With the Ontario provincial election coming up in a little over a month, it’s time to look at what the priorities are for the business community.
No matter what the political leanings of a party are — the business community will play an important role in our province’s economic rebound.
When it comes to elections, the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce is strictly non-partisan. We believe in advocating for local businesses and welcome the support of all parties and candidates in progressing policy that will build, support and provide opportunities for the local business community to thrive.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce put together a four-point plan called Vote Prosperity which lays out the priorities of chambers of commerce and boards of trade for all parties across the province.
The four pillars are:
1. Improve Business Confidence and Predictability
Predictability is fundamental to business confidence, economic recovery and prosperity. Businesses need a stable policy environment with clear timelines, contracts, consultations, and strategies to help them plan for the future and make long-term investments. Given the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, Ontario must also bolster its pandemic preparedness in response to ongoing and future threats.
2. Foster Business and Economic Growth
The dual economic and public health crises of the past two years have left many businesses and households in Ontario with record levels of debt and financial instability. Pro-growth measures for business will fuel economic recovery. Ontario will need to focus on actions that support business access to the capital, markets, and talent that they need to grow.
3. Build Resilient Communities
A strong economy is built by healthy and resilient communities. Ontario will need to address challenges within our health care system, the ongoing impacts of climate change, access to housing, municipalities’ fiscal capacity to support regional economies, and infrastructure deficits.
4. Support Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Ontarians’ entrepreneurial spirit is one of the province’s greatest competitive advantages. Ontario will need to foster an environment that encourages new business ideas and investments to boost productivity and create the jobs of tomorrow.
Whomever forms our next government will have some difficult decisions to make. The last couple of years have been incredibly challenging, but how we decide to invest in moving forward will have big implications for years to come. Key investments to drive our competitiveness include workforce development and training, immigration, technology, infrastructure, and clean energy. We need to look at removing unnecessary barriers to growth like outdated regulations, an inefficient tax system, obstacles to interprovincial trade and labour mobility.
Our next government is going to have to balance post-pandemic priorities that include our overstretched health care system, supporting key sectors and demographics that have been disproportionately impacted, fiscal pressures from an aging population, supply chain disruptions, and record-high inflation.
Ontario’s next government has a big job ahead of it. We’re asking all parties and candidates to listen to their local businesses and the needs and opportunities they’re presenting as a key component to building Ontario into the province we want it to become.