Advocacy Day at Queen’s Park: A Voice for Our Business Community

On February 27, two of your Oshawa Chamber team members (myself, plus our Policy & Advocacy Committee chair, Peter Bocking) had the privilege of attending the Ontario Chamber of Commerce‘s Advocacy Day at Queen’s Park. This significant event brought together Chambers, Boards of Trade, and business community members from around Ontario to engage in meaningful discussions on a range of critical topics, including Housing, Small Business Challenges, Education and Post-Secondary Institutions, Healthcare, and Infrastructure. Representing our community in such an influential forum was not only an honour but also a profound responsibility that we undertook with great enthusiasm and commitment.

A Day of Insightful Conversations

The day was structured around a series of meetings with ministry officials, providing an invaluable platform for direct dialogue and the exchange of ideas. These interactions offered us a rare opportunity to voice the concerns and aspirations of our local business community at the highest levels of provincial governance. The discussions were wide-ranging, touching on the current challenges and prospects of Ontario’s economic landscape.

Housing: Building Foundations for Growth

The housing discussions focused on the pressing need for affordable and attainable housing options to support our workforce and fuel economic growth. We emphasized the importance of innovative solutions to address the housing shortage and create sustainable communities.

Championing Small Businesses

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, yet they face numerous challenges that impede their growth. Our conversations highlighted the importance of creating a supportive ecosystem that fosters entrepreneurship, reduces regulatory burdens, and enhances access to financing.

Reimagining Education: From Primary to Post-Secondary

Our discussions on education spanned the full spectrum of learning, from primary and secondary education to post-secondary institutions, reflecting a comprehensive approach to preparing tomorrow’s workforce. For post-secondary education, the conversation delved into critical issues of funding and tuition, addressing the need for sustainable financial models that can both support the institutions and make higher education more accessible to students from all backgrounds. We emphasized the importance of balancing quality education with affordability, ensuring that financial barriers do not impede the aspirations of young Ontarians.

In the realm of primary and secondary education, we championed the early introduction of trades in the curriculum. Recognizing the vital role that skilled trades play in our economy, we discussed strategies for integrating hands-on, vocational training early in a student’s educational journey. This initiative aims to broaden career pathways for young people, spark interest in high-demand trade professions, and equip them with practical skills that are highly valued in the workforce.

 Healthcare: A Comprehensive Approach for a Healthy Society

Our healthcare discussions took a holistic view, acknowledging the critical importance of a robust system not only for physical health but also for mental health and addiction services. We explored the urgent need for enhanced mental health support and comprehensive addiction services, recognizing these areas as essential components of a healthy, productive society. The conversation highlighted the necessity of integrating mental health care and addiction services into the broader healthcare framework, ensuring that individuals have access to the resources and support they need.

Infrastructure: The Pathway to Prosperity

Our discussions on infrastructure highlighted its critical role in economic development and the need for strategic investments to build resilient and efficient transportation, energy, and digital networks. Such infrastructure is essential for connecting communities, facilitating trade, and attracting investment.

A Unified Voice for Progress

Participating in Advocacy Day at Queen’s Park was a testament to the strength of collective action and the importance of public-private partnerships in shaping a prosperous future for Ontario. It was a day of fruitful discussions, shared insights, and strengthened resolve to advocate for policies that support the growth and well-being of our business community and the province at large.

The Oshawa Chamber team left Queen’s Park inspired by the conversations we had and the connections we made. The experience reinforced our commitment to being proactive advocates for our community, working tirelessly to ensure that the interests of businesses and their employees are represented at all levels of government.

As we reflect on the day’s events, we are filled with a sense of purpose and optimism for the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to have represented our community at such a pivotal event and look forward to continuing our advocacy efforts, armed with the insights and relationships forged at Queen’s Park.

Together, we can build a brighter, more prosperous future for the Greater Oshawa area and for Ontario.

Picture of Isabelle Foley

Isabelle Foley

As Director of Member Success I strive to help members connect and get the most out of their chamber membership. I am an advocate for local businesses and passionate about spotlighting our community's success. Join the growth!

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