City Manager Chris Murray spoke to members of the Chamber and their guests yesterday morning at the Waterfront Banquet Centre. The room was completely sold out. You can hear Mr. Murray's comments by clicking here (redirects to renewhamilton.ca).
New report provides straightforward analysis of Ontario's fiscal situation
Hamilton, October 29th, 2014: Ontarians should be very concerned about the province’s fiscal situation, according to a new report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.
The report, “How Bad Is It? What Do We Do About It?” provides a straightforward account of Ontario’s current fiscal situation. It finds that while Ontario's fiscal situation is better than that of many other countries facing fiscal problems, the province is likely to reach a state of crisis unless it cuts spending and changes the ways it does business.
The report finds that Ontario’s history of spending is unsustainable. In only seven of the past 25 years has the government balanced its books or achieved a surplus. As a result, the province has been digging itself deeper and deeper into the red. By 2016-17, interest payments to service the provincial debt are projected to consume ten cents of every dollar the government spends.
A sustained state of poor fiscal health can hurt business confidence and makes the province a less attractive place to invest. According to a recent Ontario Chamber of Commerce survey, 93 percent of businesses in the province believe that eliminating the deficit should be a top priority for government.
"The future of Hamilton and Ontario’s economy is heavily contingent upon the decisions the current government has to undertake to manage debt and spiraling interest payments.” says Keanin Loomis, President & CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. "These economic challenges are exacerbated by an aging population, declining labour productivity and infrastructure deficit that will become even more difficult to deal with”.
The report also offers six approaches (e.g.: Alternate Service Delivery and Asset Recycling) that the government can take to reduce its spending and move along a more fiscally sustainable path.
“By adopting models of success from other jurisdictions, we can move the province toward fiscal sustainability, while preserving valuable government programs and services,” adds Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
“While the business community is concerned with Ontario’s debt levels, we are still supportive of the business case for investing in public infrastructure proposals like the Big Move as an example of productive debt” added Loomis. “The Conference board of Canada and Metrolinx have projected significant economic returns over investment for these projects to our provincial GDP and productivity”.
Read the full report here.
Download Debt Report - Hamilton in PDF format here.
• Over the previous fiscal year, the Government of Ontario spent $10.5 billion more than it collected in revenue. This will increase to $12.5 billion in 2014-15. To attain its deficit-elimination goal of 2017-18, the government must reduce the deficit by over $4 billion per year for the next three years.
• For 18 of the past 25 years, governments in Ontario have run a budget deficit.
• Ontario's net debt in 2013-14 was $267.2 billion. The cost of servicing this debt was $10.6 billion, or $29 million per day.
- 30 -
For more information, contact:
Huzaifa Saeed Policy & Research Analyst, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce
T: 905-522-1151 ext: 230 C: 905-220-3030
Hamilton, ON, October 08, 2014: The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is concerned that Ontario’s proposed pension plan will negatively impact economic competitiveness and job creation in Hamilton. The Chamber is joining a coalition of over 50 chambers of commerce and boards of trade from across the province in voicing its concern to the Government of Ontario.
The Government of Ontario is planning to move ahead with its plans to implement a new pension scheme for the province. The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP), which aims to supplement the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), will require employers to match employee pension contributions, increasing their cost of doing business. For example, in the case of a business that employs 10 people with an average salary of $45,000, the employer will be obligated to pay almost $8,000 per year in additional pension contributions.
According to a recent Ontario Chamber of Commerce survey, 72 percent of businesses in the province believe that pension reform should be a priority for government. However, the same businesses have also been clear about their concern for Ontario’s broader economic picture, in which the economy is projected to grow slowly for the foreseeable future.
Local businesses, for their part, worry about the cumulative impact that government regulatory and legislative changes will have on their competitiveness.
“Our members are worried about the costs that a new mandatory pension plan would impose on them,” says Keanin Loomis, President & CEO Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. “Combined with increases in electricity costs, high WSIB rates, and in some employers’ cases a higher minimum wage, the new pension plan will burden businesses that are already struggling to meet the costs of doing business in Ontario.”
“Businesses in our area are wary of any increase in payroll taxes.”
The proposed pension plan comes at a challenging time for the province. Ontario's unemployment rate remains above the national average and has showed little improvement over the past year.
In its letter to the provincial government, the Chamber calls on the Government of Ontario to provide employers with answers to a number of crucial, but unanswered questions.
“What will be the impact of a fully-implemented ORPP? What happens when a business can’t afford to meet the requirements of the ORPP? What about the self-employed?” asks Loomis. “Businesses in Hamilton are seeking answers to these questions.”
Learn more by reading the chamber's letter to the Government of Ontario.
- 30 -
For more information please contact:
Policy & Research Analyst, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce
T: 905-522-1151 ext: 230 C: 905-220-3030
About us: Established in 1845, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is the definitive “Voice of Hamilton Business”. Representing over 1000 members and 75,000 employees, it champions the interests of ethical, free enterprise by effectively engaging business, community, and government leaders in the promotion of the long-term economic prosperity of our region