Entries in Peterborough Chamber (83)

Wednesday
Dec092015

The role of business at a time of giving

In a recent letter to Chambers of Commerce across the country, Canadian Chamber President & CEO Perrin Beatty sums up how business can meet the challenge and contribute to welcoming Syrian refugees. 

The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is also a member of the Peterborough Immigration Partnership (PIP).  Through PIP, the New Canadians Centre has informed us of their ongoing efforts.  They are currently working with 19 sponsor groups in the City and County of Peterborough and another 18 in municipalities around Peterborough. Three families have already arrived, including one earlier this week.  

A Refugee Resettlement Task Force is in place through the New Canadians Centre. The task force will work at a strategic level, to ensure community collaboration behind the inventory of resources (housing, clothing, medical, etc.) that can be accessed to support refugee resettlement. Information on donation of goods, ways to help and/or volunteer, and how the process works is available on the New Canadians Centre website: www.nccpeterborough.ca

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.

Thursday
Dec032015

The making of a Christmas wish list for business

Recently the provincial government released a fiscal review, outlining the status of the province’s finances.  Contained in that document were a few early Christmas presents for the business community.  The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) are encouraged to see the Chamber network’s powerful advocacy work directly reflected in the government’s economic plans and priorities for 2016. 

The fall fiscal review introduced for the first time detailed steps to address the cumulative burden facing Ontario businesses. 

  1. A removal of the Debt Retirement Charge on commercial, industrial, and other non-residential electricity users on April 1, 2018, nine months earlier than expected;
  2. A promise to maintain the industrial exception in the Professional Engineers Act;
  3. The “Red Tape Challenge,” a strategy encouraging Ontarians to submit comments to a Regulatory Modernization Committee regarding regulations that impact them;
  4. A Regulatory Centre of Excellence, which identifies and champions best practices from around the world; and,
  5. A Government Modernization Fund to address the cost of modernizing outmoded regulatory processes.

These measures directly reflect the work of the Chamber Network, of which the Peterborough Chamber is a part, over the past year.  

However, there is still more work to do in a number of areas from energy to taxation to the environment.  With that in mind here are a few items from the business community Christmas wish list.

  1. The release of the economic analysis for the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan to inform business and the public as to the true impact of the plan.
  2. An electricity system that is designed to power the economy.  Currently, electricity prices are the highest in North America making it one of the largest barriers to business expansion.
  3. More information on the proposed Cap and Trade system and implementation timeline.  Announcing new programs such as this without some basics as to the impacts on the economy creates apprehension in the business community.  
  4. A more focused and flexible approach to the apprenticeship program as this sector of the economy has a shortage of available workers.  
  5. A recognition that the impact of multiple major policy changes in a short period of time has a significant impact on the business community, many of which are small and medium-sized enterprises. 

In the past two years there have been about a half dozen major policy shifts from ORPP to Cap and Trade to WSIB to minimum wage to electricity to the College of Trades.  In isolation the impact may be manageable; however, the piling on effect of this shift has the potential to have a very negative impact.

“Businesses are pulled in many directions on a daily basis,” says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “If their ability to be innovative and competitive in our communities, provincially and globally is constantly hampered by additional legislation, then there is the potential to lose any momentum the Ontario economy is currently experiencing.”

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.

Friday
Nov272015

Evidence of the Chamber Network lobbying message in provincial fall budget update

Yesterday, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) responded to the provincial government's fiscal review, which outlined the status of the province's finances. The OCC is encouraged to see its powerful advocacy work directly reflected in the government’s economic plans and priorities for 2016, including detailed steps introduced for the first time in the fall economic statement to address the cumulative burden facing Ontario businesses. They include:

  • A removal of the Debt Retirement Charge on commercial, industrial, and other non-residential electricity users on April 1, 2018, nine months earlier than expected;
  • A promise to maintain the industrial exception in the Professional Engineers Act.
  • The “Red Tape Challenge,” a strategy encouraging Ontarians to submit comments to a Regulatory Modernization Committee regarding regulations that impact them;
  • A Regulatory Centre of Excellence, which identifies and champions best practices from around the world; and,
  • A Government Modernization Fund to address the cost of modernizing outmoded regulatory processes.

While there is still more work to be done, these measures directly reflect our work over the past year, including a number of detailed reports on issues that matter most to Ontario business – from energy to taxation to the environment.

Wednesday
Oct282015

What's on the minds of Peterborough businesses?

The stack of issues impacting the business community is growing.  In fact, you could say that 2015 has been a growth year, but not always in a good way.  With all of the issues and concerns that our local businesses must wade through to stay compliant, to plan for their future, to know if their business is moving in the direction they want and whether or not they’re ready to hire, perseverance is required.  Peterborough has seen a number of new businesses open in our downtown and industrial park, and along our two other main commercial thoroughfares, Lansdowne and Chemong. For that, we thank you.  

At the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce we’ve been working with the Chamber network to make sure your concerns are heard at all levels of government.  This includes programs to help bring taxes to a level consistent with other like communities, red tape and regulation, pension plans, workplace insurance, infrastructure needs for transportation of goods, trade deals, and reaching new markets. 

Municipally, we have fought to get the Tax Ratio Reduction Program back into the City of Peterborough budget.  Our partners in this venture the Kawartha Manufacturers Association and Peterborough and the Kawarthas Association of Realtors see the value in the program, which will put Peterborough on a more level playing field with communities like Barrie.

Provincially, the list of areas of concern has grown over the past year.  The proposed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) is still set to come into effect January 2017 on a phased in basis.  Employers would pay 1.9% for each employee to a maximum of $1,643 per year.  Employees would contribute a matching amount. There are some exceptions and the provincial government is currently saying that if the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is improved upon then there may be no need for the ORPP.  The Peterborough and Kingston Chambers of Commerce successfully presented a policy resolution in Ottawa asking the federal government to allow employees to contribute more to CPP should they choose.  The Canadian Chamber of Commerce will now be able to take that recommendation from the business community to the federal government.

The rate framework of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board is in the midst of major overhaul.  Some of the changes include the number of rate groups and how a rate is determined.  The Peterborough Chamber was involved in a taskforce examining the issue and submitted a report to the provincial government representing the business perspective.  

Federally, the business community and the Chamber Network are advocating for projects such as Energy East, which will not only be a national job creator but an opportunity to use more of Canada’s natural resources in our own country.  Also on the list is help for innovation investment in new energy technologies, a place in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, and an improved and more open relationship between the business community and rail.

The graphic shows a number of issues the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is currently working to address through our lobbying and advocacy efforts. If there is an issue you feel we have missed please let us know through  sandra@peterboroughchamber.ca or 705.748.9771 x215.

The mission of the Chamber is to strengthen the business community, speak as one to government, and push for legislative change that allows Peterborough businesses to stay competitive.

Look for our Policy Report Card 2014 under "Lobbying" at peterboroughchamber.ca

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" LinkedIn group.

Tuesday
Oct202015

Chambers of Commerce set lobbying agenda in Ottawa

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held in Ottawa this past weekend. What happens at this meeting? This year over 325 delegates representing 150 chambers of commerce and boards of trade gathered in the nation’s capital for two days. The goal was to set the lobbying agenda for the Canadian Chamber to bring forward to the federal government.

It was a pretty unique time to be in Ottawa, leading up to the 42nd Federal Election, but more importantly the Canadian business community represented through the Chamber of Commerce leaders and board volunteers voted in favour of around 50 resolutions.  

Among the policy resolutions approved by the delegates were three directly involving the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.  

  1. Energy East, which asked the government to support the project as an economic driver while ensuring responsible management of the environment and other concerns.  This resolution was brought forward with co-sponsors The Saint John Region Chamber, Fédération des Chambres de Commerce du Québec, Belleville & District Chamber, Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, Regina Chamber of Commerce, and Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce. The nationwide support for this resolution speaks to the jobs the project will create, including 250 jobs in Peterborough and allow for Canadian oil to be moved and used in Canada with greater efficiency.  
  2. Canada Pension Plan, which asks that employees be allowed to increase their portion of the contribution to CPP to discourage provinces from starting to implement their own plans. Peterborough was a co-sponsor with the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce. 
  3. Infrastucture, which stressed the importance of a solid plan for the economy (this was put forward by the London Chamber of Commerce and supported by 21 Ontario Chambers). 

Thank you to the Peterborough Chamber Policy Committee for their input on these resolutions.

Also now on the books are policies that start to address how businesses of all sizes feel the government should move forward with clean technology, innovation funding, research funding, improving the tax statutes, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, improving communication between the rail industry and business,  greenhouse gas emissions, and collection of taxes from foreign companies for online sales.   

The largest number of resolutions this year focused on trade, including trade with the U.S and the Asia-Pacific. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal was a large part of the discussion.  

By the time the policy resolutions were all debated and voted on, the delegates left Ottawa giving the Canadian Chamber of Commerce a solid plan to bring the message of the business community to Parliament Hill.  

"The CCC AGM is the Parliament of Business,” says Stuart Harrison, President and CEO, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “Policy Analyst Sandra Dueck is the Chair of the Ontario Caucus and led the Ontario delegates including incoming Board Chair Jason Becker in the voting process and strategy.”

The approved policy resolution book will be online shortly and we will be posting it to our Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as, peterboroughchamber.ca  

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