The Government of Canada is expected to release its 2023 budget in the coming weeks.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has put together its submission aimed at breaking down barriers and improving the competitiveness of Canadian businesses.
In his letter to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) President and CEO Perrin Beatty writes:
“The Canadian Chamber urges the government to focus its budget on the imperative for growth driven by the private sector: we cannot borrow our way to prosperity. The government’s role must be to ensure an environment that encourages private sector investment, and to foster the conditions for economic growth. Many of the measures included in our submission, including regulatory reform and dismantling internal barriers, will cost little or nothing now but will generate future wealth for our society.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, our international competitors continue to outpace us. In the areas where it must use tax dollars, the government must distinguish between spending and genuine investment: the bar must be whether an initiative will generate economic growth and create a higher standard of living for Canadians. Decisions we make in 2023 will determine whether future generations will enjoy the opportunities and prosperity we have been so fortunate to inherit. Our ability to respond to today’s health crisis or tomorrow’s climate emergency will be determined by whether we have built good jobs and robust growth across our economy.”
The proposals in the CCC’s submission fall under five categories:
• Building Trade-enhancing Infrastructure
As geopolitical tensions continue to disrupt global supply chains, Canada faces both an opportunity and an obligation to export our abundant natural resources. However, our inadequate trade-enabling infrastructure impedes our ability to get goods like food, fuel, fertilizer, and critical minerals to our domestic manufacturers, ports of export, and international partners.
• Easing the Burden of Doing Business
Developing a closer partnership with business need not cost the government anything, but it will help draw much-needed investment to Canada. Similarly, we must modernize the tax system to make it simpler, more efficient, and fairer. Our submission includes a series of low- and no-cost measures that can promote economic growth.
• Transitioning to Net-Zero
For Canada to become a global leader in producing and exporting sustainably produced energy, carbon dioxide-removal technologies, clean fuels, critical minerals, and sustainable goods, the government must implement and sustain investment and production tax credits alongside a trade corridors strategy that addresses supply chain concerns. Our goals of “friendshoring” ring hollow if we cannot demonstrate that Canada is a reliable business partner to our friends and allies.
• Attracting and Retaining Talent
With one million job vacancies, Canada needs a coherent plan to attract and retain a Twenty-first Century workforce, including through targeted supports for traditionally underrepresented workers. This plan must link our broader immigration targets to the skilled talent employers need right now, as well as to how we attract, retain, and provide international students with pathways to work and permanent residency.
• Enabling an Innovative Economy
To maintain a competitive edge that stimulates growth in emerging sectors, the government should capitalize on our innovative advantages in Artificial Intelligence, cybersecurity, digital health, clean tech, and clean fuels by modernizing research and development processes, and by stimulating product development and commercialization.
Check out the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Pre-Budget Submission for the list of recommendations.
We are heading into 2023 with record low confidence in our economy. Inflation is slowing along with the overall economy. How our governments invest in areas like climate change, innovation, workforce development, trade, and taxation will set the course for our economy and the resiliency of our local business community for years to come.
Coming out of few rocky years and into another year of economic uncertainty, business confidence has dropped to a new low according to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s (OCC) seventh annual Ontario Economic Report (OER).
“Ontario business confidence has dropped to a record low in 2023. Labour shortages, inflation, health care system vulnerabilities, and forecasts of an economic contraction are dampening confidence in the province’s economic outlook,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, OCC. “Only 16 percent of organizations surveyed have confidence in the economy. This is down from 29 percent last year. Promisingly, most businesses feel confident they can withstand these headwinds and continue to grow in the year ahead.”
The Ontario Economic Report is an interactive report with regional and sector-specific data on business confidence, public policy priorities, regional forecasts, and timely business issues such as employee health and well-being, climate change, succession planning, diversity and inclusion, reconciliation, and remote work.
Key highlights of the report include:
• Business confidence has dropped to a new low, with only 16 percent of organizations expressing confidence in the outlook of Ontario’s economy in 2023 (down from 29 percent in 2022).
• Inflation and labour shortages are primary concerns for organizations.
• Despite low confidence in the economy, 53 percent of businesses are optimistic about the outlook and growth prospects of their own organizations, as high employment rates and population growth should prevent a sharp decline in consumer spending.
• Small businesses want governments to prioritize policies and programs that support their immediate financial and operational challenges, while large businesses are more interested in broader workforce development and health care issues.
• Labour shortages are directly impacting most employers and 87 percent of large businesses. Shortages are especially acute in education, construction, and accommodation and food services.
• Businesses appreciate the importance of employee health and well-being, diversity and inclusion, economic reconciliation, and climate action – but there are notable gaps in addressing them.
After experiencing two years of employment growth of 2.4% in 2021 and 3.8% in 2022, employment in our region of Muskoka-Kawarthas is forecasted to grow by only 0.2% next year. For our region, 51% of businesses reported feeling confident in their own organization, 32% were neutral and 13% were not confident. These numbers show an increase in confidence in their own organizations over 2021 when 18% reported not being confident. Despite this optimism, local businesses feel less confident in the Ontario economy than the provincial average.
Locally, our top 10 policy priorities are:
• Invest in broadband internet infrastructure – 50%
• Reduce/simplify business taxes – 44%
• Encourage Ontarians to buy/travel locally – 44%
• Invest in workforce development – 35%
• Address health care system capacity – 34%
• Support businesses with energy costs – 32%
• Strengthen local supply chains, industries, and manufacturing – 31%
• Expand/improve access to mental health and addictions programs and services – 27%
• Enhance access to credit/capital – 25%
• Support businesses with technology adoption – 22%
“This year’s OER makes it clear that leaders in the public and private sectors must invest strategically in productivity, resilience, and long-term growth,” said Claudia Dessanti, Senior Manager, Policy, OCC. “Unsurprisingly, labour shortages continue to dominate as a source of concern directly impacting most employers and 87 percent of large businesses. Shortages are especially acute in specific sectors such as education, construction, and accommodation and food services.”
The seventh annual OER offers unique insights into business perspectives across Ontario. It is informed by data from the annual Business Confidence Survey (BCS) and economic forecasts for the year ahead. The BCS was conducted online from October 18 to November 30, 2022, attracting responses from 1,912 organizations across Ontario.
Check out the Ontario Economic Report here.
With a population of nearly 150,000 and several thousand business, non-profits and charities in Peterborough and the Kawarthas, it can be challenging for our elected leaders to connect with local issues.
In many instances, business issues mirror those of the community as a whole, including housing challenges, access to decent high-speed internet, the shortcomings of our healthcare system, and addressing poverty issues the region is struggling with.
We bring elected leaders here to directly hear from the local business community. Recently, we held round table discussions with provincial ministry representatives on submissions for the Ontario budget and supporting women in business with a focus on trades and STEM careers. In the fall, we held nine election debates for the community to engage with candidates.
Coming up on February 24 we are hosting our signature Power Hour event from 11 am to 2 pm. After several years of Zoom, we’re back in person at The Stonehouse Hall for a luncheon and live panel discussion with Peterborough-Kawartha MP Michelle Ferreri, Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith, County of Peterborough Warden Bonnie Clark, and City of Peterborough Mayor Jeff Leal. The local business community can submit questions ahead of time or provide written submissions from the floor. Get your tickets by Friday to get the early bird special pricing!
As a Chamber, we pull together local solutions and advocate for them with government leaders through things like policy resolutions, letter campaigns, discussions with relevant ministries, and one-on-one chats with the decision makers.
Our current round of proposed policy resolutions for the Ontario government include:
• Diversifying healthcare options to ease the burden on Emergency Rooms and family doctors
• Creating tax credits for home care to make it easier for people to afford to get the care they need in their own homes
• Investing in our local workforce planning boards so employers can get the up-to-date resources they need
• Encouraging regional collaboration by developing a mechanism that allows for multiple municipalities who have invested in a regionally significant project to account for jobs created proportional to financial contribution when reporting to government
In March, we head to Queen’s Park for some dedicated time with provincial decision makers to highlight pressing issues from our local business community.
The Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce is one of a host of local voices advocating for our community. We are proud to count many local non-profit organizations within our membership. In fact, we recently started a dedicated non-profit group to help organizations engage each other, access the resources they need, and work together toward common goals. The group meets regularly to feature knowledgeable speakers, host presentations, and provide networking opportunities and idea sharing. Our goal is to work together to help each other improve our community through our not-for-profit sector.
If you would like to have input on and get involved with our grassroots advocacy efforts, please reach out to myself or the rest of the Chamber team.
When all is running well, supply chains operate largely invisible to consumers.
Most of the time the massive choreographed dance of production, ships, ports, rail, trucks, planes, warehouses, couriers, border crossings, delivery systems, and 820,000 Canadians works relatively seamlessly, moving $1 trillion in goods. Your local business either already has the product you’re after or is able to get it to you in short order.
But all that changed in recent years as the words ‘supply chain’ entered our common lexicon as we talked with businesses, friends, and co-workers. We shared the common frustration of not being able to get the products we want when we want them.
Some of what led to these challenges has largely been resolved, like public health shutdowns and closed borders. Like many things, the pandemic accelerated issues the industry was already facing. Meanwhile, the world changed dramatically.
A report titled A time of renewal for Canada’s supply chains from KPMG and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce delves into the challenges facing the industry and how it can get back to invisibly running in the background.
The report notes that current risks for governments and businesses include:
• Chronic underinvestment in supply chain modernization
• Continued risk-laden dependence on single suppliers
• The need to innovate amid soaring goods and services costs
• Evolving and ever-increasing consumer expectations
• Ongoing labour shortages and skills gaps
KPMG’s 2022 Global CEO Survey reveals a total of 55 percent of leaders agreed or strongly agreed that supply chain risks will have an impact on their business over the next three years.
One key area they highlighted is that governments need to collaborate with each other in new ways to reshape supply chain capabilities and mitigate risk in the global digital economy. This includes innovative trade agreements, investments in infrastructure, and the re-orienting of supply chains amid over-reliance on individual nations such as China.
Nearly three quarters of global CEOs agreed that access to capital for new investments in their supply chain is having an impact on their business. The report makes continued references to the need to spend time and money on innovation. Rather than putting band-aids on the current system, we need to take a hard look at new ways to provide consumers with the goods they want.
The industry is moving away from a ‘just-in-time’ to a ‘just-in-case’ mindset. Saving money through single-supplier relationships has made the supply chain rigid, resulting in inefficiency and vulnerability.
The report pushes the need to foster and accelerate digital technology adoption to increase supply chain visibility, become more efficient, manage rising costs, and meet consumer expectations.
There are also issues around people’s expectations. Without some serious investment and innovation, our supply chain is struggling with the flexibility, speed, and reliability necessary to meet the standard that Infinite choice and instant delivery have set.
Like many sectors, the supply chain network is struggling to attract and retain workers with the skills they need. Answers lie in upskilling, reskilling, and automation.
Our economy and the standard of living we have come to enjoy require that the public and private sector modernize our supply chain through innovation and strategic investments. These issues aren’t going away on their own. The time to invest is now.
Read the full report here: https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/ca/pdf/2023/01/a-time-of-renewal-for-canadas-supply-chains-en.pdf