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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

GNCC 2024 Provincial Budget Requests

The GNCC was asked to participate in the Government of Ontario’s 2024 budget consultations. The GNCC focused on three top priorities, as requested by the government, and advocated for the following:

Tourism investment 

The GNCC asked for an increased allocation of marketing funds to draw international and out-of-province visitors. In 2022/2023, the Auditor General reported, Ontario could have seen an estimated 86,000 more tourist visits if $2 million in tourism promotion spending within Ontario had been reallocated to attracting tourists from the United States. While “staycation” promotion was a sound policy during the COVID-19 pandemic years, with international travel having returned to normal and restrictions now lifted, we want to set our sights on maximizing Niagara’s potential as an international destination. We also ask that Ontario should emulate the example of British Columbia and Alberta, which have established funding programs to encourage private sector investment in tourism.  

Infrastructure investment 

45% of municipal infrastructure in the province is in a poor state of repair, and bringing it up to spec would cost $52 billion. The cost to repair the province’s municipal roads, water, and wastewater infrastructure alone would cost over $33 billion. Businesses depend upon this infrastructure to thrive. We believe that municipal governments cannot meet this infrastructure burden without punitive increases in property taxes. We urge the Government of Ontario to make direct investments in infrastructure that supports businesses. 

Municipal growth framework 

While we welcome the Government of Ontario’s recent investments in infrastructure, we feel a more systematic future approach is needed. We urge the government not only to include significant investment in municipal infrastructure, but also to examine the municipal growth framework being proposed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and the possibility of a new mode of funding municipal government that is tied to growth, particularly in support of Provincial housing targets. 

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