Provincial Pre-Budget Submission
Focus spring legislative session on strategic infrastructure and lowering business costs to foster confidence: Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce
TORONTO, ON, February 16th, 2016: Today, the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of commerce (OCC), formally released its 2017 pre-budget submission containing recommendations to the Ontario legislature as it looks to begin its spring 2017 legislative session. The submission outlines four key budget priorities and 13 specific recommendations for Queen’s Park to adopt in order to restore fiscal balance and spur economic growth. Specifically, the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce is looking for immediate support for increased broadband infrastructure and for government to demonstrate fiscal prudence and sound budget management.
With more government services going digital, it is critical that citizens from all corners of the province have access to ultra-high-speed Internet. For years, a lack of access to broadband has been compromising Ontarians abilities to connect with essential government services, and has been crippling businesses’ capacity to compete in the technology driven economy. As cited in the submission, Government must “bridge the broadband gap” by considering this type of technology as a fundamental piece of infrastructure and address the inadequacy of ultra high-speed Internet in Ontario communities.
“The OCC, in partnership with our diverse Chamber Network, will continue to work with the provincial government to ensure that Ontario prioritizes reducing obstacles to business competitiveness,” said Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of the OCC. “By taking more authoritative action on this issue, we can ensure that Ontario remains an attractive environment for capital investment.”
In the submission, Ontario’s Chamber Network is also calling on the government to send a clear message of fiscal stability by balancing the provincial budget by 2017-2018. Such action would result in a more attractive environment for business investment and growth as well as confront the challenge of mounting input costs, such as electricity prices. As signalled last week in the OCC’s Ontario Economic Report, businesses are maintaining their operations and holding onto cash rather than expanding production or investing. This indicates that industry sees the Ontario economy as high-risk.
“The Government of Ontario must ensure that it addresses recommendations made by the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce in their provincial budget in order to support economic growth for Ontario businesses,” said Autumn Smith, Manager of the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce. “Government must focus on reducing the costs of doing business in Ontario, supporting strategic infrastructure development and strengthening its efforts to bolster business competitiveness that allows Haliburton County to thrive.”
Addressing the current fiscal context and achieving a balanced budget is an underlying theme throughout the pre-budget submission. Ontario’s Chamber Network is committed to working with the Ontario Government to ensure the future economic success of the province. The submission is largely comprised of policy recommendations that are supported by resolutions passed by Ontario’s Chamber Network at the OCC’s most recent Annual General Meeting.