The OCC is Ontario's largest, most inclusive, and credible business network.
We undertake research on Ontario’s most pressing policy issues from a business perspective. We propose and advocate for solutions that will foster the growth of Ontario businesses and lead to the creation of jobs in the province. Our work is based on the belief that strong businesses are the foundation of a prosperous Ontario.
The OCC’s policy work is evidence-based and driven by our members.
We are a respected voice among government decision-makers and our solutions-based advocacy sets us apart. Learn how you can become a part of this powerful network.
Energy & Electricity
The health of Ontario’s economy is directly linked to the reliability and cost-effectiveness of our province’s energy supply. High electricity costs harm business and families alike and pose a threat to business expansion in the province. At the OCC, we advocate for an affordable and transparent energy system that offers a reliable supply of power to all customers at all times. Reducing electricity costs for industry and small to medium-sized business is a top priority.
The OCC has collaborated with the Ministry of Energy to raise awareness of business energy savings program through the Know Your Power initiative. Visit the Know Your Power website to learn more about the available energy saving programs for Ontario’s business community.
Recent Publications: See our Fair Hydro Plan one-pager Ontario’s Fair Hydro Plan: How Will it Impact Your Business (May 2017), our report Leading the Charge: Submission for Ontario’s 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan (December 2016), our letter to the Ontario Energy Board on utility delivery charges (September 2016).
Ontario’s business community understands the need to address climate change. However, it is essential that the Province does so in a way that maximizes economic benefits while minimizing cost. On January 1, 2017, Ontario launched a cap and trade program. The OCC is committed to advocating for the revenue generated through this program to be directed back to the business community and to ensure that cap and trade compliments Ontario’s business landscape.
Related publications: See our letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne (April 2017), letter to Minister of Environment (May 2016) and our report Clean Profits: Pricing Carbon and Embracing the Economic Potential of Cap and Trade (2015).
A productive and accountable government is integral to a prosperous Ontario. The OCC takes every opportunity to provide proactive policy solutions to government regarding budgeting, revenue collection, and fiscal sustainability. The OCC continues to advocate for a competitive taxation system, a regulatory environment that encourages innovation, and a balanced Budget.
Related Publications: See our letter to Premier Wynne on Interest Arbitration (February 2017), our 2017 Federal Pre-Budget Submission (January 2017), and our 2017 Provincial Pre-Budget Submission (January 2017).
Health & Life Sciences
A healthy Ontario is a productive Ontario. Recognizing the health sector as an important economic driver in the province is essential to ensuring Ontario has a sustainable, world-class health care system.
Health is also part of the larger life sciences sector, which supports Ontario through innovative discoveries and practices in agriculture, natural resources, and the high-tech bioeconomy. The OCC views this sector as one of Ontario’s competitive advantages, with tremendous potential for economic growth and the improvement of everyday life for residents of this province.
Related Publications: See our event summary Driving Innovation in Ontario’s Health Care System (December 2017), our report Health Transformation: An Action Plan for Ontario (January 2017), Care in our Control: Managing Innovation in Ontario’s Multi-Payer Health Care System (November 2016), our report Fertile Ground: Growing the Competitiveness of Ontario’s Agri-food Sector (October 2016), our report Adopting Our Advantage: Supporting a Thriving Health Science Sector in Ontario (August 2016), our report Prescription for Partnership: How New Models of Collaboration in Health Care Can Make Outcomes a Priority (May 2016).
Employment Standards & Labour Regulation
Over the past two years, employment standards and labour relations reform have been a large part of the political landscape in Ontario. In 2017, the OCC was an active voice in the conversations around Bill 148 (the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act), and a passionate advocate for businesses of all sizes. The OCC continues advocacy work to ensure Ontario’s employer community is represented within decision-making that impacts their bottom line.
Related Publications: See our submission to the Ministry of Labour regarding ESA Exemptions (December 2017), our handbook Steering Through Change: A Handbook to Help Ontario Businesses Understand and Manage Bill 148 (October 2017), the CANCEA Economic Analysis of Bill 148 (Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act), our letter to Premier Wynne regarding Bill 148, and our Changing Workplaces Review submission Reform that Works: A Call for Evidence-Based Workplace Law Modernization in Ontario (October 2016).
Disruptive Change & the Sharing Economy
The business landscape in Ontario and around the world is changing at a rapid pace. New technology and business models are disrupting traditional processes and forcing industry to adapt in order to stay relevant. As Ontario attempts to embrace these changes, the OCC advocates for continued government support for innovation, to ensure Ontario’s business community is in a position to take on new opportunities and to maintain our position as a global leader.
Related Publications: See our report Talent in Transition: Addressing the Skills Mismatch in Ontario, and our report Harnessing the Power of the Sharing Economy (2015).
Skills & Workforce Development
Ontario boasts a highly educated workforce and one of the highest rates of postsecondary attainment in the OECD. Despite our human capital advantage, key sectors are facing skills shortages. The mismatch between labour supply and demand is a significant barrier to economic growth. There are clear signs that some groups are being left behind, and that our training and education systems could do more to create a workforce suited for the 21st century. The OCC aims is to work with all levels of government, the postsecondary sector, and businesses to ensure Ontario has the skilled workforce it needs to compete in the global economy.
Related Publications: See our report Talent in Transition: Addressing the Skills Mismatch in Ontario (July 2017) and our report Passport to Prosperity: Ontario’s Priorities for Immigration Reform (March 2016).
Small businesses are the backbone of the Ontario and Canadian economies. They are the wealth generators, job creators, and risk takers. Businesses of 100 or fewer employees constitute over 98% of total businesses and two-thirds of private sector employment in Ontario. The OCC works to harness the collective strength of the Ontario Chamber Network to advocate on behalf of small businesses, and to provide a unified voice on the issues affecting small businesses in communities across the province.
Related Publications: See our report Obstacles and Opportunities: The Importance of Small Business in Ontario (October 2016), our toolkit Working Towards Mental Wellness: A Toolkit for Employers (May 2017), our report Top 3 Obstacles to Small Business Success (May 2016), and our report Breaking Barriers: Ontario’s Scale Up Challenge (April 2016).
Urbanization & Housing
As the Ontario government pursues policies of greater urbanization and intensification, communities across the province will realize both tremendous opportunities and considerable growing pains. Given that businesses are an integral part of every community, and are similarly impacted by housing policy, land use planning reform, public transit investment, and population growth as any other Ontarian, is it critical that they be at the table when we envision the future of Ontario’s cities and towns.
In 2018, the OCC will turn its attention to urbanization and housing policy. Throughout the year, we will explore the scope of this challenge and begin to formulate a business-friendly response. Our goal is to achieve better outcomes for more people by exploring changes to legislation and regulation, as well as innovative approaches such as “smart city” policies.
Related Publications: See our letter to Minister Mauro on Co-ordinated Land Use Planning (October 2016)
Infrastructure & Transportation
Infrastructure forms the backbone of our economy and society. It connects the province’s people and businesses, powers our homes and industry, and facilitates our access to the world. It directly contributes to the productivity of our workforce and it makes our standard of living possible.The OCC’s goal is to work with government to build the kind of infrastructure that sets a foundation for long-term, sustainable economic growth and prosperity.
Related Publications: See our report Building Better: Setting Up the Next Ontario Long-Term Infrastructure Plan for Success (August 2017), our letter to Premier Wynne on Broadband Infrastructure (July 2016)
Regional Economic Development
As Canada’s largest economy, Ontario is home to 49 economic regions. With such diversity, Ontario has the unique challenge of supporting a wide range of industry sectors all with varying economic needs, challenges, and geographies. The OCC aims to support the Ontario Chamber Network by advocating on behalf of Ontario’s regional business communities at Queen’s Park and supplying proactive and specific policy work that provides solutions to Ontario’s unique challenges.
Related Publications: See our report Closing the Tourism Gap: Creating a Long-Term Advantage for Ontario (October 2016), our report Fertile Ground: Growing the Competitiveness of Ontario’s Agri-food Sector (September 2016), our submission for the Strategic Framework for Tourism in Ontario (May 2016), our report Digging Deeper: Strengthening Ontario’s Mining Advantage (December 2015).