Timmins, ON | December 7, 2016—The provincial issues faced by Timmins Chamber of Commerce members were front and centre with government leaders in Toronto on Nov. 29-30, when Timmins Chamber representatives joined other chambers from across Northern Ontario at Queen’s Park for two days of advocacy and discussion on northern issues.
Joining the Timmins Chamber were the chambers from Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury, as well as representatives from the Sault’s Innovation Centre, the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation, the Port of Algoma, and the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI). Representatives from the Thunder Bay and North Bay chambers were not able to attend due to other conflicts, though their views were communicated as part of the Northern mission.
“Many of the problems that our businesses face in Northern Ontario are specific to our region or tend to have a far greater impact than firms in Southern Ontario,” said Chris Bender, president of the Timmins Chamber.
“We felt it was important to work with our colleagues across the North to speak out as a collective voice on these problems, and to travel to Queen’s Park to speak directly to all key decision-makers about the recommendations and solutions that make sense for our region. One size does not fit all, and what may work for Southern Ontario may not for the North; as such, we felt it was important to directly approach government on important issues such as energy prices, labour issues, cap and trade concerns, transportation costs, and more.”
The Queen’s Park mission included meetings and discussions with:
• The Honourable Deborah Mathews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Minister Responsible for Digital Government & Deputy Premier
• Ted Arnott, Critic, Labour
• The Office of the Honourable Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance
• The Honourable Glenn Thibeault, Minister of Energy and senior staff from the Office of the Honourable Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines
• Patrick Brown, Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario & Critic, Education
• Cristina Martins, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Economic Development and Growth
• The Honourable Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
• John Vanthof, Commissioner of the Board of Internal Economy & Critic, Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
• Lisa Thompson, Critic, Environment and Cap-and-Trade
• Vic Fedeli, Critic, Finance
• Wayne Gates, Critic, Transportation
• The Office of the Honourable Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs
• The Office of the Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Infrastructure
• The Office of the Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
• The Office of the Honourable Michael Chan, Minister of International Trade
• Ernie Hardeman, Critic, Municipal Affairs and Housing
• Andrea Horwath, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Ontario and Critic, Intergovernmental Affairs
The event also included a Northern Ontario luncheon reception where the northern chambers invited Ministers, opposition leaders, critics, MPPs and government staff to attend. The reception provided the opportunity to meet in a more relaxed and informal setting.
This was the first Northern Ontario Chambers’ delegation to Queen’s Park. The two days of advocacy at Queen’s Park not only allowed for lobbying on Northern-Ontario-specific business issues but also helped the chambers to advance the unique opportunities that exist in the North, said Bender.
“The goals of this mission were threefold: to raise awareness of Northern issues, to propose specific solutions to those issues, and to lay the groundwork for future collaboration with all sides of the House, and I’m pleased to say the Timmins Chamber feels it was successful in all aspects. The feedback we’ve received from those many meetings has been very positive, and we certainly are pleased to be able to continue these many conversations on our members’ pressing concerns.”
The delegation from the Timmins Chamber included Zachary Mayer, manager of mine technical services, Kidd Operations, and member of the Timmins Chamber Board of Directors; Keitha Robson, CAO of the Timmins Chamber; and Nick Stewart, manager of policy, research and communications, Timmins Chamber.
To view photos from the event, click here.
About the Timmins Chamber of Commerce
With 700 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