Entries in Peterborough Chamber of Commerce (31)


CPP enhancement could spell the end of the ORPP

From the Ontario perspective, the agreement in principle to enhance the Canada Pension Plan is a good thing for business.  The solution is one that will still have impact, but less so than what we were facing here in Ontario. 

According to Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa, this will be the end of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP), should the agreement be ratified by July 15, 2016.  If that happens, there will not be a new 1.9 percent payroll tax.  It means the government administration required to manage the ORPP will no longer be needed.  It means that small businesses in Ontario will not have to add a line to their payroll deductions.  It means that a province-by-province approach to pension reform is avoided and that would have been a costly venture.  

“A province-by-province approach would have increased regulatory fragmentation and thus administrative burden.  Ontario is doing the right thing by moving away from the ORPP in order to support a coordinated solution,” said Allan O’Dette, President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce.  

The devil is in the details.  The nine ministers have agreed in principal to the following: 

  • The income replacement level will be increased to one third of income
  • The upper earnings limit will be targeted at $82,700 upon full implementation in 2025
  • There will be a gradual 7-year phase-in beginning on January 1, 2019 consisting of:
    • A 5-year contribution rate phase-in below the Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE), followed by:
    • A 2-year phase-in of the upper earnings limit
  • An increase to the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) to help low-income earners
  • Tax deductibility for the enhanced portion of the employee CPP contributions 

The Peterborough Chamber was very vocal in presenting the impact of ORPP to the provincial government through presentations to the Associate Minister of Finance and letters to the Minister of Finance.  Through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber Network was able to delay proposed implementation of the ORPP by one year to 2018.  

Both the Peterborough and Kingston Chambers of Commerce were at the leading edge of pension reform when recommendations were submitted to government in 2015 asking that employees be allowed to contribute up to 1.9% more to CPP.  The goal of the recommendations was to see an enhanced CPP in order to avoid a piecemeal province-by-province approach.  

When the CPP enhancement is fully phased-in by 2025 the total increase in CPP contributions by employees and employers will be 1%, which is almost half the ORPP.

“While we were hoping to see little or no impact on businesses, we are glad to see that consideration has been given to the need for a long phase-in period,” said Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “The ability for businesses to prepare and understand changes is paramount to ensuring Ontario stays competitive.”

The ministers also agreed to three measures for implementation: 

  • introducing a long and gradual phase-in starting on January 1, 2019 that will allow more time for businesses to adjust
  • enhancing the federal Working Income Benefit as a means of offsetting the impact of increased contributions on low-income workers
  • providing a tax deduction - instead of a tax credit - for employee contributions associated with the enhanced portion of CPP in order to avoid increasing the after-tax cost of saving for Canadians

 The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) still has concerns about the cost of the program and impact the plan will have on cash flow and business investment.  However, because the business community has been at the table for the breadth of the discussion around pension reform, we hope to continue to work with the federal and provincial governments as they move forward.  

Quebec and Manitoba are the only provinces not to sign on.  Quebec is interested in some enhancement that works better with the Quebec Pension Plan.   

The goal is to have the plan ratified by Friday, July 15, 2016.


Peterborough Chamber helps celebrate opening of 407

We had the opportunity to celebrate the opening of Phase 1 of the 407. The highway starting at Harmony Road in Oshawa to Brock Road in Pickering officially opened to traffic on Monday, June 20th and will be free to use until January 1, 2017.

The Peterborough contingent was MPP Jeff Leal, Mayor Daryl Bennett, Warden J.Murray Jones and the Peterborough Examiner.

"Ribbon of prosperity" and "important two-way street" were a few of the descriptors used to talk about the impact of this highway. The first part of phase 2, which will end at the 35/115, will be opened in 2017 with a link to Taunton Road. The full completion date for the highway is 2020.

The Chamber has a strong connection to the 407. In 2004, there was a policy resolution from the Oshawa Chamber of Commerce to continue the 407 eastward. The then Chair of the Board for the Peterborough Chamber Dan Stanford and Stuart Harrison, President and CEO of the Peterborough Chamber asked that the recommendation to government include taking the highway all the way to the 35/115.


Peterborough Chamber submits two policy resolutions for CCC AGM

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) depends on the policy resolutions and recommendations from local chambers and boards of trade, such as Peterborough, to determine advocacy issues important to the business community. 

On the CCC website (chamber.ca), the policy process is described as culminating in a democratic vote on the floor of our annual general meeting (AGM). 

Following approval at the AGM, the CCC, along with our members, can move forward in our advocacy efforts based on the resolutions contained within our Policy Resolutions Books. Each resolution, once approved, has an effective lifespan of three years.

For consideration in 2016, the Peterborough Chamber has submitted the following:  

Advancing Canada's Competitiveness Using Shortline Rail

This resolution asks for capital investment tax incentives for shortline rail companies 

Restoring Canada's Innovative Competitiveness

This resolution asks the federal government to improve the SR&ED tax credits to encourage more private sector innovation

These policy resolutions will now be assessed by the CCC Policy Committees to see if they will be on the floor for debate at the Annual General Meeting in Regina, Saskatchewan in September.


One project in one sector and the economic impact 

“The nuclear sector has been identified as a significant opportunity for the Peterborough area, with over 20 local companies making up a nuclear cluster,” said Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “The Darlington Nuclear refurbishment offers the opportunity for local businesses to be a part of the supply chain that will see the project through to completion.”

Recently, the Peterborough and Ontario Chambers of Commerce hosted the Hon. Jeff Leal, MPP of Peterborough, Ontario Power Generation, and local vendors in the nuclear industry including Rolls-Royce and Canadian Instrumentation Services Group Ltd. The goal of the roundtable was to discuss how the Darlington Nuclear Refurbishment project will impact the Peterborough and provincial economies.  

"Refurbishing Darlington is an investment in clean air, in lower energy prices, in jobs, and an important investment in Peterborough,” said Boris Vulanovic, Director Operations & Maintenance at OPG.  “OPG and our suppliers and partners are working as one team to deliver the project safely, on time and on budget." 

Discussion centred around the nuclear supply chain and skilled trades.



Chamber attends Peterborough Day at Queen's Park

President and CEO Stuart Harrison and Policy Analyst Sandra Dueck attended the event, which was started by MPP Jeff Leal in 2003, on Thursday, May 19, 2016. 

The day included sitting in on Question Period and being acknowledged by Minister Leal for being in the audience, as well as chatting with senior staff, MPPs and Ministers, including Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca.  

Stu also spoke eastern Ontario economic development with Carol Kim, Senior Advisor on Strategic Initiatives to Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Jeff Leal. 

It's not just agriculture, it's the business of agriculture. For example, local distiller Persian Empire buys 100s of thousands of litres of milk locally for their yogurt drink, which they distribute broadly.