Ontario Chamber: Federal Budget Must Address Canada’s Competitiveness Problem

(Toronto – April 4, 2022) – Canada is facing a competitiveness problem. Inflation, supply chain constraints, and labour shortages risk undermining a swift and robust economic recovery. Meanwhile, recent domestic and international events have put a renewed spotlight on energy security and affordability.  Today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released its 2022 federal budget submission focused on public policies that increase Canada’s economic resilience to ongoing and future threats.

“Canadians continue to feel the effects of the pandemic on their pocketbooks. Recent increases in energy costs serve as a challenge and an opportunity for our economic recovery. This is a watershed moment to tap into our sustainable natural resource wealth to support national energy independence and establish our competitiveness in the green global economy,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Canada’s 2022 budget must focus on providing Canadian businesses the right conditions to make us a strong, resilient, and competitive nation.”

Some key highlights from the OCC’s budget submission include recommendations for the Government of Canada to:

  • Promote Canada’s energy sector on the global stage and recognize nuclear power as a clean and necessary energy resource in the fight against climate change.
  • Expand immigration and express entry of skilled workers to address labour shortages.
  • Increase the Canada Health Transfer Payment to meet the current and future pressures facing Ontario’s health care system.
  • Modernize transportation infrastructure to address bottlenecks along supply chains and facilitate the decarbonization of the transportation sector.
  • Reform the federal tax system to attract foreign direct investment, drive domestic business growth and innovation.
  • Develop a sustainable path to reduce the federal debt-to-GDP ratio and wind down other pandemic-related supports to ensure long-term fiscal balance and the capacity to address future economic shocks.

The OCC’s 2022 Ontario Economic Report found that a staggering 62 percent of sectors are facing labour shortages in Ontario and expect to continue facing them over the next year. Together with supply chain disruptions, these shortages are impacting the cost of living, service delivery, and product availability.

“As the indispensable partner of business, we call on the government to resolve long-standing structural issues including barriers to interprovincial trade and skilled labour shortages in order to drive entrepreneurship, investment and long-term economic growth,” added Rossi.

The recommendations outlined in OCC’s budget submission were developed together with businesses, associations, post-secondary institutions, as well as chambers of commerce, and boards of trade from across the province.

Read the OCC’s budget submission here.

About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan, indispensable partner of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members.

For more information or to arrange an interview:

Alissa Reid
Coordinator, Public Affairs
alissareid@occ.ca | Mobile: (705) 205-1434