The 2018 Election Platform of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Through consultation with our members across Ontario, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has developed Vote Prosperity, a platform for the 2018 provincial election campaign. This product is designed to provide Ontario with a strategy to leverage our advantages and strengthen our global competitiveness.

Ontario is a great place to live and work, but the foundation of our prosperity is shifting. Through extensive research, we have identified several factors that limit business growth in the province, from lacklustre exports to an elevated cost of living to decreased labour force participation. These factors, coupled with high input costs such as rising electricity prices, a cap and trade regime, onerous labour law reforms and a burdensome regulatory environment, mean the cost of doing business in Ontario is high relative to our competitor jurisdictions.

Ontario businesses are the backbone of our economy and our communities. To ensure the next provincial election addresses the most important issues to their survival.

Read the full report.

Vote Prosperity reflects four fundamental pillars of a strong Ontario:

Within these four pillars, we have identified a total of 18 policy recommendations that will help bolster Ontario’s long-term economic fortunes, while also addressing the pressing issues of today.

Strengthening Business Competitiveness

  1. Allow Ontario businesses to purchase surplus electricity at rates equal to or better than the exported price to other jurisdictions.
  2. Conduct and publish the results of a comprehensive review of the electricity sector, including an objective economic impact analysis assessing the full range of inputs that make up the Global Adjustment (GA), and then pursue cost-reducing measures based on the results.
  3. Regardless of public policy approach chosen, pursue efforts to reduce Ontario’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a manner that effectively mitigates risk to business competitiveness.
  4. Work with federal and local levels of government to establish a publicly available analysis of the cost of doing business (CODB) in Ontario.
  5. Reinstate scheduled reductions in the Corporate Income Tax, standardize the Business Education Tax and reduce the Employer Health Tax.

Fostering Job Creation

  1. Modernize the apprenticeship system.
  2. Redesign Employment Ontario services for both job-seekers and employers and evaluate the potential of an outcomes-based funding model.
  3. Work with industry and post-secondary institutions to ensure that program offerings remain responsive to the changing labour market dynamics and the regional and sectoral needs of Ontario’s business community.
  4. Allocate resources to focus support on high growth firms and those with high growth potential, by delaying taxation on corporate income growth to overcome Ontario’s scale-up challenge.

Building Healthy Communities

  1. Focus on strategic growth policies by ensuring that land use planning and development regulations are aligned, to increase density and create more housing stock.
  2. Build adaptable and resilient infrastructure stock that can address future pressures including climate change and demographic shifts.
  3. Develop a single transportation authority in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA).
  4. Strike a Health Cabinet to improve information-sharing and break down budget silos between Ministries.
  5. Reform the procurement and supply chain processes within the Ontario health care system.

Improving Government Accountability

  1. Create a meaningful plan to tackle the debt and move towards balanced or surplus budgets.
  2. Ensure all proposed policy, regulation and legislation has been evaluated against sound, quantitative evidence.
  3. Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of strategic goals and publicly publish these targets to ensure transparency.
  4. Provide appropriate timelines to stakeholders when revising or implementing initiatives that will impact their operations.

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