Gaining the attention of Ontario’s political leaders and shaping a meaningful dialogue with key decision makers in government is a cornerstone of the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce’s (VCC) advocacy strategy. We continue to draw upon the strength of the Chamber Network in order to positively influence the development of our province’s public policy.

This year, the VCC attended the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s (OCC) inaugural Queen’s Park Advocacy Day. At this event, VCC staff and our Government Relations Committee Co-Chairs had the opportunity to meet with government officials to discuss the issues affecting you, our members and the local community. Topics of conversation included, ORPP, the sharing economy, climate change, and the challenges affecting the labour market. This is just one example of how the OCC facilitates face-to-face access with senior government leaders and decision makers to effect positive change in the development of our province’s public policy. Through your membership with the VCC, your issues are part of a larger advocacy strategy that is advanced by the Ontario Chamber Network and the OCC. This year, we have championed a number of policies, and we have received encouraging feedback from both the provincial and federal government.

The initial announcement of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan raised great concerns over increased regulatory fragmentation, administrative burden and economic consequences for businesses. This resulted in the OCC immediately stepping to the forefront of the discussion and leading a coalition of organizations to mitigate the overall financial impact of the plan. Meanwhile, the OCC led the Chamber Network in working toward our stated, preferred option to support a national Canadian Pension Plan enhancement instead of a stand-alone ORPP. This option avoids increased regulatory fragmentation and thus administrative burden – avoiding significant consequences for Ontario’s business community. The collective, strong advocacy of the Chamber Network on this file was a key motivating factor to encourage the province to seek a compromise.

In order to thrive, Ontario businesses need affordable electricity. In response to increasing electricity prices, we called on the Ontario government to provide greater transparency in energy pricing. In March 2016, the provincial government released an updated Ontario Energy Report that included an industrial price chart providing a clearer cost picture for many businesses.

In recent years the topic of regulatory reform has become a priority for Ontario businesses. As a response to this we called on the province to adopt a crowd-sourced approach to regulatory change where the public could submit comments and suggest changes to the regulations that impact them. This spring the Ontario government announced the Red Tape Challenge, an initiative encouraging Ontarians to submit comments to a Regulatory Modernization Committee regarding regulations that impact them. For more information on the Red Tape Challenge visit

Infrastructure is critical to business success and economic growth. In many communities across Ontario, lack of broadband infrastructure inhibits business growth, and the issue will become more acute in the future as demands for cloud storage and high-speed access increase. This is why we urged the federal government to move beyond its Connecting Canadians initiative and invest in critical broadband infrastructure. In the most recent budget, the federal government announced that it is investing $500 million over five years in a new program to increase high-speed broadband service in rural and remote communities.

The VCC has been the voice of local business for decades. It is because of our unwavering advocacy work, in cooperation with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, that employers in Vaughan have had a powerful collective voice at the Government’s negotiating table. This year, we look forward to continuing to break down the barriers that impede our community’s economic growth.

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