New Members we welcomed in February | Brockville & District Chamber of Commerce

3 Market Street West, Suite #1, Brockville, ON, K6V 7L2    phone 613.342.6553   email icon Email Us


Statement by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce




There has been much discussion in recent weeks about the unintended consequences of Bill 148, the legislation that introduced a higher minimum wage in Ontario and extended numerous labour and employment standards provisions.


The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and our members understand the intent of the legislation. But we also understand that evidence-based public policy must be fundamental in a properly functioning democracy.


For months, the OCC has forewarned that any objective analysis of these changes will lead to significant job loss, a 50% increase in inflation over and above what would otherwise be expected in the next few years, and an acceleration toward automation.


Now we are seeing these consequences come to fruition as businesses take extra-ordinary actions. 


The implementation was too much too fast. It is clear that the Government of Ontario must take further action to mitigate the unintended consequences of Bill 148.


We will continue to call on government to provide offsets in the upcoming budget that will help employers manage this drastic increase in labour costs. We must ensure that we are doing all we can so that Ontario remains competitive.


Let’s lower the rhetoric, on all sides, and ensure that we are collectively helping to shape an inclusive and shared prosperity here in Ontario.

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2017 Auditor General Report


Queen's Park Update
2017 Auditor General Report Released


 The office of the auditor general released it 2017 annual report. The Report, presented in two volumes, contains results of value-for-money audits of provincial spending in agriculture, emergency management, energy, health care, education, services for newcomers, government owned real estate, and social housing.

Volume 1 of the Report contains 14 value-for-money audits while Volume 2 contains follow-up reports on the recommendations made by the auditor general  in 2015.

Ontario Chamber of Commerce policy staff will review the Auditor General report in the coming months and it will inform upcoming policy work such as the provincial pre-budget submission. If you identify something in the report that you would like to flag for our policy staff, please be in contact with Karl Baldauf.


Read the Auditor General's News Release


About the Office of the Auditor General:
The Office of the Auditor General of Ontario is an independent office of the Legislative Assembly that conducts value-for-money and financial audits of the provincial government, its ministries and agencies. They also audit organizations in the broader public sector that receive provincial funding, such as hospitals and long-term care homes, universities and colleges, and school boards. Their work helps ensure that taxpayers receive value for their tax dollars


Read the Auditor General's Full Report Volume 1



Read the Auditor General's Full Report Volume 2




The Ontario Business Advisory Council is proudly presented by:





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Vote Prosperity


Rapid Policy Update:

Ontario PC Party 2018 Platform

In October, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released Vote Prosperity, a platform for the 2018 provincial election campaign. The release of our platform nine months prior to the election was intended to ensure that all parties have an opportunity to address the most important issues to business within their own platforms.

Vote Prosperity is based upon four fundamental pillars of a strong Ontario:

  • Strengthening Business Competitiveness 
  • Fostering Job Creation
  • Building Healthy Communities
  • Improving Government Accountability

This past weekend, the Ontario PC Party released their platform, The People's Guarantee, the first to be released among the major political parties. The document highlights accountability and affordability as key themes and details five measures that the PC Party promises to achieve within their first mandate, if elected:

  • 22.5% lower income taxes for the middle class;
  • 75% refund for child care expenses;
  • 12% reduction in the average residential hydro bill;
  • $1.9 billion commitment for mental health; and
  • A Trust, Integrity, and Accountability Act

What Businesses Need to Know:


Health Care

The Ontario PCs have committed $1.9 billion to build a comprehensive mental health system, as well as promise to inject an additional $1.6 billion into frontline health care above current spending levels, by the end of their mandate.



The Ontario PCs will lower the average hydro bill by an additional 12 percent to save the average household, small business owner, or farmer over and above the existing 25 percent reduction from the Fair Hydro Plan. This will be achieved by:

  • Rebating the Hydro One dividend; 
  • Moving conservation funding to the tax base; 
  • Putting a moratorium on new contracts;
  • Renegotiating or cancelling pre-notice to proceed contracts where feasible.

They will also enable privately-funded natural gas expansion to access more communities. Additionally, the PCs have expressed an intent to create a competitive and stable electricity system for businesses, through a single stable industrial rate, providing support for combined heat and power programs, and/or exploring fuel switching programs.

Vote Prosperity Platform:

The OCC identified the rising cost of electricity as a fundamental challenge to business competitiveness  in Ontario. In order to address this challenge and strengthen business competitiveness the OCC recommends that all parties should:

  • Allow Ontario businesses to purchase surplus electricity at rates equal to or better than the exported price to other jurisdictions and 
  • Conduct and publish the results of a comprehensive review of the electricity sector, including an objective economic impact analysis assessing the full range of inputs that make up the Global Adjustment (GA), and then pursue cost-reducing measures based on the results.


To avoid the risk of duplicative carbon taxes, while ensuring that any revenue from a carbon price stays in Ontario, the Ontario PCs intend to make the following changes:

  • Cancel the Climate Change Action Plan, dismantle cap and trade, and withdraw from the Western Climate Initiative (WCI).
  • Opt in to the federal carbon price backstop.
  • Return 100 percent of carbon price revenue back to taxpayers in the form of corresponding tax relief.

Vote Prosperity Platform:

In Vote Prosperity the OCC highlights that tackling GHG emissions and climate change is critical to the sustainability of our planet. We recommend that, regardless of public policy approach chosen, the next government should pursue efforts to reduce Ontario’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a manner that effectively mitigates risk to business competitiveness.


Taxes and the Economy

The Ontario PCs will reduce the small business tax rate to 2.5 per cent. They also intend to create a debt repayment plan in which budget surpluses go towards paying down the provincial debt.
They promise to commit more than $1 billion towards debt repayment during their first mandate, and  have committed to returning to a balanced budget in the second year of their mandate, and run surpluses to pay down the debt in the next two years.

Vote Prosperity Platform:

The OCC has long advocated that Ontario’s current fiscal environment deters investment, reduces the government’s capacity to make productivity-enhancing investments, and compromises the province’s ability to respond to future economic  slowdowns. This is why in Vote Prosperity we urge all parties to create a meaningful plan to tackle the debt and move towards balanced or surplus budgets.


The Ontario PCs will introduce a Trust, Integrity, and Accountability Act,  as well as establish clear performance targets for Ministers.  These performance targets will be set for a minimum of three years with future years showing improvements in the relevant benchmark, or progress toward a specific, measurable goal.

Vote Prosperity Platform:

In Vote Prosperity we note that a lack of measurable targets in strategic planning is the ability of key provincial sectors to flourish. We ask that a newly elected government’s long-term planning cycles include a framework for specific and measurable growth targets, as well as a timeline to achieve those goals (a practice adopted by many other jurisdictions). For these reasons, the OCC believes that to improve government accountability all parties must establish criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of strategic goals and publicly publish these targets to ensure transparency.

Infrastructure and Transportation

The Ontario PCs will make broadband and cellular infrastructure projects eligible under the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund. They also intend to execute the existing transit commitments to two-way all-day GO train service and complete the construction of major transit projects that are already underway.

They also promise to upload the Toronto Transit Commission subway lines to the province, taking over responsibility for expansion and maintenance by investing $5 billion in the system. This move would also mean priority projects like the Downtown Relief Line and the Scarborough line would have the backing of the province in terms of access to resources, along with continuing expansion of the Yonge line north to Richmond Hill. 

Vote Prosperity Platform:

In our election platform the OCC recommends that Ontario establish a single transportation authority to serve the GTHA. Under this plan, authority for Toronto’s subway and light rail lines should be uploaded to Metrolinx (or another, new regional transit authority). A single transportation authority would operate to implement and develop transportation planning and infrastructure in a cost effective and timely manner.

Skills and Education

The Ontario PCs will double the Loans for Tools program and improve access to apprenticeships, and have committed to continuing the expansion of the financial literacy pilot program into all secondary schools.

Vote Prosperity Platform:

Our election platform highlights the severity of the skills and talent mismatch in Ontario, noting that 82 percent of businesses in the province experienced at least one challenge in recruiting staff in 2016. To help address this challenge and to foster job creation, the OCC recommends that the next government:

  • Modernize the apprenticeship system
  • Work with industry and post-secondary institutions to ensure that program offerings remain responsive to the changing labour market dynamics and the regional and sectoral needs of Ontario’s business community

Read the OCC's Vote Prosperity

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Ontario's 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan

Ontario's Business Advocate



Ontario's 2017 Long-Term Energy


The Ontario Government released its 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP), Delivering Fairness and Choice. The plan comes after a year-long consultation, which saw engagement from across the province. The OCC as put together a Rapid Policy Update including a high-level synopsis of the plan, including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s analysis and comparison to our Long-Term Energy Submission, Leading the Charge

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OCC's Position on the 2017 LTEP: 

The OCC has long been active in advocating for a principled and pragmatic approach to energy planning. We were encouraged to see that Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan 2017: Delivering Fairness and Choice is broadly aligned the OCC’s previous policy stance. The 2017 LTEP, echoes the OCC’s call for the need to ensure competitive and affordable rates through new procurement models.

The OCC was pleased to see the strong commitment made to Ontario’s nuclear sector, including the refurbishment projects at Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) Darlington site and Bruce Power’s facility in Tiverton, as well as a renewed commitment to pursue continued operations at OPG’s Pickering site. We also applaud government on the initial integration of Ontario’s CCAP into our energy planning system.

While today’s plan places an emphasis on ensuring affordability and flexibility, the OCC will continue to advocate that further rate mitigation strategies must be developed and aimed specifically at the business sector. Read the full Rapid Policy Update



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2017 Fall Economic Statement

Ontario's Business Advocate



Rapid Policy Update: 2017 Fall Economic Statement

Yesterday, the Government of Ontario released its 2017 Fall Economic Statement, which provides an update on the government’s finances and progress on key commitments since the release of the 2017 Budget. The government is continuing to project a balanced budget in 2017–18 and ongoing balance in 2018–19 and 2019–20, unchanged from the 2017 Budget forecast. The province also boasts a steadily declining  unemployment rate which reached  5.9 percent in October 2017, and has been below the national average for 31 consecutive months.  

The fall statement forecasts real GDP growth of 2.8 percent in 2017, up from 2.3 percent in the 2017 Budget. Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP peaked  in 2014–15 at 39.3 percent, however it is projected to be 37.3 percent in 2017–18, lower than the 37.5 percent forecast in the 2017 Budget.  

The government also made announcements related to Strengthening Ontario’s Small Businesses, Encouraging Youth Employment and Modernizing Apprenticeships for Small Businesses.

What does this mean for business?

Strengthening Ontario’s Small Businesses

The Province is announcing more than $500 million in new initiatives, over three years, for small business. Most notably the province is proposing a 1 percent cut in the small business Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate from 4.5 percent to 3.5 percent. The Fall Economic Statement also includes enhanced financial support for small and medium]sized fruit and vegetable farming businesses and investments to enhance the vibrancy of communities and main streets.

OCC Response: As part of the OCC’s Bill 148 advocacy work, the OCC has consistently urged the government to provide a comprehensive package of offsets, which includes a reduction in the small business tax rate. These measures will help to provide small businesses compensation for their limited access to capital financing, and the pressures placed on their revenue streams from Bill 148’s increased labour costs.

Encouraging Youth Employment

Ontario will provide $124 million over three years in supports for youth ages 15 to 29 years, working with Employment Service and Youth Job Connection to support employer hiring and retention beginning January 1, 2018. Through Ontario’s Employment Service program, a small employer with fewer than 100 employees would receive a $1,000 incentive for hiring a young worker and a $1,000 for retaining that worker for six months. Additionally, if workers are hired through Youth Job Connection, a separate program that recruits youth facing employment barriers, employers would receive retention payments of $1,000 after three months, with a further $1,000 payable after six months for each worker.

OCC Response: In partnership with Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA) the OCC conducted an independent economic analysis modelling  the impacts of Bill 148,. Evidence suggests that a 10% increase in the Ontario minimum wage could decrease youth employment by 2% to 6 % over time. Considering this challenge, funding for small business to link youth with the labour market is a step in the right direction.

Modernizing Apprenticeships for Small Businesses

The Province is proposing adding five service]sector trades to the eligibility list for the new Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers: Hairstylist, Cook, Horticultural Technician, Baker/Patissier, and Appliance Service Technician. Additionally, the government is proposing supporting multiple employers to pool together and form consortia to hire, register and train their apprentices for skilled trades.

OCC Response: In our report Talent-in-Transition, the OCC recommended that the government collaborate with business and education stakeholders to increase employers’ awareness of the consortium model. By allowing for multiple employers to join and form hiring consortium, apprentices will see an enhanced system flexibility while improving support for the development of a workforce that is responsive to Ontario’s local labour market needs.

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Send a message to Queen's Park

Send a message to Queen’s Park!

The Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce  and Ontario Chamber Network are looking for members to help shape our advocacy by completing the Business Confidence Survey.

Members can share their insights on the state of the Ontario economy, recent government policy, and the impact on business by taking the five-minute survey here:

The Ontario Chamber Network is committed to ensuring government understands the issues impacting Ontario business in this province. That’s why we need your help in ensuring the voice of business is heard loud and clear at Queen’s Park. 

Follow this link, and in five minutes let the government know what’s important to you.


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Webinar:Thursday Nov 2/17 - Bill 148 Ontario's New Labour Laws - Who will be effected and how to prepare

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Steering Through Change: A Handbook to Help Ontario Businesses Understand and Manage Bill 148


The Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce , alongside the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and management-consulting firm, MNP, have released a comprehensive handbook (Steering Through Change) to help Ontario businesses navigate the new costs and regulations associated with Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act. The handbook provides a summary of the incoming changes, outlines the potential risks to business, and identifies strategies to help mitigate the impact.  

From substantial increases to the minimum wage, new scheduling provisions, reforms to the collective bargaining process and dozens of other changes, Bill 148 will present many challenges for employers 

The handbook includes important insights into the legislation and offers practical solutions and strategies to support businesses through the initial changes. As the implementation dates draw closer, employers will be able to turn to this handbook to understand the legislation and navigate change.  

MNP and the OCC will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, November 2 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. to discuss the handbook and go into further detail about the full slate of changes Bill 148 will implement. Join the webinar to learn more, click here to register 

The handbook provides a better understanding of how to manage and plan for Bill 148, should the legislation pass. However, there is still an opportunity to provide feedback on Bill 148 before it comes to a final vote. To date, the bill has passed the second reading and has now been referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. Business owners are strongly encouraged to send requests to deputize in front of the committee and send written submissions to the Standing Committee including your thoughts and concerns regarding Bill 148 

You can e-mail your submission to the following address:  

Eric Rennie, Clerk, 


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Helping Businesses Mitigate the Impact of Bill 148

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Helping Businesses Mitigate the Impact of Bill 148 

MNP and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce release handbook for Ontario’s Business Community 


Brockville, Ont., Oct 23/2017 The Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce, alongside the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and MNP, Canada’s leading accounting firm, have released a comprehensive handbook for Ontario’s business community that provides strategies to help businesses navigate the incoming changes from Bill 148 (Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act). The handbook outlines the potential risks to employers from the incoming legislation and offers human resources and operational strategies to help businesses better understand what these changes will mean. 


“There is no question that Bill 148 has the potential to add challenges and new costs for our local businesses here in Brockville,” said Pamela Robertson, Executive Director. “We believe this handbook will provide some help to our members when navigating through these significant changes. That said, Bill 148 is going to have serious unintended consequences and the government must also provide support to help businesses transition. We need to know that relief is coming.”   


Bill 148 will bring in a number of reforms to Ontario’s current labour and employment standards laws, most notably instituting a $15 minimum wage by January 2019, representing a 32% increase. The handbook outlines the impacts businesses are likely to see from the numerous changes and identifies that small businesses are most likely to face four main issues:  


  • Profitability: businesses may not be able to keep up a sustainable profit margin; 

  • Staffing levels: businesses may not have the capacity to maintain current staffing;  

  • Competition: to keep their doors open, businesses will be forces to raise prices; and 

  • Taxation: with higher wages comes higher payroll taxes and contributions to EI and CPP.  


The handbook also includes information on how to adapt to the changing workplaces, and outlines best practices for refining and changing process in the workplace. See the full handbook here, Steering Through Change, A Handbook to Help Ontario Businesses Understand and Manage Bill 148  

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Welcome revised tax reforms and lower small business tax rate but remain concerned





Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Chamber

welcome revised tax reforms and lower small business tax rate but remain



Brockville, Ontario , October 16, 2017 — The Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce  and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce welcome the government’s plans to revise its proposed tax reforms and to reduce the small business tax rate as a result of the comments and concerns expressed through the national #ProtectGrowth campaign and in consultations.


As Canadians celebrate Small Business Week, Chamber representatives congratulate the thousands of businesspeople who joined the mobilization and made their voices heard on this important issue affecting Canadian workers and employers.


The Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce also noted the Minister’s call for further input from Canadian businesses, and intends to continue providing a voice to ensure the tax system is simpler and less of a burden on Canada’s competitiveness.


“It is always more productive when government and business work together. We can only hope the government will listen as we provide advice on those areas where more remains to be done, and that they will propose concrete data to back up their claims. The Canadian Chamber will be working with the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce  and other chambers across the country for suggestions on reforms that can improve the competitiveness of Canada’s tax system. Lowering the small business tax rate is one such measure, but there is still much room for improvement,” Mr. Beatty said.  “We must ensure that Canada, and with it Brockville, remain attractive places to do business. Although there is a great deal of work to be done, today’s announcement is a positive first step, but we expect more and we will be vigilant on the next steps,” he concluded.




The Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce represents more than 400 members and has been the community's business advocate since 1906. Our mission is through proactive leadership in advocacy and networking; we support and grow business to build a strong economic community.



The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. News and information are available at or follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.



                                                                           – 30–




Pamela Robertson

Executive Director

Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce



Guillaum W. Dubreuil
Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations
Canadian Chamber of Commerce

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Are you aware of the Tax Reform Plan for Small Business

Dear Member,
Are you a business owner?
If your business is incorporated, then you could be facing a larger tax bill and big compliance costs from the government's new proposals to change the way corporations are taxed. 
Here are three things you need to know about the tax changes proposed by the federal government:
1. Do you employ family members? The government wants to scrutinize their compensation to apply a much higher tax rate on income they consider "unreasonable".
2. Do you invest the profits from your business? The federal government is proposing to tax that income at an effective rate of 70%.
3. Do you want to pass your business on to your children? Tough new rules make it difficult for younger kids to get the capital gains exemption. They could be double-taxed. 
 Member of Parliament Gord Brown's Proposed tax reform plan meeting on Sept 14/2017  had many emotional stories shared that demonstrate the enormous changes and financial strains that will further affect those of you who operate small businesses, family farms and professional corporations
The way to change or eliminate the proposals is through your protests.  
As stressed by The Honourable Pierre Poilievre, it is crucial that your voices against these proposed tax changes are heard.  
Write to the Finance Minister, The Honourable Bill Morneau and the Finance Committee Chair, the Honourable Wayne Easter.  Postage free mail can be addressed to them at :  House of Commons, Ottawa, ON   K1A 0A6. 
Sign the E-petition. 
A link to all MP's contact information. 
 Together, let's defeat these proposals !
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Are you a business owner?Please make time for this important consultation.  This is your opportunity to have a voice in changes to this tax legislation.

Dear Member,


Are you a business owner?

If your business is incorporated, then you could be facing a larger tax bill and big compliance costs from the government’s new proposals to change the way corporations are taxed. 

Here are three things you need to know about the tax changes proposed by the federal government:

1. Do you employ family members? The government wants to scrutinize their compensation to apply a much higher tax rate on income they consider “unreasonable”.


2. Do you invest the profits from your business? The federal government is proposing to tax that income at an effective rate of 70%.


3. Do you want to pass your business on to your children? Tough new rules make it difficult for younger kids to get the capital gains exemption. They could be double-taxed. 


Please make time for this important consultation.  This is your opportunity to have a voice in changes to this tax legislation.


Looking forward to seeing you there at 5:30 pm on Thursday.


Yours Respectfully,


Pat Markovich

President, Brockville and Area Chamber of Commerce




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MP Gord Brown To Host Consultation on Finance Proposals for Small Business on Sept 14 @ 5:30pm - 1000 Islands Mall (Community Room)


Gord Brown, MP

Leeds-Grenville – Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes


Constituency Office

2399 Parkedale Ave, Unit 120, Brockville, ON  K6V 3G9

Tel: 613-498-3096     Fax: 613-498-3100


House of Commons

501 Justice Building, Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A6

Tel: 613-992-8756     Fax: 613-996-9171




Media Release: For immediate release


Gord Brown to host consultation on

finance proposals for small business


Brockville – Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville – Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, today announced that he will host a meeting on Thursday, September 14 to hear from constituents about the small business tax changes proposed by the current government. It will take place at the 1000 Islands Mall Community Room from 5:30 pm to 7 pm.

Joining Brown will be The Honourable Pierre Poilievre, MP for Carlton and Opposition Finance Critic.

On July 18, the Minister of Finance announced his intention to eliminate certain tax measures that allow Canadians to avoid higher taxes.

The proposed measures include the ending the practice of business owners “sprinkling” their total income among family members in lower tax brackets who don’t directly work for the company, taxpayers using private corporations as a substitute for a regular savings account, and taxpayers converting a private corporation’s regular income into capital gains.

“Since these proposals were announced I have been receiving feedback from all across the riding,” explains Brown. “Many small business owners including family doctors and other professionals that we rely on every day have contacted me to express concerns about their ability to maintain their offices and businesses under the proposed rules.”

He notes that these business owners don’t have many of the tax benefits of other Canadians and these measures allow them to save for retirement, rainy days, and to have the capital to grow their businesses.

“I support policies that reduce the tax burden for small and medium sized businesses, reduce red tape, and allow entrepreneurs to create jobs,” comments Brown.

The current government’s tax hikes (higher small business tax rates, increased payroll taxes and a new carbon tax) are making it more difficult for entrepreneurs to maintain and grow their businesses, he notes.

As well, small businesses are being crushed by substantial increases in operating costs due to higher electricity and service rates. And soon, they will also face wage hikes.

The government has announced a 75-day consultation period on its proposals that ends October 2.

“The Official Opposition is participating in that consultation and I want to gather information from business owners in Leeds-Grenville,” Brown explains.

Participants at the consultation can attend for the entire evening or come and go as they please. Pre-registration is not required.


To review the tax proposals visit:

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