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Monday, September 11, 2017

Kathleen Wynne, Premier
Legislative Building
Queen’s Park
Toronto ON M7A 1A1

RE: Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act

Dear Premier Wynne,
We, leaders of the York Region Business community, speaking on behalf of our 5000 members across York Region are calling on your government to slow down the pace of implementation and make the necessary amendments to Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.

In response to the concerns raised by our members following the release of the Economic Impact Analysis by the Keep Ontario Working (KOW) coalition, we convened two Town Halls which gathered the York Region Business community for a discussion on Bill 148. These Town Halls were organized specifically for business owners and operators to provide insight into the potential implications of the announced changes to Ontario’s labour laws with a focus on clarifying provisions of the act as well as collecting feedback to help frame the conversation around this legislation.

Certain comments made by business owners were alarming and should underscore the severity of the situation for our business economy. A significant number of business owners suggested they would have to decrease their number of employees because of the rapid increase in operating costs resulting from this legislation.

The proposed changes would mean that employers would be required to increase the minimum wage by 23 per cent in six months, followed by another 11 per cent a year later. This represents a total increase of 32 per cent over just 18 months. Our members are alarmed at what certain provisions of this legislation will mean for their long term survival.

Another concern mentioned multiple times is the scheduling portion of Bill 148. A “one size fits all” provision for scheduling fails to take into account the different operational requirements of businesses in each sector. We strongly recommend that the Government adhere to the recommendations made in the Changing Workplaces Review that “the government should adopt a sector-specific approach to the regulation of scheduling”.

Ultimately, this fear is reflected in the Economic Impact Analysis by CANSEA which shows that York Region alone will have 15, 920 jobs at risk if this legislation is to pass in its current form. These numbers are highly concerning and show that the long term economic growth of the region will be significantly impacted if the legislation isn’t amended. Businesses must be provided a combination of offsets and amendments to adjust to the increased operating costs resulting from the new rules.

We urge you to consider the risks outlined, implement broad amendments to Bill 148, and slow down implementation in order to provide appropriate offsets that will protect Ontario’s jobs, communities and our most vulnerable.

To demonstrate true fairness and compassion for workers, we must ensure Ontario has a strong economy to help create jobs and increase economic growth.

Sincerely,

Aurora Chamber of Commerce
East Gwillimbury Chamber of Commerce
Georgina Chamber of Commerce
King Chamber of Commerce
Markham Board of Trade
Newmarket Chamber of Commerce
Richmond Hill Board of Trade
Vaughan Chamber of Commerce
Whitchurch-Stouffville Chamber of Commerce

About the York Region Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade:
The York Region Group of Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade collectively represent the interests of over 5000 York Region business members, and advocates on their behalf.

What you need to know

Vaughan, ON, September 13, 2017

Finance Canada is proposing the most significant tax changes in 50 years. If your business is incorporated, then you could be facing a larger tax bill and more compliance costs from the government’s new proposals to change the way corporations are taxed.

The proposal overhauls taxation of private companies and affects income sprinkling, passive investment income and capital gains. All incorporated businesses, large or small, regardless of sector will be impacted.

“The Vaughan Chamber is proud of the hard work invested each day by its private sector members and family-run businesses who are concerned about the proposed taxation changes,” said Brian Shifman, President and CEO of the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce. “We think it’s imperative that government extend the consultation period for these proposed changes, and does everything it can to protect and empower private business.”

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 review 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 income at an effective rate of 70%.

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

“Family owned and operated businesses struggle to pass on their enterprises to their offspring. The government needs to be focused on ways to help succession planning rather than setting up roadblocks like they’re currently proposing with the draft legislation,” said Marco Bellisario, President of Concord Steel Centre Ltd., and a Vaughan Chamber member. “In trying to achieve ‘fairness’, we’re actually harming the entrepreneurial spirit that drives the Canadian economy.”

Another proud Vaughan Chamber member had this to say: “Small business owners and their families expose their personal assets to build businesses and employ Canadians,” said Dario Battista, President & CEO of isure.ca insurance. “These proposed changes will likely force expanding businesses to rethink their strategy and consider hiring less or slow expansion investment.”

Next steps:

  • Consult your accountant or tax specialist to see how you might be affected.
  • Email us at the Vaughan Chamber to let us know your thoughts and how you may be impacted. You can reach us at info@vaughanchamber.ca
  • Write your MP to ask questions, and express your comments and/or concerns. MPs will be attending caucus meetings shortly so we recommend you not delay. (Don’t forget to copy us on your letter.)
    • Vaughan MPs include:
      • Francesco Sorbara, Vaughan-Woodbridge (LIB)
      • Deb Schulte, King-Vaughan (LIB)
      • Peter Kent, Thornhill (CONS)

 

“The federal government wants responses to this proposed legislation by October 2, which we believe is not enough time to identify its complex and sweeping changes to the tax system,” said Paul Woolford, Enterprise Tax Leader, Tax Partner, at KPMG Enterprise, which is a member of the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce. “Together with members of the business community, we’re asking for an extension to the consultation, and encourage those impacted to write to their local member of parliament.”

The Vaughan Chamber of Commerce is the premier membership and networking association in Vaughan.  The VCC proudly represents business from all sectors of the economy including large corporations and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs).  The VCC is a strong voice on public policy issues of importance to the local business community such as infrastructure, transportation, taxation, and opportunities for business growth.

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Media Contact:

Kelly McGuire
Communications and Public Policy Officer
Vaughan Chamber of Commerce
kelly@vaughanchamber.ca
905 761 1366 ext 229

Following the announcement of the new Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act from the Ontario Government, we heard from many business owners concerned about how the new labour legislation will affect their business.

In order to shape our initiatives going forward, we need more information from you on how this may impact your business. Add your voice by completing this quick survey.

If you would like more information on the new legislation prior to taking the survey, CLICK HERE 

Take Survey Now


Registration is now open for the Fair Workplaces Act Townhall – REGISTER HERE

 

By Pauline James, Anchor HR Services Inc.
VCC Government Relations Committee Member 

Union density has been on the decline, and our government is taking measures to address this. Overall, union density in Ontario fell from 29.9% in 1997 to 26.8% in 2015.  The Private sector experienced a significant decline, along with the manufacturing sector, over the past 50+ years. This rate continues to fall, with private sector density continuing to drop from 19.2% in 1997 to 14.3% in 2015.

The Ontario government proposes a number of amendments to the Labour Relations Act (LRA) and to increase the Ontario Labour Relations Board’s (OLRB) authority. The goal of these changes is to remove perceived barriers to unionizing, particularly in sectors where they view workers as more vulnerable.

The proposed legislation includes:

  • Removal of requirement to hold a secret ballet vote and introduce ‘card-based certification’ for temporary help agency industry, building services sector, and home care and community services industry
  • Increase the OLRB’s ability to order ‘remedial union certification’ and order a company unionized, if it is found in violation of the rules under the LRA
  • Allow unions to access to employee lists, including certain contact information, when they demonstrate support from 20% of employee group involved
  • Allow OLRB to conduct votes outside of the workplace, including electronically and by telephone
  • Extend successor rights to the retendering of building service contracts
  • Allow OLRB to change the structure of bargaining units, under an employer, when it determines existing units are no longer appropriate. This would include consolidating newly certified units with existing ones, when represented by the same union
  • When there is a legal strike, employees are currently permitted to return to work within six (6) months. This limit would be removed and require an employer to reinstate employees at the end of a labour dispute, regardless of length
  • Introduce requirement that employees can only be terminated for ‘just cause’, from the time of union certification and also during a legal labour dispute
  • Increase maximum fines to $5,000 for individuals and $100,000 for companies

 

The government also proposes further consultations to potentially remove exclusions, that currently restrict certain employee groups from unionizing, under the LRA.

 

How do you see these changes potentially affecting your business? Share your comments on our LinkedIn Group.

https://news.ontario.ca/mol/en/2017/05/proposed-changes-to-ontarios-employment-and-labour-laws.html

 


 

Join our LinkedIn Group receive more information like this, and discuss matters that affect you
and the Vaughan business community. Click Here

 

Thank you Raymar Electrical Sales for 40 YEARS of support! #VCC40th 🎉


 
















A Vaughan Chamber Government Relations Committee member attended the June 22nd Vacant Unit Property Tax Rebate (VUPTR) Consultation Meeting at Vaughan City Hall. Get the low down on VUPTR:

Background of VUPTR:

  • Introduced in 2001, the VUPTR provides property tax relief to owners of vacant commercial and industrial buildings.
  • Click here to view application form.
  • To be eligible, the property or a portion of the property (measured by square footage) must be vacant for a period of at least 90 consecutive days.
    • Vacant commercial space rebate percentage is 30%
    • Vacant industrial space rebate percentage is 35%.

 

Current Events:

  • On November 14, 2016 the Province of Ontario released its Fall Economic Statement which provided municipalities with a broader flexibility to tailor the VUPTR Program to reflect community needs.
  • The City of Vaughan is currently evaluating the Vacant Unit Rebate Program and collecting feedback from local commercial, industrial and residential property owners.
    • a public consultation was held on June 22nd at Vaughan’s City Hall to collect feedback from the business community.
  • An online survey was setup to continue to collect feedback between June 1st and July 31st 2017.
  • To view the staff report to council click here.

 

Impact:

  • Between 2011 and 2015, the total Program cost was $2,097,000 which does not include the administrative costs associated with the Program.
  • This business benefit is largely subsidized by residential property owners.

 

The Future of the VUPTR Program:

  • The City of Vaughan is considering five options:
    • Status quo – no change to the program.
    • Phase-out (1-3 years) – program would be phased-out over three years while the rebate percentages for both commercial and industrial properties would decrease each year.
    • Targeted program – “New office Development” (3-5 years) – maintain the program for new office developments only, allowing property owners of properties under development to recoup property taxes paid on units which are not ready for rent.
    • Class funded program – all costs of the program, as well as rebated will be borne by the commercial and industrial classes alone, as opposed to residential property tax owners.
    • Elimination – program would be eliminated for the 2018 application year and beyond.

 

Next Steps:

  • If you are an industrial or commercial property owner in the City of Vaughan, this is your opportunity to provide feedback to the government regarding the future of the VUPTR.

 


 

 

Join our LinkedIn Group receive more information like this, and discuss matters that affect you
and the Vaughan business community. Click Here

 

SUCCESS! Mailout Reaches 10,000 Vaughan Businesses. 

We recently launched our new Direct Mail piece, which promotes our local businesses! Sixteen Vaughan Chamber members placed their ads in our Keep it Local Vaughan flyer that reached 10,000 Vaughan businesses.

Check out these local SAVINGS, DISCOUNTS & MORE, and stay tuned for future mailout opportunities!
 

Bridge the Broadband Gap Resolution Put forward by the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce & the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade in 2016 and Passed by the OCC in 2016 – Policy advocacy through 2019

Issue:

  • Inadequate access to high-speed internet is compromising the ability of communities across Ontario to attract and retain businesses. The provincial government has an important role to play in bridging the “broadband gap” by supporting provincial working groups and working collaboratively with the federal government.

 

Background:

  • In 2012 Canada ranked 33rd in the world in offering adequate internet speed. Toronto had Business 10 Gbps and Residential 250 Mbps in 2012.
  • Cities in the GTA had limited access to speeds that are available in Toronto, which heightens the risk that Ontario’s economic base could eventually be concentrated in 2-3 heavily populated urban centres.
  • In 2014, the Canadian government launched its Connecting Canadians program and estimated that by 2017 they would have invested up to $305 Million to address gaps in delivery. This funding was insufficient to get cable operators to invest in broadband infrastructure.  The new Federal government pledged $125 Million for infrastructure investment.
  • To help create the case local investment, a number of Mayors’ and Wardens’ groups have been established to identify regional broadband infrastructure needs.
  • The OCC supports the CRTC decision to promote competitive access to next generation fiber broadband networks that are integral to the success of Ontario businesses in the 21st

 

Recommendations:

  1. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce urges the Ontario Government to:
    After conducting its due diligence, support the funding requests of
    regional bodies (Mayors, Wardens groups, etc.) for better access to
    broadband infrastructure without detrimental impact on existing
    service providers.
  2. Facilitate the creation of additional regional bodies that can help
    build the business case for federal and private sector broadband
  3. Encourage the federal government to fund a successor initiative to
    Connecting Canadians. This funding initiative should fund the need for
    wired and wireless infrastructure for the expansion and extension of
    broadband connectivity to underserved businesses.
  4. Benchmark Ontario’s internet speeds and access versus competitor
    jurisdictions and consider 5 year targets of: Business 1Gbps and
    Residential 50Mbps and 10 year targets of Business 10 Gbps and
    Residential 250Gbps.
  5. Consider broadband as a piece of infrastructure.
  6. When assessing funding requests, establish requirements that high
    speed broadband connectivity to the last mile is a priority.

 

For more information click here: https://www.newmarketchamber.ca/usercontent/Bridge_the_Broadband_Gap-2016.pdf

 

Other Broadband News:

  1. January 2017 – The Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada are providing funding through the Small Communities Fund, which supports priority infrastructure projects in communities across the country that have less than 100,000 residents.

 

  1. January 2017 – ON Government – A new initiative in Southwestern Ontario reflects the Province’s commitment to working with federal, provincial, municipal and private sector partners to expand and enhance connectivity.

 

  1. December 2016 – CRTC – Broadband and mobile services
    Further to its legislative mandate, the CRTC has set the following targets for the basic telecommunications services that Canadians needs to participate in the digital economy:

    • Speeds of 50 Mbps download/10 Mbps upload for fixed broadband internet access services.
    • An unlimited data option for fixed broadband access services.
    • The latest mobile wireless technology available not only in homes and business, but also along major Canadian roads.

The CRTC is establishing a fund to support projects in areas that do not meet these targets. Applicants will be able to submit funding proposals in order to build or upgrade infrastructure for fixed and mobile broadband Internet access services. The fund will:

  • Make available up to $750 million over the first five years;
  • Be complementary to existing and future private investment and public funding;
  • Focus on underserved areas; and
  • Be managed at arm’s length by a third party.

 

For more information click here: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1172599

The Vaughan Chamber of Commerce attended the Ontario Chamber of Commerce AGM and Convention from May 6-7, and brought two policy resolutions to the floor, both of which were passed.

 

Policies: 

 

Submitted by the Richmond Hill Board of Trade, Newmarket Chamber of Commerce, and Vaughan Chamber of Commerce

 

Submitted by the Toronto Region Board of Trade and Vaughan Chamber of Commerce

 

Click Here to view full Compendium of Policy-Resolutions, 2017-2020
@VaughanChamber