2022 Provincial Budget Statement

Apr 28, 2022

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s (OCC) President and CEO, Rocco Rossi, issued the following statement in reaction to the provincial government’s 2022 Budget, Ontario’s Plan to Build.

“We welcome several measures in Budget 2022 that support economic growth and a resilient health care system that can withstand future threats,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Ontario businesses have faced an unprecedented few years characterized by a prolonged pandemic, record-high inflation, supply chain disruptions, labour shortages, and geopolitical turmoil.”

Several items announced in the budget are welcome news for Ontario business. They include:

  • Measures to address Ontario’s current labour shortages and future workforce needs. We welcome commitments to reduce barriers to foreign credentials and new investments in the skilled trades strategy.
  • Commitments to support business predictability. Ontario’s Plan to Stay Open focuses on improving pandemic preparedness and addressing key challenges such as labour shortages in the healthcare sector.
  • Pro-growth policies. The proposed modernization of capital markets and venture capital investments will enable small businesses and entrepreneurs to access growth financing. Additionally, the Building Ontario Business Initiative seeks to level the playing field for Ontario businesses competing for government contracts.
  • Initiatives to bolster our health care system. Expanding medical training and investing in health care infrastructure and capacity are critical. Plans also focus on Ontario’s aging population through the dementia strategy, seniors care at home tax credit, and investments in long-term care.
  • Continued action on critical transportation infrastructure. Rail, roads, and public transit will help businesses connect with workers and markets more efficiently.

While we recognize there has been work related to the areas below, some of our key recommendations that Budget 2022 does not address are:

  • We recognize the government has made concerted efforts to address labour market demands through immigration. However, we would like to see more measures to encourage immigration to rural and Northern communities facing low or negative population growth.
  • Ontario’s supply chain crisis. The pandemic and ongoing climate-related disasters have exposed structural weaknesses in domestic and international supply chains, threatening our progress with economic recovery, national security, and business competitiveness. We call on the Ontario government to strike a task force with private sector leaders to build a holistic view of the province’s supply chain.
  • Interprovincial trade and labour mobility. Bold action is needed to unlock internal markets for local businesses. While the government will continue participating in the Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table (RTC), more remains to be done; we encourage Ontario to sign mutual recognition agreements with provinces and territories.
  • Climate mitigation and adaptation. While the budget places a strong focus on electric vehicles supply chains, we would have liked to have seen a more comprehensive approach to tackle climate change, including a plan to reduce GHG emissions.

“As the non-partisan, independent voice of business, we recognize this budget precedes the writ drop next week, and our message to all parties is simple: It has never been more important for public policies to focus on measures that support business predictability and encourage economic growth as outlined in our Vote Prosperity document and 2022 budget submission,” added Rossi.

The recommendations outlined in OCC’s budget submission were developed together with businesses, associations, labour, post-secondary institutions, as well as chambers of commerce and boards of trade from across the province.