On January 27th, 2023, the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce hosted a Pre-Budget consultation with MP Francesco Sorbara, Member of Parliament for the King-Vaughan riding. The objective of the meeting was to discuss economic reforms that the Chamber would like to see in the forthcoming Federal Budget. The consultation served as a valuable opportunity for the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce to express the concerns of its members to the government before the release of the 2023 Federal Budget. Consultations like these play a crucial role in fostering a collaborative relationship between the government and the business community, resulting in a stronger economy.
The consultation was well-attended and inclusive, representing the key sectors of the Vaughan business community. The presence of industry associations and sector expertise ensured that each sector’s concerns and issues were effectively communicated. Attendees included the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Sterling Industries, Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA), Northern Transformer Corporation, Fazarri Partners, Canvalen, Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON), and York University. The consultation provided an excellent opportunity for all sectors to engage with MP Sorbara and make recommendations to support businesses and create future opportunities for the region.
The following are the key takeaways from the consultation:
- Investment in infrastructure is critical for Ontario’s economic prosperity, with a need for both new investments and the maintenance of existing infrastructure. Greater investment should be made in transit that supports both the movement of people and goods, ensuring a stable labour market and supply chain network.
- The construction industry will play a significant role in the current housing targets of the Province, as well as future infrastructural advancements. Hence, greater support should be extended to this sector in light of the issues pertinent to the construction industry, including complicated procedures, labour shortage and skill gaps.
- The education sector also requires infrastructure investments that can respond to the new model of teaching delivery. Hybrid models of study demand a combination of both reliable transit system and a fast, stable internet access for students to have a smooth experience.
- Tax pressures are adding to the business costs, and a capital flight is underway, with businesses moving out of Canada to benefit from low tax rates. Interest rates are also a significant pain point for businesses, coupled with inflation and the fear of a looming recession.
- Shortage of labour and skill gap is prevalent in all sectors. Immigration is an obvious solution but the application processes needs to be streamlined, updated and fast-tracked.
- Supply chains continue to be a cause of concern for all sectors, particularly in construction. Government needs to continue and expand the measures directed at supporting supply chains in all sectors.
Overall, the consultation provided a crucial opportunity for the business community to express their concerns and provide recommendations to MP Sorbara regarding the economic issues affecting their businesses and the community. The key takeaways highlight some of the critical areas that require focus and investment to ensure a thriving economy.