutions include:

Strengthening Labor Market Information (LMI) For Business Competitiveness
Promoting Innovation To Improve Competitiveness And Productivity
Reinstate Scheduled Corporate Income Tax Rate Reductions By 2017-18
Ontario’s Debt And Deficit Management Strategy
Reduce The Cumulative Regulatory And Cost Burden On Ontario Employers
Business Regulations And Enforcement – Expanding ‘Open For Business’ Focus To Municipal Service Delivery
Good Governance At The College Of Trades
Reforming The College Of Trades
Implementation Of A One Business Number
Promoting Greater Transparency In The ‘Open For Business’ Initiative
To read the full document outlining the results from the OCC AGM policy debates, please visit the following link.

Barsanti notes that “it is imperative that our members engage the Chamber to advise us of barriers that restrict business operations or impair the flow of commerce in our community. The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce continually advocates for its members and would like to create a continuous feedback loop with our membership.”