Rapid Policy Update: 2017 Fall Economic Statement
Yesterday, the Government of Ontario released its 2017 Fall Economic Statement, which provides an update on the government’s finances and progress on key commitments since the release of the 2017 Budget. The government is continuing to project a balanced budget in 2017–18 and ongoing balance in 2018–19 and 2019–20, unchanged from the 2017 Budget forecast. The province also boasts a steadily declining unemployment rate which reached 5.9 percent in October 2017, and has been below the national average for 31 consecutive months.
The fall statement forecasts real GDP growth of 2.8 percent in 2017, up from 2.3 percent in the 2017 Budget. Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP peaked in 2014–15 at 39.3 percent, however it is projected to be 37.3 percent in 2017–18, lower than the 37.5 percent forecast in the 2017 Budget.
The government also made announcements related to Strengthening Ontario’s Small Businesses, Encouraging Youth Employment and Modernizing Apprenticeships for Small Businesses.
What does this mean for business?
Strengthening Ontario’s Small Businesses
The Province is announcing more than $500 million in new initiatives, over three years, for small business. Most notably the province is proposing a 1 percent cut in the small business Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate from 4.5 percent to 3.5 percent. The Fall Economic Statement also includes enhanced financial support for small and medium]sized fruit and vegetable farming businesses and investments to enhance the vibrancy of communities and main streets.
OCC Response: As part of the OCC’s Bill 148 advocacy work, the OCC has consistently urged the government to provide a comprehensive package of offsets, which includes a reduction in the small business tax rate. These measures will help to provide small businesses compensation for their limited access to capital financing, and the pressures placed on their revenue streams from Bill 148’s increased labour costs.
Encouraging Youth Employment
Ontario will provide $124 million over three years in supports for youth ages 15 to 29 years, working with Employment Service and Youth Job Connection to support employer hiring and retention beginning January 1, 2018. Through Ontario’s Employment Service program, a small employer with fewer than 100 employees would receive a $1,000 incentive for hiring a young worker and a $1,000 for retaining that worker for six months. Additionally, if workers are hired through Youth Job Connection, a separate program that recruits youth facing employment barriers, employers would receive retention payments of $1,000 after three months, with a further $1,000 payable after six months for each worker.
OCC Response: In partnership with Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA) the OCC conducted an independent economic analysis modelling the impacts of Bill 148,. Evidence suggests that a 10% increase in the Ontario minimum wage could decrease youth employment by 2% to 6 % over time. Considering this challenge, funding for small business to link youth with the labour market is a step in the right direction.
Modernizing Apprenticeships for Small Businesses
The Province is proposing adding five service]sector trades to the eligibility list for the new Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers: Hairstylist, Cook, Horticultural Technician, Baker/Patissier, and Appliance Service Technician. Additionally, the government is proposing supporting multiple employers to pool together and form consortia to hire, register and train their apprentices for skilled trades.
OCC Response: In our report Talent-in-Transition, the OCC recommended that the government collaborate with business and education stakeholders to increase employers’ awareness of the consortium model. By allowing for multiple employers to join and form hiring consortium, apprentices will see an enhanced system flexibility while improving support for the development of a workforce that is responsive to Ontario’s local labour market needs.
Send a message to Queen’s Park!
The Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber Network are looking for members to help shape our advocacy by completing the Business Confidence Survey.
Members can share their insights on the state of the Ontario economy, recent government policy, and the impact on business by taking the five-minute survey here: occ.ca/surveys
The Ontario Chamber Network is committed to ensuring government understands the issues impacting Ontario business in this province. That’s why we need your help in ensuring the voice of business is heard loud and clear at Queen’s Park.
Follow this link, and in five minutes let the government know what’s important to you.
Webinar:Thursday Nov 2/17 - Bill 148 Ontario's New Labour Laws - Who will be effected and how to prepare
Steering Through Change: A Handbook to Help Ontario Businesses Understand and Manage Bill 148
The Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce , alongside the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and management-consulting firm, MNP, have released a comprehensive handbook (Steering Through Change) to help Ontario businesses navigate the new costs and regulations associated with Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act. The handbook provides a summary of the incoming changes, outlines the potential risks to business, and identifies strategies to help mitigate the impact.
From substantial increases to the minimum wage, new scheduling provisions, reforms to the collective bargaining process and dozens of other changes, Bill 148 will present many challenges for employers.
The handbook includes important insights into the legislation and offers practical solutions and strategies to support businesses through the initial changes. As the implementation dates draw closer, employers will be able to turn to this handbook to understand the legislation and navigate change.
MNP and the OCC will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, November 2 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. to discuss the handbook and go into further detail about the full slate of changes Bill 148 will implement. Join the webinar to learn more, click here to register!
The handbook provides a better understanding of how to manage and plan for Bill 148, should the legislation pass. However, there is still an opportunity to provide feedback on Bill 148 before it comes to a final vote. To date, the bill has passed the second reading and has now been referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. Business owners are strongly encouraged to send requests to deputize in front of the committee and send written submissions to the Standing Committee including your thoughts and concerns regarding Bill 148.
You can e-mail your submission to the following address:
Eric Rennie, Clerk,
Helping Businesses Mitigate the Impact of Bill 148
MNP and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce release handbook for Ontario’s Business Community
Brockville, Ont., Oct 23/2017 – The Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce, alongside the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and MNP, Canada’s leading accounting firm, have released a comprehensive handbook for Ontario’s business community that provides strategies to help businesses navigate the incoming changes from Bill 148 (Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act). The handbook outlines the potential risks to employers from the incoming legislation and offers human resources and operational strategies to help businesses better understand what these changes will mean.
“There is no question that Bill 148 has the potential to add challenges and new costs for our local businesses here in Brockville,” said Pamela Robertson, Executive Director. “We believe this handbook will provide some help to our members when navigating through these significant changes. That said, Bill 148 is going to have serious unintended consequences and the government must also provide support to help businesses transition. We need to know that relief is coming.”
Bill 148 will bring in a number of reforms to Ontario’s current labour and employment standards laws, most notably instituting a $15 minimum wage by January 2019, representing a 32% increase. The handbook outlines the impacts businesses are likely to see from the numerous changes and identifies that small businesses are most likely to face four main issues:
Profitability: businesses may not be able to keep up a sustainable profit margin;
Staffing levels: businesses may not have the capacity to maintain current staffing;
Competition: to keep their doors open, businesses will be forces to raise prices; and
Taxation: with higher wages comes higher payroll taxes and contributions to EI and CPP.
The handbook also includes information on how to adapt to the changing workplaces, and outlines best practices for refining and changing process in the workplace. See the full handbook here, Steering Through Change, A Handbook to Help Ontario Businesses Understand and Manage Bill 148.
Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Chamber
welcome revised tax reforms and lower small business tax rate but remain
Brockville, Ontario , October 16, 2017 — The Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce welcome the government’s plans to revise its proposed tax reforms and to reduce the small business tax rate as a result of the comments and concerns expressed through the national #ProtectGrowth campaign and in consultations.
As Canadians celebrate Small Business Week, Chamber representatives congratulate the thousands of businesspeople who joined the mobilization and made their voices heard on this important issue affecting Canadian workers and employers.
The Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce also noted the Minister’s call for further input from Canadian businesses, and intends to continue providing a voice to ensure the tax system is simpler and less of a burden on Canada’s competitiveness.
“It is always more productive when government and business work together. We can only hope the government will listen as we provide advice on those areas where more remains to be done, and that they will propose concrete data to back up their claims. The Canadian Chamber will be working with the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce and other chambers across the country for suggestions on reforms that can improve the competitiveness of Canada’s tax system. Lowering the small business tax rate is one such measure, but there is still much room for improvement,” Mr. Beatty said. “We must ensure that Canada, and with it Brockville, remain attractive places to do business. Although there is a great deal of work to be done, today’s announcement is a positive first step, but we expect more and we will be vigilant on the next steps,” he concluded.
The Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce represents more than 400 members and has been the community's business advocate since 1906. Our mission is through proactive leadership in advocacy and networking; we support and grow business to build a strong economic community.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. News and information are available at Chamber.ca or follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.
Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce
Guillaum W. Dubreuil
Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations
Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Are you a business owner?Please make time for this important consultation. This is your opportunity to have a voice in changes to this tax legislation.
Are you a business owner?
If your business is incorporated, then you could be facing a larger tax bill and big compliance costs from the government’s new proposals to change the way corporations are taxed.
Here are three things you need to know about the tax changes proposed by the federal government:
1. Do you employ family members? The government wants to scrutinize their compensation to apply a much higher tax rate on income they consider “unreasonable”.
2. Do you invest the profits from your business? The federal government is proposing to tax that income at an effective rate of 70%.
3. Do you want to pass your business on to your children? Tough new rules make it difficult for younger kids to get the capital gains exemption. They could be double-taxed.
Please make time for this important consultation. This is your opportunity to have a voice in changes to this tax legislation.
Looking forward to seeing you there at 5:30 pm on Thursday.
President, Brockville and Area Chamber of Commerce
MP Gord Brown To Host Consultation on Finance Proposals for Small Business on Sept 14 @ 5:30pm - 1000 Islands Mall (Community Room)
Gord Brown, MP
Leeds-Grenville – Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes
2399 Parkedale Ave, Unit 120, Brockville, ON K6V 3G9
Tel: 613-498-3096 Fax: 613-498-3100
House of Commons
501 Justice Building, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Tel: 613-992-8756 Fax: 613-996-9171
Media Release: For immediate release
Gord Brown to host consultation on
finance proposals for small business
Brockville – Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville – Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, today announced that he will host a meeting on Thursday, September 14 to hear from constituents about the small business tax changes proposed by the current government. It will take place at the 1000 Islands Mall Community Room from 5:30 pm to 7 pm.
Joining Brown will be The Honourable Pierre Poilievre, MP for Carlton and Opposition Finance Critic.
On July 18, the Minister of Finance announced his intention to eliminate certain tax measures that allow Canadians to avoid higher taxes.
The proposed measures include the ending the practice of business owners “sprinkling” their total income among family members in lower tax brackets who don’t directly work for the company, taxpayers using private corporations as a substitute for a regular savings account, and taxpayers converting a private corporation’s regular income into capital gains.
“Since these proposals were announced I have been receiving feedback from all across the riding,” explains Brown. “Many small business owners including family doctors and other professionals that we rely on every day have contacted me to express concerns about their ability to maintain their offices and businesses under the proposed rules.”
He notes that these business owners don’t have many of the tax benefits of other Canadians and these measures allow them to save for retirement, rainy days, and to have the capital to grow their businesses.
“I support policies that reduce the tax burden for small and medium sized businesses, reduce red tape, and allow entrepreneurs to create jobs,” comments Brown.
The current government’s tax hikes (higher small business tax rates, increased payroll taxes and a new carbon tax) are making it more difficult for entrepreneurs to maintain and grow their businesses, he notes.
As well, small businesses are being crushed by substantial increases in operating costs due to higher electricity and service rates. And soon, they will also face wage hikes.
The government has announced a 75-day consultation period on its proposals that ends October 2.
“The Official Opposition is participating in that consultation and I want to gather information from business owners in Leeds-Grenville,” Brown explains.
Participants at the consultation can attend for the entire evening or come and go as they please. Pre-registration is not required.
To review the tax proposals visit: http://www.fin.gc.ca/activty/consult/tppc-pfsp-eng.asp
185,000 Ontario Jobs at Risk from Bill 148: Independent Economic Impact Analysis
Bill 148 will increase the cost of consumer goods and services by $1,300 per household starting in 2018, according to new analysis by leading economics firm
TORONTO, Monday, August 14 - Today the Keep Ontario Working Coalition (KOW), in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce released the first and only independent economic impact analysis of Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act. Conducted by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), the study revealed that if the legislation is implemented as currently drafted, there will be significant, sudden and sizable uncertainty for Ontario jobs, economy and communities.
The study concludes that these vast, unprecedented reforms will put about 185,000 jobs at risk in the first two years, greatly impacting Ontario’s most vulnerable workers.
“The changes presented in Bill 148 will have dramatic unintended consequences that include putting close to two hundred thousand jobs at risk, and seeing everyday consumer goods and services increase by thousands of dollars for each family in Ontario,” said Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and spokesperson for the Keep Ontario Working Coalition. “We’ve run the numbers and it’s clear that this is too much, too soon. If the Ontario government chooses to proceed with these sweeping reforms too quickly, all of us will be affected, and the most vulnerable in our society chief among them.”
CANCEA was commissioned by the KOW coalition to measure the potential impacts of six key areas of change in Bill 148, including changes to minimum wages, “equal pay” provisions, vacation, scheduling, personal emergency leave (PEL) and unionization.
Data from the economic impact analysis shows:
· $23 billion hit to business over the next two years alone
· 185,000 Ontario jobs will be at immediate risk over the next two years
o 30,000 of the jobs at risk are youth under 25
o 96,000 employees at risk are expected to be women
· 50 per cent increase to inflation for this year and the foreseeable future. The cost of everyday consumer goods and services will go up by $1,300 per household on average each and every year
· The Ontario government would need to borrow $440 million more to cover the increases in new costs from this legislation. If the government were to provide offsets to businesses, as they have indicated, the province’s treasury will take a bigger hit
· Municipalities will be forced to increase employee wages by $500 million without additional offsetting revenues
“Simple accounting reveals that the Act creates a $23 billion challenge for Ontario businesses over two years. Annualized, this is 21 per cent of what Ontario businesses invest in capital,” Paul Smetanin, President, CANCEA. “Given the significant, sudden and sizable changes it would be remiss to expect that unintended consequences would not follow.”
In the coming weeks and months, the KOW coalition will release additional components to the economic impact analysis.
“Given the scale of impact and pace of change, it will be impossible for the provincial government to make businesses, even small businesses, whole through offsets,” added Baldauf. “With amendments to the first reading of Bill 148 due this Wednesday, the legislation will need to see serious change including an adjusted timeline for implementation.”
Since Bill 148 was introduced in June, the KOW coalition has called on the government to conduct an economic impact analysis to fully understand how the legislation will change Ontario’s economy. With the government unwilling to do so, the report released today represents the first and only independent economic impact analysis of this legislation.
For more details on the economic analysis, click visit keepontarioworking.ca
About the Keep Ontario Working Coalition:
The Keep Ontario Working Coalition (KOW) is a broad-spectrum group of business sector representatives concerned with sound public policy to help produce jobs and grow Ontario. For more information please visit www.keepontarioworking.ca.
Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS)
Canadian Franchise Association (CFA)
Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers
Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC)
Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO)
National Association of Canada Consulting Businesses (NACCB Canada)
Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA)
Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC)
Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA)
Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA)
Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA)
Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA)
Retail Council of Canada (RCC)
Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)
CANCEA is a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary research organization that is dedicated to objective, independent and evidence based analysis. They have a long history of providing holistic and collaborative understanding of the short- and long-term risks and returns behind policy decisions and prosperity. For more, go to cancea.ca.
For media inquiries please contact:
Jessica Georgakopoulos, Director of Communications, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, O: 647-243-3556 or C: 416-994-7901, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sydney Stonier, Communications coordinator, Ontario Chamber of Commerce
O: 647-243-3561, email@example.com