Guelph Chamber Hosts Ontario's Minister of Finance at Pre-Budget Consultation
Feb 11, 2021
This morning, we hosted a pre-budget consultation roundtable with Ontario’s Minister of Finance, Peter Bethlenfalvy.
As we continue to advocate for the needs of our members and the business community in general, we convened a cross section of our members from various sectors and industries to hear their priorities and ideas to be considered for the 2021 budget year.
Some key priorities from the roundtable participants include:
- Efforts on rapid testing for COVID-19 need to be greatly improved. Sufficient and timely testing and tracing gets employees back to work quickly, ensuring continued productivity and reduced strain on families.
- A strong testing and tracing apparatus ensures the province can accurately assess where and how the virus is spreading, so that efforts to target restrictions can be confidently based on solid data to avoid lockdowns and enable businesses to remain open.
- An effective and productive vaccination program is essential, and a program that leverages the private sector to support vaccine distribution and deployment is important. Businesses and organizations will be critical in supporting public awareness, logistical capabilities, and best practices.
- Greater and quicker infrastructure investment is required, including infrastructure in fast, frequent, two way, all day Go service along the Innovation Corridor and the long-promised upgrades to Highways 7 and 6 (Morriston By-pass).
- Government grants need to be “quick and easy” for businesses to obtain.
- The provincial government needs to increase their efforts into selling Ontario as an attractive place to set up manufacturing, and business in general.
- Investments should be made to re-train workers into high demand jobs.
- With the continued migration to electrification of vehicles, we need to be forward thinking as to how it will affect hydro, including how to increase investment into electrical infrastructure.
- Creating an environment that encourages and supports entrepreneurship is crucial.
- There needs to be increased attention into the secondary effects of the pandemic, including investment into our communities and mental health.
- Investments for childcare and permanent supportive housing for marginalized populations is required.
- Efforts need to be made into increasing housing options across the affordability spectrum.
- Support for one of the hardest hit sectors, the hospitality industry is required by reducing taxes they have to pay from the off-sales of alcohol.
We encourage the provincial government to make decisions with a holistic view and approach; to engage stakeholders as valuable partners, and to leverage the expertise of a Chamber network and the private sector.
Our post-COVID recovery hinges on building both for the economy we want and kickstarting the economy we have right now.