LONG-TERM TRANSPORTATION PLAN FUNDAMENTAL TO
ONTARIO’S DIVERSE TRANSPORTATION NEEDS
Ontario Chamber Network releases key transportation recommendations to better
serve needs of businesses and residents
Cambridge, Ontario (December 6, 2018) – Today, the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released Moving Forward: Towards a Strategic Approach to Ontario’s Transportation Needs (Part I), a policy report calling on the Ontario Government to develop a Long-Term Transportation Plan. To address the current and future transportation needs of the province, the report highlights three areas of opportunity that will help improve the movement of goods and mobility of Ontarians.
In a recent OCC survey, 58 percent of Ontario businesses rated existing transportation infrastructure as fair or poor. With much of the existing infrastructure in Ontario built in the 1950s and 1960s and nearing the end of its useful life, the OCC recognizes that the costs of investment are high, and Ontario is far behind when it comes to building new and maintaining old infrastructure.
“Transportation is the backbone of our economy, affecting the movement of people and goods and the everyday lives of Ontarians and businesses,” Greg Durocher, President and CEO of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce. “Yet, congestion, limited transit connectivity, population growth, aging assets and unique regional needs has led to a significant gap between the actual and needed infrastructure in Ontario. This has led to real challenges faced by Ontario businesses every single day.”
The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and the OCC developed an initial thirteen strategic and pertinent transportation recommendations for a stronger Ontario within three critical areas. Although not an exhaustive review of all transportation modes and regional needs across the province, this approach will help to address the current and future transportation needs of the province with a focus on:
- Transit planning governance
- Moving people and goods by rail; and
- Autonomous vehicles.
The report points to short-and long-term opportunities, including CN Rail’s Milton Logistics Hub, the use of advanced signalling technology to increase capacity on subways, VIA Rail’s High Frequency Rail proposal, bringing two-way all-day GO Train service to the Innovation Corridor, developing ‘Union Station West’.
Ontario was also the first province in Canada to implement a pilot regulatory framework to allow for the testing of autonomous vehicles and driverless technology. The report calls attention to the readiness of the province for the reality of autonomous vehicles in the near future, recommending Ontario capitalize on its first-mover status in this space. The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and the OCC urge all levels of government to work together with industry to attract future investments, innovation, and jobs, as well as ensure Ontario is the first province to reap the benefits associated with this technology.
“50% of Ontario businesses view transportation infrastructure as critical to their competitiveness. The province needs a plan that is strategic, provides value for public dollars, optimizes existing assets, leverages the private sector and technology, and takes into account the unique needs of our province,” added Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the OCC. “Moving forward, we will continue to consult our members on the province’s vast and diverse transportation needs.”
The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and the OCC have been active on the transportation file for years, and will continue to provide thought leadership on other transportation modalities as part of its ongoing advocacy on the province’s transportation planning and priorities.
Read the report: Moving Forward: Towards a Strategic Approach to Ontario’s Transportation Needs (Part I).
FISCAL BALANCE AND STRATEGIC ACTION REQUIRED TO BUILD A STRONGER ONTARIO
Chamber urges provincial government to focus on spending smarter and evidence-based tax reforms to help businesses strive and grow in upcoming budget
Cambridge, January 15, 2019 – Today, the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) provided the Government of Ontario with thirteen tangible recommendations for the upcoming provincial budget to build a stronger Ontario and create a business climate which encourages growth. The submission calls on the government to prioritize small business tax reforms, strategic infrastructure investment, and value-based procurement in Budget 2019.
In an OCC survey last year, 48 percent of Ontario businesses indicated they were not confident about the province’s economic outlook and 61 percent of these cited high tax rates as a reason. As the province heads into a time of economic uncertainty coupled with the province’s staggering deficit, the submission calls on the government to focus on fiscally sustainable and long-term taxation priorities. Currently, business with an income of less than $500,000 are taxed at a flat rate. To create an environment which encourages small and medium business to successfully scale, the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and OCC recommend the government create a variable small business deduction in Budget 2019.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and the heart of communities in all regions of the province. Yet, cumulative red tape, U.S. tax reforms, economic uncertainty, and a system that discourage growth have led to a staggering scale-up challenge for businesses of all sizes across Ontario,” said Michelle Eaton, Vice President of Communications and Government Relations of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “We are encouraging the government to address these challenges, focusing on fiscal balance and smarter spending in the upcoming budget to help Ontarians today and into the future.”
The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and OCC are also urging the government to strategically spend in key areas that will help grow the economy and have the highest return on taxpayer dollars such as expanding broadband access and strengthening critical transportation infrastructure. The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and the OCC also recommend removing red tape for small and medium businesses to access procurement opportunities, leading to employment, economic growth, innovation, and cluster development.
“We applaud the government’s commitment to reduce the debt and deficit as well as cut red tape by 25 percent by 2022 in the 2018 Fall Economic Statement. Yet, more work must be done to build a stronger Ontario and create an environment which encourages growth,” said Greg Durocher, President and CEO of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce. “We look forward to working with the government to support evidence-based policies that drive growth and contribute to a stronger province for all.”
The pre-budget recommendations stem directly from the Ontario Chamber Network’s policy resolutions presented at the OCC’s Annual General Meeting. Read the full pre-budget submission here.
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