Ontario businesses losing confidence in the economy

QUEEN’S PARK – Today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released a report entitled Ontario Economic Report, 2017.

The report revealed that only 24 per cent of businesses have confidence in the province’s economy. Since Premier Kathleen Wynne first took office in 2013, business confidence in the provincial economy has been cut in half from 48 per cent.


The collapsing confidence in the handling of Ontario’s economy echoes what the Ontario PC Caucus has been hearing across the province, and it directly relates to Kathleen Wynne’s uncompetitive policies, such as skyrocketing hydro rates, higher taxes, burdensome red tape, and the new cap-and-trade cash grab. 

But you don’t have to take our word for it: 

“We don’t worry about our competition anymore. We fear the government…Better than giving us money, would be policies that aren’t bankrupting us.” – Jocelyn Williams Bamford, Vice President of Automatic Coating, Toronto Sun, October 15, 2016



“I think electricity is one of the many areas that makes Ontario investment less attractive than only a short while ago.” – Craig Wright, Chief Economist at RBC, Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs (SCOFEA), January 18, 2017

“I can tell you that a year ago, I’d get a call maybe once a month from a small-to-medium-sized company saying they were concerned about electricity rates. Now that’s happening at least once or twice a day. I’m getting comments now all the time that, ‘You know what? We’ve had enough. We’re starting to look at the alternatives south of the border.’ That’s a scary thing, and I think that’s something we need to be concerned about.” – Norm Beal, CEO of Food and Beverage Ontario, SCOFEA, January 18, 2017

“I’m one that gets calls weekly from Indiana, from Wisconsin, from Michigan, from states that are constantly trolling the Ontario manufacturing sector to entice you south…you’re going to lose those smaller businesses that are ready to grow and created more jobs.” – Rory McAlpine, Senior Vice-President of Government and Industry Relations for Maple Leaf Foods, SCOFEA, January 18, 2017

“We’re at a crossroads. Many decisions are being made as we speak because of the high cost of electricity, and companies are looking at other, more competitive jurisdictions, particularly with what’s going on in the US.” – Gerry Macartney, CEO of the London Chamber of Commerce, SCOFEA, January 19, 2017



“However, it stands out that Ontario’s aviation fuel tax is at 6.7 cents, effective April 2017. This is out of line with all of the rest of the provinces. We ask, “Why us?” No other transportation sector is hit to this degree with excise taxes.” – Michael Skrobica, Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of the Air Transport Association of Canada, SCOFEA, December 14, 2016

“Some days, I fear that ours will be the last generation to enjoy the fruits of a vibrant, healthy local distilling business. I wonder whether the next generation of Ontario cereal grain farmers will have a local whisky market for their goods…The result of these discriminatory tax and access policies has been a dagger into the heart of the Ontario spirits business.” – Jan Westcott, Spirits Canada, SCOFEA, December 15, 2016

“With retail sales growing slowly in Ontario for many categories, retailers will have no way of recouping these high costs except by increasing prices or by decreasing staff hours or new hires…At its current level, Ontario remains uncompetitive with other provinces that have similar payroll-type taxes.” – Gary Rygus, Director of Ontario Government Relations for the Retail Council of Canada, SCOFEA, January 18, 2017



“What I’ve seen is where there was one book of red tape, now there are probably three.” – Frank Dottori, White River Forest Products, SCOFEA, December 13, 2016

“Ontario has twice as many regulations as B.C. I actually think B.C. is a well regulated economy, so why does Ontario need twice as many regulations? To me, this illustrates an impediment to growth.” – Craig Alexander, Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist at the Conference Board of Canada, Standing Committee on Finance (Federal), September 28, 2016



“Our main concerns right now are in the post-2020 cap-and-trade program. Right now, the government has not shared their plan for what’s coming next, and there is a potential for a significant increase in costs, which could ultimately affect our competitiveness.” – Steve Watson, Forestry Manager for Resolute Forest Products, SCOFEA, December 12, 2016

“Investment in manufacturing is largely driven by after-tax cash flow and, in Ontario, the cap-and-trade program adds costs and uncertainty that could reduce cash flow and impede further progress towards Ontario’s GHG reduction targets.” – Paul Clipsham, Director of Policy and Programs at the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, SCOFEA, January 19, 2017

“We’re very concerned about what the addition of cap-and-trade is going to do to our competitiveness. At best, cap-and-trade right now is ill-timed. We have already recommended that it should be postponed until we look at the sectoral costs. We have yet to see from the government what costs are going to be associated sector by sector, and we think that’s ill-fated. If we don’t know what impact those costs are going to have on our sectors, how can we proceed?” – Gerry Macartney, CEO of the London Chamber of Commerce, SCOFEA, January 19, 2017