PETERBOROUGH, Monday, January 15, 2018 – Today, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, 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 the government reinstate the scheduled corporate income tax rate from 11.5 per cent to 10 per cent. The submission also calls on the harmonization of the Business Education Tax across the province, as well as targeted reductions to the Employer Health tax.
“Employers in the Peterborough area are feeling the pressure from rising costs,” said Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “The recent minimum wage and labour and employment standard changes will cost Ontario businesses an estimated $23 billion over the next two years. When HST was introduced so were measures to help mitigate the cost of changes. This is a similar situation where transitional support is needed for business.”
The pre-budget submission also recommends that the government create additional small business deduction tax brackets, as well as delay taxation on corporate income growth to overcome the scale-up challenge. 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 per cent of private sector jobs can be attributed to the activities of small and medium sized enterprises.
“Ontario needs a competitive taxation system that encourages investment and minimizes red tape,” said Harrison. “As the U.S. pursues tax reform that would lower their federal corporate tax rate by 15 per cent, and with the uncertain future of NAFTA, we must find ways to keep Ontario competitive.”
The recommendations outlined in the OCC’s pre-budget submission all come directly from Ontario’s Chamber Network through policy resolutions at the OCC’s AGM. Among them is one from the Peterborough and Kingston Chambers to increase the levy paid by post-secondary institutions, hospitals and jails in lieu of taxes.
are struggling with a multitude of financial pressures and the current levy of $75 per head and bed no longer accurately reflects the cost of delivering services,” said Jim Hill, Chair of the Board of Directors, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “For Peterborough, adjusting the levy to $100 per head and bed would see $274,000 in additional funds each year in the municipal budget.”
Read the full submission and all 11 recommendations here.
For more information please contact:
Sandra Dueck, Policy Analyst/Communications Specialist
705.748.9771 x215 or firstname.lastname@example.org
There has been much discussion in recent weeks about the unintended consequences of Bill 148, the legislation that introduced a higher minimum wage in Ontario and extended numerous labour and employment standards provisions.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) along with the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and our members understand the intent of the legislation. But we also understand that evidence-based public policy must be fundamental in a properly functioning democracy.
For months, the OCC has forewarned that any objective analysis of these changes will lead to significant job loss, a 50% increase in inflation over and above what would otherwise be expected in the next few years, and an acceleration toward automation.
Now we are seeing these consequences come to fruition as businesses take extra-ordinary actions.
The implementation was too much too fast. It is clear that the Government of Ontario must take further action to mitigate the unintended consequences of Bill 148.
We will continue to call on government to provide offsets in the upcoming budget that will help employers manage this drastic increase in labour costs. We must ensure that we are doing all we can so that Ontario remains competitive.
Let’s lower the rhetoric, on all sides, and ensure that we are collectively helping to shape an inclusive and shared prosperity here in Ontario.
Advocacy: Bill 148 Information Page
A fellow employee once said, “we spend so much time together at work; we need to take care of each other”. Wise words…
Whether it’s physical health, mental health, having a safe workplace, or just getting along with each other, it’s increasingly important for employers to be proactive when it comes to the health of their employees.
You can support physical health in a number ways:
Fortunately, mental health has become much easier to talk about and do something about.
Thanks to initiatives such as Bell Let’s Talk Day, much of the stigma around mental health has been erased and there is much more support from employers. Full confession - I just wrote the word “tolerance”, then changed it to “support”, proving that there is still work to be done…
81% of businesses believe that it is important to support their employees’ mental wellness in the workplace however only 35% of small business, 65% of medium sized business and 76% of large business have mental health strategies.
In response to the gap, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has developed a toolkit based on three principles:
Bell Let’s Talk day is a remarkable initiative that to date has injected exactly $86,504,429.05 into the conversation on mental health. The campaign is focused on four pillars:
Letstalk.bell.ca is a rich resource of stories, testimonials, toolkits and more. This year Bell Let’s Talk Day is January 31.
It seems like every day there is another high profile example of sexual harassment in the workplace. However, social media campaigns such as #MeToo and #TimesUp reveal that sexual harassment in the workplace is far more common than most people would like to admit. There is only one bottom line – employers need to have training programs in place so that everyone understands the issues, and rock-solid policies and procedures so that incidents are reduced and victims can be safely empowered.
The Chamber will be working closely with the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre in the coming months to
develop strong programming for local employers. Meanwhile, I’d encourage all employers to be
proactive. There is lots of helpful information online to get you started. Just google it. Furthermore, a workplace can be the scene of bullying, stress, physical danger, violence, discrimination and more. The same rules apply – training, policies and procedures.
As employers, we lead by example. Are you eating a fast food lunch in front of your computer, telling off-colour jokes in the lunch room, criticizing your employees in front of their co-workers? Or are you taking care of yourself and your employees, supporting the vulnerable, providing training and opportunities, and
generally making sure that your place of work is a good place to work?
My New Year’s resolution was to lose 15 pounds last year… Only 20 to go!
Turning the page on the calendar year is always a good opportunity to take stock of where you’ve been and where you are going.
The Chamber is no different. Under the banner of “Strengthening Business” there are five key reasons to belong to the Peterborough Chamber:
2017 was a challenging year for business, and it’s likely that this year will be no different with everything from increased costs to increased governance to test the small business person.
Thus, on behalf of our Board of Directors and the Chamber staff, here is what we resolve for 2018:
Just visit peterboroughchamber.ca and follow the links to join, or give Stuart Harrison a call at 705-748-9771 ext 202 and he’ll get you connected.
The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women and Member of Parliament for Peterborough–Kawartha, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; and Jeff Leal, Member of Provincial Parliament for Peterborough, have announced funding for the Peterborough-Toronto Freight Rail Analysis project.
The Government of Canada is contributing up to $65,000 towards this project, which will build on
economic and engineering work already completed. The Government of Ontario is also providing up to $65,000 towards this project.
The project will define freight infrastructure requirements and outline the projected economic impact of potential future freight rail improvements along the Peterborough-Toronto-Havelock-Blue Mountain rail corridor. Specifically, the project will evaluate the benefits and impacts associated with enabling increased freight rail capacity along the corridor.
The Chamber has long been a proponent of rejuvenating this rail line for freight and passenger use, to
encourage continued economic growth in the Peterborough region.
Peterborough is an innovative place to do business and be in business. This is evident by the continued growth of Peterborough & the Kawarthas Innovation Cluster, partnerships between businesses, as well as the City, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development, and Trent University joining forces to build out Cleantech Commons at Trent University.
The Peterborough Chamber recognizes the vital importance of a business’s ability to innovate and along with Chamber Member Prima IP and the support of our Policy Committee and Board of Directors, we developed a policy resolution called Driving Innovation in Canada. The resolution was voted on and passed by delegates at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting in Fredericton, New Brunswick earlier this year.
The resolution has four components that would help encourage more business innovation in Canada.
The resolution is designed to fit well as the federal government embarks on an “intellectual property strategy”. The recommendations are about encouraging more investment in innovation and the development of a Canada-wide “My First Patent” program to encourage more patents in Canada. Quebec funds such a program that allows Quebec SMEs with 250 or fewer employees that are able to demonstrate research and development efforts completed or in part, to apply for a non- repayable contribution of up to 50% of eligible expenses, to a maximum of $25,000 for a patent application project, industrial design registration or integrated circuit topography.
What is the “innovation box” approach?
The innovation box approach, while a tax advantage, supports business investment in research and helps bridge the commercialization gap. This approach would also encourage companies to locate
intellectual property activity and the new high-value jobs associated with the development, manufacture
and exploitation of innovation inside Canada. If properly designed, it would promote and enhance the innovation capacity of sectors that leverage science and technology innovations throughout Canada. Firms in all sectors across Canada will have a greater incentive to adopt, commercialize or otherwise exploit the output of the R&D process here in Canada.
The idea is that an innovation box would allow companies to “tick” a box on their tax form that indicates that the revenues are being derived from patents and innovation investment. Now, there is no
suggestion of a free for all, as how the types of profits that qualify for the lower tax rate, and how acquired intellectual property is treated, differ significantly among countries and provinces. Additionally, the “patent box” rate varies considerably among nations and provinces. Some countries put caps on the total tax relief companies can receive from patent boxes. In the case of Saskatchewan, the provincial government has installed time limits on the number of years of tax relief that can be attached to a patent.
The Chamber is asking that the federal government consider these options. We know that Canada
currently sits 6th in the world for innovation quality and 16th in innovation overall in the Global IP Rankings. Encouraging new innovations to be commercialized and current businesses to consider commercializing their innovations are keys to pushing Canada up in the rankings.
Read the full policy resolution
Earlier this month (December 2017) the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) hosted a roundtable event examining the issue of our aging population and what it will mean for our communities and businesses.
It’s a timely discussion given the recent approval of the City and County of Peterborough’s Age Friendly Plan, the continued success of the Chamber’s Seniors Showcase Trade Show in June and the continued efforts of the Peterborough Council on Aging.
Ashley Challinor is the Director of Policy for the OCC and provided us with this overview of the very interesting and thought-provoking discussion.
“The Ministry of Finance presented some fascinating statistics during the session which indicated that Ontario is not only facing slower population growth in the future, but slower growth of the working age population. Currently, immigration represents 78 percent of population growth but given that immigrants tend to settle in urban areas, it means smaller communities are facing a unique challenge related to aging. Overall, the number of seniors in the province is set to double by 2014, which means we have to plan and act now.
One of the themes of the roundtable, laid out by the Minister and echoed by many at the table, was that we need to stop discussing the aging population as exclusively a challenge and exclusively a cost driver. The perception of a growing senior population is currently that of a problem that needs to be solved, rather than an opportunity to be tapped. Similarly, the discussion of seniors needs to broaden beyond health and long-term care needs.
Research conducted by the Ministry of Seniors Affairs indicates that older Ontarians want to continue to give back and continue to be of service after they retire and as they age. This can manifest itself in many ways – volunteering, mentoring, training, seniors caring for other seniors, etc. Not only could we do a better job of encouraging this kind of service, but we could also do a better job of measuring its economic impact.
Another theme that emerged related to the changing nature of work, and how seniors may be able to take advantage of the sharing economy and non-traditional work arrangements. Similarly, seniors tend to be experienced in the kinds of skills that will be in-demand in an automated future: management, critical thinking, negotiation and mediation, caregiving, strategy and planning, communication, and many more.
However, the changing nature of work also means that older business owners may struggle with
succession plans if their children – or any younger persons – are not interested in taking over the business, jeopardizing what they have worked to build and potentially interfering with their retirement plans. Broadly, this is part of the larger discussion of the decoupling of economic growth from the size of the labour force, how future growth will be generated, and who will pay for the needs of an older population that is largely not participating in paid work.
Some questions for consideration:
How can smaller communities survive and thrive as the average age of their residents rises? How can they encourage younger people and immigrants to move to their communities - and with them, new businesses? How can they naturally transition their communities to ones that support seniors, i.e. through initiatives like NORCs (naturally occurring retirement communities)?
Seniors today fear outliving the pension model, but are also interested in working beyond 65 and continuing to contribute well into their later years. How can policy-makers square that circle, linking seniors’ income security and their need for a sense of purpose?
We tend to speak about seniors as a monolith, but the experiences of someone aged 65 differ wildly from someone who is 85. How can we bring nuance to the discussion of older adults, and ensure that younger seniors are not put “on the shelf” prematurely?
While we do not want to only think of an aging population as a cost driver in the health care system, the sustainability of that system and its evolution toward one that can effectively manage chronic disease and long-term care is critical to navigating demographic change. How do we re-orient the system around patient outcomes and measure savings across hospitals, LHINs, and even Ministries to ensure that the government can manage these new demands?
In 2018, the OCC will tackle three major policy projects: on the untapped potential of Ontario’s health and life sciences sector; on building a transportation network for the future; and on managing growth through strategic urbanization and housing policy. All three of these projects intersect with seniors’ issues, and an aging population will have to be considered as we grow the health sector, build new transit options, and design livable communities."
The Peterborough Chamber is extremely interested in being a part of this discussion and policy work and would love to hear from our members and partner organizations to move the conversation forward.
We also look forward to participating in a city and county-wide program to certify local businesses as age-friendly based on certain criteria.