MEDIA RELEASE - Back to Balance In Sight, But Business Community Must Continue to be Part of the Solution: Sault Chamber
‘Back to Balance’ In Sight, But Business Community
Must Continue to be Part of the Solution: Sault Chamber
Service Transformation Should be Key Part of Deficit Reduction Strategy
Support for SME Transition to Cap and Trade Appropriate, Approach Must be Extended to ORPP
For Immediate Release
February 26, 2016
Sault Ste. Marie – The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC) is commending the government for addressing business concerns’ with the cap and trade system, and is calling on government to take the same approach as it moves forward with the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP). As the province moves closer to fiscal balance by 2017-18, the SSMCOC worries that without true service delivery transformation, the government will be unable to meet its deficit elimination target.
“We are encouraged by the approach government has taken to the implementation of the cap and trade system,” said Monica Dale, SSMCOC President. “We’re also encouraged by the government’s commitment to ensure the proceeds from the new cap and trade system are not subsumed under general revenues. As this policy is implemented, government must ensure that SMEs are not adversely effected.”
In its 2015 report on cap and trade, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce had called on government to invest cap and trade proceeds in a way that helps businesses in the transition to a lower-carbon economy. The OCC notes, however, that the employer community is eager to help shape how the $1.9 billion in proceeds are spent.
“Government needs to work with the business community to shape how the funds in the Greenhouse Gas Reductions Account are allocated,” said Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “This collaborative approach, working with the business community to transition into this new policy, is the same approach we have called on the government to take with the ORPP. On that front, more needs to be done to ensure that there are no short to medium term negative impacts on GDP and consumer spending.”
Regarding deficit reduction, the SSMCOC notes that despite prior pledges to do so, the government has not engaged in wholesale reform of any major programs or services over the past two years. The OCC is concerned that the government will not achieve its deficit reduction targets unless they work with the private sector to identify areas where an injection of private sector capital and expertise can improve service quality and/or lower service provision costs.
"Overall, the budget outlines a number of initiatives to stimulate business, advance the green economy, support education and assist those less fortunate, but it does little to address the Province’s increasing debt load and subsidizes its spending by increasing tax revenue and reducing tax credits across a number of spectrums,” said Rory Ring, Executive Director of the SSMCOC. “Overall, the cost of living and doing business in Ontario is on the rise and this concerns our members."