Ontario’s Chamber Network provides recommendations to Drive Economic Development to the Forefront of Political Discourse
Today, the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC), in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), 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 the Sault’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,” says Jason Naccarato, President of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce. “Ontario’s business community is prepared to be bold and with today’s recommendations, we are seeking to motivate our political leaders to embrace these principles and goals that will lead Ontario to economic prosperity.”
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:
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.
Foster Job Creation: A robust labour market consisting of good jobs is essential to prosperity for all Ontarians.
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.
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,” says 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.
Rory Ring, CEO of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber notes that the collective of local businesses will be looking for more from candidates than generic talking points about support for business during, and after, the next election campaign. He suggests that while Ontario’s government regularly touts the importance of small and medium-sized business, the actions of the government during the last year have sharply contrasted those claims.
“Small and medium-sized businesses have been under a non-stop assault of increasing costs and legislation over the last year,” says Ring. “Increased energy costs, the introduction of cap-and trade, the false start on the Ontario Pension Plan and most recently, an un-planned and significant proposed increase in minimum wage coupled with a myriad of additional changes to employment legislation, have all been wreaking havoc with Ontario’s businesses. And that is only at the provincial level.”
Naccarato adds that in addition to the high-level recommendations included in Vote Prosperity, the local Chamber will be surveying its members and coming up with its own local ‘wish list’ for our MPP heading into the parliamentary session following the scheduled June 2018 election.
“The Chamber wants to ensure that our representative at Queen’s Park has a good understanding of the issues that are facing businesses provincially and are specifically challenging businesses in Sault Ste. Marie,” says Naccarato. “Our MPP will undoubtedly have a lot on their plate, but we need to be able to ensure that our businesses can put people to work and create jobs. When people are working, other stuff begins to fall into place.”
Ahead of the 2018 election, the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce will be voicing the concerns and recommendations outlined in Vote Prosperity with political parties and candidates. During the election, it expects to host events including debates or forums 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 OCC’s member network. To learn more about the platform visit http://www.occ.ca/voteprosperity2018/.