Policy & Advocacy Council

The Hamilton Chamber’s advocacy efforts are reflective of the priorities of our membership and wider business community, further developed through the professional expertise of volunteers on our Policy and Advocacy Council and its task forces – and then implemented by Chamber staff.

Policy & Advocacy Council Year in Review (2019)

Cannabis Policy

  • Chamber staff traveled to Saint John, NB for the 2019 Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM, where chambers from across Canada voted on which policies the network will advocate for at a federal level.
  • The Chamber proposed a resolution: Addressing Regulatory Barriers Affecting the Cannabis Industry. The resolution was approved with over 91% of the votes in favour of our resolution.
  • The policy recommends that the Government of Canada:
    • Invest in Health Canada’s capacity to license facilities at an accelerated rate.
    • Develop a common excise stamp for licensed producers to adhere to cannabis products, thus allowing licensees to more efficiently ship products across the country.

Hamilton Economic Report (HER)

  • Based on the results of our Business Confidence Survey, conducted in conjunction with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce published the Hamilton Economic Report, which presented a candid look at local private sector sentiment.
  • The purpose of the 2019 HER was to capture the mood of Hamilton businesses, particularly as it relates to the provincial economy.
    • Over half of respondents cited the high cost of living (56%) as one of the primary reasons for their lack of confidence in Ontario’s future.
    • Hamilton businesses are not satisfied with existing public transportation infrastructure; 1 in 4 respondents rated existing public transportation infrastructure “poor”, in terms of its ability to meet organizational needs.

POLICY WIN: Ontario Childcare Rebate

  • In our pre-budget submission, the Hamilton Chamber recommended the provincial government implement the proposed Ontario Childcare Rebate.
  • Since the gap between labour supply and demand impedes economic growth, the Hamilton Chamber emphasized how providing access to childcare increases the participation of women in the workforce, which in turn increases family earnings, fills job openings, and contributes to the growing Ontario economy.
  • This pre-budget submission was heard. The Ontario Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) tax credit was announced, which provides rebates to families with incomes of up to $150,000 for childcare expenses.

POLICY WIN: Electronic Proof of Insurance

  • Financial Services Commission of Ontario formerly required drivers to provide their printed proof of auto insurance. The Chamber successfully advocated for the provincial government to allow insurers to offer electronic proof of auto insurance.
  • Policyholders now have the option of displaying their proof of insurance (pink slip) electronically.

POLICY WIN: Open Tendering

  • The Chamber has advocated that provincial legislators amend the Labour Relations Act to enable fair and open tendering for public infrastructure projects. The Act prevented some municipalities from openly tendering and procuring construction projects. As a result, up to 70% of the industry was unable to compete for work on
    publicly owned and publicly funded projects, inflating construction costs by as much as 30%.
  • The Province amended the Act to explicitly deem public bodies, including municipalities, as “non-construction employers”, thereby opening procurement.

List of PAC members

  • Richard Koroscil (Chair) – Korlon Strategic Services
  • Carmela Trombetta – RBC Royal Bank
  • Larissa Fenn – Hamilton Port Authority     
  • Anne Tennier – Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety
  • Ed Fothergill – Fothergill Planning and Development
  • Aaron Levo – Hamilton Health Sciences
  • Aaron Scheewe – Capital Hill Group
  • Nick Switalski – McMaster University
  • Hillary Dawson – Mohawk College
  • Henry Weigel – ArcelorMittal Dofasco

A Message from our Chair

“The Policy and Advocacy Council includes some of Hamilton’s most accomplished policy, public affairs, and communications professionals. Our focus for 2019 has been on the initial implementation of the Chamber’s multi-year policy and advocacy strategy that was approved by the Chamber’s Board of Directors last year. As well, we addressed ad hoc issues that came up throughout the year. Some good progress has been made and the work is expected to pick up speed in 2020. I encourage our Chamber Members to follow our implementation and to get involved where they can. We will be asking some of you to help with this important work.”
– Richard Koroscil, Policy and Advocacy Council Chair