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Chamber News

Labour Relations and Employment Standards Changes: Too Much, Too Fast

July 10, 2017  

The Keep Ontario Working coalition calls for Ontario Government to give employers more time to adjust to sweeping reforms

Today, the Keep Ontario Working group, a coalition of Ontario’s leading industry and sector associations, sent an open letter to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne which urges the Government of Ontario to slow down the implementation of Bill 148. The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act will bring about major changes in less than six months, and Ontario’s employer community is concerned that the pace of change will seriously injure our economic growth. The Keep Ontario Working coalition is calling on the provincial government to give businesses more time to better prepare.                               

In their letter, the Keep Ontario Working group calls on the government to consider the timing of implementation. As it stands now, Ontario’s minimum wage will increase by 32 per cent in only 18 months.

“To demonstrate true fairness and compassion for workers, we must ensure Ontario has a strong economy to help create jobs and increase economic growth,” said Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Spokesperson for the Keep Ontario Working Coalition. “To plan effectively and protect jobs, employers need predictability and time to adjust to these changes. There is no way to absorb and adjust to a 32 per cent hit in less than 18 months.”

The Keep Ontario Working coalition has commissioned an independent economic analysis to better understand the economic impact of these changes. The results of the coalition’s economic analysis will be shared this coming August.                                       

Read the open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne                                      

Dear Premier Wynne:                                  

On behalf of Ontario’s employer community, the Keep Ontario Working coalition is writing to you today with a call for fairness and restraint as the Ontario legislature’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs begins province-wide consultations. As we have said since the introduction of Bill 148, the impacts from this legislation will create tremendous uncertainty for Ontario businesses. Realistic legislative timelines can only be proposed following a full economic impact analysis.

Economic Impact Analysis                         

Ontario’s small and medium sized businesses are the lifeblood of communities, creating local jobs and increasing economic growth around the province. In recent months we have received emotional stories from employers who believe that the impacts from Bill 148 will be profoundly negative and cause significant job loss and financial burden. Many of these businesses have expressed concern that the planned implementation of such drastic labour reforms does not give them the appropriate time to adjust.                         

Due to the Government of Ontario’s unwillingness to appropriately test the economic impacts of your legislation, the Keep Ontario Working coalition has commissioned our own thorough and comprehensive assessment to fully evaluate the damage these changes will generate. This independent analysis will be completed in August and we will share it with you and all of Ontario’s workers and employers at that time.                                            

Pace of Change                                

Many Ontario employers, especially small businesses, are now considering closing their business because they do not have the capacity to successfully manage such reforms. In the case of the minimum wage, for example, the business community was wholly aligned with your government’s previous approach, which allowed for increases to the minimum wage that were predictable and protected against arbitrary political decision-making. We object to this new approach, which will provide an arbitrary increase. If your government is intent on this public policy change, we ask that you proceed in a way that allows businesses to better prepare.                     

Since 2010, the minimum wage in Ontario has increased by 12 per cent. Under your proposed changes, employers would be required to increase the minimum wage by a further 23 per cent in six months, followed by another 11 per cent a year later. This represents a total increase of 32 per cent over just 18 months.

When looking at other jurisdictions who have introduced similar wage increases, the timelines for full implementation are significantly longer than ours. For example, the State of California is taking five years to increase their minimum wage by 50 per cent to $15/hour with employers of less than 25 employees. Seattle has allowed for a 4-year implementation for a 36 per cent wage increase. However, even there, recent evidence by the National Bureau of Economic Research has suggested that the costs of the Seattle minimum wage increases outweigh the benefits by 3:1. In that instance, low-wage workers are losing $125 per month due to less hours of work scheduled.

We know that over the planning period, especially with an increase to minimum wage, the cost of goods will rise, as will utility and occupancy costs (such as leases and ownership), as well as municipal taxes.                         

To plan effectively and protect jobs, employers need predictability and time to adjust the cost of other inputs where we can. There is no way to absorb and adjust to a 32 per cent hit in less than 18 months, the bulk of which is an even more unmanageable 23 per cent increase a mere seven months out.

Our concern surrounding the pace of change is not isolated to the minimum wage in Ontario, but encompasses all aspects of the legislation. We know that changes to other areas – such as equal pay for temporary and part time workers and scheduling – will carry significant new costs for employers, costs that must be contended with in order to avoid maximum job losses.                                                                        

We urge you to slow the pace of the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Act. We are extremely concerned that the proposed legislation will have negative impacts on the growth of our province’s economy, our people, and our communities. This does not demonstrate fairness.                             

To demonstrate true fairness and compassion for workers, we must ensure Ontario has a strong economy to help create jobs and increase economic growth. Ontario’s workers and employers deserve to truly understand the impact of your decisions. That is why we urge you not to rush these reforms, and to consider the economic impacts that will be revealed as a result of our comprehensive economic impact analysis in August.                           

We are committed to working collectively with your government to ensure that workers in this province can continue to prosper. For that to occur, we must continue to work together and ensure we are doing all we can to protect against job losses, increased costs to consumer goods, and economic hardship.                                           

The Keep Ontario Working Coalition:                                            

Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS)
Canadian Franchise Association (CFA)
Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC)
Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO)                                              
National Association of Canada Consulting Businesses (NACCB Canada)
Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA)
Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC)
Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA)
Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA)                                                     
Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA)
Restaurants Canada
Retail Council of Canada (RCC)

Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)

The Keep Ontario Working Coalition (KOW) is a broad-spectrum group of business sector representatives concerned with sound public policy to help produce jobs and grow Ontario. For more information on the Keep Ontario Working coalition please visit www.keepontarioworking.ca.   

Labour Law Reforms: Send This Letter To Your MPP

June 16, 2017

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce has received several questions and comments about the Ontario government’s proposed Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan.  Many of our members are very concerned about the negative impact the plan could have on their businesses.

If you are concerned about these reforms, please write to the Government of Ontario and let them know that you’re worried about the potential impact of changes to our labour and employment laws. Send the letter below, or, for more impact, you can edit and personalize it with a specific recommendation about contract work, scheduling, sectoral bargaining, or any other issue that will impact your business.

You should email your letter to MPP Eleanor McMahon or MPP Indira Naidoo-Harris with copies to Premier Kathleen Wynne and MPP Kevin Flynn.

To send your email, follow these steps:
1.    Highlight and copy the letter below.
2.    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. OR
       This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
3.    Paste the letter into the body of the email.  Edit the letter if you want.
4.    Copy   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   and   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   into the Cc box.
5.    Click “Send”.

Thank you for your help advocating on this important issue.

Keith Hoey
President and CEO
Burlington Chamber of Commerce

Letter below >>>>>>>

I am writing to express my objection to the government’s proposed Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan.

I object to the plan because the sweeping changes proposed in the plan will tip Ontario’s economic balance in a profoundly negative way.

An increase in minimum wage will likely result in the loss of jobs.  Studies have shown that increasing the minimum wage has led to a reduction in employment, especially for youth.  Given that the changes to minimum wage were explicitly left outside of the terms of the Changing Workplaces Review, I cannot help but wonder if the recommendations would have been different if the advisors had been permitted to consider an increase to the minimum wage. I understand that income and cost of living are problems but is there a better policy alternative that would have less impact on small business?

Rigid scheduling will hurt both employers and employees.  A one-size-fits-all approach to scheduling fails to recognize the diversity of Ontario’s economy and will remove the flexibility that part time workers enjoy. The need for flexible scheduling applies to many sectors but health, manufacturing and food services will be particularly hard it. The bottom line is, flexible scheduling rules are good for the employer and the employee.

The government should focus on education, not enforcement.  The Changing Workplaces Review report stated that the employer community is “overwhelmingly law-abiding and respectful of the rights of its employees”.  I support taking action against those who willfully ignore their obligations under the law but fundamental to this is ensuring that appropriate steps are taken to educate employers so that they fully understand these obligations.

I urge you to consider the economic consequences of your proposed plan.  The government should conduct a comprehensive economic analysis of all of the reforms outlined in the plan.  The analysis should have clear acceptability thresholds and the reforms that are implemented should be limited to only those that pass such thresholds.  An economic analysis is the only way that the Government of Ontario can protect jobs and workers against the unintended consequences that may come as a result of implementing these recommendations.

In summary, my ask is simple; please spend the coming months appropriately subjecting the proposed reforms in the Fair Workplace and Better Jobs Plan to an economic impact analysis.

I look forward to your response.

Win for Business: Suspension of Unfair Provision in Anti-Spam Legislation 

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is celebrating the federal government’s decision to halt the coming into force of the Private Right of Action provision of Canada’s anti-spam legislation that would have hurt Canadian businesses.

The PRA was particularly worrisome as it would have exposed business to potentially unjust and costly litigation. The Private Right of Action Provision would have allowed individuals to take legal action against any company which sent them an email they did not want to receive, without proof of damages.

“This is a big win for all Canadians. Businesses rely on their capacity to communicate with their clients, and some of these measures would have limited their capacity to do this,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Chamber. “Additionally, this provision would cost Canadians heavily in lost productivity and mischievous litigation,” said Mr. Beatty.

For years, the Chamber has lobbied on behalf of its members to convince the government to re-examine CASL’s damaging impact on Canadian business.

“We applaud the government’s decision. And we are very supportive of the decision to ask Parliament to undertake a full review of the law” said Mr. Beatty.

Additional information about CASL and the Private Right of Action Provision:
•    CASL regulates the flow of e-commerce by requiring consent to send a commercial electronic message. However the law goes far beyond what most would consider to be spam and includes business to business messages.
•    Under the provisions, companies could be hit with $200 in statutory damages for each contravention, or perceived contravention, not exceeding $1,000,000 for each day.
•    While the balance of CASL remains in force, the PRA was not scheduled to come into force until July 1st 2017.


Your Business Could Be Eligible to Save On Its Electricity Bills

Your business could be eligible to save on their bills the the Ontario Government’s Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) program. This program offers significant cost saving for businesses with average peak demand of over 500 kilowatts. Many of your members might be eligible to save on average one-third off their electricity bills if they apply before June 15, 2017.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has developed an informational flyer with details about the ICI program and how and when to apply. The deadline to apply for the ICI is approaching, please share with your members as soon as possible. Eligible businesses must apply between June 1 – 15. For additional information see the Ministry of Energy’s backgrounder on the ICI program.

You can also help us collect data to inform our future policy work on electricity pricing. Please fill out the Ontario Chamber’s short survey. It is only three questions and takes one minute to complete!


Keep Ontario Working Coalition: Ontario Deserves Evidence-Based Reform

Changes Will Hurt Job Creation, Consumer Costs and Economic Growth

The Keep Ontario Working coalition, in partnership with the Burlington Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), today expressed concern that the Government of Ontario’s Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan, commits to unproven sweeping reforms without ensuring protection against unintended consequences, including job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship.
The Keep Ontario Working Coalition (KOW) is a broad-spectrum group of business sector representatives concerned with sound public policy to help produce jobs and grow Ontario.

As noted in the Business Prosperity Index of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Ontario Economic Report, despite projections that Ontario will lead Canada in economic growth in the coming years, diminished profitability, lower labour market participation, and sluggish market activity; along with other key factors have resulted in a risk-averse atmosphere that businesses are disinclined to grow production. Businesses are questioning if they should grow in Ontario or expand offshore.

Despite that, Ontario’s private sector is still doing its part to support workers. As the Government pointed out in Budget 2017, 98 per cent of all new jobs since the recession in Ontario have been full time, and 78 per cent in above-average wage industries. This positive economic activity by Ontario’s private sector demonstrates a clear commitment to good jobs throughout our province.

The following is a statement by the Keep Ontario Working Coalition on the Government’s proposed workplace reforms:
“We share in the Government’s desire for broadly inclusive growth. However, in order to achieve this, we need to ensure that we are not risking job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship as a result of over-regulation.

“Government cannot regulate prosperity. To demonstrate true fairness and compassion for workers, we must ensure Ontario has a strong economy to help create jobs and increase economic growth.

“That is why we are urging the government to take time this summer to have an independent third party conduct a comprehensive economic impact analysis on the proposed reforms to consider the unintended consequences to employers. In addition, as the province’s biggest employer, the government must fully understand what these changes will cost in relation to the provincial treasury as well as social services and other government agencies.

“Why is evidence-based policy important? Only three years ago, the Premier’s own Minimum Wage Advisory Panel conducted extensive research and concluded: ‘In the Canadian context, researchers have generally found an adverse employment effect of raising minimum wages especially for young workers…typically those studies find that teen employment would drop by 3 to 6 per cent if the minimum wage is raised by 10 per cent.’

“While the Changing Workplaces Review cautioned that any regulatory change shouldn’t impair the competitiveness of businesses in the province, the reforms outlined in Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan thus far do not provide the balance needed to help ensure a competitive environment for Ontario.

 “But we have time. Now we must work cooperatively with government to identify the scale of the economic impact of these changes and help employers transition into any new policy regime. We will continue to be cooperative partners with government to find solutions that will, where possible, inhibit negative impacts on the growth of Ontario’s economy, our people, and our communities.”

Keep Ontario Working Coalition Members
Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS)
Canadian Franchise Association (CFA)
Food & Consumer Products of Canada
Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO)
National Association of Canada Consulting Businesses (NACCB Canada)
Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA)
Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC)
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA)
Restaurants Canada
Retail Council of Canada (RCC)
Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)



Changes would discourage investment, eliminate jobs and diminish economic opportunities in Ontario, especially among small business owners.

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has sent a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne warning against potential changes to Ontario’s Labour Relations Act (LRA) and the Employment Standards Act (ESA), including the introduction of a $15 minimum wage. The letter is cautioning that these reforms may have unintended consequences impacting job creation and competitiveness, as well discouraging investment in the province.

The potential reforms are coming at a time when costs for consumers and the cost of doing business is high and putting Ontario at a competitive disadvantage. Ontario has experienced slower growth in GDP and job creation than in the past, and drastic reforms to labour and employment run the risk of causing serious damage to the future prosperity of the province.

“These sweeping changes could seriously impact job creation and the health of our local economy,” said Keith Hoey, President & CEO of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce. “We need to get the message out that the proposed changes would discourage investment in Ontario, thereby discouraging investment and diminishing economic opportunities in Ontario.”

On issues of non-standard and part-time work, Statistics Canada data shows that part-time work has risen 22 percent since 2003, down from the 36 percent increase in the previous 12-year period. Recent studies show that 76 percent of part-timer workers voluntarily choose part-time work to better accommodate schooling or personal life.

“We are urging Premier Wynne to complete an economic impact analysis of the proposed reforms to limit potential consequences that could seriously jeopardize our future growth,” said Richard Koroscil, Interim-President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “We support reform where and when it is needed, but we caution against change for change’s sake.”

The OCC’s letter reminds the Premier that Ontario's employer community is doing its part to create a better jobs and working conditions in the province. Budget 2017 points out that 98% of all new jobs created since the recession have been full time, and 78% have been above-average wage for their respective industries.

The letter notes that the goals of economic growth and improved employee rights are not mutually exclusive. The OCC believes that what supports the competitiveness of Ontario’s economy can also help enhance quality of work. Increased education and enforcement may assist with compliance to Government regulations and can improve worker environments. Regulatory reform that raises costs for business, only to reduce the ability of business to invest in and grow the labour force is counterproductive.

Read the OCC’s letter to Premier Wynne.

Chamber Hiring Summer Student

The Burlington Chamber is hiring a marketing and communications assistant as a summer position.

Job Description

Marketing & Communications Assistant

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce is looking for a creative, self-motivated, post-secondary student to assist with our marketing and communications needs. We have recently completed a value proposition study and have learned that a gap exists between what we offer and what is perceived as value received by our members. We are looking for a student who can assist with recommending and implementing strategies that will help us to close that gap.

Company Name:        Burlington Chamber of Commerce

Job Title:                     Marketing & Communications Assistant

Reporting to:             President & CEO

Start Date:                  No earlier than June 12, 2017

End Date:                    No later than August 25, 2017

Work        Hours:               9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., 45 minute lunch, four days/wk (This position is for a maximum of 270 hours. Hours and days per week worked can be negotiated.)

Salary:                         $11.40 / hr

Organization Description:

Since 1947, the Burlington Chamber of Commerce has been the voice of business in Burlington, Ontario, giving companies valuable resources and connections to help them grow and succeed.

Standing on our three pillars – Networking, Advocacy, and Education – we support local business by representing their needs at all levels of government, creating opportunities for getting their companies known, encouraging Burlington businesses to work with one another, and providing educational resources for company development.

Our membership consists of about 1,000 businesses in Burlington and the surrounding area. We and have alliances with other Chamber groups, Boards of Trade, and the Ontario and Canadian Chambers.


  • Create and maintain regular communications with chamber members through print and electronic media
  • Create, manage and execute an effective advocacy/communications campaign to address the strategic plan initiative Lead the Way
  • Contribute to routine member communications including, but not limited to:
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Weekly eNews
  • Marketing materials
  • Brainstorm, create and implement evaluation mechanisms to determine the effectiveness of marketing and communications materials and social media activities
  • Conduct a website audit and provide written recommendations concerning needed changes


  • Enrolment in a post-secondary institution in an area related to marketing, communications, social media, web & graphic design
  • Experience with Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and Outlook
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Publisher and Adobe Photoshop
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience with social media platforms
  • Knowledge of Joomla would be an asset
  • Ability to interact comfortably with all staff and Board members
  • Astute attention to detail, with a keen ‘eye’ for design
  • Ability to fine-tune writing and materials to the needs of specific audiences
  • Ability to work independently and take initiative
  • Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills, with a proven ability to multi-task effectively

Please send a cover letter and resume to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

April 27, 2017

Chamber challenges government to clarify where business growth will come from

In response to Budget 2017, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and the Burlington Chamber of Commerce today expressed concern that there is no clear path for long-term fiscal prudence, while commending the government for Ontario’s first balanced budget since the global recession. While there is no deficit over the planning period, there is also no plan for surplus. Given that, downward payment on the debt will be pushed beyond the medium-term. This will place tremendous fiscal burden on future generations and considerable pressure on future economic planning.

“Budget 2017 demonstrates that much of Ontario’s fiscal outlook will depend on the prosperity of our private sector,” said Richard Koroscil, Interim President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “The government acknowledged that business investment spending slowed in 2016, though expects firms to increase investment by 3.1 percent, annually, to 2020 – an amount that would outpace growth in real GDP growth and household spending. These assumptions depend upon business confidence – which has fallen precipitously in recent years according to the Ontario Economic Report – and U.S. demand, which is subject to considerable risk given recent comments by American President Donald Trump.”

Ontario’s revenues rely on the level and pace of economic activity of the province, but Budget 2017 offers limited vision for how to ensure that private-sector economic growth will continue to rise. Promised Corporate Income Tax rate relief, which the government paused following the economic downturn, were not reinstated. In the 2009 budget, the province pledged to reduce the Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate to 10 percent by 2013. Within ten years it was estimated that the value of this CIT reduction would see Ontario benefit by increased capital investment of $47 billion, increased annual incomes of $29.4 billion and an estimated 591,000 net new jobs. However, the CIT reduction promise was halted in 2012 in light of the province’s deteriorating fiscal situation, and so the CIT rate remained at 11.5 percent.

One bright spot in Budget 2017 were details provided around the clear commitment by Ontario’s private sector to providing job growth for the province. The budget suggests that 98 percent of all new jobs since the recession in Ontario have been full time, and 78 percent in above-average wage industries. This positive economic activity by Ontario’s private sector demonstrates a clear commitment to good, quality jobs throughout our province.

“Government must listen to its own budget document on the consistent creation of high-quality jobs when they consider the final report of the Changing Workplaces Review, expected in the coming weeks,” said Koroscil. “While Premier Wynne and others have recently spoken about the rise of part-time work and concern over precarious work more generally, Budget 2017 states that the majority of the jobs created since the recession were in industries that pay above-average wages, in the private sector and in full-time positions.”

•    Ontario will not return to planned Corporate Income Tax cuts, jeopardizing tens of billions of dollars in potential capital investment and hundreds of thousands of news jobs.
•    While there is no deficit over the planning period, there is also no plan for surplus. Ontario’s debt will rise by 21 per cent in the next three years as a result of interest charges, with no plans to begin debt repayment.
•    98% of all new jobs since the recession in Ontario have been full time, and 78% in above-average wage industries. This positive economic activity by Ontario’s private sector demonstrates a clear commitment to good jobs throughout our province and challenges many recent comments about precarious work and the need for the Changing Workplaces Review.
•    Private sector investment is predicted to grow by 3.1 per cent, annually, to 2020, an amount that would outpace growth in real GDP growth and household spending.


Burlington Chamber of Commerce Announces Doug Leggat as the 2017 Distinguished Entrepreneur
April 8, 2017

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce has announced that Doug Leggat, President of Leggat Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC Limited, will receive Burlington’s 2017 Distinguished Entrepreneur Award.

Doug Leggat was chosen as the award recipient to recognize his leadership role in building a successful, high-profile company that positively represents Burlington both locally and regionally. He reflects entrepreneurship through his company and through his philanthropic endeavours giving back to the community. Mr. Leggat opened his first Burlington auto dealership, Leggat Pontiac Buick Cadillac, in 1968 and, since then, he has consistently served Burlington and the surrounding communities with passion, leadership, integrity and generosity. His business has grown from that single dealership 49 years ago to Leggat Auto Group which now owns and operates a total of eleven dealerships in Burlington, Ancaster, Milton, Hamilton, Owen Sound and Toronto. He is a well-known philanthropist in Burlington and has been called a ‘philanthropic superstar’. He was the first chair of the Burlington Community Foundation, chaired Jo Brant Hospital’s first major capital campaign in 1985, and has a long history of personal and corporate giving to many local organizations. He and his dedicated staff have left a positive mark on the Burlington landscape.

Leggat was notified of the award earlier this month. "I was completely shocked when they told me," said Leggat. "I'm very honored to be recognized for this award and I owe this honour to the hard work and dedication of everyone in my organization and especially my family. I'm proud of all we have done in Burlington and for the tremendous support we have received from the community."

This is the fourth time the Chamber of Commerce has accorded the honour to local entrepreneurs and the twelfth time a great Burlington businessperson has been recognized. In previous years the award was called the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The change to Distinguished Entrepreneur is more reflective of the lifetime achievements of the award recipient, according to Keith Hoey, President & CEO of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce. “We’re extremely pleased to be honouring Mr. Leggat with this very prestigious award and we’re looking forward to presenting him with the award at a special dinner this fall,” said Hoey. “The Distinguished Entrepreneur Dinner has a great tradition of recognizing and honouring great Burlington business leaders and it’s important that we acknowledge and thank these people for their contributions to our city.”

The Distinguished Entrepreneur Award Dinner is being held on Thursday, September 28, 2017 at the Burlington Golf and Country Club. Those interested in attending the event can call the Chamber office at 905-639-0174.

     doug leggat 1

Burlington Chamber of Commerce Announces Winners of the Business Excellence Awards

The 2016 Business Excellence Awards were presented at the Burlington Chamber of Commerce Business Awards Gala on April 6 to the delight of the nearly 500 business people in attendance.

Marty Staz, Incoming Chair of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, was proud to announce the winners of the 2016 Business Excellence Awards. This year’s winners are:

  • Service Industry Award (Large): ABL Employment
  • Service Industry Award (Medium): OKD Marketing
  • Service Industry Award (Small): Danyliw & Mann CPAs
  • Retail / Wholesale Award: Burlington Orthotic Centre
  • Manufacturer Award: Anaergia Inc.
  • Not-for-Profit: Food for Life
  • Young Entrepreneur Award: Eric Rodgers – Direct Access Digital

There was also a surprise announcement of the Heritage Award, which was presented to Laurel Steel.

These eight Burlington businesses demonstrate excellence in business leadership, community contributions, entrepreneurship, environmental practices, employee welfare, innovation and growth.

“Each year, a dedicated team of Chamber volunteers puts in countless hours to choose award recipients,” said Staz. “The calibre of businesses operating in Burlington becomes more impressive each year. It is without a doubt that all of tonight’s winners, and finalists, should be proud of their accomplishments.”

The Chamber's Business Awards Task Force is meticulous in its criteria and selection process. Through this process they sometimes find that in some categories there are no nominated companies that meet the highest standards required for an award resulting in no award in that category.  This speaks not only to the integrity of the process, but to the high calibre of the finalists and the winning companies.

Other award winners who were honoured at the Gala were:

  • Mayor’s Sustainable Green Business Award: IKEA
  • Mayor’s Community Service Award Business: MTE Consultants
  • Tourism Burlington’s Ambassador Award: Kelly Arnott, VR Pro

    Winners All web


OCC Calls on Premier Wynne to Prevent Exporting Jobs During the Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy

BURLINGTON, Ont., April 5, 2017: Today the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) with the support of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, sent an open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne calling on the government take action through Budget 2017 to contain the costs of the cap and trade system to better support Ontario’s business community. At a time of low business confidence across the province, and increasing competition from the United States, rising input costs for Ontario business risk negatively impacting jobs and investment in Burlington and across the province.

In the letter, the OCC warns that the province must measure the impact of cap and trade among other input costs to fully understand the cumulative burden facing Ontario’s business community. Because businesses are directly affected by the costs associated with cap and trade, the Government of Ontario must ensure that the revenue and design of the system is allocated and developed in a way that supports Ontario’s business community.

“Our members are quite concerned about the increasing impact of cap and trade on the region’s business,” said Keith Hoey, President & CEO of the Burlington Chamber. “Along with the OCC, we are calling on the Premier to take action and support our businesses and local economy.”

The OCC has identified four priority actions that would assist the business community to better navigate the cap and trade system:

  1. Prioritize the allocation of cap and trade revenue for businesses, in addition to other efforts to offset the cost of cap and trade. Making the process to access resources as quickly as possible will be important, especially for smaller businesses which have little time or money to dedicate to program applications.
  2. Prioritize innovation funding. Many Ontario businesses have already taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Achieving further reductions could be difficult and will often require the implementation of new technologies.
  3. Create greater post-2020 design certainty. Post-2020 certainty is important for businesses looking to make long-term investments in Ontario.
  4. Monitor and respond to regional impacts. To ensure the strategic allocation of cap and trade revenues, government should conduct a regional analysis of the impacts.

“Increased input costs imposed on the private sector mean that Ontario risks losing out on jobs and investment, and risks an economically and environmentally damaging shift in production to jurisdictions that are not taking action to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” said Graham Henderson, Chair of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “More action must be taken. In all policy decisions, the provincial government must consider how we can prevent exporting jobs while importing pollution.”

The letter is aimed at impacting government policy in Budget 2017, and builds on the OCC’s meetings with senior government officials. These meetings have emphasized the need to ensure Ontario’s businesses remain competitive and confident in the face of a changing economy.

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce and Ontario’s Chamber Network have engaged in significant advocacy on the cap and trade issue since 2015. This letter builds on the OCC’s earlier communications to government calling on the Ontario Energy Board to disclose cap and trade costs to taxpayers as a line-item on natural gas bills. Last year, the Ontario Chamber Network also called on the government to delay the implementation of the cap and trade system until 2018.

Arbitration Letter to Premier Wynne
March 1, 2017

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has issued an open letter to Premier Wynne addressing deficiencies in the arbitration system. The letter highlights that in an era of fiscal restraint, especially in an environment where municipalities are greatly restricted in their options to generate new revenue, the cost escalation resulting from settlements is unsustainable. Read the letter.

Focus Spring Legislative Session on Strategic Infrastructure and Lowering Business Costs to Foster Confidence
February 16, 2017

Today, the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), formally released its 2017 pre-budget submission containing recommendations to the Ontario legislature as it looks to begin its spring 2017 legislative session. The submission outlines four key budget priorities and 13 specific recommendations for Queen’s Park to adopt in order to restore fiscal balance and spur economic growth. Specifically, the Burlington Chamber is looking for immediate support for increased broadband infrastructure and for government to demonstrate fiscal prudence and sound budget management.

With more government services going digital, it is critical that citizens from all corners of the province have access to ultra-high-speed Internet. For some areas of the province, a lack of access to broadband has compromised Ontarians abilities to connect with essential government services, and has crippled businesses’ capacity to compete in the technology driven economy. As cited in the OCC’s submission, Government must “bridge the broadband gap” by considering this type of technology as a fundamental piece of infrastructure and address the inadequacy of ultra high-speed Internet in Ontario communities.

“The OCC, in partnership with our diverse Chamber Network, will continue to work with the provincial government to ensure that Ontario prioritizes reducing obstacles to business competitiveness,” said Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of the OCC. “By taking more authoritative action on this issue, we can ensure that Ontario remains an attractive environment for capital investment.”

In the submission, Ontario’s Chamber Network is also calling on the government to send a clear message of fiscal stability by balancing the provincial budget by 2017-2018. Such action would result in a more attractive environment for business investment and growth as well as confront the challenge of mounting input costs, such as electricity prices. As signalled last week in the OCC’s Ontario Economic Report, businesses are maintaining their operations and holding onto cash rather than expanding production or investing. This indicates that industry sees the Ontario economy as high-risk.

“The Government of Ontario must ensure that it addresses recommendations made by the Burlington Chamber of Commerce in their provincial budget in order to support economic growth for Ontario businesses,” said Keith Hoey, President & CEO of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce. “Government must focus on reducing the costs of doing business in Ontario, supporting strategic infrastructure development and strengthening its efforts to bolster business competitiveness that allows Burlington to thrive.”

Addressing the current fiscal context and achieving a balanced budget is an underlying theme throughout the pre-budget submission. Ontario’s Chamber Network is committed to working with the Ontario Government to ensure the future economic success of the province. The submission is largely comprised of policy recommendations that are supported by resolutions passed by Ontario’s Chamber Network at the OCC’s most recent Annual General Meeting.

Ontario Economic Report Forecasts Outlook for Local and Provincial Economy
February 8, 2017

Today, the Burlington Chamber of Commerc, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), released the inaugural Ontario Economic Report (OER), a landmark agenda aimed at shaping and informing future public policy. The OER includes entirely new economic analyses that demonstrate the difficult economic environment faced by Ontario businesses and consumers in 2017. The report also contains exclusive economic information pertaining to Hamilton. 
The report includes the results of the OCC’s new Business Confidence Survey conducted in partnership with Fresh Intelligence, a Business Prosperity Index developed by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), and an Economic Outlook for 2017 prepared by Central 1 Credit Union. These datasets, viewed together, reveal broad challenges to Ontario’s economic health.

“Our research shows that Ontario’s economic climate is posing challenges to the businesses we represent and Ontarians more broadly,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the OCC. “Investment is being held back because of a high perception of risk. We need immediate action in order for our province to continue to grow and prosper.”

Economic outlook data reveal that the unemployment rate in the Hamilton census metropolitan area (CMA) is expected to drop to 5.8 percent (down from 6.2 percent in 2016) and the median residential housing price will be $410,000, reflecting a 4.6 percent increase over last year.

“The OER reinforces many of our policy priorities that arose from our 2016 Barriers to Business Survey” stated Keith Hoey, President & CEO, Burlington Chamber of Commerce. “Rising costs of doing business were the most significant factor impacting business cited by Burlington Chamber members.”

Additional key findings in the OER are from the Business Prosperity Index. This index shows that, despite total business prosperity increasing since 2000, prosperity is increasingly generated from asset and liability management rather than the production of goods or services. This means that Ontario businesses are less likely to earn income from actual business activity today than they have in the past.

While Ontario enjoyed an average 2.6 percent real GDP growth rate between 2000 and 2006, the source of wealth generated from the production of goods and services actually declined by 12 percent during that same period. Since the recovery from the “great recession”, production activities fell a further 12 percent over that period. Broadly, this means Ontario’s business prosperity is increasingly dependent upon non-production, financial activities.

This challenge is a result of the current economic environment, in which increased costs associated with production, regulation and housing have resulted in weak market and labour force activity. Businesses in Ontario are operating in a risk-averse environment in which they are disinclined to grow production by investing or hiring.

“For many years, the voice of Ontario business has cautioned that regulatory burdens, high input costs, and government policies not attuned to innovation have hampered economic growth,” added O’Dette. “The findings in the OER reinforce this, and indicate that there are also structural issues impeding our province’s potential.”

The results of the OER highlight the key policy issues that the OCC intends to prioritize in 2017, including workforce development, infrastructure, energy, and health care. Central to the organization’s work is the notion that industry and government tackle these issues together, in order to grow economic prosperity and drive positive change for all Ontarians.

Taxation Letter a Win for Business
February 7, 2017

Earlier this year, your Chamber of Commerce actively lobby against the federal government’s proposal to tax-employer-sponsored health and dental benefit plans. In addition to hundreds or thousands of dollars that would be added to Canadians' tax bills, this proposal could have meant that many employers could no longer provide coverage to employees. Your chamber lobbied Local MPs Gould and Damoff citing our opposition (see story below). Last Wednesday in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister announced that the government will not be moving forward with the tax. Our message has gotten through and we believe this is a step in the right direction to protect both employers and employees from further tax increases. We will continue to monitor developments, but this is very positive news. The chamber network has a powerful voice when we all work together.

Burlington Chamber of Commerce Announces Business Excellence Award Finalists
February 2, 2017

After months of interviews, meetings and deliberations, the Burlington Chamber of Commerce has announced the finalists for its 2016 Business Excellence Awards.

The Chamber has named 22 local organizations as potential winners of awards in a variety of categories. Award nominations are based on overall business excellence and the criteria include excellence in business leadership, community contributions, entrepreneurship, environment, employee welfare, innovation and market growth.

The finalists are:


  • Anaergia
  • Innovation Plus Power Systems
  • Laurel Steel
  • Xiris Automation Inc.


  • Edge Imaging
  • Burlington Orthotic Centre


  • ABL Employment
  • Prodigy
  • RE/MAX Escarpment Realty Inc, Brokerage

SERVICE (Medium)

  • Bartimaeus Inc.
  • CSN Cars Auto Collision
  • OKD Marketing


  • Danyliw & Mann CPAs
  • Errington Integrated Marketing
  • StarFish Learning


  • Kimberly Calderbank (Yellow Robot)
  • Rob Lyell (Budget Exhaust & Automotive Inc.)
  • Eric Rodgers (Direct Access Digital)


  • Food for Life
  • Halton Learning Foundation
  • Sound of Music Festival
  • The Centre for Skills Development & Training

“The Chamber was faced with some very tough decisions to choose finalists and winners this year” said Keith Hoey, President & CEO of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce. “The calibre of the companies seems to be getting better every year. This is a clear indication of the world-class organizations that carry on business in Burlington and the Chamber of Commerce is pleased to be able to recognize all these organizations.”

While the list of finalists is now public information, the names of the winners remain a closely guarded secret. The winners will be announced at the Chamber Business Awards Gala set for April 6 at the Burlington Convention Centre. This star-studded affair proves to be one of the most anticipated business events of the year.

Also being presented at the Chamber Awards Gala will be Tourism Burlington’s Ambassador Award, and Mayor Rick Goldring’s Sustainable Green Business and Community Service Awards.

If you are interested in attending the Gala, please call the Chamber office at 905-639-0174 or visit the Chamber’s website. Partnership opportunities are available; contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Taxation of Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits
January 30, 2017

The federal government is considering taxing employer-paid health and dental benefits. Along with adding hundreds or thousands of dollars to Canadians’ tax bills, this proposal could cause many employers to stop offering coverage to employees. When Quebec introduced a similar tax, 20% of employers dropped health and dental benefits for employees.

Read the letter that the Burlington Chamber of Commerce sent out to Hon. Karina Gould, MP Burlington and Pam Damoff, MP Oakville North-Burlington copying Hon. Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance.

Ontario's Cap and Trade System
January 26, 2017

There’s been a lot of talk about Ontario’s Cap and Trade system but it can be hard to decipher how it will impact your business. The Ontario Chamber Commerce recently released a document for Ontario businesses outlining the Cap and Trade Program and how businesses will be impacted. Read it here.

Mayor’s State of the City Address Set for January 25

On Wednesday, January 25 the Burlington Chamber of Commerce will host Mayor Rick Goldring’s State of the City Address. The event is open to all Burlington residents.

The 2017 State of the City Address is Mayor Rick Goldring’s seventh address to Burlington residents. The Burlington community can expect this year’s State of the City Address to be a check-up on our city. More specifically, Burlington residents and the business community will hear an update on key indicators of our city, including economy, growth, transportation and our people.

The breakfast event will be held at the Burlington Convention Centre, 1120 Burloak Drive, with registration and breakfast beginning at 7:30 am. 

Seating is limited and all attendees must register in advance. For those interested in attending the event, please visit www.burlingtonchamber.com or call 905-639-0174.

This year’s event is sponsored by Bell Canada, Scotiabank (Brant Street), The Centre for Skills Development and Training, and the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington.

Cost is $45 + HST for Chamber members and $55 + HST for non-members.

Luncheon With Premier Kathleen Wynne

The Premier of Ontario, The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, will speak at a luncheon hosted by the Burlington and Oakville Chambers of Commerce on Friday, January 13. The Premier will be presenting on “A Balanced Plan to Build Ontario Up for Everyone”, outlining the Ontario government’s plan to grow Ontario’s economy and create jobs.

“Our members represent a cross section of businesses of all sizes and sectors. This demonstrates their desire to be engaged within the community and to hear our political leaders first hand” stated Caroline Hughes, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We are very pleased the Premier has accepted our invitation to meet with our members.” Ms. Hughes further commented “Leaders tell us they very much appreciate speaking directly with our members. It gives them an opportunity to listen and interact with people in the real world who face the day-to-day challenges of operating a business.”

Over the course of the summer both the Oakville and Burlington Chambers, along with Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade across the province, engaged in the Small Business: Too Big to Ignore campaign, which highlighted the important contributions of small businesses to our communities and investigated the top barriers to small business growth. Following the campaign, the Ontario Chamber Network released their report Obstacles and Opportunities for Small Business in Ontario. The report identified and offered solutions to the most pressing challenges that Ontario small business owners face; including infrastructure deficits and the rising cost of doing business in Ontario.

“A key role for Chambers of Commerce is to bring people together and ensure there is meaningful dialogue” stated Marty Staz, Chair of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce. “This is why both the Burlington and Oakville Chambers of Commerce are pleased to be able to offer this unique opportunity for our members and their guests to hear the Premier speak. I am sure they are keen to hear directly from Ms. Wynne about her vision for the province and how it will affect the business community.”

Event Details
Friday, January 13, 2017
Time: 11:30am – 1:30am; The Premier speaks from 12:00pm – 12:30pm followed by a moderated Question and Answer forum
Location: Oakville Conference Centre (2515 Wyecroft Road) 
Members $35; Non-members $55

Chamber Office Closed

Please note the Burlington Chamber of Commerce office will be closed from Monday, December 26 inclusive until Monday, January 2, reopening at 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday, January 3. On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff at the Chamber, have a happy holiday season and a prospersous new year.

December 20, 2016

Chambers of Commerce across Ontario continue to push for deferral in provincial cap & trade program to prevent jobs and investment from leaving Ontario.

(Burlington, Ontario) Today Chambers of Commerce across Ontario are continuing the call for a deferral of the Provincial Government’s cap and trade program scheduled to be implemented January 1, 2017, citing high costs of the program layered on top of skyrocketing electricity prices, lack of sector by sector economic impact analysis and a potential change in the policy direction of the United States.

In Ontario, since 2004, electricity prices have increased by 383%, from a flat rate of 4.7 cents a kilowatt hour to 18 cents a kilowatt hour at peak times. The introduction of the cap and trade system will add further charges on natural gas, gasoline and diesel fuel that will be felt by every individual and business in Ontario, both large and small.

A recent Auditor General’s report cites that cap and trade will cost businesses and households about $8 billion between 2017 and 2020. The report also indicates that cap and trade is expected to bring higher electricity prices and outlines that electricity prices are projected to increase by 14% for businesses and 25% for households.

A coalition of Chambers of Commerce is seeking a sector by sector economic impact analysis of cap and trade. “There are many regulatory details that are still unknown about the cap and trade system. We need an understanding of the long-term impact of cap and trade in order to avoid unintended consequences on jobs, investment and electricity prices in the province,” said Keith Hoey, President & CEO of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce.

Chambers of Commerce are also concerned about the uncertainty in the United States and especially those states that are main trading partners with Ontario. With a new President Elect, it is unclear whether or not a majority of states will participate in the cap and trade program. Deferring the program would allow for an analysis of any new policies that may come from the Trump administration in the United States. The United States is our number one trading partner so it is important that we examine what other states are doing to ensure we remain competitive.

The Chamber network passed a resolution at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting in May, 2016 with a number of recommendations on how to mitigate the risk of cap and trade on business. The first recommendation was that the program be deferred until 2018. The resolution cites the compressed timeframe the province is using to implement the system as a concern. While other jurisdictions such as Quebec and California took several years to develop their cap and trade systems, Ontario has fast-tracked the design and implementation of this system. We feel that we are moving too fast, particularly in a challenging economic time.

As a result, Chambers of Commerce across Ontario request that the Ontario government delay the implementation of the cap and trade program for at least one year.