Budget 2019 Strikes Right Balance for Business Community: Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce
GREATER SUDBURY, April 12, 2019 – Today, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commercereleased the following statement in response to the 2019 Ontario Budget, “Protecting What Matters Most.”
“While the budget delivers on some of our advocacy priorities, particularly in the areas of skills and broadband infrastructure, it is important to continuously engage with the province to ensure that businesses in Greater Sudbury have opportunities to prosper,” said Michael Macnamara, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce. “We’re disappointed there was no additional funding for the four-laning of Highway 69, and we will continue to advocate for the complete four-laning of the Highway.”
The chamber has long advocated for the four-laning of Highway 69, a critical infrastructure project not just for Northern Ontario, but for the entire province. The four-laning of Highway 69 will improve Northern Ontario’s economic well-being by increasing connectivity, improving safety conditions on the road, and with Highway 69 being a part of the Trans-Canada Highway, further investment in its twinning will help improve the entire province’s connectivity with Western Canada and provide more trade opportunities for Ontario businesses.
The chamber is also encouraged by the government’s commitment to developing the Ring of Fire. The Ring of Fire is a $60 billion opportunity, with economic benefits not just for Northern Ontario, but for the province and the entire country. The government’s commitment to reducing red tape and to create a Mining Working Group to that end is very encouraging. has been described as Canada’s next oils sands, and red tape has been a major challenge to its development.
Some key measures in Budget 2019 supported by the Greater Sudbury business community include:
- With Greater Sudbury businesses citing the ability to recruit and retain talent as the most critical factor to their competitiveness, the chamber has prioritized advocacy regarding the province’s skills mismatch.Modernizing Ontario’s apprenticeship system, reforming skills and employment training programs, improving the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, and expanding the Northern Ontario Internship Program are all critical steps to create the workforce of the future.
- : The chamber is pleased by the government’s $315 million investment in critical broadband and cellular infrastructure over the next five years. Access to high-speed internet is a basic requirement of the 21st century economy, much like roads, bridges, and electricity. Regarding the government’s planned investments of $14.7 billion in the province’s infrastructure over the next ten years, the chamber hopes to see more details on the plan and will continue to press the government to address Northern Ontario’s infrastructure deficit.
- The chamber is pleased by the government’s commitment to reviewing transportation in the North and identifying opportunities for modern, sustainable transportation. The four-laning of Highway 69 should be a part of any strategy aimed towards improving Northern Ontario’s transportation infrastructure.
- Building a more competitive tax environment is critical to fueling investment, innovation, and economic growth across Ontario, particularly in times of fiscal limitation. The Ontario Job Creation Investment Incentive will provide much-needed tax relief for industry while promoting investment and job growth. The Ontario Chamber Network also continue to encourage the government to help small businesses scale-up by creating a variable small business tax rate.
“Our message to the government in advance of Budget 2019 had been clear: bring down the deficit, focus on competitive taxation, and choose strategic investments that contribute to Ontario’s long-term economic growth. We are encouraged by the robust plan for returning the Province to a balanced budget, including meaningful action to improve government accountability. This Budget is focused on spending smarter rather than resorting to austerity measures,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.