Timmins, ON | November 30, 2015—The province’s recently announced plans to reduce energy costs and lighten the regulatory burden are good for Timmins businesses, according to Timmins Chamber of Commerce President Kurt Bigeau.
Released Nov. 26 by Finance Minister Charles Sousa as an update of the province’s finances, the 2015 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review put forward several new initiatives designed to provide greater operational certainty for business. This includes removing the Debt Retirement Charge for commercial, industrial and other non-residential electricity users on April 1, 2018, nine months earlier than previously estimated.
This would save small businesses about four per cent on their electricity bills, while large industrial firms in Northern Ontario would expect to save about eight per cent, according to provincial estimates.
“While we still have some strong concerns about the potential impact of the sale of Hydro One and the rising costs of electricity in this province, the Timmins Chamber is encouraged to see that the province has listened to Ontario’s business community on the Debt Retirement Charge,” said Bigeau.
“This is in direct response to strong advocacy work by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and local partners throughout the network – including the Timmins Chamber. We’re glad to partner with such influential groups to help make a difference on our members’ behalf.”
Those advocacy efforts by the Ontario Chamber (OCC) network led to several other notable announcements in the Ontario Economic Outlook to reduce the cumulative regulatory burden faced by businesses in the province. These include:
The “Red Tape Challenge”, a strategy that encourages Ontarians to submit comments and changes on those regulations that impact them. This will be overseen by a Regulatory Modernization Committee;
A Regulatory Centre of Excellence, which identifies and champions best practices from around the world; and
A Government Modernization Fund to address the cost of modernizing outmoded regulatory processes.
“The chamber network has made burden reduction a priority, and the government has listened to our concerns on this issue,” said Allan O’Dette, president and CEO of the OCC. “There is more that can be done, but this is an encouraging step towards alleviating the pressure on businesses, which will help drive Ontario’s economy forward.”
The provincial government also responded to concerns surrounding environmental compliance approvals, pledging to reduce the time taken to review air and noise approvals by at least 50 percent within the next two years.
After 2017, the government intends to implement a one-year service standard for higher-risk approval requests. This will be coupled with a more transparent process for both applicants and the public to track applications and performance.
“Such measures are crucial for business, which needs reliable and consistent timelines that are too often lacking for these types of approvals,” said Bigeau. “This is good news for Timmins businesses, and we look forward to collaborating with our partners across the province and with government in order to make Ontario a better place to do business.”
Manager of Policy, Research and Communications
Timmins Chamber of Commerce
Senior Communications Advisor
Ontario Chamber of Commerce
(416) 482-5222 ext. 2470