There is a sense of anticipation in the air and it’s not just for spring – it is budget time.
Currently, the County of Peterborough, the provincial and the federal governments are in full budget mode. The federal budget could come down at anytime. Let us know if you see Finance Minister Bill Morneau buying a new pair of shoes or shining up his budget shoes from 2016. The provincial budget is anticipated near the end of March or beginning of April and at the County, the budget will be finalized in the next month.
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), has released budget submissions to our provincial and federal governments.
Federally, the four areas of focus are: Federal Budget Submission
Provincially, the four areas of focus are: Provincial Budget Submission
In the provincial submission a total of 13 specific recommendations were put forward for Queen’s Park to adopt in order to restore fiscal balance and spur economic growth.
Specifically, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and Kingston Chamber of Commerce are champions of the recommendation to increase the “Heads and Beds Levy”. The levy is a payment in lieu of taxes for public institutions such as provincial correctional institutions, hospitals and post-secondary institutions and has not been adjusted in 30 years. This issue was originally raised and passed as a policy resolution at the OCC’s Annual General Meeting in 2012 and passed a second time in 2015. The result of the levy not changing is undo pressure on all tax classes in municipalities with these institutions, particularly the commercial and industrial classes.
“Municipalities 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 $1.1 million in additional funds each year in the municipal budget.”
Other specific recommendations include considering broadband as a piece of essential infrastructure that will allow small businesses in all corners of the province to compete in the technology-driven knowledge economy, and that the government truly needs to recognize and understand the cumulative impact of current public policy decisions and rising input costs.
Federally, the advocacy activities of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce are reflected in all areas of focus, but particularly in the infrastructure spending area as the VIA Rail passenger proposal is one that has the potential to create significant economic spinoff for our community and those along the line.
The scale up challenge, which was an Ontario signature resolution to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Annual General Meeting in September 2016, is also an issue of great interest to the Peterborough business community. That said, the issue of funding for sectors such as health care also ring prominently for this region and there is concern with the current proposal of ongoing base funding growth of 3.5% for the Canada Health Transfer. Under this model, Ontario’s share of provincial and territorial health spending would fall from the current 23% to 20%.
Overarching to all federal issues is Canada’s ability to trade with the United States and demonstrate the mutual benefits of the relationship. It is noteworthy to consider Ontario exports about $194 CAD billion to the U.S. and imports about $182 CAD billion.
At the County level, councillors will be spending the day poring over the draft budget submission and going through each department’s finances including broadband, infrastructure and economic development needs. Also on the table for discussion are long term capital forecasts for public works. Councillors also have five outside funding requests to consider.
Shine your shoes and sharpen your pencils, budget time is always give and take, but what needs to remain top of mind is the importance of a climate that encourages economic and business growth.
PETERBOROUGH: On Tuesday, February 21st, the Chamber celebrated the inaugural meeting of the 2017 Board of Directors, under the direction of Jim Hill of James F. Hill Financial Management Services as Chair of the Board.
As Chair, his focus is on the impact our member-driven organization can have on the business community. “Just as we’ve done for 128 years, the Peterborough Chamber needs to continue to develop an enduring vision and direction, with an eye to the next generation of entrepreneurs,” says Hill. “We need to deliver observable value to our members and communicate it to future members.”
Chair - Jim Hill, James F. Hill, Financial Management Services
Past Chair – Jason Becker, BDO Canada LLP
Vice-Chair – Lisa Smith, United Way of Peterborough & District
Treasurer – Ben vanVeen, Century 21 United Realty Inc., Brokerage
Secretary – Stuart Harrison, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
Directors-at-Large – Joe Grant, LLF Lawyers LLP
– Dawn Hennessey, Business Development Bank of Canada
Chris Calbury, Emmatt Digital Solutions
Gwyneth James, Cody & James CPAs Professional Corporation
Lorrie McMullen, The Venue PTBO
Neil Morton, PTBOCanada.com
Allison Seiderer, Living Well Home Medical Equipment
Amy Simpson, MicroAge Technology Solutions
Morgan Smith, Signarama
Mayor Daryl Bennett, representing the City of Peterborough
Sherry Senis, Selwyn Township Deputy Mayor, representing the County of Peterborough
Mary McGee, representing Women’s Business Network
Paul Glenn, representing the Peterborough County Federation of Agriculture
Photos of the 2017 Chamber Board or Directors can be found at
The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is a member-based organization. Our main focus is to channel the collective strength of the business community to improve the economy. This includes providing representation on numerous committees, conducting surveys, issuing discussion papers and developing policy positions on issues of significance to our members.
For further information contact:
Sandra Dueck, Policy Analyst/Communications Specialist
Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
Phone: (705) 748-9771 ext.215
Focus spring legislative session on lowering business costs to foster confidence: Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
PETERBOROUGH, ON, February 16th, 2016: Today, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of commerce (OCC), formally released its 2017 pre-budget submission containing recommendations to the Ontario legislature as it looks to begin its spring 2017 legislative session. The submission outlines four key budget priorities and 13 specific recommendations for Queen’s Park to adopt in order to restore fiscal balance and spur economic growth.
Specifically, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and Kingston Chamber of Commerce are champions of the recommendation to increase the “Heads and Beds Levy”. The levy is a payment in lieu of taxes for public institutions such as provincial correctional institutions, hospitals and post-secondary institutions and has not been adjusted in 30 years. This issue was originally raised and passed as a policy resolution at the OCC’s Annual General Meeting in 2012 and passed a second time in 2015. The result is undo pressure on all tax classes in municipalities with these institutions, particularly the commercial and industrial classes.
“Municipalities 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 $1.1 million in additional funds each year in the municipal budget.”
In the submission, Ontario’s Chamber Network is also calling on the government to send a clear message of fiscal stability by balancing the provincial budget by 2017-2018. Such action would result in a more attractive environment for business investment and growth as well as confront the challenge of mounting input costs, such as electricity prices. As signalled last week in the OCC’s Ontario Economic Report, businesses are maintaining their operations and holding onto cash rather than expanding production or investing. This indicates that industry sees the Ontario economy as high-risk.
“The Government of Ontario must ensure that it utilizes the budget as a tool for economic growth to support Ontario businesses,” said Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of the OCC. “Government must do more to reduce the costs of doing business in Ontario, support strategic infrastructure development and strengthen its efforts to bolster business competitiveness that allows communities to thrive.”
Download the Report
Policy Analyst/Communications Specialist
Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
“If you love Peterborough now, just wait until they get through with all of these plans – talk about amazing and forward thinking.”
This was a quote someone said to me after the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Association of Realtors Land Planning Session recently. The session was three hours of information from our City and County of Peterborough planners, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and an update on the VIA Rail proposal.
There are a couple of major projects that will open up Peterborough to a whole new audience - the completion of the 407 and a successful VIA Rail project - both of which recognized by City Planner Keith Hetherington and County Planner Brian Weir.
So what is coming that will kick the Peterborough area up a notch? Here are just a few projects:
Peterborough website – peterborough.ca.
He also acknowledged, in various ways, the kind of community Peterborough is and the activities that residents are involved in from camping to kayaking to boating to outdoor activities. It was a statement that set a positive tone, reemphasized the city motto of our connection to nature, and underscored the importance of the culture of our community in the planning process.
The projects above do not come without their challenges and in many cases the issue is around parking. The City is currently in the midst of a parking study to capture the current inventory and predict demand. The study is expected to conclude in June of this year.
On the housing front, we heard that Peterborough is in the midst of a seller’s market and that the city was in a similar position in 2002. Olga Golozub from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said that with a shorter supply the price of housing goes up, but at the same it also drives the market and developers to build more units.
In the recent Ontario Economic Report, the Economic Outlook for the Peterborough CMA predicted the median house price for Peterborough would rise to $300,000 in 2017, up from $280,000 in 2016.
Do you hear that train a comin’? Tony Smith of Shining Waters Railway updated the group on the status of the VIA Rail passenger service proposal saying that there is a lot of work going on to ensure all communities along the line are aware of the project. Letters of support have been coming in and are critical to promoting the project as one that is beneficial to our community.
With more people poised to live, work and visit our area, now is the time to put our best #TeamPTBO foot forward.
Inaugural Ontario Economic Report Forecasts Outlook for Local and Provincial Economy:
Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
Vulnerabilities in Ontario’s economy pose challenges to our prosperity. Government must prioritize growing the economy, creating jobs and driving a competitive advantage
PETERBOROUGH, Ontario, February 7th, 2017: Today, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), released the inaugural Ontario Economic Report (OER), a landmark agenda aimed at shaping and informing future public policy. The OER includes entirely new economic analyses that demonstrate the difficult economic environment faced by Ontario businesses and consumers in 2017. The report also contains exclusive economic information pertaining to Peterborough.
The report includes the results of the OCC’s new Business Confidence Survey conducted in partnership with Fresh Intelligence, a Business Prosperity Index developed by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), and an Economic Outlook for 2017 prepared by Central 1 Credit Union. These datasets, viewed together, reveal broad challenges to Ontario’s economic health.
“Our research shows that Ontario’s economic climate is posing challenges to the businesses we represent and Ontarians more broadly,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the OCC. “Investment is being held back because of a high perception of risk. We need immediate action in order for our province to continue to grow and prosper.”
Economic outlook data reveals that the unemployment rate in the Peterborough census metropolitan area (CMA) is expected to rise to 6 percent (up from 5.1 percent in 2016) and the median residential housing price will be $300,000, reflecting an increase over last year.
“The results of the Ontario Economic Report were also reflected in what we heard from local businesses through the Small Business Too Big To Ignore campaign,” said Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “Now that we’ve identified the challenges such as lack of confidence and lower revenue projections for small business, the key will be to focus on working with government and the private sector to ensure our businesses can be competitive, creative and confident in their future. Through the Business Confidence survey and the Business Prosperity Index, a baseline has been set and continual measurement will help us guide Ontario forward.”
Additional key findings in the OER are from the Business Prosperity Index. This index shows that, despite total business prosperity increasing since 2000, prosperity is increasingly generated from asset and liability management rather than the production of goods or services. This means that Ontario businesses are less likely to earn income from actual business activity today than they have in the past.
While Ontario enjoyed an average 2.6 percent real GDP growth rate between 2000 and 2006, the source of wealth generated from the production of goods and services actually declined by 12 percent during that same period. Since the recovery from the “great recession”, production activities fell a further 12 percent over that period. Broadly, this means Ontario’s business prosperity is increasingly dependent upon non-production, financial activities.
This challenge is a result of the current economic environment, in which increased costs associated with production, regulation and housing have resulted in weak market and labour force activity. Businesses in Ontario are operating in a risk-averse environment in which they are disinclined to grow production by investing or hiring.
“For many years, the voice of Ontario business has cautioned that regulatory burdens, high input costs, and government policies not attuned to innovation have hampered economic growth,” added O’Dette. “The findings in the OER reinforce this, and indicate that there are also structural issues impeding our province’s potential.”
The results of the OER highlight the key policy issues that the OCC intends to prioritize in 2017, including workforce development, infrastructure, energy, and health care. Central to the organization’s work is the notion that industry and government tackle these issues together, in order to grow economic prosperity and drive positive change for all Ontarians.
Policy Analyst/Communications Specialist
Peterborough Chamber of Commerce