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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

GNCC response to Government of Ontario Throne Speech

The Throne Speech was focused on health care, but health care is now tied to the success of many businesses in a way that few of us have seen before. A stronger and more resilient health care system means that public health can be preserved with fewer restrictions on businesses, and it is the desire of the business community to see as few restrictions placed on it as possible while acting to save lives. We agree with the sentiment expressed in the speech that everything possible must be done to blunt the impact of the fourth wave so that businesses can continue to operate.

However, we noted that there was little mention of supporting businesses, and many of them will need additional help to get them through what we hope are the final months of the pandemic. The GNCC has asked for a third round of the Ontario small business grant, for instance, and for more investment in the tourism sector.

The Government of Ontario has pledged to rely on growth, but a significant component of the labour shortage that is hampering said growth and slowing entrepreneurship is a lack of affordable child care. We hope that the Government of Ontario will either work with the Government of Canada to deliver affordable child care, or to enact a plan of its own that meets the needs of Ontario’s working families. The commitment to expand public transit is also of interest to Niagara, as lack of access to transit also prevents workers from accessing in-demand jobs.

The Lieutenant Governor commented that businesses need predictability and stability, and that is true now more than ever. A commitment to transparent policy-making and as much advance warning of restrictions as possible would be welcome. While precarious employment and stagnating wages were mentioned as issues, it is important to remember that stable employment and good wages are tied to economic prosperity. Only financially-secure and profitable businesses can afford to offer steady work with good pay.

Finally, as the government has committed to balance the budget through economic growth, we look forward to more details on managing debt and an end to deficit spending in the future.

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