The 2017 federal budget introduced a largely unnoticed legislative change that will have long-term implications for Canadian businesses. It overhauled the cost recovery rules that govern how federal departments and agencies set user fees charged to businesses and individuals.
The budget replaced the 2004 User Fees Act with the Service Fees Act. The Service Fees Act makes it much easier for departments and agencies to introduce and increase the fees for their goods and services. For some fees, the budget legislation went a step further and, without explaining why, exempted fees under the Food and Drugs Act from the new rules, giving the Minister of Health the authority to increase fees via Ministerial Order. These exemptions and the Service Fees Act were included in an omnibus budget bill, meaning the changes received far less parliamentary and public scrutiny than they would have as stand-alone legislation.
User fees play an important role in how departments and agencies are funded. Like taxes, they affect the competitiveness of businesses that pay them. Given the hasty implementation of changes to federal cost recovery rules, it is worth examining how the government and Health Canada, specifically, have exercised these new authorities.
The principle of cost recovery is a reasonable one: that some government goods or services should be paid by the user that benefits from them instead of from general tax revenues. When the benefit is entirely private, some fees recover the entire cost to departments of providing the service. Some fees recover a portion of the service delivery cost when there are benefits to both private interests and the broader public.
Canadian businesses are accustomed to paying fees to all levels of government to comply with regulatory requirements, including a seemingly endless number of registrations, licences and permits. Individual Canadians are also used to paying federal user fees for things such as passports and admission to national parks.
While user fees are generally not compulsory like taxes, many businesses cannot obey existing laws and regulations without paying them. These requirements are from a public monopoly, meaning there are no alternatives for businesses that are unhappy with the service or the fee. As a result, it is crucial departments
provide the highest levels of transparency and accountability in setting fees and ensure fees are strongly connected to the services they fund.
When the User Fees Act was introduced by Roy Cullen in 2002, he stated:
"It is time for parliamentarians to take greater ownership of user fees. What began as a legitimate attempt to more fully recover costs for proprietary services and goods has developed into something that is beyond that which was contemplated."
Cullen’s private members bill, the User Fees Act swung the pendulum in the opposite direction to a point where departments found the fee process too burdensome. There are signs that the Service Fees Act and the exemptions to it have swung the pendulum too far back the other way. The new unregulated approach to setting industry fees sends a hostile signal to foreign investors and companies looking to do business in Canada. Health Canada’s 2017 attempt to dramatically increase fees for drugs and medical devices gave no
consideration to business competitiveness impacts and reinforced industry concerns about the federal shift on fees.
2020 will mark three years since the passage of the Service Fees Act. Given it was drafted without
consultation and received little public scrutiny, it is an appropriate time to conduct a review of the legislation. Doing so provides an opportunity to build business confidence in the federal cost
recovery regime and ensure the Service Fees Act, like the user fee policies of the mid-1990s, does not develop into something beyond which it was intended.
The province has opened applications for two different initiatives. The first is to help Ontario farming sectors find new markets and the second is an infrastructure fund that will go toward renovations, upgrades and new construction of community, culture and recreational projects.
Agriculture and associated sectors are an important economic pillar in Peterborough City and County.
The Market Access Initiative
The Government of Canada and Government of Ontario are taking action to help Ontario food and agri-product exporters pursue new markets.
The Ontario government is accepting applications for the Market Access Initiative, a new cost-share funding initiative open to all Ontario food and agri-product exporters to assist them in accessing new markets. The Market Access Initiative will assist with diversification projects and is supported through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership).
"Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, we are investing in collaborative and innovative
solutions to industry challenges. The Government is committed to creating good jobs for our families by helping our farmers and processors in Ontario and across Canada to compete and succeed in markets at home and around the world," said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
"The quality of Ontario's farm products has and always will be among the best in the world - and trade disputes don't change this. We're pleased to apply the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to help expand markets for Ontario's agri-food industry and to support the sector in its efforts to innovate and be open for business," said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
The Partnership’s priority areas are:
The Market Access Initiative will be delivered by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
For more information or to access the program materials and applications forms,
visit www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cap/market_access.htm today, or call 1-877-424-1300.
The application intake will review applications as received and remain open until funding budgeted for the initiative is no longer available.
Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP)
Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure and MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock announced that the province is now accepting funding applications for projects under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program's (ICIP) Community, Culture and Recreation (CCR) stream. The funding will go towards investing in community, culture and recreational projects that will help deliver vital services for communities, foster greater social inclusion and improve the quality of life for residents across the province.
"Community centres, cultural facilities and recreational infrastructure are exactly the types of investments that make a difference in the daily lives of people across Ontario," said Scott. "We are making the investments that matter to our communities."
This program is funded by the federal and provincial governments along with eligible partners such as municipalities, Indigenous communities and not-for-profit groups, and could unlock up to $320 million in provincial funding.
The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) is a $30-billion, 10-year infrastructure program cost-shared between federal, provincial and municipal governments. Ontario’s share per project will be up to 33.33 per cent or about $10.2 billion spread across four streams:
The agreement between Ontario and Canada commits $407 million in federal funding to the
Community, Culture and Recreation stream. This could unlock up to $320 million in provincial funding and up to $275 million in other partner funding such as municipalities, non-profit groups or Indigenous communities.
Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program: Community, Culture and Recreation guidelines and
application materials are available for eligible partners on the Transfer Payment Ontario website.
The federal election is expected to be called in the next few weeks and the Peterborough Chamber is currently in the process of pulling together all of the information our members will need to know.
There are three ridings that cover Peterborough City and County. These are:
Registered Voters: 93,190
Registered Voters: 89,605
Registered Voters: 91,802
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce as always will be focussing on policy, not politics.
In May the Canadian Chamber of Commerce released a business platform titled “Vote Prosperity”
“We have published an open letter to all of Canada’s federal party leaders, challenging them to give our 200,000 business owners what they must have: a fighting chance to compete and grow. Canada’s
businesses have every right to expect a level playing field with the countries they compete against. We call on all party leaders to build their business policy proposals around the Vote Prosperity checklist, which outlines what Canada’s job creators themselves have identified as mission critical,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, PC, OC, President & CEO, CCC.
Vote Prosperity reflects the priorities and concerns of job creators in communities across Canada. Developed in partnership with Canada’s provincial and territorial chambers of commerce, Vote Prosperity lays out our seven priorities, along with a series of specific measures to attract investment to Canada, and help businesses create jobs, grow and strengthen our communities.
The seven priority areas are:
The Canadian Chamber has developed a website which can be accessed through our website peterboroughchamber.ca
During this election campaign, seven local business organizations are banding together to host an all-candidates’ debate focussed on business issues.
The host organizations are:
The event will be held on Monday, September 30th at Market Hall from 5:30 – 9:00pm.
The Peterborough Chamber is thrilled to be one of three finalists in the 2019 Canadian Chamber of Commerce competition.
Chambers from across Canada were asked to submit an event based around advocacy. The Peterborough Chamber put forward the Power Hour event and was selected as a finalist to present at the national Annual General Meeting on September 21, 2019.
The Power Hour is annual event held in the first quarter of the year. It brings together our local elected officials from all four levels of government and the business community. The 90-minute question
and answer session includes audience questions and covers a variety topics.
Thanks to our sponsors, members, and elected officials for making this event a success!
The Chamber does work that is purposeful, transparent, accountable and strategic, all with the goal of strengthening the community.
The Chamber is driven by the leadership of its members, who believe that Peterborough will never be good enough for any of us until it’s good enough for all of us.
The Chamber can put its name on many of the community’s accomplishments over the past 130 years. There have been hundreds of women and men who, for no other reason than love of our city and county, have volunteered with the Chamber to make good things happen.
Business advocacy is paramount to an economically vibrant city. And that effort is privately funded by our membership. We have credible standing at City Hall, at Queen's Park, and in the Parliament of Canada because we represent the business community. We influence public policy to ensure that the stage is set and maintained for business success right here in Peterborough. Having a positive, productive relationship with government at all levels matters – and we’re often able to resolve challenges for our members through those relationships.
Our advocacy efforts include letters, meetings, round tables, and Policy Resolutions, which are a formal tool we use to indicate broad support for a specific recommendation to Government. Policy Resolutions can be Municipal - approved by the Policy Committee and the Board, Provincial – approved by the delegates at an Ontario Chamber Annual General Meeting, or Federal – approved by the delegates at a Canadian Chamber AGM. We have authored numerous Policy Resolutions, from municipal tax ratios, to Provincial apprenticeship ratios to federal taxation on digital entities and the risks of cybercrime.
We work openly and account for our work, with a focus on two fundamentals, the ultimate success of our member companies, and the prosperity for the community of Peterborough City and County. We don’t make willy-nilly decisions based on the interests of a few. Rather, our positions on issues that impact your business and the community as a whole take a long-view and are based on fact, and broad input.
There are a multitude of organizations involved in this work, representing everything from economic development, innovation, new Canadians, women, the downtown, the trades, the professions, etc. etc. We call them #TeamPtbo. But we feel that we represent all of those organizations, all of those sectors, all of that potential.
And, just like we’ve done for 130 years, we leverage the passion, time, treasure and spirit of our
community to ensure that Peterborough remains strong in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.
"We benefit from the strong network of businesses the Chamber provides. We've experienced expense savings with the member discount programs and I know that the Chamber is an advocate for local business, and that benefits our community."
Brant Office Supply
Our members make connections in the community in a multitude of ways:
- by accessing our multiple social media channels
- by being listed in our online membership directory that works hard for your business 24/7 because of our high Google ranking.
- by accessing our networking and ticketed events, as well as professional development programs, ticketed events and sponsorship programs
"This membership isn't all about networking in person. There is a real opportunity, at a foundational level, to improve your local rankings online and help you reach more people simply by being listed as a member of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce"
We can help you with your business fundamentals by:
- Keeping up with Government. Legislative/Policy changes come at you from all levels of Government. We curate that information and keep you up to date on a need to know basis.
- Our workshops connect you to the expertise of other members, and we partner with other organizations to give you access to a broad spectrum of business information.
- Our numerous discount/exclusive programs offered by our members can not only provide learning opportunities, but can make you a more attractive employer
"Being a Chamber member is so important to us for a couple of reasons; the advocacy the Chamber does on our behalf and on behalf of small business, and the Chamber health plan, which we're able to offer to our full time staff to help support them and their families."
Kelli and Tony Grady
Grady's Feet Essentials
There are many reasons to belong to The Chamber, from promoting your business, to saving you money, to helping you gain a competitive edge. But the most important is the simple strengthening of your business. I invite you to be a part of writing the next chapter. Your membership is not only an investment in your business, it’s an annual vote of confidence in ours.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) is completing a series reports around Artificial Intelligence (AI). In 2017, the federal government released its Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy which funds three centres of excellence in AI research and innovation in Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto. From 2017-2018 there was a 28% increase in the number of active AI-related start-ups in Canada.
Part of the series included roundtable events in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver to discuss issues and opportunities in relation to AI. It includes an examination of:
The report on workforce identifies that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that 14% of jobs in OECD countries are already highly automatable, while another 32% will be radically transformed by technological progress. Ensuring Canadian workers have the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed and prosper amid such widespread innovation is a crucial public policy priority.
Recommendations from the roundtable on workforce:
The Government of Canada should:
According to one forecast by the McKinsey Global Institute, AI could generate $13 trillion in additional global economic activity by 2030, representing an additional 1.2% growth in GDP. One of the challenges identified in the series is continuing to encourage AI as a way to enhance productivity in both rural and urban centres.
The topic of affordable housing, or low-barrier housing, is discussed year after year, election after
election, at all levels of government. Most citizens, even some who have been elected to serve, don’t really have a full appreciation for the problem because it’s been largely invisible... until now.
The emergence of the Tent City has been called the "canary in the coal mine". If by that you mean that there is a lot of volatile gas around the issue, sure. But let’s just say that the Tent City has illuminated a serious problem in Peterborough, and many other communities across the country.
Much has been written about why the Tent City was triggered, who is living there, the various agendas
involved, and what the solutions are, but let’s just establish that it’s an incredibly deep and complex situation involving the lack of affordable housing (and the harsh reality of what that actually means), mental health, addictions, homelessness, red tape/rules and regulations, and more. And not one of us would want to be in one of those tents.
How a society treats its most vulnerable is a measure of that society. As much as one could argue that our social safety net is better than many other countries, it’s also true that over the years mental health services have been seriously eroded, affordable housing has become much less affordable and much more difficult to build, opioid addiction is now a full-on crisis, the shelter system is stressed and Governments with less and less money are having to take care of more and more people.
So, what now?
Like the problems, the solutions are multi-layered and complex. Our elected leaders hosted a round table discussion last week which included some education on the issues from City and County front-line staff, and agencies such as Built for Zero (bfzcanada.ca), which is seeing a growing number of communities achieving effectively zero homelessness. We were struck by the approach of staff which is based on a “by-name” system. Knowing the people affected by name and dealing with their issues and circumstances one by one is truly front-line work, eating the elephant one bite at a time. As a result, the Tent City is slowly shrinking as caseworkers work closely with individuals.
The round table established a ten-point plan which included short-, medium- and long-term goals. The list has been well publicized, but it includes the immediate goal of finding a new location for the Warming Room, working to create new applications to the National Housing Strategy in order to trigger new affordable housing development, and more.
The Chamber of Commerce network is currently working on a number of measures, including:
The “Housing First” approach aims to move homeless people rapidly from shelters and the streets into stable housing, while providing them with the necessary support for underlying mental health or
additional issues to stabilize their lives.
The second recommendation from the “Addressing Homelessness in Canada” resolution was to
coordinate efforts with the provinces/territories and municipalities to stimulate new affordable housing construction. This is very similar to the request in 2019 of aligning federal and municipal policies.
Sometimes it takes a crisis in order for things to get done. This is hopefully one of those times. The people who have populated Tent City have been judged by many people, but perhaps they’ll be the trigger to realizing a sustainable solution.
The Ten-Point Plan for a Rapid Response to Homelessness and Housing includes the following:
Ten-Point Plan for a Rapid Response to Homelessness and Housing
For Immediate Release
July 23, 2019
Therrien and Monsef announce 10-point plan for a Rapid Response to Homelessness and Housing
As a result of today’s meeting at the Mount Community Centre, a 10-Point Plan for a Rapid Response to Homelessness and Housing has been established. The plan consists of the following:
1. Immediately implement recommendations arising from the Rapid Response to Homelessness and Housing Meeting on July 23 to provide more supports and services to encourage those living rough to move indoors.
2. Mayor will strike a Rapid Shelter Task Force to determine a Plan A and Plan B for more permanent, low-barrier shelter for the most vulnerable in our community, with a report due to Council in 60 days.
3. Willing government partners will help the Task Force by providing staff to form a Secretariat.
4. Willing government partners will help the Task Force by suggesting community experts to form the membership of the Task Force.
5. The voices of those living rough in our community, as well as community experts and advocates, will be heard through the development of the Task Force report and the future creation of low-barrier shelter through multiple avenues, including representation on the Task Force and consultations.
6. City of Peterborough will continue to develop its Official Plan to ensure that creative solutions for housing are available to the community, such as allowing for tiny homes through zoning and by-law amendments, and will look to create an inventory of land that could be made available for affordable housing development.
7. Willing government partners will continue to work together to support a community response to the opioid crisis and mental health needs, including by supporting a Consumption and Treatment Site.
8. A public summit will be held on August 13 to ensure the community can help inform the path forward.
9. Willing government partners will work with community and service providers, as well as willing local developers, over the next 60 days to create new applications to the National Housing Strategy that meet the housing needs of the City and County of Peterborough and that move to build 2,000 units over the next two years.
10. Regular information updates about progress on this plan will be delivered to internal partners and to the community at large.
A new report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been released. The report, titled “Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario”, examines the economic potential of the province’s alcohol sector and how the province could modernize the sale and distribution of beverage alcohol and responsibly promote growth across all four categories – wine, beer, spirits, and cider.
This issue is complex and transcends several ministries such as economic development, agriculture, tourism, taxation, and trade, to name a few. The alcohol sector has also changed significantly in the past decades with the emergence of craft breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries. Now in communities just like ours we are seeing businesses work together to provide a full circle experience around their products.
“The power of the beverage alcohol sector to be a force for economic growth extends beyond just the expected industries. The production, distribution, and sale of alcohol has a ripple effect that benefits agriculture, tourism and hospitality, and retail,” stated Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.
The OCC report includes a number of timely recommendations including:
The recommendations are rooted in three guiding principles:
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce has presented solutions in this realm in the form of a request to government to level the tax playing field across the four alcohol disciplines. This was suggested in response to the higher taxes on distilled products. This resolution was part of the impetus for the OCC report as sale and taxation of distilled products continues to be a challenge. Some of the recommendations that mirror the ones from the Peterborough Chamber are:
The Peterborough Chamber also participated in a red tape project driven by Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development to determine if a more streamlined approach is possible in the opening of alcohol-based businesses. The results of those sessions were presented to municipal and provincial governments.
The report also suggests that if the sale of alcohol is to be more widely available a proactive approach on its use is needed.
The report works it way to the conclusion that by getting the modernization process right, the government could unlock economic growth and generate greater tax revenue to fund the public services Ontarians rely on.
The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is seeking members* interested in serving on the Board of Directors.
This is an exciting opportunity for members who have a keen interest in our organization, who have foresight, and are good at conceptualizing. Serving on the Board of Directors with fellow business leaders in the community will utilize your group and teamwork skills.
The Board of Directors plays a significant role in the development of Chamber policies and focuses on governance of the organization through policy governance.
Directors must be willing to make the appropriate time commitment (please see application form). Representing the Chamber Membership, Directors carry forward the "Voice of Business" to all levels of government.
For more information on the work of the Chamber, please visit www.peterboroughchamber.ca.
If you are interested, please complete the Board Application Form. The form must be completed in its entirety and submitted to the Chamber by Wednesday, August 14th, 2019 at either:
Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, 175 George Street North, Peterborough, ON K9J 3G6
*Only members in good standing may apply. We are dedicated to diversity and inclusivity. Accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request.
Another step forward for the City of Peterborough in the updating of the Official Plan (OP).
The OP is a document that is required by the province and according to the a city report presented to General Committee earlier this week, is the “guiding document that helps set the broad vision and direction for future growth and development.”
That vision is organized around five themes:
At first blush, it seems that the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and the Official Plan are moving in the same direction. During the 2018 municipal election campaign, the Chamber released a business platform with ten recommendations. Among the recommendations is an official plan that encourages innovative and adaptive zoning practices, builds community engagement into the process, and supports various types of housing stock. All very comparable to what is being presented in the draft official plan.
"However we think it’s fair to ask if this plan will address a long standing and fundamental challenge – the shortage of serviced industrial land," said Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of
Commerce. "Reading carefully we see terms such as “maximizing available land”, “adaptation of older employment lands”, and “intensification”, but a clear statement about where the future job growth will be located is very much open to interpretation."
Earlier this year, the provincial government started discussions around provincially significant employment lands. They identified 29 areas across the province, mostly in the GTA.
While the Peterborough area was not selected to have any provincially significant employment lands, the issue of employment lands is extremely important. There is a need as a community to be nimble and to be able to adapt to emerging industries. So as the process continues, the Chamber encourages thought around:
What kind of space will maximize the land available for employment? As with any planning exercise it should be a balance between the needs of residents and the need to create space for employment for those residents and commuters. In general, there is a trend toward using less space and building up. Despite manufacturing not requiring the massive land use of the past, doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for some space and land on which to build places that create and develop products.
Part of the draft official plan is a new employment land planning framework. Intensification is possible in Peterborough, in some areas it is necessary. But there is also a need to have space to be ready for those emerging industries that require more land and cannot be situation in a residential area. It is in this plan that balance is required and cannot be forgotten.
The Official plan is viewed through the lens of the 2014 Provincial Policy Statement as well as the guidelines of the 2017 and 2019 iterations of the Growth Plan. But there is also a subtlety of making the plan uniquely Peterborough. Of creating a plan that is bold, encouraging of our creative entrepreneurs and draws on our strengths in aerospace, cleantech, agriculture, and tourism.
If we are going to create the jobs that this area so badly needs, both now and into the future, we need to have a crystal clear path to that future.