Originally published in the March 2019 edition of eNews
By Alexandra Valcour
Happy Budget Season Everyone!
With Gary on his annual trip south I’m here to fill you in on all things Government Relations and advocacy related! There’s a lot to mention, so let’s get right to it:
As you will have seen – the Federal Budget was tabled on March 19. We sent out an email with a condensed breakdown of some of the major items. A copy of the full Budget can be seen here: Budget 2019
The Ontario Budget will be tabled on April 11; proceeded directly by our Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Post Budget Address with Finance Minister, the Hon. Vic Fedeli himself. Be sure to get your tickets to this timely event. Visit our Events page to sign up!
The Joint Chambers Transportation Summit is fast approaching – on April 5th we will convene with members of local government, expert panelists and business members from around our Region, to continue our discussion of Transportation and our needs. Together we will seek to gain some knowledge and perspective, and we will reiterate our questions and concerns.
In particular we are still working on Public Transportation issues – highways/ tolling/Go Train extensions. We are also keeping our fingers on the pulse of the Pickering and Oshawa airports. Our Government Relations (GR) Committee has learned that the Oshawa Airport is commencing an operations audit and new business plan this year; so there will certainly be more information forthcoming. We are also sending representatives from our Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce to the Toronto Region Board of Trade summit called GTA’s Next Economic Engine. The aim of this event is to discuss the growth and economic development of building the Pickering Airport. They have invited two of “North America’s foremost experts on this topic, Dr. Richard Florida and Dr. John Kasarda, for a discussion on the powerful potential of the GTA’s next economic engine.” Stay tuned for an update.
We also continue to seek information on the proposed amalgamation of the Oshawa and Hamilton Port Authorities. Our President, along with myself, met with key players (our Mayor, MPP, & MP) on the topic back in February. We as a Chamber wrote a letter to Minister Garneau in Ottawa. We copied all of our political representatives in the Durham Region. We also provided our letter to the Joint Chambers; we asked that they either use our letter or write their own in support of ours, and voice our concerns about the lack of transparency and rationale for this decision. The Federal government is still in the consultation period, and no questions are being answered. But no final decision has been made either – so we can continue to voice our concerns and try to get answers. Hopefully this topic will arise at our Summit and we will continue to manage that situation.
Our Joint Chambers are also meeting on March 22nd. While there will be presentations from Matt Anderson (CEO of Lakeridge Health) and a representative from Metrolinx; we will be finalizing our Transportation Summit agenda and content as well as preparing as a group for that event. We will also be discussing the Provincial Government’s proposed changes to local government structures.This would mean changes to our City and Regional Councils – there is a consultation period, which we are currently in for this, and we as a Chamber and Board of Trade group will discuss our position and action required moving forward.
As always we have a full schedule of events – please check out our website and sign up to join us!
Until we meet again …