October 20, 2015 — The Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce (GOCC) congratulates our newly elected and returning MP’s in Durham Region on their election, and looks forward to working with them on key regional issues such as advancing the Pickering Airport, transportation and infrastructure and jobs for Durham residents.
Bob Malcolmson, CEO and General Manager of the GOCC said, “I want to applaud local Members of Parliament Dr. Colin Carrie, Oshawa and Erin O’Toole, Durham on being re-elected and welcome and congratulate newly elected MP’s Celina Caesar-Chavannes, Whitby; Mark Holland, Ajax and Jennifer O’Connell, Pickering-Uxbridge. The Chamber and the businesses we represent look forward to working with all of you to put in place a context wherein local businesses can thrive and grow.”
The Chamber also extends its congratulations to Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau and the Liberal team on winning a majority government. Having a stable majority government will permit the Liberal team to put in place a strong plan to promote Canada’s competitiveness. During the campaign, the Liberals set out their vision for our economy. Their plan to invest in new infrastructure, done strategically, will be positive for Canada’s economy. New transportation infrastructure will increase access to markets for Canadian businesses of all sizes.
The GOCC had been very active during the campaign to position the priorities of our local business community. Issues such as Nuclear re-build, Pickering Airport, infrastructure, transportation, jobs and CPP vs ORPP, all are very important to our community.
Many of the positions in the Liberal programs align with our local priorities. Mr. Trudeau’s plan on: Working with provinces, territories and post-secondary institutions to develop or expand Pre-Apprenticeship Training Programs, by investing $10 million per year; Infrastructure financing through private funds, Canada Infrastructure Bank and public deficits of up to $10 billion/year; Supporting the Keystone and Energy East pipeline projects; Supporting innovation, including investing $200 million per year over the next three years for innovation incubators, including an extra $100 million per year in Industrial Research Assistance Program funding which will be beneficial for the economic development of our community. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce will also continue to press the new government to avoid a return to structural deficits, but are confident the Chamber can use the resolutions adopted during the Canadian Chamber’s Annual General Meeting in October to find common ground that will help grow the economy.
However, there are areas of concern for business in the Liberal Party’s stance on Canada Pension Plan Enhancements, Employment Insurance and Climate Change. The CPP is a mandatory payroll tax. Higher payroll taxes increase the costs of hiring, and companies with fixed budgets for wages may be forced to reduce staffing levels or reconsider hiring new employees. This is why the Canadian Chamber’s position has been that any enhancements to the CPP should be voluntary and funded by employee premiums only. The federal government could improve the CPP by allowing employees to make additional contributions of nearly 2% (6.5%) more than the current maximum contribution (4.95% of allowable earnings).
EI is another payroll tax. Employers already pay 60% of premiums, and the Chamber is disappointed the Liberals are proposing to reduce premiums to $1.65/$100 insurable earnings in 2017 rather than $1.49 as promised by the Conservatives, down from the original $1.88.
The Liberal’s plan to be active on climate change and put a price on carbon pollution that allows provinces to design their own carbon pricing policies lacks details and will need to be implemented in a manner that ensures business competitiveness. The government must work with the provinces and territories to adopt carbon pricing mechanisms. As well, the Liberal Party’s focus on clean technology ignores many other important sectors with significant potential, such as biotechnology, agriculture, automotive and aerospace and investments in digital infrastructure and technologies are absent from the platform.
Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Hon. Perrin Beatty concurred, “When I looked across the room at our AGM in October, I saw hundreds of Chambers like the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, collectively representing over 200,000 businesses, all working together to make our economy stronger. The will to work together with other Chambers across Canada is strong. We all welcome the prospect of working with the government on building a stronger, more competitive Canada; a Canada that wins.”