Chamber members plan Vote Prosperity
By Sue Tiffin
Published Feb. 8, 2018
Chamber of Commerce members met over breakfast to discuss recommendations that affect their small businesses to bring to Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock political candidates ahead of this year’s election.
About 30 business owners met at the chamber event held at Wintergreen Pancake Barn in Gelert on Feb. 6. to add their input to the Vote Prosperity 2018 election platform and campaign being put forward through a partnership with Ontario’s chamber network.
“Ontario businesses are the backbone of our economy,” reads the introduction of the platform.
“High input costs alongside the ongoing burden of operating in one of the most regulated economies in Canada, is a constraint on business’s ability to invest in the human and physical capital required for growth.”
Vote Prosperity organizes recommendations under four pillars: strengthening business competitiveness, fostering job creation, improving government accountability and building healthy communities.
“These pillars collectively identify 18 policy recommendations to help bolster Ontario’s long-term economic growth, while addressing the pressing issues of today.”
Policy recommendations include pursuing efforts to reduce Ontario’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a manner that effectively mitigates risk to business competitiveness, allowing Ontario businesses to buy into surplus electricity before it is exported, modernizing the apprenticeship system, ensuring that land use planning and development regulations are aligned to increase density and create more housing stock, providing appropriate timelines to stakeholders when revising or implementing initiatives that will impact their operations and ensuring all proposed policy, regulation and legislation has been evaluated against sound, quantitative evidence.
Local business owners largely agreed with most recommendations and spoke to some of the issues they face locally, including the cost of required green technology (they approved of the technology but not the high cost associated with it), the lack of housing for staff and length of time of apprenticeships, the impact on small businesses associated with the unrolling of Bill 148, Ontario’s place as “the most indebted sub-nation in the world” and high-speed internet infrastructure in rural communities.
“What I’m really hoping to drive home for people is how important it is for our members to give us their input on these issues and recommendations,” Autumn Wilson, chamber manager, told the Times. “One of our roles as the Chamber of Commerce is advocacy and we cannot be the voice of business without the information from our members.”
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce represents chambers and boards of trade in over 135 communities across Ontario.
A survey for feedback from those who might have missed the breakfast or who have additional comments or concerns will be emailed to chamber members this week.
Further information about the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce can be found at haliburtonchamber.com.