Several policy resolutions authored by the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce were approved by the over 300 delegates at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) AGM in Saint John, New Brunswick recently.
The policy resolution process sets the advocacy agenda for the CCC for the coming year. They take these positions from Chambers such as ours to the federal government on our behalf. This is a significant part of the work a chamber does. Through the policy resolution process we are able to bring the voices of our 900 members along with the rest of the Chamber Network to government as one voice. The influence of our voice helps create the conditions for growth and improves the competitiveness of our business community.
This year the Peterborough Chamber introduced two new policy resolutions.
The first, titled Addressing Barriers to Succession Planning calls for a level playing field for those looking to pass their business on to a family member. The resolution was developed in conjunction with Chamber member Park Place Financial.
“We want to help family business owners plan properly for the exit of their business. The problem is right now it is more tax favourable to sell the business to a third party than a member of their own
family,” Darrell Wade, co-founder and Family Business Advisor, Park Place Financial. “What does that do for the long term of our economy? It changes the landscape of our Canadian economy. Think about the framework our country has been built on and the foundation of the business owners today; it’s all been small and medium sized businesses that have been able to pass on, in their families, from generation to generation. Those family businesses are at risk because it is becoming unsustainable to sell to a family member.”
The resolution also presents three other recommendations around succession planning, including expanding the scope of existing small business financing programs to incorporate succession planning as a legitimate reason for business financing. The Peterborough Chamber worked with the BC Chamber of Commerce on these recommendations.
The second titled Investing in Building Community addresses the rise of social enterprise and the importance of supporting these companies. The resolution was developed in conjunction with Chamber member Ashburnham Realty. The second part of the resolution offers suggestions to develop structures that can help with the financing of community building projects and property development to reduce pressure on government and its limited resources.
Peterborough also worked with several chambers in Ontario and Alberta to reintroduce a 2016 policy resolution titled Restoring Canada’s Innovation Competitiveness. The Red Deer Chamber of Commerce brought the resolution to the floor. It passed as presented and included the following suggestions to the federal government:
A policy resolution titled Advancing Canadian Competitiveness Using Shortline Rail that the Peterborough Chamber worked on with the Cape Breton Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Regina Chamber of Commerce was also reintroduced and passed. The resolution calls on the federal government to create a dedicated short line capital funding program (low interest loans/matching funds, etc.) that is accessible to all short line companies and to establish a tax credit program to assist short line rail companies in making capital investments.
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce co-sponsored on a policy resolution from the Tillsonburg & District Chamber of Commerce that asks the government to expedite the process by which business obtains the duty drawback on tariffs. The resolution titled Enhancing Tariff Claims Process to Address Business Needs & Encourage Trade Growth was passed as presented.
In all, 76 resolutions were debated with 8 failing. The 2020 AGM will be held in Ottawa next September.
The report titled: The Great Mosaic: Reviving Ontario’s Regional Economies outlines how government at all levels can work with industry to unleash the potential of Ontario’s regional economies and reinforce the competitiveness of the province as a whole.
“We urge policymakers to take a modern and comprehensive approach to economic development by leveraging the existing competitiveness advantages of Ontario’s regions, and implement deliberate strategies to support long-term growth in communities across the province,” Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
In all, the report offers 17 recommendations directed at the Governments of Canada, Ontario, and/or municipalities within Ontario:
Along with a half-dozen pictures of the area by Justin Soule for Peterborough & the Kawarthas
Tourism, the collaborative nature of economic development in Peterborough is highlighted in the report:
"Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED) delivers economic development services through a Memorandum of Understanding with the City and County of Peterborough.
To achieve its mandate, PKED partners with the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures Peterborough, the Innovation Cluster, the Downtown Business Improvement Area, the Workforce Development Board, and various other organizations in the region.
This collaboration has resulted in several joint projects and a new atmosphere of cooperation. Since 2016, many of these agencies have moved their offices to Venture North, a three-story business hub, giving them a level of physical proximity that will help foster even more collaboration in years to come.
In 2017, PKED entered into a multi-year partnership with two First Nations and nearby municipalities to pursue economic development projects of mutual benefit. This unique partnership is part of the Community Economic Development Initiative (CEDI) implemented by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the
Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers."
"One thing we've come to realize is the need for municipal, provincial, and federal commitments to regional economic development planning that highlights the possibilities rather than the borders," says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. "Finding ways to work across borders
benefits all local communities."
This is also the time to have those conversations as the City, County and Townships are in the process of developing and feeding into official planning documents. These
documents will outline development in our area for the next 25 years and how the City and County plan to achieve population and job growth targets set by the province.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Peterborough Chamber are hosting the Associate Minister for Small Business and a panel discussion on Scaling Up Business as a part of the report launch.
The event is Friday, September 27th, 2019 at Venture North from 11:30 AM to 2 PM.
Peterborough Chamber Wins National Award!
The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce has won the annual Canadian Chamber of Commerce Competition at their Annual General Meeting in Saint John, New Brunswick this past weekend (Saturday, September 21).
Each year the competition is focused on a different aspect of the Chamber operation, this year the competition was titled “Influence in Action - Advocacy through Events”, with an emphasis on events that create profile for the fundamental advocacy work of the Chamber Network. The Peterborough Chamber’s annual Power Hour event was chosen as the 1st Place Winner by some 300 delegates from across Canada.
The Power Hour is an annual event bringing together the business community and our elected officials. Attendees hear from our elected officials at all four levels of government - the MP for Peterborough-Kawartha, the MPP for Peterborough-Kawartha, the Warden for the County of Peterborough, and the Mayor for the City of Peterborough. Also invited as guests are the elected councils for the City and County of Peterborough, First Nations Chiefs and the City and County CAOs.
The event features a Q&A session, moderated by Peterborough Chamber of Commerce Policy Analyst, Sandra Dueck, with questions provided by the audience. The questions and the discussion further inform the advocacy direction for the Chamber moving forward.
On Saturday, Sandra Dueck presented the Power Hour concept to the delegates, including a video featuring all of our elected leaders, as well as business leaders who have attended. The delegates then chose their favourite from three presentations; the others were from Surrey, BC for a series of Advocacy Lunches, and a consortium of four New Brunswick Chambers for an election platform they co-developed.
The Peterborough Chamber has been named as one of three finalists on four occasions in this competition, for membership initiatives, our use of video, the creation of the Kawartha Choice brand, and the Power Hour. Kawartha Choice received the National Award as the best Community Initiative in 2005.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the staff and volunteers of the Chamber”, said President and CEO, Stuart Harrison, “to have the opportunity to not only showcase our Chamber at the national level, but to be judged the best, is truly an honour.”
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.