Today, the Bay of Quinte Chambers of Commerce released the following response to the Government of Ontario’s 2020 Budget “Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover”.
The Ontario Chamber Network and Ontario’s business community along with the Bay of Quinte Chambers of Commerce welcome today’s Budget. Together the Quinte West & Belleville Chambers agree that it is an impactful and thoughtful response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and demonstrates the beginning of a long-term plan for economic growth. They believe that when business prospers, communities prosper across the province.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Bay of Quinte Chambers of Commerce have long advocated for greater investment in broadband and cellular infrastructure, reforming taxes to enhance business competitiveness, developing new skills training opportunities, and lowering the cost of electricity for industry, all of which are priorities in Budget 2020.
“This Budget addresses many of the actions we, on behalf of Ontario’s business community, have been asking for. We are particularly pleased to hear the government talk about addressing ‘profit insensitive’ costs to business; those expenses that remain the same regardless of if a company is bringing in revenue,” added Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Outlays such as property taxes and electricity rates have imposed considerable stress on business, especially small business, throughout the pandemic.”
Some key measures in Budget 2020 supported by the Ontario business community include:
- Reducing commercial and industrial electricity rates will make Ontario businesses more competitiveand enable them to invest in recovery and growth. For years, Ontario businesses have paid more for electricity than most other jurisdictions in North America, and the pandemic has only increased electricity system costs.
- Business Education Taxrates vary throughout Ontario; as a result, businesses in London, Waterloo, Hamilton, Toronto, Windsor/Middlesex, and Kingston are paying higher taxes than those in other regions. The government has announced it will both reduce the BET rate and address regional variance within that rate, both of which the OCC has advocated for in the past.
- The decision to make the higher Employer Health Tax threshold permanent is a welcome one that will free thousands of businesses from having to pay this tax.
- The move to allow municipalities to target property tax relief specifically to small business is a creative and important tool to grant communities, given that small business has been hardest hit by the pandemic.
- Broadband is a basic infrastructure requirement in today’s economy, but the ongoing pandemic has made it even more essential to public health and economic resilience. We are very pleased to see the government take this seriously with an additional investment of $680 million (for a total of nearly $1 billion) over six years.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Bay of Quinte Chambers of Commerce’s pre-budget submission focused on four areas: fiscal policy; regulation; the future of employment; and innovation and entrepreneurship. The recommendations were developed together with businesses, chambers of commerce, and boards of trade across the province, with the shared interest of making Ontario a more attractive place to live, work and invest.
The Bay of Quinte Chambers of Commerce collaborates as the regional voice for the Belleville, Prince Edward County and Quinte West Chambers of Commerce. Representing over 1200 businesses of all sizes and all sectors located in the Bay of Quinte riding, this regional voice advocates for fair government policies that allow businesses to thrive and prosper. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is Ontario’s Business Advocate.
About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan, indispensable partner of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members.