Did you know that Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Act was the first of its kind in Canada when it was enacted in 1975?
The provincial government is looking to modernize Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Act. There are three key changes they are looking to make “to ensure strong environmental protections, while eliminating duplication, streamlining processes, providing clarity to applicants, improving service standards to reduce delays, and better recognize other planning processes that have evolved over the past four decades.”
At the local level, the proposed changes could have positive impacts with the exemption of low-risk activities such as bike lanes. The City is currently
planning to add more bike lanes on Charlotte Street as part of that street’s redevelopment. Clarifying the Minister’s authority could also have an impact on the Parkway, which is currently under a Ministerial order.
The following are being proposed as amendments to the Environmental Assessment Act:
"The OCC is broadly supportive of the proposals in the paper as measures to ensure a more efficient and streamlined Environmental Assessment (EA) process is welcomed by the Ontario business community.
Traditionally, regulations are often seen as necessary to reduce risk, however, in practice, poorly designed and complex regulations stifle entrepreneurial activity, often with minimal benefit to the public. As Ontario businesses evolve and grow, it is of critical importance that our regulatory environment is reflective of our ever-changing industry and economy. This is particularly significant with respect to Ontario’s EA process.
The OCC has continually heard from our members as to how the current EA process significantly impacts a variety of significant projects from progressing. For example:
economic development potential. This is of concern when seeking foreign investment in our province, as business will be deterred by an out-of-date EA process when
compared to that of other jurisdictions.
With respect to the discussion paper, the OCC is supportive of the proposed changes.
As our economy advances, so too must our regulatory environment. A modern regulatory regime that is flexible, simple, and easy to navigate will help ensure Ontario continues to be an attractive place for businesses to invest, grow, innovate, and create high-quality jobs.
Providing clarity and carrying out impact assessments throughout the process will inspire business confidence and investment—key drivers of Ontario’s economic prosperity."
While the comment period on these proposed changes is closed, the government says there will be consultations on any regulations developed as a result of the changes.
I was reading a book by Alexander McCall Smith wherein he captured the essence of “local” while describing Scottish clans and why a local identity is important. His eloquent words include:
Peterborough has a very strong love of all things local, from the historic, to the burgeoning entrepreneurial culture, to a strong downtown, and more. Where does it come from? Is the desire to localize more connected to humanity, to a desire to belong to something, to a feeling of supporting something or
someone you know?
Sure, I can order a pair of boots from my phone and have them sitting in a box on my porch tomorrow morning, but I’d rather try them on at a local shoe store, owned by someone I know, someone who supports my chamber, or my kids soccer team, and someone who knows a thing or two about boots.
Our strong entrepreneurial culture comes from a desire to not only create something local, but to support those who do. It’s a remarkable movement triggered and amplified by people who are relentlessly positive,
supportive and generous.
The Chamber has been using a catchy little hashtag #LoveLocalPtbo as a way of profiling local businesses. The United Way campaign this year gave it a handsome twist, asking people to show their “local love”.
The Chamber, the Innovation Cluster, PKED, WBN, Venture North, JA, DBIA, NCC, and other organizations are all providing programming and opportunities to nurture a love of local. The list of initiatives is endless:
a. The Business Excellence Awards
b. The Business Hall of Fame Awards
c. 100 Women Peterborough
d. The Business Woman of the Year and the Judy Heffernan Award
e. Win This Space, The Bears Lair/Cubs Lair, Ignite 100
f. Multiple breakfasts, lunches, dinners, networking events, workshops, round tables, seminars, webinars and more, all serving to help local people connect and succeed.
Most importantly, local people - thought leaders, influencers, entrepreneurs, young/old, female/male, new to the area or not, but all with a positive attitude - are creating a culture of “community” that supports all of the above.
As author Margaret J. Wheatley said, “There is no power for change greater than a community
discovering what it cares about."
Infrastructure Minister Monte McNaughton along with MPPs David Piccini (at microphone), Laurie Scott and Dave Smith, dropped in to Robins General Merchant in Roseneath recently to talk about investing in mobile broadband.
The Chamber was pleased to hear about the commitment of $71M to the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) cell gap project. We have been advocating for many years for expanded broadband access for businesses.
Peterborough County Warden and Chair of EORN J.Murray Jones also spoke about the first EORN project, which along with multiple layers of government and the private sector built a 5,000km digital highway through Eastern Ontario.
It's an important view as digital highways are just as important as our physical highways.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) has launched its election policy website, Vote Prosperity, to highlight the needs of Canadian businesses to all parties in the upcoming federal election.
Every day, the businesses that drive our economy are making hard decisions about how to preserve jobs or create new ones, whether to invest here or abroad and how to respond to competition that grows more intense by the day. The decisions they make determine the future of our communities and our country. Without a thriving business sector, Canada’s economic growth suffers, our prosperity declines and our governments lack the resources to build roads, hospitals and schools and provide social services. In short, for Canada to succeed, our businesses must also be successful.
An open letter formally challenged all party leaders and caucuses to embrace all seven priorities and 45 recommendations outlined in the document.
“We have published an open letter to all of Canada’s federal party leaders, challenging them to give our 200,000 business owners what they must have: a fighting chance to compete and grow. Canada’s businesses have every right to expect a level playing field with the countries they compete against. We call on all party leaders to build their business policy proposals around the Vote Prosperity checklist, which outlines what Canada’s job creators themselves have identified as mission critical,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, PC, OC, President & CEO, CCC.
The Vote Prosperity website focuses on a small number of big issues that are crippling the ability of Canadian businesses to compete, grow, and innovate. While our economy faces many headwinds that are out of our control, there is much we can, and should, do.
Some of the solutions outlined by the Canadian Chamber include:
“Without a thriving business sector, Canada’s economic growth suffers, our prosperity declines, and our governments can't afford roads, hospitals, and schools. When business succeeds, Canada succeeds. Our businesses needs the next government to be a forward-looking partner that helps them build a stronger and more innovative Canada for all,” added Beatty.
The platform was developed in partnership with Canada’s provincial and territorial chambers of commerce. The entire network of 450 chambers of commerce, including your Peterborough Chamber, will be working together throughout the election period to keep our nation’s political leaders focused on taking bold steps to protect and strengthen Canada’s competitive position.
The Canadian Chamber is strictly apolitical, and its policy analysis should never be taken as partisan or endorsement. The Canadian Chamber bases its analysis solely upon whether a policy aligns with the Canadian Chamber’s existing platform.
As the Chamber Network, we will be taking action by writing letters to candidates and providing direct links to voter information and locations.
Follow the discussion on social media through #VoteProsperity
The Ontario Government has a series of public consultations underway that could have an impact on business.
Industrial Electricity Prices
The government wants to hear from businesses about the design and effectiveness of industrial
electricity pricing and programs. The sectors of interest are:
Regional Government Review
This review involves eight regional governments (Durham, Halton, Muskoka District, Niagara, Oxford County, Peel, Waterloo, York), Simcoe County and their lower-tier municipalities.
The goal is that these municipalities are: working well and supporting the future economic prosperity of residents and businesses working harder, smarter and more efficiently
Ontario's Aggregate Reform
Ontario’s aggregate industry contributes almost $1.4 billion to Ontario’s economy and supports almost 20,000 direct and indirect jobs. Aggregates are the raw materials (such as sand, gravel and clay) that help build schools, hospitals and bridges, and are the foundation of many of Ontario’s industries.
A survey will remain open until May 31, 2019 to allow for additional feedback and help inform future actions.
Representatives from the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce have just returned from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting hosted by the Muskoka Lakes and Gravenhurst
Chambers of Commerce.
At the conference delegates voted in favour of two policy resolutions put forward by the Peterborough
Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors in the area of skilled trades.
The first was a new resolution entitled “Keeping the Best of the College of Trades in the Wind Down”, which recommended that the government:
In introducing the resolution, President and CEO Stuart Harrison emphasized to the delegates that, “while the opposition to the College of Trades was loud and clear, when it was announced that it would be repatriated into the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, we heard from some of our members about a couple of things they would like to see maintained. For example, having a public registry for skilled trades people allows consumers to know whether the person you called is actually qualified to fix your
plumbing. The companies that play by the rules use trade certifications as a competitive advantage. So, we feel that maintaining a public registry is important.
Secondly, we feel that one of the ways to narrow the skills gap is to have clear pathways for
international skilled trades people. We have a welding school in Peterborough that trains people in the Philippines so that they arrive in Canada as economic immigrants, fully certified as welders able to work in Canada.”
The second was the reintroduction of a resolution originally submitted in 2016 asking that the provincial government:
Board Chair Ben vanVeen, Team vanRahan, Century 21 presented the following reasoning for continuing to have the policy on the books - “while the recent significant changes to the apprenticeship ratios were
welcomed by small businesses across the province, in some cases 1 to 1 still isn't enough. Businesses
in smaller urban and rural communities are telling us that more work needs to be done to address the skills gap. A flexible apprenticeship system is available in other provinces and that should also be the case in Ontario. This resolution offers a way to do that.”
The group also discussed issues around financial literacy, immigration, and infrastructure. The Premier and all opposition parties delivered remarks to the delegates.
Perrin Beatty, President & CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) also provided an update from identifying seven areas (regulation tax regimes, innovation, pharmacare, trade deals and small medium
enterprises) as those they will focus on as we approach the October federal election.