Liberals called on to stick to infrastructure commitments

Ontario Chamber wants scope to expand to broadband access and education.

TORONTO — The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) Federal Pre-Budget Submission is calling on the Liberal government in Ottawa to stick to its infrastructure commitments, clarify the small business tax cut and eliminate Ontario’s federal fiscal gap.

The business association polled its members and Ontarians, and 81% of the province’s residents agree that “Canada needs to invest more in infrastructure in order to grow our economy.”

Canada’s infrastructure needs are not limited to roads and transit. Half of OCC’s members surveyed say that internet speed or connectivity hinders their ability to do business, while 82% of Ontarians agree high-speed internet is critical to their work and/or way of life. Broadband access and quality is not just a rural or remote issue – suburban companies report similar issues with connectivity, and 30% of all businesses say that telecommunications is a critical infrastructure need in their region.

Education infrastructure is also critical. The OCC says the federal government should specifically address ongoing deficits in education infrastructure for First Nations communities with a view to improving high school completion rates and skills development opportunities for Aboriginal peoples.

The OCC’s submission also calls on the federal government to work more closely with Ontario to address the current inequality in federal EI funding. Ontarians contribute between $9.1 billion and $12.5 billion more than what they get back in terms of services.

The Chamber Network is also concerned about the federal deficit and debt levels growing at a rapid rate. And it wants the government to clarify its position on the proposed small business tax credit before acting.

“The government may be overstating the extent to which wealthy individuals incorporate to receive better tax treatment,” it said in a release.

The survey polled 853 Ontario Chamber of Commerce members in January and Leger polled 1,004 Ontarians in February.

Click here for a copy of the OCC’s Federal Pre-Budget Submission.

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