The submission calls for the Government of Ontario to continue to prioritize growth-enabling investments to address labour shortages, the health care crisis, infrastructure deficits, and modernize regulations and government services in the year ahead. Click here to read our full submission. 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.
According to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s (OCC) Ontario Economic Report (OER), Ontario business confidence has dropped to a record low in 2023. Labour shortages, inflation, health care system vulnerabilities, and fears of a potential economic contraction are dampening confidence in the province’s 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.
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.
- We hope to see measures in the Ontario budget to help with affordability for families and workers. Inflation, escalating rent costs, and lack of access to basic services like doctors and daycare are driving people out of province in the greatest numbers we've ever seen. This is particularly affecting Ontarians in their late teens to mid-30s, who we cannot afford to lose given our workforce challenges.
- The province and municipalities have set ambitious housing targets and we hope to see plans forming between the two levels of government to reach these targets. While Ontario has set a target of building 1.5 million homes in 10 years, the last time we built even half of that was 40 to 50 years ago. Housing affordability and availability is a major challenge and it requires serious planning to address.
- We continue to welcome immigrants in record numbers, which is crucial to meeting our workforce needs. It's essential we back that up with credential recognition and upskilling to give them the best possible chance of succeeding in their field and in workplaces where there is the greatest need.
You can read the full provincial submission here.