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Windsor/Toronto, March 16, 2023 – According to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s (OCC) Ontario Economic Report (OER), Ontario business confidence has dropped to a record low in 2023. Labour shortages, inflation, health care system vulnerabilities, and fears of a potential economic contraction are dampening confidence in the province’s economic outlook. To address these issues, the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce and the OCC’s 2023 Provincial Budget Submission provides recommendations to foster an environment that supports long-term, sustainable economic growth. 

“We would like to see measures in Ontario’s 2023 budget that support economic growth in Windsor-Essex to create jobs, cut red tape, and bolster prosperity for businesses both large and small,” said Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Rakesh Naidu. “Thank you to the Government of Ontario for continuing to collaborate with us on issues important to our members and we look forward to working with you implement budget initiatives to support the growth of this region.” The Chamber  was also invited to present to the Province’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs on issues impacting the Windsor-Essex region

OCC’s 2023 Provincial Budget Submission provides recommendations to the Government of Ontario under the following categories: Sustainable Growth, Complete Communities, and Modernization. Some key proposals include: 

  • Fostering an inclusive workforce and addressing labour market challenges by supporting innovative training and education models, boosting immigration, making regional immigration pilots permanent, continuing to remove barriers to labour mobility and foreign credential recognition, and adopting supplier diversity programs to create opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses that support diversity and inclusion.  
  • Strengthening health system capacity and resilience by continuing to tackle the health human resources crisis, combating growing rates of mental health and addictions challenges, supporting the aging population, and continuing to address the backlog of surgeries and routine immunizations, as well as deferred cancer treatments, diagnostics, and procedures.
  • Investing in growth-enabling infrastructure bycontinuing to accelerate broadband rollout across the province, building affordable housing and complete communities, expanding regional transportation connectivity, and investing in energy generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure to support long-term growth and resiliency.
  • Modernizing government services and regulations by building an integrated health data system, bolstering interprovincial trade, improving supply chain infrastructure and public sector procurement processes, and lowering administrative burdens on business.

“A sustainable and predictable path forward will help restore business confidence, attract investments, and make Ontario more competitive on the global stage,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, OCC. “With higher interest rates, governments should maintain fiscal prudence. However, as the province has locked in low long-term rates, the cost of servicing the province’s public debt should not grow significantly as a portion of the budget. Eliminating the debt need not take priority over growth-enabling investments.”

The recommendations outlined in the OCC’s budget submission were developed with businesses, associations, post-secondary institutions, and chambers of commerce and boards of trade from across the province. 

Read the 2023 Provincial Budget Submission HERE.
Read the 2023 Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce Budget Submission HERE.