OCC announces pre-budget submission

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce calls for tax reform, smart spending to support Ontario businesses.

Today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) provided the Ontario government with 11 recommendations for the upcoming provincial budget that will help businesses manage costs and secure the province’s competitive advantage. The submission, presented to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, calls on the government to implement taxation reforms and smart infrastructure and transportation spending to maximize growth and benefit all regions of Ontario.

As the cost of doing business in the province continues to increase, and Ontario employers take on one of the largest wage increases in recent history, the OCC is recommending the government reinstate the scheduled corporate income tax rate from 11.5 per cent to 10 per cent. The submission also calls on the harmonization of the Business Education Tax across the province, as well as targeted reductions to the Employer Health tax.

“Employers of all sizes are feeling the pressure from rising costs, and more than ever business owners have a declining confidence in the future of Ontario’s economy,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “The recent minimum wage and labour and employment standard changes will cost Ontario businesses an estimated $23 billion over the next two years. We need more support for business and the government’s commitments made in last year’s Fall Economic Statement are simply insufficient.”

The pre-budget submission also recommends that the government create additional small business deduction tax brackets, as well as delay taxation on corporate income growth to overcome the scale-up challenge.  Currently, all businesses with an annual income of $500,000 or less are taxed at a flat rate. A bracketed taxation system would give startup and SMEs more room to grow. Currently in Ontario, 71 per cent of private sector jobs can be attributed to the activities of small and medium sized enterprises.

“A competitive taxation system, that encourages investment, and minimizes administration and compliance costs, must be in Ontario’s long-term strategic plan,” said Rossi. “As the U.S. peruses tax reform that would lower their federal corporate tax rate by 15 per cent, and the future of NAFTA becomes more uncertain, we must find ways to keep Ontario competitive.”

The OCC also encouraged members of the committee and government to consider how are we leveraging Ontario’s greatest asset—human capital.

The recommendations outlined in the OCC’s pre-budget submission all come directly from Ontario’s Chamber Network through policy resolutions at the OCC’s AGM.

Read the full submission and all 11 recommendations.