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Business Confidence Strong in GTA

Business confidence is up significantly in the Greater Toronto Area compared to this time last year, according to a new survey from the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Leger Marketing. The annual Ontario Business Confidence Index shows that 52 percent of surveyed businesses in the region are confident in Ontario's economy-up seven percentage points from last year.

The index also shows that 74.5 percent of the region's businesses are confident in their own organization's outlook, a five percentage point increase over the previous year. When asked about growing their business, 63 percent of businesses say they plan to expand within the next five years, down two and a half percentage points from this time last year.

"These results mirror the findings in the chamber's 2013 Advocacy Survey," said Orla Johnston, chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. "Our members are increasingly optimistic about economic conditions over the coming few years," said Johnston. "This is great news, as job growth and business expansions have widespread benefits. However, growth puts added pressure on transportation infrastructure. So we plan to remain very active on transportation on behalf of our members."

"The GTA region is the engine of Ontario's economy," says Allan O'Dette, president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. "The strong level of business confidence in the region is a good signal for all communities within the region and throughout Ontario."

The survey of businesses is featured in Emerging Stronger 2014, a business-driven economic agenda released by the Oakville Chamber and authored by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Mowat Centre and Leger Marketing. The report identifies the immediate steps that government and the private sector must take to enhance Ontario's economic competitiveness and spur job creation in the province.

"There are actions that government and business can do to boost our economy and business confidence," adds O'Dette. "But right now there is uncertainty in Ontario's business climate, possibly as a result of potential changes to the pension system and rising energy costs."

"Ontarians need to accept the need for new revenue tools to pay for much needed infrastructure, like the Big Move project, Metrolinx's regional transportation plan," said Johnston. "Emerging Stronger 2014 reinforces our position that any new revenue tools must be dedicated and transparently administered and allocated. Further, the results on the investments must be publicly reported."

Among the survey's findings for the GTA are:

●74.5 percent of businesses are confident in their organization's economic outlook, an increase of five percentage points compared to last year.

●63 percent of businesses plan to expand in the next five years.

●Only 45 percent of businesses believe that Ontario's economy is headed in the right direction, three percentage points higher than the provincial average.

●52 percent of the region's businesses are confident in Ontario's economy, an increase of over five percentage points over the same time last year.

Emerging Stronger 2014 is available at