Upcoming Ontario Budget Should Support Hardest Hit

Your Chamber urging government to address pain points and lay groundwork for a strong rebound — and to take steps to protect our frontline workers

MUSKOKA LAKES – February 26, 2021 – The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), with input from the Muskoka Lakes Chamber, has released its 2021 Ontario pre-Budget submission, focused on recovery, growth, and modernization. The submission calls for policies that minimize the impacts of business closures, uplift the sectors and demographics hit hardest by the pandemic, invest in the infrastructure and workforce of the future, and modernize government services to improve outcomes for businesses and residents.

“With Ontario’s economy expected to enter a period of recovery this year as vaccines are distributed and businesses reopen, resources need to be focused on where they’ll have the greatest impact,” said Muskoka Lakes Chamber President Spencer Morland, who is also the General Manager of the North Granite Ridge Golf Club.  “In the upcoming budget, we’d like to see a focus on broadband, reskilling, and access to capital, which will be necessary for the revival of small business and entrepreneurship, as well as an inclusive economic recovery.”

In 2021, Ontario will continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. The Chamber submission notes the crisis has created new problems and exacerbated pre-existing ones (such as staff shortages and lack of affordable housing and broadband). The impact on people and business has been catastrophic overall, and disproportionate for certain regions, sectors, and demographics.

Protecting frontline workers is top of mind at Field of Greens

“Resources should be targeted towards the sectors and communities that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, including industries requiring face-to-face contact, small businesses, municipal governments, as well as women, lower-income, racialized, elderly, new immigrant, and younger Ontarians,” added Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

Port Carling business owner David Kitchen agrees. While the owner of Field of Greens Port Carling understands people at high risk must come first, he’s concerned that frontline workers of all ages are the ones dealing most closely with a steady stream of customers. “I’ve looked at the vaccination plans, and I’d like to know why they appear to be last in line to be vaccinated,” said Kitchen. Meantime, he’s working diligently to ensure the utmost safety for his staff and patrons.

The recommendations outlined in the submission were developed together with businesses, post-secondary institutions, chambers of commerce, and boards of trade. The submission focuses on mitigating the immediate impacts of the crisis, while laying the groundwork for a robust and sustainable economic recovery.

Read the entire pre-budget submission by downloading the PDF here: https://bit.ly/2NzOa2t