Focus spring legislative session on strategic infrastructure and lowering business costs to foster confidence: Bay of Quinte Chambers of Commerce
Quinte West, ON, February 16th, 2017: Today, the Quinte West, Belleville and Prince Edward County Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of commerce (OCC), formally released its 2017 pre-budget submission containing recommendations to the Ontario legislature as it looks to begin its spring 2017 legislative session. The submission outlines four key budget priorities and 13 specific recommendations for Queen’s Park to adopt in order to restore fiscal balance and spur economic growth. Specifically, the Bay of Quinte Chambers of Commerce are looking for immediate support for increased broadband infrastructure and for government to demonstrate fiscal prudence and sound budget management.
With more government services going digital, it is critical that citizens from all corners of the province have access to ultra-high-speed Internet. The lack of access to broadband has compromised Ontarians abilities to connect with essential government services, and has crippled businesses’ capacity to compete in the technology driven economy. As cited in the OCC’s submission, Government must “bridge the broadband gap” by considering this type of technology as a fundamental piece of infrastructure and address the inadequacy of ultra high-speed Internet in Ontario communities
“Outlying areas in Thurlow Ward in Belleville and other parts of Quinte struggle with this situation,” said Jill Raycroft, CEO of the Belleville Chamber, “and while there have been attempts to provide access to high-speed internet, there continues to be a lack of investment in fibre or cabling installation that would ensure reliable service.”
“The OCC, in partnership with our diverse Chamber Network, will continue to work with the provincial government to ensure that Ontario prioritizes reducing obstacles to business competitiveness,” said Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of the OCC. “By taking more authoritative action on this issue, we can ensure that Ontario remains an attractive environment for capital investment.”
In the submission, Ontario’s Chamber Network is also calling on the government to send a clear message of fiscal stability by balancing the provincial budget by 2017-2018. Such action would result in a more attractive environment for business investment and growth as well as confront the challenge of mounting input costs, such as electricity prices. As signalled last week in the OCC’s Ontario Economic Report, businesses are maintaining their operations and holding onto cash rather than expanding production or investing. This indicates that industry sees the Ontario economy as high-risk.
“The Government of Ontario must ensure that it addresses recommendations made by the Chamber Network in their provincial budget in order to support economic growth for Ontario businesses,” said Suzanne Andrews, General Manager at the Quinte West Chamber of Commerce. “Government must focus on reducing the costs of doing business in Ontario, supporting strategic infrastructure development and strengthening its efforts to bolster business competitiveness that allows the Quinte Region to thrive.”
Addressing the current fiscal context and achieving a balanced budget is an underlying theme throughout the pre-budget submission. “As signalled last week in the OCC’s Ontario Economic Report,” said Emily Cowan, Prince Edward County Chamber of Tourism and Commerce Executive Director, “businesses are maintaining their operations and holding onto cash rather than expanding production or investing. For Ontario to thrive and attract new business, business owners need confidence in the Provincial government’s ability to lose it’s ‘high-risk investment’ reputation.”
Ontario’s Chamber Network is committed to working with the Ontario Government to ensure the future economic success of the province. The submission is largely comprised of policy recommendations that are supported by resolutions passed by Ontario’s Chamber Network at the OCC’s most recent Annual General Meeting.
Follow link to read full submission: https://quintewestchamber.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2017-Provincial-Pre-Budget-Submission.pdf
Suzanne Andrews, General Manager
Quinte West Chamber of Commerce
T: (613) 392-7635
Bill Saunders, CEO
Belleville Chamber of Commerce
T: (613) 962-4597
Emily Cowan, Executive Director
Prince Edward County Chamber of Tourism and Commerce
T: (613) 476-2421