Businesses in Ontario face many uncertainties heading into 2021. With the Ontario Government preparing its 2021 budget, the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce have provided the government with 17 recommendations as part of their budget submission.
With Ontario’s economy expected to enter a period of recovery this year as
vaccines are distributed and businesses begin to reopen, resources need to be focused on where they will have the greatest impact. In the upcoming budget, we would like to see a focus on
reskilling, broadband, and access to capital, which will be necessary for the revival of small business and entrepreneurship as well as an inclusive economic recovery. Resources should be targeted towards the sectors and communities that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, including industries requiring face-to-face contact, small businesses, municipal
governments, as well as women, lower-income, racialized, elderly, new immigrant, and younger Ontarians.
Between February and September, 25,614 businesses closed in Ontario, and many businesses
continue to struggle with the economic hardships brought on by COVID-19.
Accordingly, businesses across the province continue to express concern about the future of the province and their own organizations. Our own surveys show that nearly half (46 percent) of Ontario businesses lack confidence in Ontario’s economic outlook.
The 2021 budget
recommendations focus on recovery, growth, and
• Minimize the impact of business closures
• Target funding towards the hardest-hit sectors
• Strengthen municipalities’ fiscal sustainability
• Enhance access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs
• Develop demand-driven skills programming
• Strengthen labour market information
• Accelerate broadband expansion
• Encourage and support regional collaboration
• Decarbonize Ontario’s transportation systems
• Give energy customers more payment flexibility
• Support farmers and local producers with the transition to online sales
• Be bold on interprovincial trade
• Use regulatory modernization to support economic recovery
• Realize the full potential of virtual care in Ontario
• Make Ontario a leader in ‘smart government’
• Improve procurement outcomes
• Take a measured approach to centralized procurement
In 2021, Ontario will continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. The situation has created new problems and exacerbated pre-existing ones. The impact on people and business has been catastrophic overall, but disproportionate for small businesses as well as certain sectors and demographics. The recommendations
outlined above were
developed together with businesses, chambers of
commerce, and boards of trade across the province, with the shared interest of channeling limited resources to where they will have the greatest impact.
The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Ontario Chamber of Commerce and chambers of commerce and boards of trade in every corner of the province will continue to provide critical services and resources to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and will work closely together with government on the path to economic recovery.