(Barrie – March 16, 2023) – According to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s (OCC) Ontario Economic Report (OER), Ontario business confidence has dropped to a record low in 2023. Labour shortages, inflation, health care system vulnerabilities, and fears of a potential economic contraction are dampening confidence in the province’s economic outlook. To address these issues, the Barrie Chamber of Commerce and the OCC’s 2023 Provincial Budget Submission provides recommendations to foster an environment that supports long-term, sustainable economic growth.
“We would like to see measures in Ontario’s 2023 budget that support economic growth in the City of Barrie to create jobs, cut red tape, and bolster prosperity for businesses both large and small,” said Paul Markle, Barrie Chamber Executive Director. “Thank you to the Government of Ontario for continuing to collaborate with us on issues important to our members and we look forward to working with you to implement budget initiatives to support the growth of this region.”
OCC’s 2023 Provincial Budget Submission provides recommendations to the Government of Ontario under the following categories: Sustainable Growth, Complete Communities, and Modernization. Some key proposals include:
Fostering an inclusive workforce and addressing labour market challenges by supporting innovative training and education models, boosting immigration, making regional immigration pilots permanent, continuing to remove barriers to labour mobility and foreign credential recognition, and adopting supplier diversity programs to create opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses that support diversity and inclusion.
Strengthening health system capacity and resilience by continuing to tackle the health human resources crisis, combating growing rates of mental health and addictions challenges, supporting the aging population, and continuing to address the backlog of surgeries and routine immunizations, as well as deferred cancer treatments, diagnostics, and procedures.
Investing in growth-enabling infrastructure by continuing to accelerate broadband rollout across the province, building affordable housing and complete communities, expanding regional transportation connectivity, and investing in energy generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure to support long-term growth and resiliency.
Modernizing government services and regulations by building an integrated health data system, bolstering interprovincial trade, improving supply chain infrastructure and public sector procurement processes, and lowering administrative burdens on business.
“A sustainable and predictable path forward will help restore business confidence, attract investments, and make Ontario more competitive on the global stage,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, OCC. “With higher interest rates, governments should maintain fiscal prudence. However, as the province has locked in low long-term rates, the cost of servicing the province’s public debt should not grow significantly as a portion of the budget. Eliminating the debt need not take priority over growth-enabling investments.”
The recommendations outlined in the OCC’s budget submission were developed with businesses, associations, post-secondary institutions, and chambers of commerce and boards of trade from across the province.
For more information or to arrange an interview:
121 Commerce Park Drive, Unit A
Barrie, Ontario L4N 8X1
(O) 705 - 721 - 5000 ext. 5
About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is the indispensable partner of business and Canada’s largest, most influential provincial chamber. It is an independent, not-for-profit advocacy and member services organization representing a diverse network of 60,000 members. The OCC’s mission is to convene, align and advance the interests of its members through principled policy work, value-added business services and broad engagement to drive competitiveness and economic growth in the province.