Businesses in the Muskoka-Kawartha Region are twice as confident in their economic outlook as some areas of the province, according to the fifth annual Ontario Economic Report by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. While some other areas rely heavily on international tourism, the Kawarthas has been a popular destination for Ontarians travelling regionally. This confidence translates to less expected job losses than other regions.
However, only 21 per cent of businesses in Ontario are confident in the overall Ontario economic outlook. Last year was unprecedented in many ways and there is a lot of unpredictability in the year that lies ahead. While the Ontario Economic Report digs deep into the woes businesses are facing, it also highlights some key strategies for our leadership.
Priorities for recovery:
1. Help businesses acquire credit or capital
2. Reform and/or lower business taxes
3. Encourage Ontarians to buy local
4. Invest in broadband infrastructure
“No business, region, sector, or demographic should be left behind in the pursuit of economic recovery and growth,” says Daniel Safayeni, co-author of the report and Acting Vice President of Policy at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Support programs and pro-growth policies should be targeted towards those experiencing the most pronounced challenges. A focus on reskilling as well as widespread access to broadband infrastructure and capital will be necessary to the revival of small business and entrepreneurship as well as an inclusive and robust economic recovery.”
Let’s Talk Budget
We want your input on the 2021 federal budget. Canadians, including businesses and organizations, can participate directly by completing an online questionnaire or uploading a submission.
These pre-budget consultations are an opportunity for Canadians from across the country to share their ideas and priorities for how the government can make investments to grow the economy. They want to hear your ideas on how to create new jobs and build a greener, more competitive, more innovative, more inclusive, more resilient Canada.
To participate, visit letstalkbudget2021.ca. Or if you’d prefer to have your voice added to the Chamber’s pre-budget submission, just email your input to firstname.lastname@example.org
Broadband Internet Expansion
Broadband internet access continues to expand throughout rural Ontario. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has been advocating for years to have the Province expand high speed internet access to all areas of Ontario. In just the last month, the Province has successfully launched broadband expansions in Wellington County, Niagara Region, Brant County and Caledon — a huge improvement for nearly 10,000 people. Similarly, the Peterborough Chamber has advocated for the EORN (Eastern Ontario Regional Network) which has been successful in improving cell and internet access and continues to push initiatives such as their 1 Gig Project. https://www.eorn.ca/en/index.aspx
Access to reliable high-speed internet has been essential for people and businesses for more than a decade, but its importance has never been greater. People are shopping, conducting business, connecting with loved ones, and learning online like never before. Expanding high-speed internet to people in other areas of the province not only helps those areas, but expands the potential market for businesses in the Peterborough area as well.
CRA Increases Service Ahead of 2021 Tax Season
In preparation for what is likely to be a more complicated and involved tax season across the country, the Canada Revenue Agency is expanding its capacity to handle your questions through:
• More agents to increase call centre capacity
• New automated callback service so you don’t have to spend time on hold if when wait times reach a certain length
• Extended call centre hours to 9am to 9pm on weekdays and 9am to 5 pm on Saturdays (starting Feb. 27)
• Expanded resources on Canada.ca
The Canadian Chamber has called for a Royal Commission on Tax Reform for many years. This year the Chamber Policy Staff are working on their own recommendations to the tax code, which hasn’t been updated since the Leafs won the cup.
A strong recovery will depend on many factors, from business confidence to a regulatory system that encourages business.