On March 22, 2021, the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce (WERCC) and Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) kicked off their 2021 Advocacy Series. The Network, which comprises leadership from 140 chambers of commerce and boards of trade from across the province, will be meeting with all four of Ontario’s political leaders and one-on-one with key economic caucus members in March. The Chamber Advocacy Series takes place just ahead of Ontario’s 2021 Budget and discussions will build on the themes in the OCC’s pre-Budget submission: recovery, growth, and modernization.
“With Ontario’s economy expected to enter a period of recovery later this year, resources need to be focused on the hardest-hit sectors and communities – like Windsor-Essex where they will have the greatest impact.” said Rakesh Naidu, President and CEO. “In the upcoming budget, we would like to see a focus on reskilling, broadband, 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 OCC’s submission notes the crisis has created new problems and exacerbated pre-existing ones.
The impact on people and business has been catastrophic overall, and disproportionate for certain regions, sectors, and demographics. During its Advocacy Series, the Network will emphasize that the province should:
- Target recovery funding towards the hardest-hit sectors;
- Develop demand-driven skills programming; and
- Be bold on interprovincial trade.
“Our 2021 Ontario Economic Report noted industries requiring face-to-face contact, small businesses, as well as women, lower-income, racialized, elderly, new immigrant, and younger Ontarians have been unduly impacted and effective government policy must account for this,” added Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
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, sustainable and inclusive economic recovery.