Recap of a successful 2018 Ontario Chamber of Commerce AGM: Hosting, Approved Policy Resolutions & Excellence Awards.

· by Huzaifa Saeed

Hamilton, ON, May 1st, 2018: This past weekend the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce hosted the Ontario Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting at the Sheraton Hotel, with over 140 leaders from Chambers of Commerce across Ontario experiencing the best our city had to offer. Check out the widget below or the hashtag #OCCAGM on twitter to get a glimpse of the content.

Policy Resolutions

The key function of the annual meeting is for Chambers across the Province to set the policy and advocacy direction of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce by proposing, debating and ultimately approving a set of priority policy resolutions. This year, we authored, co-authored and sponsored five resolutions.

1) Improving Digital Services and Identity for Ontario Businesses. (Click here for the full resolution)

Recommendations: The Ontario Chamber of Commerce urges the Government of Ontario to:

  1. Create a common corporate registry, with provisions for information-sharing between provinces, to eliminate the need to register a business multiple times.
  2. Conduct a comprehensive evaluation and identify a strategy for the introduction of online submissions as an option for common transactions between businesses and the Province of Ontario, in particular, the Articles of Amendment (Form 3 under the Business Corporations Act).
  3. Further explore Regulatory Sandbox experiments, which are sector-based temporary approvals, allowing both established and new businesses to test out innovative new products and services without incurring all the normal regulatory consequences of engaging in those activities.
  4. Allow insurers to offer an electronic option for proof of auto insurance and other insurance documents,
  5. As part of Ministry of Economic Development and Growth’s Red Tape Challenge, implement a new engagement exercise aimed at improving E-Governance and online services.
  6. In collaboration with interested municipalities, explore the replacement of the Ontario Business Identification number with the Federal common Business Number across an expanded set of applications
2) Goods and People Movement Long-Range, Multimodal, Integrated Transportation Plan. (Click here for the full resolution)

Recommendations: The Ontario Chamber of Commerce urges the Government of Ontario to: Develop a 30-50 year, province-wide LRTP, to be completed by the fall of 2020.

The LRTP should include:

  1. Stakeholder consultation;
  2. Short, medium and long-term planning and investment objectives spanning 30-50 years;
  3. Comprehensive mapping out of the multimodal connections that facilitate goods and people movement throughout the province;
  4. Pathways for integration with Municipal Official Plans and regional growth plans (e.g.: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe)
  5. A provincial maritime strategy
  6. A multimodal strategy surrounding airports, building on the work of the Southern Ontario Airport Network.
  7. A financing plan for transportation improvement projects; and
  8. Quick wins to improve connections between regions and trade corridors.
3) Amend The Ontario Labour Relations Act To Enable Fair And Open Tendering For Public Infrastructure Projects. (Click here for the full resolution)

Recommendation:  Immediately amend the Ontario Labour Relations Act to clarify that municipalities and school boards are not construction employers

4) Protect the viability of companies that have reduced carbon emissions in Ontario (Click here for the full resolution)


  1. Refrain from applying annual declining cap factors to industrial sectors with fixed emissions limited by currently available technological and scientific processes.
  2. Account for captured and recycled CO2 and reduced emissions in allowance calculations.
  3. Develop a framework that allows carbon pricing revenues to be accessed in the long term, regardless of compliance period, to ensure equitable distribution to sectors and/or innovative individuals at the front of the innovation curve who are working to develop modern low-carbon technology.
  4. Dedicate a portion of carbon pricing revenues to programs that incentivize Energy-Intensive, Trade-Exposed Industries to conduct R&D to advance low carbon technologies.
  5. Explore policy mechanisms within Free Trade Agreements and with World Trade Organization that cover Border Carbon Adjustments and Emissions Permits to create a fairer market for Ontario EITE.
5) Bill 3, Cutting Red Tape for Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, 2016 (Cosponsored. Click here for the full resolution) 

We also cosponsored a resolution authored by the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce that called on the Government to immediately implement legislation within Bill 3, which would eliminate the outdated and unnecessary requirement for auto dealers to physically transport paperwork back and forth to a Service Ontario location upon completion of a sale or lease.

Hamilton Chamber of Commerce awarded for Excellence in Advocacy and Leadership

In addition to the policy resolution process, another highlight of the weekend for our organization was being recognized by our peers.

1) The Advocacy Award is given to a chamber/board that has demonstrated forward-thinking policies within their community. The work of our Digital Infrastructure Task Force was cited as a best practice for developing evidence and data-driven policy, build collaborative partnerships between government and private sector and the unique role a Chamber can play within difficulty city building conversations as a convener. The Task Force brought together all major internet service providers in the City of Hamilton.

Within the report, working with the McMaster Data Institute, internet service providers collaborated by sharing coverage map of broadband internet (DSL & Fibre) accurate to the postal code. It is recognized as one of the first studies in Canada to be accurate to that geographic level. The project was made possible with the support of the City of Hamilton Economic Development and Internet Service Providers. The collaboration between the service providers and data will allow service providers to identify underserved areas of the City and pursue more efficient joint builds.

The second half of the report highlighted legislative and practical changes necessary to make Hamilton more Open for Business for Digital Infrastructure build and maintenance projects. We have received positive engagement and commitment from elected officials and staff at the city to address these over the next year, leading to improved quality and service coverage for businesses and residents. More critically, through the voice of the Chamber, the service providers were able to convey recommendations they couldn’t independently.


2) The Burnie Gillespie Memorial Award is awarded to a chamber/board manager whose dedication to community service has led to chamber success. Our CEO Keanin Loomis was recognized for this award for our efforts in advocacy, events and new initiatives, specifically citing issues like the US Steel Tariffs and the LRT Project.

For more information please contact: Huzaifa Saeed | Policy & Research Analyst | Hamilton Chamber of Commerce | t: 905-522-1151 ext: 230 | e: