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New Report by Ontario & Oakville Chambers of Commerce Kicks-Off 2016 Small Business Week

To mark the beginning of Small Business Week 2016, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released the report Obstacles and Opportunities for Small Business in Ontario. The report highlights the contributions of small businesses to the provincial economy, while also identifying, and offering solutions to, the most pressing challenges that small business owners face.

The report’s recommendations are the result of detailed consultations over the course of six months held by 25 chambers of commerce and boards of trade with hundreds of small business owners throughout the province as part of the Ontario Chamber Network’s Small Business Too Big To Ignore campaign. The campaign revealed that the three major barriers that small businesses face are Business Education Tax (BET) rate reductions, a lack of access to the workers employers need, and government funding alignment on infrastructure projects.

“In Oakville, local businesses are working hard to expand their operations, however they are facing some big obstacles, including the rising cost of doing business in Ontario,” said Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

“The results of our 2016 Advocacy Survey showed that our members find rising costs to be the most significant factor impacting business and industry. Additionally, 64% of respondents believe that traffic congestion for getting staff to work is a significant obstacle for business, and almost 70% of respondents believe that current regulations are unreasonable and excessive. It is critical that regional governments work with the provincial and federal government to ensure that investments and programs are targeted to reduce operational costs and to support business growth in our region,” added Hughes.

The report also highlights that businesses with fewer than 100 employees make up 98 percent of total Ontario businesses and two-thirds of private sector employment in Ontario. They contribute approximately 28 percent to the provincial GDP and created 87.7 percent of the new jobs nationally from 2005 to 2012. Given the significance of small businesses to the provincial economy, the Ontario Chamber Network urges the government to take immediate action to implement the following three recommendations in the near term:

  1. Continue the scheduled Business Education Tax (BET) rate reductions
  2. Develop a single access point for all government-funded workforce training and employment services.
  3. Have all three levels of government commit coordinated infrastructure dollars to connect all Ontario businesses to the 21st century global economy.

“Small businesses in Ontario are being held back by a diverse set of challenges that need to be addressed by all three levels of government.” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “We are encouraging the provincial government to implement our report’s recommendations so that we can ensure that our economy will have sustained economic growth for many years to come.” added O’Dette.