(Toronto, April 11, 2019) – Today, Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released the following statement in response to the 2019 Ontario Budget, “Protecting What Matters Most.”
“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.
“We are pleased to see that the Government of Ontario heard this message, and is taking reasonable steps to build a stronger Ontario. Their balance of fiscal sustainability and critical investments in skills and infrastructure will promote long-term economic growth. The proposed investments in broadband infrastructure and skills development, especially, will create real value for Ontarians.
“Some key measures in Budget 2019 supported by the Ontario business community include:
- Skills and workforce development: With 75 percent of OCC members stating the ability to recruit and retain talent is a critical factor to their competitiveness, we have long called on the government to address the province’s skills mismatch. Modernizing Ontario’s apprenticeship system, reforming skills and employment training programs, and improving the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program are all critical steps to create the workforce of the future.
- Infrastructure: We are 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, we hope to see more details on the plan. We will continue to press the government to address the province’s infrastructure deficit.
- Competitive taxation: 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. We also continue to encourage the government to help small businesses scale-up by creating a variable small business tax rate.
“With the government already moving swiftly with a number of measures aimed at reducing red tape and growing the economy such as the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018, the Access to Natural Gas Act, 2018, and the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2019, today’s Budget will help to ensure Ontario businesses have as many opportunities as possible to compete on the global stage.”