Ontario businesses worry about future of provincial economy
By Cade Ryan
The Ontario Economic Report shows individual businesses are optimistic about their economic future but are not optimistic about the economic future of the province.
The OER comes from all of the chambers of commerce across Ontario and is led by the Toronto office. The report showed there are vulnerabilities within the economy based on the results from the Business Prosperity Index. The report also shows many factors discouraging businesses from increasing their production these factors include diminished profitability, less people working and slower market activity.
The Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Matt Marchand said one of the biggest problems for Ontario businesses is a lack of skilled workers.
“Windsor-Essex estimates that we are leaving $600 million on the table every year, because of the skills gap,” said Marchand.
Another problem businesses face in Ontario is a high tax rate when it comes to healthcare. The current healthcare system is inefficient and is contributing to the financial deficit currently in Ontario according to Alfie Morgan, a professor of business administration.
“If we had an efficient healthcare system, we could save a lot of money and it would create less of a burden on the taxpayers,” said Morgan.
Something else covered in the report was the cap and trade program which is a government-mandated approach to controlling pollution. It has been put off for a year at least because Canada needs to negotiate an agreement with the United States about pollution control but the U.S is not discussing the cap and trade.
If put in place correctly, these initiatives could create new opportunities to improve economic growth. If not they could create new costs for business and more debt for the province.
According to Marchand, 98 per cent of all business in Ontario are small businesses, so almost no one escapes these concerns.