Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Ontario Chamber of Commerce

May 06, 2008 09:40 ET

Identifying Key Building Blocks for Ontario's Economic Renewal

OSHAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 6, 2008) - Ontario's business advocate has defined the critical priorities necessary to lay a strong foundation for Ontario's economic renewal. Delegates from across Ontario gathered at the 96th Annual General Meeting & Convention of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) in Oshawa to discuss the key concerns of their 60,000 members, setting a new course for their public policy efforts.

"Ontario businesses are making innovative breakthroughs every day, producing higher value added goods that equal the best in the global marketplace," says Len Crispino, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. "Our firms can compete toe-to-toe with the rest of the world but they need the support of an economic framework that gives them at least a level playing field, if not a leg up. The government must immediately focus its efforts on reducing the cost of doing business, strengthening our municipal framework and enhancing our value proposition."

Forty-four policy priorities were approved while additional discussions took place about community competitiveness, the globalization of agriculture, and the ongoing unfairness in the federal equalization formula and federal transfer payments.

"This is not an attempt to criticize other provinces. This is about all of us and the impacts we feel when we drive the roads of this province, try to access health care or postsecondary education," adds Crispino. "Ontario simply cannot continue to fund public services in other provinces at a level higher than our own." Premier Dalton McGuinty also addressed this topic in a speech to the delegates on Friday.

Some of the key policy priorities include asking the Government of Ontario to:

- Reduce the general and manufacturing corporate income tax rate to 10% by 2012;

- Immediately replace the small business income tax claw-back with a progressive marginal tax rate of 10%;

- Create a fair paper procurement policy in Ontario in order to prevent the exclusion of some two thirds of Ontario's forestry companies;

- Remove inter-provincial trade barriers, specifically for Ontario VQA wine delivery which is currently not permitted in other provinces;

- Develop a comprehensive inventory of all transportation infrastructure in Ontario in order to allow for fiscally responsible planning to maintain integrity of these assets;

- Constitute a Borders Advisory Council so as to reduce the confusing and duplicative regulations which contribute to border delays that annually drain $5.25 billion from our economy;

- Realign the ratios in restricted skilled trades in order to help Ontario meet the demand for skilled trades; and

- Work with the other provinces and Federal government to assume leadership in the alternative fuels and environmental agenda.

Also at the conference, in an example of strong bilateral cooperation, The Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Revenue, and The Honourable Monique Smith, Minister of Revenue (Ontario) informed the delegates of the corporate tax consolidation in Ontario. Estimated to save $200 million dollars each year for Ontario businesses, the move has come about largely as a result of the urging of the OCC, described by Minister O'Connor as the "most articulate proponent" of the harmonized tax collection and auditing.

A full listing of the approved policy resolutions can be found at www.occ.on.ca.

The OCC represents 60,000 businesses through 160 local Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade, and has been Ontario's business advocate since 1911. Its advocacy and policy initiatives focus on six areas key to the economic well-being of the province: health; education; energy; finance & taxation; transportation & infrastructure; and border issues.

Contact Information

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