Chamber Reacts to Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal ReviewNovember 4, 2021
(Toronto – November 4, 2021) – Today, Rocco Rossi, President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released the following statement in reaction to the Government of Ontario’s 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review:
“The Government of Ontario is taking reasonable steps to support healthy communities and economic development across the province as we emerge from the pandemic. We welcome the government’s focus on investing in healthcare, infrastructure, and skills. However, ensuring a robust and inclusive economic recovery will not come immediately, particularly in absence of clarity and predictability for business. Further supports for business are still required because workers and the economy at large are better off if business prospers. Specifically, we would like to see the Province address businesses and sectors impacted by the unplanned minimum wage increase and Ontario’s labour crisis.
“It is important for the Province to consider policy levers to support businesses such as enhanced access to capital and relief for businesses impacted by their unplanned raise to the minimum wage. For example, the 20 percent minimum wage increase for alcohol servers will have ramifications for an industry that has already been badly hurt by the pandemic, and the government should consider measures like wholesale pricing to alleviate those cost pressures, as mentioned in our 2019 report, Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario. Small businesses would also benefit from targeted supports, such as energy efficiency and/or technology adoption programs.
“It is equally important that the Government of Ontario develops a strategic plan to address Ontario’s ongoing labour shortage. We welcome the recent announcement to work with the federal government to increase Ontario’s allocation of immigrants under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, as well as efforts to remove credential barriers for immigrants. The government should also consider the following priorities for Budget 2022 to address the labour market:
- Extend regional immigration pilots to bring more economic immigrants to rural and remote communities.
- Provide new immigrants with more information upon arrival about employment opportunities in smaller communities, particularly where there are jobs relevant to their skills.
- Work with other provinces and territories to remove barriers to interprovincial labour mobility and trade.
- Implement the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care System as a critical component of economic recovery and women’s participation in the labour force.
- Support workers by requiring app-based platforms to contribute to flexible benefit funds and establish a committee of stakeholders to discuss the protections and needs of workers on an ongoing basis.
- Ensure the new service delivery model for skilled trades is streamlined, client-facing, and equitable, as outlined in the OCC’s submission to the Skilled Trades Panel Consultation.
“In Budget 2022, we would also like to see the government introduce targets, timelines, and investments to reduce Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions, help communities manage the impacts of climate change, and seize on the economic opportunities in the global green economy.”
About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan, indispensable partner of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members.
For more information, please contact:
Vice President – Public Affairs, Ontario Chamber of Commerce
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