Peterborough, May 31, 2018--Canada’s regulatory system is smothering business in Canada, thanks to a growing mix of complex, costly and overlapping rules from all levels of government. A new report by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and supported by the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Death by 130,000 Cuts: Improving Canada’s Regulatory Competitiveness, calls on governments to modernize their regulatory frameworks and give businesses in Canada room to thrive.
“Inconsistent and unpredictable rules and processes are making it difficult for businesses—whether large or small—to keep up and comply. This leads to our businesses being less competitive and Canada becoming a less attractive place to invest, start or grow a business,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “Regulations are designed to keep us safe and to create a level playing field. But when they start to smother businesses, that becomes a real problem.”
As the U.S., our largest competitor and trading partner, has recently implemented significant corporate tax and regulatory reforms, Canada cannot afford to fall further behind. Today’s report identifies opportunities to increase public and investor confidence in Canada’s regulatory systems and provides clear recommendations to government on how it should be done.
“Chamber members consistently tell us that regulatory burden and the layering impact of regulation from different ministries and levels of government is one of the most difficult areas to navigate as a business,” said Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.
About the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is a member-based organization representing around 900 members. 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.
About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. News and information are available at Chamber.ca or follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.
Policy Analyst/Communications Specialist
Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
Guillaum W. Dubreuil
Senior Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations
Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Another pillar of the business-focused platform, Vote Prosperity, is fostering job creation. In the 2017 Ontario Economic Report, industry reported a high perception of risk in the economy. This perception leads to reduced incentive to invest in their own or other businesses and encourages business to keep their assets liquid and flexible.
The creation of jobs is no easy task. There is the traditional supply and demand that requires a business to expand or contract leading to the creation or elimination of jobs. But the business regulatory
environment also plays a significant part in this process.
Recommendations in Vote Prosperity to encourage development of skills and talent include:
1. Modernize the apprenticeship system.
The current platforms utilized throughout the apprenticeship application and training processes are onerous, outdated and fragmented. There is an opportunity to enhance support for apprentices by leveraging the Ontario College Application Service to provide candidates with an electronic, single-entry access to the apprenticeship application and registration process.
In addition, it is critical that the province revise the current journeyperson-to-apprentice ratio.
Despite the recent decision to revise several ratios to start at 1:1, there needs to be greater flexibility within the Ontario apprenticeship framework, like other jurisdictions across Canada. In Nova Scotia, employers can apply for a ratio increase for the number of apprentices per journeyperson on a per-project basis. The implementation of a similar process in Ontario could alleviate some of the challenges that employers experience with respect to recruiting sufficient journeypersons to hire additional apprentices.
“We're glad to see our work around apprenticeship ratios be recognized in this report," says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. "Our members have been telling us that this is an area for improvement, so to have it part of the election dialogue is a good step forward."
2. Redesign Employment Ontario services for both jobseekers and employers and evaluate the potential of an outcomes-based funding model.
Technology has facilitated unprecedented access to information through a variety of channels, creating greater efficiencies and matching clients to services like never before. Clients now expect interaction with providers to be convenient, flexible and personalized – and government services are not exempt from that expectation. Employment Ontario services should be client-centric, to ensure it is straightforward for
individuals to find jobs and employers to find employees.
Furthermore, we recommend that government evaluate the potential of an outcomes-based funding model for employment services.
3. Work with industry and post-secondary institutions to ensure that program offerings remain responsive to the changing labour market dynamics and the regional and sectoral needs of Ontario’s business community.
Ontario’s tourism, agriculture and mining sectors, to name just a few, are experiencing considerable
labour shortages. To address this, we encourage more effective collaboration between government and industry and post-secondary associations, such as Colleges Ontario and the Council of Ontario Universities, to ensure that program offerings remain responsive to concerns of labour shortages in some of Ontario’s crucial sectors.
Learn more about the other three pillars in Vote Prosperity.
The Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) have launched a campaign called “Manufacturing Matters” to highlight the importance of manufacturing in Ontario communities. The campaign includes a look at manufacturing in the creation of skilled jobs and innovation. The campaign highlights that the manufacturing sector is directly and indirectly responsible for nearly 30 percent of all employment or 1 in 4 jobs.
The CME identifies that Ontario needs a manufacturing strategy that is strong, coordinated, and will bring sustained growth and prosperity for our businesses and our communities.
As such the CME has set the following goals:
The following recommendations developed by the CME are designed to suggest a way forward for next Ontario government.
To learn more about the campaign go to manufacturingmatters.ca
Under the Strengthening Business pillar in the business-centered election platform, Vote Prosperity, there are five recommendations around energy and electricity costs; regulation and red tape; cap and trade; and tax policy.
As is recognized in the report the biggest challenge for the business community is continued increases in input costs, especially those created through public policy. These changes to public policy have many
businesses feeling overwhelmed by the cumulative regulatory burden they face including:
Ontario’s electricity prices have risen by 71% from 2008 to 2016, far outpacing electricity price growth in other provinces, as well as increases in income and inflation.
Overregulation imposes the equivalent of an additional 5 to 15 percent import tariff on small businesses compared to larger firms, due to small firms’ inability to appropriately navigate the regulatory environment. With 380,000 regulations (by the government’s own count), Ontario is the most administered province in the country, harming business competitiveness.
In Ontario, 32 percent of businesses believe that cap and trade costs in 2017-2018 will have a negative impact on their business, limiting their ability to hire new workers and/or scale up.
Small businesses in Ontario pay the highest tax rate in a comparison of neighbouring jurisdictions.
Reinstate scheduled reductions in the Corporate Income Tax, standardize the Business Education Tax and reduce the Employer Health Tax.
Corporate Income Tax (CIT):
In the 2009 budget the government pledged to reduce the CIT rate from 11.5% to 10% over three years. This reduction has not materialized despite the government saying that such a move would lead to:
These are all recommendations that are internal to Ontario to help improve business competitiveness. By creating a structure that works for Ontario businesses we are also setting the stage to be competitive nationally and internationally.
Learn more through the Peterborough Chamber Toolkit
Author: Mark Agnew, Director of International Policy, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or perhaps within a rolled steel coil), you have no doubt seen all the news these days about the looming threat of steel and aluminum tariffs being imposed by the United States.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce initiated an investigation into whether steel and aluminum imports were impairing America’s national security. These investigations occurred under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The investigation’s recommendations were released in February and proposed a number of measures, including a mix of tariffs and quotas on steel and aluminum exports from around the globe.
President Trump opted to impose global tariffs of 25% on steel products and 10% on aluminum products that are entering the U.S. To be exempted from the tariff stick, Washington seems to be offering the quota carrot to countries. South Korea has already negotiated its package, which focuses on quotas, and agreements in principle have been reached with Brazil, Argentina and Australia on yet to be specified measures. Although, as recent news from Brazil indicates, some of these agreements in principle may have a ways to go.
But looking closer to the home, the threat of tariffs continues to loom large for Canada. We received a temporary exemption—along with the European Union and Mexico—until June 1. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s position continues to be that Canada should be fully and permanently exempted from any tariffs, quotas or other measures designed to reduce the cross-border flow of steel and aluminum products. Canadian imports to the U.S. do not pose a national security threat. In fact, Canadian aluminum is integrated into the U.S. defence industry to allow America to build its military hardware. In the case of steel, Canada is the top export destination for U.S. steel products, with trade roughly balanced between our countries.
The Chamber applauds the federal government for its firm stance on this issue in opposing U.S. pressure for Canada to accept export restrictions. We also fully support the government’s position to oppose any links between these tariffs and the NAFTA negotiations. Such a connection would only be an unhelpful distraction from what should be our main focus.
There are certainly wider systemic issues that affect the industry; U.S. tariffs will divert thirdcountry steel and aluminum products onto already saturated global markets. Additionally, there is the issue of trans-shipment, where companies could attempt to use Canada as a backdoor to circumvent U.S. tariffs. It is vital the government be watchful of these issues. The government’s recent announcement of additional funding for the Canada Border Services Agency is a good first step, meeting a request from the Chamber and our members. At the end of the day, it is about providing certainty for business. This means no arbitrary implementation of tariffs or quotas and ensuring the rules are consistently enforced.
For more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Election signs are starting to pop up as we hit the start of Week 2 of the provincial election campaign. The Peterborough Chamber is continuing to promote the business platform, Vote Prosperity, which we released last October in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
Vote Prosperity features 18 recommendations in four areas:
Recently, we asked our membership about some of the issues and asked them to rank five of the
recommendations by importance to their business. We received 61 online responses and 34 paper
responses for a total of 91 responses.
What we learned from the survey was:
Rounding out the issues were:
Our members also identified a number of other areas that are important to their business including:
There is still time to get your questions in ahead of our provincial candidates debate on business issues. Submit your question through our Provincial Election 2018 webpage at peterboroughchamber.ca
To hear answers on these issues join us for a provincial candidates debate this afternoon from 4-6pm at the Holiday Inn Peterborough Waterfront.
It is what it is and what it has been, and is still, very good.
With an attendance record-setting summer of 2017 in its rear view mirror, Peterborough Musicfest kicks off its 18-concert 32nd season on Saturday, June 30 – part one of a weekend doubleheader that will also see a Canada Day concert staged.
“We really enjoy our spring training, as we call it, but we’re kind of hibernated in the winter, so it’s fun to come out in the spring and share the result of all the hard work we’ve done,” says Musicfest general manager Tracey Randall.
As has been the case since Fred Anderson debuted what was then called the Peterborough Festival of Lights in 1987, the success of the annual free summer concert series is rooted in the forging and
nurturing of relationships with musicians’ booking agents as well as the numerous sponsors who generously foot the bill.
“We’ve got to make the money in order to spend it,” notes Randall, crediting marketing and sales co-ordinator Tashonna McDougall with “stepping up” her game, bringing some existing sponsors to a higher giving level while also attracting new supporters.
For sure, there are major challenges, notes Randall – increasing artist fees tops the list. In addition, for-profit events typically receive “first dibs” on available acts and, often, a radius clause prohibits acts from performing at Musicfest if they’re booked for a for-profit event within a defined distance of Peterborough.
And then there’s the goal of presenting a diverse lineup genre-wise that speaks to the musical tastes of a wide demographic. After all, you can’t please everyone and often those who try fail miserably. Yet that has been achieved. Ask any one of the 138,000 delighted live music fans who flocked to Del Crary Park last summer.
“I’m pumped to keep bringing new and old music to Del Crary Park… it’s really special that we can
continue to honour Fred and what he set this up to be,” says Randall.
Yes, Peterborough Musicfest has been very good and still is. More of the same beckons.
For more on Musicfest and to view the 2018 concert schedule, visit ptbomusicfest.ca
While I have been a Peterborough Chamber of Commerce member for over a decade, my Chamber World has, until now, remained limited to the workings of the Chamber within our city. Much like a schoolchild who sees his teacher outside of school for the first time, my Chamber life was instantly blown wide open at the 2018 Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting in Hamilton from April 26 to 30. Following that weekend, I am left with three key impressions that have further solidified my belief that being a member of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is integral to my business.
Firstly, there are, obviously, Chambers of Commerce in cities and towns, large and small, throughout our province. How these individual Chambers work together at the OCC AGM, a result of their cooperation leading up to and following this annual event, is a microcosm of how businesses from across this province exist as integral parts of a whole. This cooperation was not always a result of seeing eye to eye, but it was achieved with respect and led to a common goal.
Secondly, policy is EXCITING! I never thought I’d say that. While I have long been involved with the Peterborough Chamber, I have never been one to get deeply involved with, nor energized by, The "P" Word. Oh, how wrong I have been. I did know that policy is perhaps the most important work in which the Peterborough Chamber engages, but I was not able to understand just how powerful and absolutely necessary this work is. Policy is the very essence of what it means for the Chamber to be “The Voice of Business”. Seeing over one hundred delegates from Chambers across the Province come together in a room to debate sixty policy resolutions that directly affect the lives of every business owner and their employees was fascinating and energizing. These resolutions will now be taken to Queen’s Park, with the force of thousands of Chamber members behind them, to give a rudder to our Provincial Government. It is difficult to get across here the energy this gives me. What I will say is that, if you ever feel that being a Chamber member has little or no value, remember this: Without the policy and advocacy work our Chamber does, in concert with Chambers across the Province, we as business owners would be listless and alone at sea, trying to make our own way against a Government tide unaware of what we want or need. Get wonky, people.
Finally, we as Peterborough Chamber of Commerce members are lucky. I was honoured to see the respect that our President, Stuart Harrison, and our Policy Analyst, Sandra Dueck, receive from Chamber representatives from across the Province. If you’ve ever hung out with rock stars for a few days, you’ll know how I felt. Keeping a Chamber headed in a positive and continually fresh direction can’t be easy. Stuart has always strived to do this and attending the OCC AGM is a place where new ideas are shared and explored. More than a few delegates turned to Stuart for advice and opinions. Seeing Sandra hustle around the floor of the policy debates was a marvel. Again, your Chamber staff member was a go-to resource. Sandra was often sought out for her expert knowledge on issues and policy that ultimately formed the Provincial voice of business. As business owners we must find the best bang for our buck. You cannot do better with your hard earned money than making sure these talented people, and all of the staff at our Chamber, continue taking our local voice to join that of the larger business community.
The OCC AGM reinforced for me that “Strengthening Business” is not simply a catchy phrase. It is the essence of the work our Chamber does, and they do it extremely well. Be a member, you cannot afford not to be.
Approved Policy Resolutions by the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce at the 2018 OCC AGM
Peterborough, May 3, 2018– The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and Peterborough Chamber of Commerce are mobilizing this election to bring their recommendations in Vote Prosperity to political leaders and local candidates across the province. Over the course of the campaign, local chambers and boards of trade will be boldly pushing the Vote Prosperity message through local debates (The Peterborough Chamber Candidates Debate is Thursday, May 17, 2018 4-6pm at Holiday Inn Peterborough Waterfront), events and stakeholder meetings.
“Peterborough and local chambers and boards of trade across the province have been highlighting business priorities for this election. We’ve also reached out to our membership to survey them on the issues important to their businesses,” said Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “During this election campaign, we will continue those efforts, calling on our local candidates to adopt our economic plan that will help strengthen businesses competitiveness, foster job creation, build healthy communities and improve government accountability.”
Since October, the OCC and Peterborough Chamber have been advocating for the recommendations for a strong Ontario outlined in Vote Prosperity. As leaders in their communities, during the campaign period local chambers and boards of trades will be hosting candidates debates and events, with a focus on the Vote Prosperity message.
With industry feeling the impacts of the increasing cumulative burden, the OCC and Peterborough Chamber have also warned that Ontario’s next government must be committed to taking bold action in providing pro-growth policy solutions.
“Ontario has the foundation for sustainable and equitable growth. But, bold action and leadership will be required of the newly elected Government of Ontario, whether it is Liberal, PC or NDP,” added Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
Vote Prosperity is based on four pillars for Ontario:
1. Strengthen business competitiveness: Rising input costs, especially those costs deriving from government regulation and policy, are the most common and acute concern of the business community in Ontario.
2. Foster Job Creation: A robust labour market consisting of good jobs is essential to prosperity for all Ontarians.
3. Build Healthy Communities: Building strong communities through adequate and affordable housing, sustainable health care, and good infrastructure also supports business prosperity and growth, which supports those communities.
4. Improve Government Accountability: Poor implementation of government initiatives can result in resource waste, political frustration and disruption for ordinary citizens, as demonstrated by a series of policy failures under governments of all political stripes.
The platform provides eighteen unique recommendations that will help bolster Ontario’s long-term economic future, while also addressing the pressing issues the province currently faces.
The full list of recommendations in Vote Prosperity along with riding and candidate information can be found at https://www.peterboroughchamber.ca/provincial-election-2018-vote-prosperity.html
For more information please contact:
Sandra Dueck, Policy Analyst/Communications Specialist
Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
A new publication aims to help persons with disabilities achieve their full employment potential and serves as a resource for business owners interested in making their operations more inclusive.
The Workforce Development Board / Local Employment Planning Council (WDB/LEPC) – a non-profit
organization funded by the federal and provincial governments – worked with more than a dozen
agencies and groups serving Peterborough, Northumberland, Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton for the publication, titled ‘Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers.’
Participants in the project included the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Brain Injury Association Peterborough Region, Peterborough Communication and Support Services, Fleming College (Accessible Education Services), the Council for Persons with Disabilities, the area chapter of Community Living, Literacy Ontario Central South, JobQuest, VCCS Employment Services, Watton Employment Services and EPC Peterborough, along with the accessibility co-ordinators for the cities of Peterborough and Kawartha Lakes.
WDB/LEPC staff also attended the Ontario Disability Employment Network’s annual conference in Richmond Hill back in October for an opportunity to take part in presentations by leading academics and advocates for
persons with disabilities.
“We were absolutely thrilled with the participation from local groups and sincerely hope that the
passion and commitment that was on display during the consultation process is evident in the report,” said project lead Scott Howard.
In light of the broad subject matter, consultations covered an array of related topics. Everything from education and vocational training for students with disabilities to on-the-job supports for employees who acquire a condition later in life.
It quickly became clear that improving the employment prospects of persons with disabilities isn’t a challenge that is limited to employers and job-seekers.
“Employers should work to represent their community and accessibility is something we all need to pay more attention to,” said Michael Andrews, executive director of Literacy Ontario Central South.
“We need to start conversations about removing barriers. If it becomes a part of the discourse, change will happen.”
“An accessible community is better for everyone,” added Deb Csumrik of VCCS.
Given the number of factors to be considered – as each individual and organization has different needs and requirements – there’s no simple solution to overcoming the barriers facing persons with disabilities.
A key step is realizing that being an inclusive employer means far more than including a mandatory
statement in a job posting or installing an entry ramp.
“It’s all about removing barriers in our community,” said Jason King, Outreach Coordinator for the
Peterborough Council for Persons with Disabilities. “When you really think about it, we wouldn’t even be considered disabled if those barriers didn’t exist.”
That includes preconceptions about the limitations of those with a particular disability.
“Never define someone by their disability,” said Warren Northcott, an employment service specialist with CNIB Peterborough.
Not surprisingly, nearly all of those that took part in the project cited stigma as the biggest barrier
facing persons with disabilities from achieving their full employment potential.
“We need to change people’s perceptions and get them to see the abilities in people with disabilities,” added Tanya Duncan of Peterborough Communication Support Systems (PCSS).
As a whole, project participants had one very simple message for employers. One that was echoed over and over and over again.
“Don’t believe the stereotypes – just give people with disabilities an opportunity,” said Gloria Clark of JobQuest.
The guide, which was funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario, features information on four key themes – the barriers facing persons with a disability as they enter or re-enter the workforce, the business case for hiring someone with a disability, the Employment First philosophy and Access Talent, the provincial employment strategy.
It also contains a summary of requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
For more information, or to download a copy of the project, visit wdb.ca and click on the ‘News’ tab.
WDB Report: Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers
Content provided by: Workforce Development Board