Ask a Leader
Are you a member of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce (WCC)? Use this form to submit a business-related question to a specific elected representative and they’ll do their best to respond as quickly as possible. We are targeting a turn-around time of five to seven business days. The objective is to continue a dialogue, respond to specific concerns and centralize the information by publishing the questions and answers so that our business community can remain informed.
The WCC Advocacy Committee will ensure the questions are sent to the appropriate respondent(s) and may edit the questions to ensure clarity and avoid duplication. Contact information is requested to allow the committee to follow up if necessary, but will not be published.
MP Ryan Turnbull
MPP Lorne Coe
Regional Chair John Henry
Mayor Don Mitchell
Previously Asked Questions
Vaccines are an important tool to stopping the spread of COVID - which is why we’ve procured enough for every Canadian and we are aware that some provinces and territories are exploring options for certification after vaccination. Science is clear that vaccines approved for use in Canada are safe and effective. As scientists around the world work to understand COVID-19 immunity, we must keep practicing public health measures to keep each other safe. Countries around the world are working together to stop the spread of COVID-19 at home and abroad. We have been in contact with international partners to address future challenges of travel and immunity. Any changes to public health measures will be based on science and evidence. In the meantime, our travel advisory remains in place – Canadians should not be travelling right now.
Answered on April 8, 2021, by MP Ryan Turnbull
In February 2021, our Government announced an agreement in principle with CP on the use of their train tracks that cross Highway 401. Discussions are underway with CP to finalize a commercial agreement. Minister Mulroney will have more exciting news to share once those discussions conclude.
Answered April 6, 2021, by MPP Lorne Coe
Making life affordable in Ontario has been a priority for the Government since day one.
We understand the economic difficulties that Ontarians are facing right now, and our responsibility is to support Ontario families and workers through these challenges. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister of Transportation took swift action to:
- Suspend the collection of interest on unpaid toll fees from Highways 407 East, 412 and 418;
- Froze the scheduled increases to driver and carrier products, like driver’s licenses and validation tags;
- Extended the validity of government driver, vehicle and carrier fees and;
- Froze the scheduled CPI increase to toll rates on Highways 407 East, 412 and 418 that were scheduled to come into effect on June 1, 2020.
Our Government supports Bill 43 in principle and believes it would benefit from further study. The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has undertaken a study to assess the economic impacts of tolls in the Durham Region, and we hope to be in a position to share this report with the public very soon.
Answered April 4, 2021, by MPP Lorne Coe
Employees are required to wear non-medical face masks/face coverings in the following areas:
- When in an area that is accessible to the public
- When in an area where they can interact with the public or other staff members
If an employee refuses to wear a mask, they can work in other areas that are inaccessible to the public and in areas where physical distancing (2 meters) from other employees can be maintained at all times.
Answered July 17, 2020
Businesses are not required to provide non-medical face masks or face coverings to the public. It is not necessary to purchase a non-medical face mask, the instructions indicate that a face covering such as a bandana, a scarf or cloth (including hijab and niqab) that covers the mouth, and nose are acceptable options.
Answered July 17, 2020
The instructions are directed to commercial establishments that meet the definition regardless of the size of the indoor space. At this time, schools are excluded from the instructions and should have their own policies in place to ensure the safety of students, staff and faculty.
Answered July 17, 2020
Our government has ensured that our trade responses are effective and proportionate. The Government of Canada has issued a Notice of Intent which outlines our countermeasures in trade. Canada intends to impose surtaxes against imports of aluminum and aluminum-containing products from the U.S., representing a proportionate amount of Canadian aluminum products affected by the U.S. tariffs.
Our government has supported Canadians directly during this pandemic with measures like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. We will continue to support Canadians during this uncertain and challenging time.
Answered September 14, 2020 by MP Ryan Turnbull
I have advocated for the extension of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program and I am pleased to report that this vital program will be extended for one month. Following that, the program will be reexamined to best meet the needs of Canadian businesses during this challenging time. I have heard from small businesses in Whitby about how important this support has been and I will continue to be their champion.
Answered September 14, 2020 by MP Ryan Turnbull
Thank you for your question, please note that concern about plastic pollution in the environment, including harm to fish and wildlife, has resulted in a number of local, national and international actions to study, reduce, and clean up plastic pollution. Plastic litter and microplastics can negatively impact freshwater systems, with high levels being seen in the Great Lakes and some inland waters. The pollution and waste caused by the improper management of plastics is an important environmental issue. Ontario feels strongly that great economic, environmental and social benefits can be achieved for all of Canada by focusing on increasing the recovery and recycling of plastics.
Currently approximately 30% of residential plastic packaging is recovered through the Blue Box program and sent to market. This includes higher recovery rates for PET and HDPE bottles (55% and 54% respectively), with much lower recovery rates for film (10%), plastic laminates and polystyrene (<5% each). These figures are based on Stewardship Ontario, the Industry Funding Organization that operates the Blue Box Program. As part of our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, the goal is to recycle and return materials back into economy and reduce the amount of materials going to landfill or final disposal. Thermal treatment of materials (including energy-from-waste facilities) does have its place within the waste hierarchy and is an important component of the overall waste strategy to manage materials that cannot be recycled. In addition, facilities that use thermal treatment to generate electricity require a consistent composition and volume for the waste being generated. Large amounts of plastics can result in the system operating at higher than desired temperatures, leading to a reduction in the amount of waste processed per day, and can damage the equipment. As a result, facility operators manage the amount of plastics that are thermally treated in their systems to ensure peak operations. To improve these recycling numbers, Ontario is taking action to improve recycling across the province and address the serious problem of plastic pollution and litter, as committed to in our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.In August 2019, Ontario announced the next steps for improving the Blue Box Program and transitioning the costs away from municipal taxpayers to make the producers of products and packaging responsible starting in 2023. By December 31, 2025, producers will be fully responsible for providing Blue Box services provincewide. Over the next few months, we will develop and consult on regulations to support the new producer responsibility model for the Blue Box Program. With these changes, the Blue Box Program will continue to be convenient and accessible for the people of Ontario. Residents who currently receive municipal Blue Box services will continue to receive the same services throughout the transition period. Once producers are fully responsible for the program, Ontarians will experience the same or improved access to Blue Box services across Ontario. Making producers responsible for the delivery of Ontario's Blue Box Program will ensure that the Blue Box remains viable over the long term while giving producers tools to find efficiencies and lower costs. Our three main objectives include: achieving a circular economy, minimizing material that goes to landfill, and ensuring consistently reliable service for the people of Ontario. We are also looking at how plastic, paper and packaging materials are collected from schools, apartment buildings, retirement homes and other institutional sources as well as commercial and industrial sources. The Ministry encourages actions that everyone can take to reduce the amount of plastic. For the most recent information on the actions of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, please see our Facebook page or twitter feed.
Answered October 5, 2020 by MPP Lorne Coe
All of the material collected in residential blue boxes is delivered to the Region’s Material Recovery Facility (MRF) for sorting, baling and sale. The 2019 residue rate from the MRF was seven per cent. That means 93 per cent of the material collected in the blue box was recycled.
NOTE: Once blue box materials are sold to the market, further sorting may be undertaken by recyclers that could decrease the quantity of materials actually recycled.
The Region collects plastics that fall into four categories: polyethylene terephthalate (PETE), high density polyethylene (HDPE), Rigid mixed plastics and tetra paks/gable tops. All four of these categories are sold by the Region to recyclers. Pricing varies from month to month and for different materials. In 2019, the average price per tonne for the various plastics collected in the blue box ranged from $20/tonne to $450/tonne.
The Region has a policy to not collect material in the blue box unless there is a stable recycling market available for the material. This is one reason film plastic like grocery bags or milk bags is not collected for recycling.
Answered October 5, 2020 by Regional Chair John Henry
With respect to implementing safe practices, please see “Resources to Prevent COVID-19 on the Workplace” found here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/resources-prevent-covid-19-workplace.
The website provides guidelines on how to create a safety-plan to lower the risk of COVID-19 spread. There is also information regarding acquiring necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Last month, Associate Minister for Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, Prabmeet Sarkaria, announced a $60 million investment to assist small businesses in PPE costs. This plan includes a one-time grant of up to $1,000 for eligible main street small businesses — in retail, food and accommodations, and other service sectors — with two to nine employees to help offset the unexpected costs of personal protective equipment. Included in this announcement is Ontario's Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Network, which links 47 Small Business Enterprise Centres across the province as places where small businesses can access tailored advice and information on local, provincial and federal programs. A detailed list of eligible businesses can be found at Ontario.ca/covidsupport. Moreover, the Business Advisory Centre Durham (BACD) is an available resource for new small business owners, and can assist entrepreneurs with skills, knowledge, tools and connections to launch and grow successful businesses within the Region of Durham.
On November 20th, the Government announced a doubling of funding available to support employers affected by the necessary public health measures we are taking to protect people during the second wave. The $600 million we are providing will help businesses cover fixed costs associated with energy and property tax bills.
It is important to note that eligible businesses can now apply for temporary property tax and energy cost rebates directly to the province through a single, online application portal found here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs.
Answered October 30, 2020 by MPP Lorne Coe
Business owners are encouraged to visit the health department website at https://www.durham.ca/en/health-and-wellness/community-reopening-toolkit.aspx. There are many resources including posters, how to create a safety plan and sector specific guidelines. If there are still questions following the review of our resources, they may call the Durham Health Connection Line at 905-668-2020 (or toll-free 1-800-841-2729) to speak with a public health inspector to assist them.
Answered October 30, 2020 by Regional Chair John Henry