• Ontario Chamber Policy Report Card 2021

    Ontario Chamber Policy Report Card 2021

     

    The Ontario Chamber of Commerce recently published their policy report card for the year of 2021. This report card recaps all of the policy changes that the Ontario Chamber has been able to advocate for throughout the year. The goal of the Chamber this past year has been to help businesses make it through the pandemic and set them up for success after the pandemic has ended. The following advocacy wins are just a few of the ways that the Chamber network has been able to help companies this past year and beyond.

     

    Reducing Commercial and Industrial Electricity Rates

     

    The Ontario Chamber of Commerce submitted a pre-budget request to the provincial government that advocated for the reduction of commercial and industrial electricity rates. When the budget was published, it included a promise to lower electricity rates with estimated savings between 14-16% depending on the class of the customer. This would bring the rates below those of the United States, encouraging further business and industrial growth in Ontario with competitive rates for all businesses.

     

    Tourism Industry Support During Covid-19

     

    As one of the industries that struggled the most throughout the pandemic, the tourism industry needed a boost to ensure that these businesses could still thrive in a challenging environment. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce advocated for financial aid and grants to be made available for businesses in the tourism sector. In the 2020 budget, the Ontario government committed $100 million to be used over two years for tourism and related industries.

     

    Improving Broadband and Cellular Access in Ontario

     

    The pandemic has made it even more obvious of the role that technology plays in our everyday lives. This ranges from things like online healthcare to working remotely. For rural Ontarians, this has become an increasingly important issue as more services are available exclusively online. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce called on the government in 2020 to improve these rural communities' ability to access the fundamental infrastructure required to operate in a technologically driven era. In 2020, the Ontario government committed nearly $1 billion dollars over six years to improve and expand both broadband and cellular access across Ontario.

     

    Rapid Covid-19 Testing in the Workplace

     

    One of the most important tools for keeping Ontario safe and productive throughout the pandemic is regular rapid testing for employees. The OCC had repeatedly emphasized the importance of these tests and in March of 2021, the Ontario government launched their rapid testing program to be offered through Chambers of Commerce across the province. This became an invaluable tool that helped to keep businesses operational and ensure safety for many companies.