Entries in Peterborough Chamber (83)

Wednesday
Oct012014

Peterborough Chamber helps set federal policy agenda for business

Incoming 2015 Board Chair Pat Marren of Glenn Windrem Trucking (right) and Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Stuart Harrison voting during the policy plenary at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting in Charlottetown, PEI. 

The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and delegates from chambers across the country debated 72 policy resolutions.  Those that were carried become part of the federal policy agenda for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC).  

Along with a dozen other Ontario Chambers, the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce lent its direct support to a policy resolution calling on the government to undertake an expedient review of the full impact that competitor jurisdictions' business attraction efforts are having on Canada's economy.  This would be done in co-ordination with businesses and chambers of commerce from across Canada and examine the impact in terms of both GDP losses and job losses.

"This is what we call the Parliament of Business," explains Stuart Harrison, Chamber President & CEO. "By discussing these issues and voting on policy resolutions chambers across the country collectively begin to speak with one very strong voice."

What this means for our members: 

The CCC will present the policies to federal government officials, meet with representatives and make known the position of local chambers on issues important to the business community.

At the 2014 AGM those asks were: 

  • improving the innovation climate through tax incentives and revising current programs to help SMEs and larger innovators
  • improving labour market information availability
  • removing interprovincial trade barriers
  • investigating the importance of effective child care in relation to number of spaces and cost
  • improving the newly-redesigned Temporary Foreign Worker Program
  • improving productivity for Canadian companies through tax incentives, subsidies and grants
  • improving some of the requirements for business to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) 
 

 

Thursday
Sep252014

Taking care of the "Parliament of Business"

As chambers come together in the home of Confederation, Charlottetown, PEI for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM, they will not only reconnect but participate in spirited debate and development of policy resolutions. The delegates are aware of the ability of our Founding Fathers to look beyond their own borders to see the possibility and strength of Canada as a whole. 

The core purpose of a chamber is to improve the business community within our own municipalities, regions, provinces, territories and country. It is a privilege to be part of this process. The purpose of this meeting is not to pit one part of the country against another, but to develop solid policy resolutions for the greater good of the entire nation. If the past years have taught us anything, it’s that moving forward as one is much more powerful than going it alone. Ideas and policies developed in various corners of Canada must become our collective policies, ones that we as a group stand behind, promote and use at any given opportunity to foster discussion. 

We can be the best wordsmiths, the best researchers, and the best at debating amongst ourselves, but if our voice isn’t strong enough or isn’t used at all then our efforts for change will fall short. Trade, export/import, hydro rates, minimum wage, taxes, red tape, start-up 

capital, EI, pension plans, pressure from the United States, the dollar - any business in Canada, from the smallest to the largest, can add commentary to any of these issues. Currently, there are chamber network policy resolutions being presented to provincial governments on these issues and now we will be setting the agenda to move forward at the federal level. Lobbying for a welcoming and investment-worthy business climate that creates jobs and encourages business expansion in each province and territory makes for a strong Canada. It is also a way for business to give back to its home communities. 

The obligation of conference delegates is to ensure the chamber network and its push for policy improvement continues to matter. It is in this way that we write the script that becomes the Voice of Business for Canada. 

This is what Peterborough Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Stuart Harrison, volunteer in-coming Board Chair Pat Marren and myself will be partaking in come this weekend at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM in Charlottetown, PEI. 

It’s fitting that this process is happening in PEI as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference. That meeting of 23 delegates from the Maritime Provinces and the Province of Canada (Ontario and Quebec) was where the concept of confederation was formed. Canada would become a nation less than three years later on July 1, 1867 (http:// pei2014.ca/history_pg1). 

It's also a significant anniversary for the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce that is celebrating its 125th Anniversary in Peterborough. "The Chamber has been supporting the business community since 1889 with one core business," explains Bob Doornenbal, 2014 Board Chair and Director Franchise Sales & Marketing, Driving Miss Daisy. "That has been turned into our Vision Statement - Channeling the collective strength of the business community." 

In part, that is done through the policy process. This year, 69 policy resolutions and at least double that in the number of actionable recommendations to the federal government will be on the floor. Topics for the "Parliament of Business" include Finance and Taxation (16), Transportation and Infrastructure (10), Environment and Natural Resources (8), Human Resources (15), Industry (7), International Affairs (9), and Special Issues (4). 

From the list of 69 resolutions here are nine that standout: 

  1. Small Business Deductions 
  2. Ensuring Viability and Safety in Our National Airport System 
  3. A Climate Change Adaption Strategy for Canada 
  4. Temporary Foreign Worker and Skills Gap issues 
  5. Innovation Box Regime for Canada and Technovation: a shift in philosophy, an investment in Canada’s future 
  6. Recognizing and devising strategies to counteract the generous incentives offered by competitor jurisdictions 
  7. Improving regulatory processes to support the growth of Agri-business 
  8. Leveraging CETA to eliminate interprovincial trade barriers 
  9. Reforming Canada’s Child Care Plan 
  10. Reinstate the Canadian mandatory long-form census 

Policies are made through government legislation and are the framework within which business must operate. We are constantly striving for good, effective policy that makes being in business easier. It’s not an easy subject to wade through on your own, but as part of the Chamber network your business has a champion. 

Comment through the “Peterborough Chamber” group of LinkedIn. 

Thursday
Sep112014

Good news for employers on EI and WSIB premiums

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LOWERING EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE PREMIUMS
The federal government has just announced that it will be lowering Employment Insurance (EI) premiums for small businesses, paid by employers and employees, in an effort to boost hiring at a time of sluggish growth. The government is referring to this premium reduction as the Small Business Job Credit. The freeze is expected to save small businesses more than $550 million over the next two years.
The move comes shortly after Statistics Canada reported a decline of 11,000 jobs in August. Last year, the Parliamentary Budget Officer accused the government of keeping premium rates “higher than necessary” in an effort to balance the books in the short-term.
What does this mean for business? According to the Department of Finance, businesses that pay EI premiums up to $15,000 will be eligible for the break, which reduces the premium from $1.88 to $1.60, per $100 of payroll. That is a drop of 15 percent in EI costs for eligible businesses.
Close to 90 percent of all EI premium-paying businesses in Canada will be eligible for the break. 
The Canada Revenue Agency will automatically calculate the credit on a business’ return, in an effort to 
reduce paper burden.
The OCC applauds the federal government’s decision, but continues to advocate for reforms to the EI program, particularly in how benefits are distributed regionally. Because of the program’s current structure, Ontario employers and employees end up subsidizing industries and workers in other provinces, despite the fact that Ontario’s unemployment rate is above the national average. For more information on the OCC’s proposed reforms to the EI program, read the OCC's report A Federal Agenda for Ontario.
 
WSIB PREMIUMS UNCHANGED FOR SECOND YEAR
The Government of Ontario announced that Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) premium rates would be frozen for a second consecutive year. Only one rate group, Local Government Services, will see an increase in premium rates as a result of expanded coverage for firefighters--an issue that the OCC is tracking closely.
The WSIB also announced that their compensation system is more than 64 percent funded, and will be 80 percent funded by 2022 and 100 percent by 2027. The funding ratio has improved significantly, up from 56.9 percent in 2012.
The OCC is repeating its calls for more competitive business premiums. Despite a steady decline in the frequency of work-related injuries in the province, Ontario’s average employer premium rate is still one of the highest in Canada. This is due largely to the surcharge associated with paying off the WSIB’s unfunded liability, which employers have been forced to absorb as a legacy cost.
For more information, read the OCC's agenda for WSIB reform, Caution Work Ahead.
Comment throught the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.
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