Further Offset Measures Needed in Upcoming Budget to Keep Ontario Competitive: Chamber


On Monday, the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC), in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), 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 that the government reinstate the scheduled corporate income tax rate cut from 11.5% to 10%. The submission also calls for the harmonization of the Business Education Tax across the province and targeted reductions to the Employer Health tax.

“Sault Ste. Marie employers of all sizes are advising the Chamber that they are feeling the pressure from rising costs, and more than ever they are lacking confidence in the future of Ontario’s economy,” notes Don Mitchell, Acting President of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce. “The recent minimum wage increase and changes to labour and employment standards are expected to cost Ontario businesses an estimated $23 billion over the next two years. We are asking the government to do more to support Ontario’s businesses; the government’s commitments made in last year’s Fall Economic Statement are simply insufficient.”

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

“A competitive taxation system, that encourages investment and minimizes red tape, must be in Ontario’s long-term strategic plan,” states Rory Ring, CEO of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber. “As the U.S. pursues tax reform that would lower their federal corporate tax rate by 15%, and with the uncertain future of NAFTA, we have to find ways to keep Ontario competitive.”

The recommendations outlined in the OCC’s pre-budget submission come directly from Ontario’s Chamber Network through policy resolutions accepted and approved at the provincial Chamber’s annual general meeting.

“In addition to what the Chamber network has put forth today,” says Mitchell, “the Sault Chamber, and no doubt Chambers across the North, will also be looking for commitments from the Ontario government on moving forward with development of the Ring of Fire.”

The 2018 Ontario Budget will be the final budget tabled by the Ontario Liberals before an election that is expected to be held on, or before, June 7th 2018.

Read the full submission and all 11 recommendations here.

About the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce

The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of 700 plus business and agencies in Sault Ste. Marie and has been serving the needs of this community since 1889. The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce will lead the way as the voice of business, advancing economic prosperity for its membership and the business community. Learn more about the SSMCOC at www.ssmcoc.com