Boosting immigration levels and supporting innovative training and education models are some of the many recommendations made by OCC to the Ontario government. PHOTO by Pexels.
Ontario business confidence has dropped to a record low in 2023, according to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s (OCC), with labour shortages, inflation, and fears of a potential economic contraction dampening confidence in the economic outlook.
To address these issues, the OCC’s 2023 Provincial Budget Submission provides recommendations to foster an environment that supports long-term, sustainable economic growth.
“We know from the OCC’s 2023 Ontario Economic Report that many small businesses would like to see public policies that support their immediate financial and operational needs, while large businesses are more interested in broader workforce development and health care challenges,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, OCC. “What we are looking for in Budget 2023 are measures that support greater productivity and long-term, sustainable economic growth. That means we want to see the government continue to prioritize growth-enabling investments to address labour shortages, the health care crisis, and infrastructure deficits, and modernize regulations and government services in the year ahead.”
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,” added Rossi. “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.READ THE OCC’S BUDGET SUBMISSION HERE.