The federal government’s impending budget must include infrastructure commitments, clarify the small business tax cut, and eliminate Ontario’s federal fiscal gap, according to a report issued by the Timmins Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber (OCC).
As detailed in the 2016 Federal Pre-Budget Submission, the Ontario Chamber network is calling on the federal government to address the province’s infrastructure deficits through targeted, trade-enabling investment in projects that help Ontario firms do business and grow the economy. According to recent polling, half of the Ontario Chamber membership agrees that their own organizations are suffering from a lack of public investment in infrastructure. Looking at all Ontarians, 81 percent agree that Canada needs to invest more in infrastructure in order to grow the economy.
“Following through on infrastructure investments in Ontario should be the federal government’s top priority,” said Kurt Bigeau, president of the Timmins Chamber.
“The federal government has committed to investing in infrastructure and, in order for Ontario’s economy to thrive, the province needs to see those commitments come to fruition in the near future. Education infrastructure is also critically important, and we call upon the federal government to address ongoing deficits as they relate to First Nations communities. Improving high school completion rates and skills development opportunities for Aboriginal peoples is essential for Canada’s economic and social prosperity.”
Canada’s infrastructure needs are not just roads and transit, according to the report. Half of OCC members surveyed say that internet speed or connectivity hinders their ability to do business; 82 percent of Ontarians agree that high-speed Internet is critical to their work and/or way of life. Broadband access and quality is not just a rural or remote issue – suburban companies report similar issues with connectivity, and 30 percent of all businesses say that telecommunications is a critical infrastructure need in their region.
The Timmins Chamber’s submission also calls on the federal government to work more closely with the Government of Ontario to address the current inequality in federal Employment Insurance funding. As a result of these inequities, Ontarians contribute between $9.1 billion and $12.5 billion more than what they get back in terms of services. The federal government must correct this fiscal gap, as the current funding calculation places the province at an economic disadvantage.
The Chamber Network is also concerned about the federal deficit and debt levels.
“The OCC understands the importance of targeted specific investments in the province, however it is concerning to see the federal debt and deficits growing at such a rapid rate, “said Allan O’Dette, president and CEO of the OCC. “Running a large or long-term deficit is not something that is good for the federal or provincial economy.”
The Liberal Party’s recent election promises to reduce the small business tax rate from 11 percent to 9 percent would be a welcome addition to the upcoming federal budget, though the Timmins Chamber believes it is imperative for the federal government to clarify its position and collect the best possible data before acting.
The full pre-budget submission is available at http://tinyurl.com/FederalBudgetReport2016
About the Timmins Chamber of Commerce
With over 750 members, the Timmins Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest accredited chambers of commerce with distinction in northeastern Ontario. As the “Voice of Business in Timmins” since 1949, our advocacy and policy initiatives focus on ensuring a positive business climate in the City of Timmins.
Manager of Policy, Research and Communications
Timmins Chamber of Commerce
OCC Media Contact:
Senior Communications Advisor
Ontario Chamber of Commerce
(416) 482-5222 x2410
[i] Results from a survey of OCC members, January 2016, n=853. Results from a survey of 1004 Ontarians conducted on behalf of the OCC by Leger, February 22-25, 2016. The margin of error for this sample is 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.