Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Ontario Chamber of Commerce

March 16, 2007 15:08 ET

Media Advisory-Ontario Chamber of Commerce Available for Budget Reaction

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 16, 2007) - Len Crispino, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), will be available on Monday, March 19th after the release of the Federal Budget. The OCC represents 57,000 businesses through 160 Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade and has been Ontario's business advocate since 1911.

The OCC has been actively advocating for a solution to the fiscal imbalance between Ottawa and the provinces. Having released two reports on the subject, the OCC has called for the federal government to address the imbalance with a framework based on the following principles:

- Provinces that receive equalization should not have a higher fiscal capacity than non-recipient provinces.

- Provinces that benefit from equalization should not have higher per capita program expenditures than the average of contributing provinces. The program should ensure a fiscal capacity to deliver reasonably comparable levels of services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation.

- Equalization growth rate should not be higher than the average real economic growth rate.

- Discretionary transfers from the federal government should be allocated on a per capita basis.

- All alternative financing solutions including Tax policy initiatives should be employed.

- Clearly define areas of Federal & Provincial jurisdiction. Provinces should commit to spending equalization funds/transfers on a reasonable level of public services.

- As the largest wealth transfer in the world, measurement standards to determine outcomes must be put in place.

The OCC is part of a non-partisan coalition of leaders from the business, non-profit and public sectors called the Fairness Coalition who, in January of this year issued an open letter to Minister of Finance James Flaherty asking for fairness for Ontario.

In addition, the OCC provided pre-budget advice emphasizing the importance of enhancing productivity growth in Canada. Recommendations include:

- maintain significant annual debt repayment and achieve a balanced budget,

- harmonize Provincial Sales Tax and Goods & Services Tax,

- expedite funding for its labour market development agreement with Ontario,

- continue to eliminate barriers to internationally-trained workers,

- adopt a national apprenticeship certification process,

- implement a national mental health strategy,

- and ensure the efficient, timely and secure movement of goods and people between Canada and the U.S.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Chamber of Commerce
    Amy Terrill
    W: (416) 482-5222, ext. 241 or C: (416) 605-8205