Your chamber works hard on your behalf to influence public policy. View issues before 2017 here.

MUNICIPAL ISSUES

2018

Immigration Pilot Program

Background: A recent report indicated that the City of Greater Sudbury is the only large urban community in Northern Ontario expected to not shrink in population in the coming years. In addition, there continues to exist a skills mismatch in Northern. Mayor Brian Bigger released a joint statement with the mayors of Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay, and Timmins calling on the government to prioritize immigration to Northern Ontario to combat these challenges by implementing an immigration program similar to the one currently being tested in the Atlantic provinces.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce supports the Mayor’s position and believes prioritizing immigration to Northern Ontario is critical to the economic health of the region.

Actions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter to the Mayor commending his joint statement and encouraged him to collaborate with our MPs and MPPs while advocating for an immigration program catered to Northern Ontario.

Library/Arts Gallery and Convention/Performing Arts Centre

Background: The City of Greater Sudbury has progressed on the development of a new Library/Art Gallery and the Greater Sudbury Convention and Performing Arts Centre. These projects have the potential to improve the economic landscape of the city.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce is encouraged by the continued progress to the completion of this important project.

Actions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Mayor Brian Bigger and City Council commending them on the progress of these projects to date, and the speed transparency of Council’s decisions on the project.

Noront Ferrochrome Smelter

Background: Noront is considering proposals from Greater Sudbury, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie, and Thunder Bay for a proposed ferrochrome smelter and has stated that community support is one of the key deciding factors. The City of Greater Sudbury has proposed a brownfield site in Coniston. Residents in Coniston have expressed opposition to the proposal to locate a ferrochrome smelter in their community.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce supports the City of Greater Sudbury’s bid for Noront’s ferrochrome smelter and believes that it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win a bid to attract such an investment to Greater Sudbury.

Actions: On March 27, 2018, the Chair of the Board of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce Michael Macnamara wrote a letter to the editor articulating the chamber’s support for hosting Noront’s ferrochrome smelter in Greater Sudbury and highlighted the economic prosperity that could follow, such as an estimated 350 permanent jobs, 150 indirect jobs, and $1 billion in initial investment.

On March 28, 2018, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce sent Mayor Brian Bigger and City Council a letter urging them to engage in a proactive communication campaign to assuage the concerns of local residents and give Greater Sudbury the best possible chance to attract Noront’s investment.

Water/Wastewater Masterplan

Background: The City of Greater Sudbury is in the process of developing a Water/Wastewater Masterplan (WWMP) that will last for the next few decades. The WWMP is expected to cost over $1.3 billion.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce supports investment into a critical resource like the community’s water supply, but with such large projected costs and scope considers comprehensive consultations, fiscal responsibility, and transparency of paramount importance.

Actions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Mr. Akli Ben-Anteur at the City of Greater Sudbury encouraging him to engage in comprehensive consultations with the community, prioritize fiscal responsibility by way of developing a sound and transparent financial plan, and incorporate demand-side management strategies into the WWMP to reduce overall capital costs.

2017

Arena/Events Centre

Background: City Council made a decision on the location of the arena to be built; they voted to support the Kingsway location.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce endorsed the downtown location following the PwC report, but approves of Council’s decision because the events centre, wherever built, will be a boon to the local economy.

Actions: In a media release, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce congratulated City Council on selecting a site and encouraged them to expedite the project.

Art Gallery/Library

Background: The art gallery and the main branch of the library exist in buildings that no longer suit their purposes and which cannot be renovated to meet their needs at a reasonable cost. City Council has directed both organizations to produce proposals on sharing a new building.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce supports the development of these projects in a shared building as a way of mediating costs and potentially increasing users.

Actions: N/A.

Conference/Performing Arts Centre

Background: A proposed conference/performing arts centre has been in development since 2009 and has been on the city’s radar since the 1970s.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce continues to support the development of a conference/performing arts centre. The Chamber supports removing the name “Synergy Centre” from the project.

Actions: N/A.

Kelly Lake Rd. Construction

Background: The City of Greater Sudbury announced a closure on Kelly Lake Rd. for construction to be done on the roadway. The city failed to give adequate notice to the businesses located on the road, adversely affecting their ability to do business.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce urges the City of Greater Sudbury to development a communications strategy for all major capital projects.

Actions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter to CAO Ed Archer calling on the City to develop a communications strategy for all major capital projects.

Places des Arts

Background: Places des Arts is a municipal project in development for many years by ROCS – a partnership of 7 francophone cultural organizations. ROCS has proposed a new building in downtown Sudbury at the corner of Larch and Elgin, which will house administrative offices, a gallery, performance space for theatre and concerts, etc.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce supports the continued development of Places des Arts.

Actions: N/A.

PROVINCIAL ISSUES

2018

Cap and Trade

Background: The province’s cap and trade legislation came into effect January 1, 2017, placing a price on carbon emissions.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce recommends that the province:

  • prioritize reinvesting cap and trade revenues into businesses and industry;
  • implement industry revenue recycling;
  • implement community or regional revenue recycling;
  • and improve transparency by including cap and trade revenues as a specific line item in the 2018 budget and specifying which expenditures are funded by cap and trade.

Actions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Chris Ballard urging him to consider the concerns of the business community and adopt our recommendations.

Ontario Economic Report

Background: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce commissioned a survey of businesses in Greater Sudbury and Ontario.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, as informed by the results of the Business Confidence Survey, believes businesses in Greater Sudbury are concerned by the rising costs of doing business and finding qualified staff.

Actions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, developed the Ontario Economic Report, which was informed by the Business Confidence Survey.

Provincial Budget

Background: On March 28, 2018 the provincial government released its 2018 budget. The budget forecasted a deficit of $6.7 billion, with a projected return to fiscal balance by 2024-25.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce has concerns regarding the increased regulatory burden on employers vis-à-vis the changes to corporate taxation that will see Ontario businesses pay an additional $350 million in new taxes over the next three years. The chamber also expressed concern that cap and trade revenues are not being strategically allocated to help businesses develop the technology needed to meet Ontario’s emissions targets.

Actions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce released a media release outlining the business community’s concerns with the 2018 provincial budget.

Provincial Pre-Budget Submission

Background: The Government of Ontario solicited submissions to its pre-budget process.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce recommends that the Government of Ontario:

  • strategically reinvest cap and trade revenues;
  • ensure energy prices remain affordable and predictable;
  • offset the impact of Bill 148;
  • renew provincial commitments to the Ring of Fire;
  • improve broadband internet in Northern Ontario;
  • expedite the four-laning of Highway 69; and
  • improve the quality of labour market information in Ontario.

Actions: The chamber submitted a letter to the Minister of Finance and to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.

Vote Prosperity

Background: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), launched a major letter writing campaign urging businesses to encourage their provincial candidates in the Sudbury and Nickel Belt ridings to support the OCC’s election platform, Vote Prosperity.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce is calling on local candidates to read Vote Prosperity and engage with our local business community to ensure business priorities are heard. Vote Prosperity includes four pillars:

  • strengthen business competitiveness;
  • foster job creation;
  • build healthy communities; and
  • improve government accountability.

Actions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce will promote Vote Prosperity leading up to the 2018 provincial election. The full platform can be found here

The chamber launched Vote Prosperity in October 2017.

2017

Infrastructure Investment

Background: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce released a report entitled Building Better: Setting the 2017 Ontario Infrastructure Plan up for Success, which indicated that Ontario is facing a $19 billion infrastructure gap and Greater Sudbury is facing a $1.4 billion infrastructure shortfall. The provincial government is expected to release its Long-Term Infrastructure Plan (LTIP).

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce is calling on the government to adopt its recommendations outlined in the report including:

  • improved accountability and transparency;
  • consider Ontario’s harsh climate; and
  • ensure the LTIP is

Read the full report here.

Actions: The chamber issued a media release.

Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan

Background: In June 2017, the Ontario introduced Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, which will bring an increased minimum wage, new scheduling provisions, additional leave entitlements, and changes to union certification.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce is concerned that the government is enacting reforms without conducting an economic impact analysis of the proposed changes and is warning that these changes could have negative, unintended consequences.

Actions: The chamber collaborated with the OCC to raise awareness about the unintended consequences of Bill 148 and to advocate the government postpone and/or substantially revise Bill 148.

Provincial Pre-Budget Submission

Background: The Government of Ontario solicited submissions to its pre-budget process.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce recommends that the Government of Ontario:

  • reduce the cumulative regulatory burden;
  • ensure electricity rates are affordable;
  • invest in skills development;
  • invest in the Ring of Fire and the far north; and
  • invest in infrastructure and innovation.
Ring of Fire All-Season Road

Background: The provincial government announced approval of an all-season road connecting provincial highways to the Ring of Fire mining site. The road will connect the Nibinamik First Nation, Webequie, and the Ring of Fire to provincial roads at Pickle Lake. Environmental assessments for the road are expected to begin by January 2018 and construction is scheduled to begin in 2019, pending necessary approvals.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce welcomed the announcement of the all-season road to the Ring of Fire. The chamber has long advocated for the development of the Ring of Fire and a viable transportation corridor is essential to that development. The Ring of Fire is a $60 billion deposit and development could produce monumental change in Northern Ontario’s economy.

Actions: The chamber issues a media release congratulating the government on its progress.

Skilled Labour Shortage in Ontario

Background: Businesses across Ontario and especially in Northern Ontario consistently identify access to skilled labour as a top barrier to growth. This is especially true of employers who need to hire skilled tradespeople.

Position: The shortage of skilled tradespeople in Northern Ontario presents a significant barrier to growth and must be addressed for Northern Ontario to reach its economic potential.

Actions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter to Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development Deborah Matthews urging her to develop a more flexible apprenticeship regime that would allow employers in rural and northern communities to hire more apprentices and provide them with the training to progress with their career.

In July 2017, the chamber co-released Talent in Transition, which outlined strategies to address access to qualified labour. Read the report here.

In April 2017, the chamber sent a letter to Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development Deborah Matthews urging her to prioritize reducing the gap between graduation and labour markets and urging her to adopt the CCC’s resolution.

Skilled Labour Shortage in Ontario

Background: Businesses across Ontario and especially in Northern Ontario consistently identify access to skilled labour as a top barrier to growth. This is especially true of employers who need to hire skilled tradespeople.

Position: The shortage of skilled tradespeople in Northern Ontario presents a significant barrier to growth and must be addressed for Northern Ontario to reach its economic potential.

Actions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter to Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development Deborah Matthews urging her to develop a more flexible apprenticeship regime that would allow employers in rural and northern communities to hire more apprentices and provide them with the training to progress with their career.

In July 2017, the chamber co-released Talent in Transition, which outlined strategies to address access to qualified labour. Read the report here.

In April 2017, the chamber sent a letter to Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development Deborah Matthews urging her to prioritize reducing the gap between graduation and labour markets and urging her to adopt the CCC’s resolution.

NATIONAL ISSUES

2018

10 Ways to Build a Canada that Wins

Background: A strong and prosperous Northern Ontario depends on business growth, but businesses are grappling with daunting challenges. Every year the Canadian Chamber Network publishes a list of clear priorities and objectives that, if addressed, will give Northern Ontario and the rest of Canada a competitive edge.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce is calling on all levels of government to prioritize key strategies to enable Canadian businesses to grow.

Actions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, released a report, entitled 10 Ways to Build a Canada that Wins, with 10 recommendations that, if implemented by Canadian governments, will provide Canada with a competitive edge.

Corporate Tax Reforms

Background: In July 2017, the federal government released a discussion paper outlining proposals for corporate tax reform. Since that time, the government has made revisions to those proposals. The revisions announced included a renewed commitment to reduce the small business tax rate to 9 percent, cancelation of new measures to limit access to the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption, clarity on restrictions on income splitting, and introducing a minimum threshold for additional taxation of corporate investment income.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce is encouraged by the revisions but concerns remain. The chamber is calling for a comprehensive review of the tax code through a royal commission.

Actions: The chamber sent a letter to the Minister of Finance Bill Morneau in February 2018.

The chamber held roundtables with MPs Lefebvre and Serré in September 2017 and January 2018.

The chamber sent a letter of Minister of Finance Bill Morneau outlining its concerns in September 2018. Read the letter here.

Federal Budget

Background: On February 27, 2018 the federal government released Budget 2018. The budget forecasted a deficit of $18 billion in the coming fiscal year.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the government’s inability to reign in its spending. It is also encouraged by meaningful attempts to reduce the cost of operations for businesses by reducing the small business tax to 9 percent by 2019.

Actions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce released a media release outlining the business community’s concerns with the Budget 2018.

Regulatory Burden

Background: Canada’s regulatory system is growing increasingly complex and proving a hinderance to business operations. The United States has recently implemented significant corporate tax and regulatory reforms, leaving Canada at a disadvantage and the country cannot afford to fall further behind.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce is calling on all levels of government in Canada to engage in a proactive modernization effort of their regulatory frameworks and give businesses in Canada room to thrive.

Actions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, released a report entitled, Death by 130,000 Cuts: Improving Canada’s Regulatory Competitiveness calling on Canadian governments to improve their regulatory frameworks. The chamber will continue advocating on this issue leading up to the 2019 federal election.

Transport Canada Changes to Flight Crew Member Work and Rest Periods

Background: Transport Canada is proposing to amend the Canadian Aviation Regulations in relation to Flight Crew Member Hours of Work and Rest Periods. These changes and the potential negative impact these proposals will have on air service across Northern Ontario.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce believes that the proposed changes will negatively impact flight service and availability across Norther Ontario and recommends that Transport Canada postpone their implementation.

Actions: On March 28, 2018, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Minister of Transport March Garneau in response to his reply to the chamber’s previous letter.

The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Minister of Transport Marc Garneau urging him to reconsider these proposals.

2017

CEMI CLEER Innovation Supercluster

Background: The federal government is considering identifying superclusters of industry with subsequent funding to help grow these superclusters.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce supports the CEMI CLEER Innovation Supercluster application.

Actions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Minister for Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Navdeep Bains supporting the CEMI CLEER Innovation Supercluster application.

Emissions of Sulphur Dioxide and Other Items

Background: The federal government announced amendments to air emissions of sulfur dioxide in an effort to limit exposure to substances that can cause adverse impacts on both human health and the environment.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce recommends the provincial government choose an alternative approach in order to avoid negative impacts on Northern Ontario’s economy.

Actions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter to Ms. Lubna Hussain of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.

Environmental Assessments

Background: The federal government issued a discussion paper on potential changes to the environmental and regulatory review process for major projects in the country.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce recommends that five items be included in any legislation affecting environmental assessments:

  • evaluating projects based on their net impact rather than cumulative effects;
  • providing greater support for indigenous participation;
  • providing greater clarity to industry on the duty to consult;
  • maintaining ministerial discretion; and
  • moving toward a “one project-one assessment” system.

Actions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter to Minister of Natural Resource Jim Carr detailing our priorities regarding any changes to the environmental review process.

Infrastructure Investment

Background: Businesses in rural and northern Canada will be unable to reach their full potential without investments in physical and digital infrastructure.

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce is calling on the federal government to support continued investments in physical and digital infrastructure.

Actions: The chamber co-released Positioning Canada to Excel in the Information Age.

Tax Reform – Employer Sponsored Health Benefits

Background: The government has identified health and dental benefit packages as a possible source for additional tax revenues

Position: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce does not support the proposed changes. Introducing a tax on benefit plans is likely to discourage employers from providing those benefits to employees

Actions: The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Mr. Marc Serré MP Nickel Belt, Mr. Paul Lefebvre MP Sudbury, and Minister of Finance Bill Morneau in January 2017.

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