Entries in ORPP (16)


Premier's visit highlights the work of the Chamber

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Peterborough MPP and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Jeff Leal joined about 130 Chamber members for a luncheon on Friday, May 1st.  

Premier Wynne highlighted the need for more innovation and exporting opportunities. The Premier and the Minister recognized the policy wins of the Peterborough Chamber such as asking the 407 be built to the 35/115 and extending the scope of practice for pharmacists. 

Premier Wynne spoke of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan calling it an important piece for the future, while acknowledging there was still a lot of work to be done.  Wynne acknowledged the resistance of the business community to the increased costs, but suggested that people who struggle in retirement will increasingly rely on Government support, which also comes at a cost.

Similar logic was put forward regarding the new Cap and Trade system, with the Premier suggesting that while some will consider it a cost vs an investment... a tax vs a market solution, Cap and Trade is a tested and proven market solution to reduce emissions. Wynne promised to reinvest any proceeds to help people, businesses and communities become more efficient, more resilient and more competitive.

The Premier announced that Minister Duguid will soon be introducing a regulatory burden reduction strategy, and referenced the recent budget and its $130 billion infrastructure investment over a ten year period.

Premier Wynne shared that the Provincial Government grant to help The Publican House Brewery upgrade their canning equipment will nearly quadruple their capacity, helping them grow to meet their increasing market demand.

Our Chamber was honoured to host Premier Wynne, and particularly impressed with her knowledge of the Peterborough Chamber and the lobbying work we do to strengthen the business community.


Peterborough Chamber of Commerce helps set lobbying agenda at Ontario Chamber AGM









The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is in business to help strengthen your business.  That’s exactly what was happening in Cornwall this past weekend when over 120 Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade gathered for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting (OCC AGM).  The delegates were gathered to debate the recommendationsto government from over 40 policy resolutions. 

Board Chair Pat Marren, President & CEO Stuart Harrison and Policy Analyst Sandra Dueck brought forward two resolutions on behalf of the Peterborough Chamber membership.  

The first resolution was in partnership with the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce and calls on the provincial government to bring the "Heads and Beds Levy" more in-line with today's costs. The payment in lieu of taxes from post-secondary institutions, hospitals and correctional facilities has not changed from the current value of $75 since 1987, which puts a significant strain on local residential and commercial tax rates.  It’s estimated that adjusting the heads and beds levy to reflect inflation would provide approximately $1.1 million in additional funds to the City of Peterborough’s annual budget. The resolution passed.  

The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce also brought forward a resolution asking for support of the Energy East Project. The Chamber Network had great debate on this issue including two very close votes on several amendments. In the end, the Network supported the project with a recommendation to the National Energy Board to carefully investigate the impact on natural gas supply and prices.  

"This conference is where the local Chambers are able to bring their issues to the provincial level," says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. "The Energy East resolution brought forward by the Peterborough Chamber was relevant and fostered an informative conversation on a project that will have significant and positive economic impact on Peterborough, the province and Canada." 

Through the policy resolution process, the Chamber Network has officially identified the Energy East project as a major economic driver for the province of Ontario and here at home.  GE Peterborough has been awarded the contract to build the motors that will move the oil through the pipeline.  This contract will bring 250 jobs to the city and is a positive reflection of government strategically investing in our business community.  The Chamber Network has included strategic business investment in its “Emerging Stronger” lobbying platform for the past four years.  The National Energy Board will be assessing the project based on economic impact, safety and environmental concerns.    

Board Chair Pat Marren also spoke in favour of a resolution from the Tillsonburg Chamber of Commerce calling for a one-permit system for trucking companies in the province.   “As someone who is in this business and actually deals with the permit renewal process in my company I would like to see this resolution remain on the books,” Marren told the delegates. “My company is required to get an Ontario permit for all Kings’ highways plus 20-25 townships or municipalities separately throughout the year.  Each permit requires Certificates of Insurance, WSIB Clearance certificates plus the application for each municipality which is slightly different in each case.  One annual permit that covers the entire province would save countless man hours and help us improve productivity.”  

A resolution on WSIB reform also received approval from the delegates.  Of particular note was a call for
exemption from WSIB coverage for those construction employers who have obtained comprehensive 24/7 insurance coverage.

Chambers from across the province also debated and approved a suggested course of action for a mental health strategy in the workplace.  In all four recommendations were made including asking the Government of Ontario to develop a comprehensive workplace mental health strategy that emphasizes mental health awareness, education and rehabilitation for employees.  The strategy must not be prescriptive or place an additional burden on businesses but should instead be focused on improving mental health awareness.

Reducing the growing cumulative regulatory burden on business was also an issue of high priority for the Chamber Network and one that will take centre stage in the coming months.

The Ontario Chamber Network also passed recommendations to government on the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, electricity, the College of Trades, agri-business and installing and developing a province-wide broadband strategy. 

As a result of the policy work the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is channeling the collective strength of the business community in Peterborough.

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.


Peterborough Chamber of Commerce partners with Ontario Chamber on report to the province on proposed pension plan 

The submission expresses the Chamber Network's collective concern that the government’s proposed approach to tackle the so-called “undersaving challenge” could have unintended negative consequences for the province’s economy.

In particular, we question whether a blanket solution like the ORPP is the most effective means of boosting retirement savings for the minority of Ontarians who need it most. Recent analysis from McKinsey & Company and others suggest that a more targeted approach that focuses specifically on undersavers would be most effective.

We also highlight the findings of a recent Ontario Chamber of Commerce survey, which indicates that businesses cannot afford the costs associated with a new mandatory pension plan. Only 26 percent of businesses in Ontario believe they can shoulder the financial burden that would result from the ORPP. If faced with mandatory increased contributions under the ORPP, 44 percent of surveyed businesses indicate that they would reduce their current payroll or hire fewer employees in the future.

With these factors in mind, the submission makes two broad recommendations:

  1. Provide clarity to Ontario’s business community and the public around the potential impact the ORPP could have on jobs, investment, and the broader economy. The government must conduct a comprehensive and publicly available economic analysis of the new pension plan before it moves forward with implementation.
  2. Revise the definition of a “comparable” workplace pension plan to include other workplace retirement savings plans, such as Defined Contribution pension plans, Pooled Registered Pension Plans, Group Registered Retirement Savings Plans, Deferred Profit Sharing Plans, and group Tax Free Savings Accounts.

Read the full submission to the Ontario Government

Comment on the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.


Ontario Businesses Urge Government to Defer Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Legislation

The latest update Wednesday, December 17, 2014: 
The Government of Ontario is starting a consultation process on the ORPP legislation.  They are currently asking for feedback in three areas:

  • Defining a comparable workplace pension plan: Since the ORPP is intended to help those without workplace pensions, workers already participating in a comparable pension plan would not be required to enrol in the ORPP.
  • A minimum earnings threshold: To reduce the burden on low-income workers, earnings below a certain threshold would be exempt from contributions, similar to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). 
  • Supporting the self-employed: Since self-employed individuals have a unique status in the labour market as both employee and employer, the province is consulting on how to best assist them in saving for their retirement.

If you have any comments on any of these areas please send them to sandra@peterboroughchamber.ca

There will also be opportunity to comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn. 


In this Rapid Policy Update, you will find key information on two bills that were introduced today by the Government of Ontario. Both bills will introduce significant reforms to the pension system. The Ontario Chamber Network has significant reservations about the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Act, 2014 (Bill 56), which will impose new costs on employers.

We are broadly supportive of the spirit of the Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act, 2014 (Bill 57), which could provide businesses with a voluntary retirement savings tool. We will provide additional information to the Chamber Network as it becomes available over the coming days.

OCC White Paper on Pension Reform  

Answers from Associate Minister Mitzie Hunter after Network Conference Call 


Bill 56: Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Act, 2014

The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Act, 2014, will pave the way for the creation of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP). If passed, this Act would commit the government to establishing the ORPP by January 1, 2017.

The ORPP is the government's response to Ontario's growing retirement savings challenge, in which a significant number of today's workers could struggle to maintain their standard of living during retirement.

The ORPP, which aims to supplement the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), will require employers to match employee pension contributions. Employees and employers will contribute 1.9% each (3.8% combined) on an employee’s annual earnings up to $90,000.


Our Position

As we stated in a recent media release, the Government of Ontario should defer its ORPP legislation until it has answered outstanding questions about the impact the plan could have on Ontario's economic competitiveness.

The ORPP will increase the cost of doing business in Ontario. For example, in the case of a business that employs 10 people with a salary of $45,000, the employer will be obligated to pay almost $8,000 per year in additional pension contributions.

We have been adamant that the Government of Ontario hold back on its proposed pension plan until Ontarians know more about its potential impact on the economy. Businesses across the province are already facing rising costs, including soaring electricity prices, high WSIB premiums, and a higher minimum wage.

In a recent letter, a coalition of over 50 chambers of commerce and boards of trade called on the Government of Ontario to answer outstanding questions about the impact the plan could have on the economy.

Bill 57: Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act, 2014

The government also introduced the Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act, 2014, which would allow Ontario businesses to offer Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs) to their employees, as well as make them available to the self-employed.

Our Position

PRPPs must form part of the solution to Ontario's retirement challenge. PRPPs are voluntary, low-cost, and tax assisted savings vehicles that leverage the province's existing pension infrastructure. They do not require the creation of a new pension bureaucracy.

Press Release:
TORONTODec. 8, 2014 /CNW/ - The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and its network of 160 chambers in communities across the province are urging the government to defer legislation that will pave the way for the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP). The business group is calling on the Government of Ontario to answer outstanding questions about the impact the plan could have on the province's economic competitiveness. Businesses are concerned that the proposed pension plan will lead to job losses in the province.

Today, the government is introducing legislation that will pave the way for a new public pension scheme for Ontario. The ORPP, which aims to supplement the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), will require employers to match employee pension contributions, increasing the cost of doing business. For example, in the case of a business that employs 10 people who earn $45,000 each, the employer will be obligated to pay almost $8,000per year in additional pension contributions.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Chamber, 72 percent of businesses in the province believe that pension reform should be a priority for government. However, the same businesses are also clear about their concern for Ontario's broader economic picture, in which the economy is projected to grow slowly for the foreseeable future.

"Employers worry that by making it more expensive to hire, the new pension plan will negatively impact job creation and hurt Ontario's competitiveness," says Allan O'Dette, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. "Combined with increases in electricity prices, high WSIB rates, and, for many employers, a higher minimum wage, the new pension plan will burden businesses that are already struggling to meet the rising cost of doing business in Ontario."

According to the same survey, only 23 percent of the nearly 1,000 responding businesses could afford the costs associated with increased employer pension contributions.

A coalition of over 50 chambers of commerce and boards of trade from across the province recently submitted a letter to the Government of Ontario, calling on it to respond to a number of crucial, but unanswered questions.

"What will be the impact of a fully-implemented ORPP? What happens when a business can't afford to meet the requirements of the ORPP? How much will it cost to administer a standalone provincial plan?" asks O'Dette. "Businesses across Ontario are seeking answers to these questions."

"The retirement income challenge is a real one," he adds. "However, we need to ensure that any changes to the pension system are made with a full understanding of the impact they will have on Ontario's business climate. We are not satisfied that these questions have been fully answered."



Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce says businesses are concerned about Ontario pension plan

The provincial Liberals are moving ahead with plans to install the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP).  Businesses are concerned with the immediate and long term implications of such a program and chambers across the province, including the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, took part in a “Pension Advocacy Day” on Wednesday, October 8, 2014.   

The Peterborough Chamber and 50 other chambers across Ontario also recently signed a letter expressing the concerns of the business community.  The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), on behalf of the provincial Chamber Network, sent a letter to the Honourable Mitzie Hunter, Associate Minister of Finance. Minister Hunter has been charged with developing the framework for the ORPP.  The provincial government chose to develop this plan after the federal government refused to make any changes to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).     

As stated in the letter, the business community is very aware that a section of the population that is not prepared for retirement and acknowledges that “significant number of retirees, who lack sufficient income to maintain their standards of living, would have serious implications on the fiscal health of Ontario.”

However, many employers believe a standalone provincial pension plan is not the best route for Ontario.  As expressed in the letter, the concern lies in the cumulative effect of a number of expected increases for employers over the next few years from soaring electricity costs to very high WSIB premiums and yet Ontario’s Ministry of Finance projects the real annual GDP to be at 2.1% for the next twenty years.  This would be down from 2.6% growth seen in the previous twenty years. 

The provincial government is still in the very early design stages of the ORPP.  Here’s what we know so far:  

  • The ORPP will require equal contributions to be shared between employers and employees, not exceeding 1.9 per cent each (3.8 per cent combined) on earnings up to a maximum annual earnings threshold of $90,000. The ORPP maximum earnings threshold would increase each year, consistent with increases to the CPP maximum earnings threshold. 

Here are some illustrative examples of how much businesses will end up paying using the known parameters: 

  • A business has five employees, all of whom make $50,000.00 annually.
    • The business will need to pay $883.50 (1.9%) per employee per year in ORPP contributions
    • The business will be paying $4,417.50 in total, per year, in ORPP contributions for its 5 employees
  • A business has 20 employees, 10 of whom make $90,000 annually, five of whom make $50,000 annually, and five of whom make $30,000 annually. 
    • The business will need to make ORPP contributions of $1,643.50 for each employee that makes $90,000, $883.50 for each employee that makes $50,000, and $503.50 for each employee that makes $30,000.
    • The business will be paying $23,370 in total, per year, in ORPP contributions for its 20 employees. (OCC Backgrounder 2014)
  • Businesses already participating in a comparable workplace pension plan would not be required to enrol in the ORPP. The government has not yet defined what it means by “comparable plan”.
  • The ORPP would be publicly administered at arm’s length from government and have a strong governance model. 

Increased costs are not the only concerns of business:   

  • Unnecessary bureaucracy
  • Fragmentation of the pension landscape 
  • Ontario is moving in a different direction on pension while other provinces are looking at using Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs) (OCC letter to Minister Hunter September 2014) 

According to the OCC survey Emerging Stronger 2014 employers are overwhelmingly in favour of Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs). These plans allow for greater flexibility in terms of employer contribution and would not be mandatory.

Starting in 2017, the ORPP will be phased in and coincide with expected reductions in Employment Insurance premiums.  The largest employers would be enrolled first and contribution rates would be phased in over two years.  

Comment through the “Peterborough Chamber” group of LinkedIn.