Chamber Advocacy: Reports and Policy Submissions
A significant portion of what a Chamber does for its members is behind the scenes. Constant contact with municipal, provincial and federal governments, understanding legislation which will effect our members, and finding out from our members what systems, processes, red tape or rules are becoming too onerous to contend with, is just a little of what this massive advocacy piece contains. We facilitate positive change, benefiting our local business community.
The PEC Chamber Advocacy Committee (consisting of Chamber board members, staff and representatives from the general membership) examines issues that are relevant and important to the Chamber’s members through a process.
The following articles represent recent files where the PEC Chamber is directly credited with involvement on printed reports and documents. For further information, or to submit and issue for the committee to review, please contact us.
The Prince Edward County Chamber of Commerce undertook an initial review of the Mobile Canteen, Food Truck and Refreshment Vehicle By-Law 1778-2006 with leadership from its Advocacy Committee in the fall of 2019. As the global pandemic took hold in 2020, the process that had been initiated was paused. It was activated again in early 2021, with input from PEC Chamber members, community businesses, and food truck operators. The review provided recommendations and identified opportunities to modernize the by-law, minimize general risk for the business community, and help operational functions of the mobile food industry.
The Prince Edward County Chamber has developed the "Establishment of Small Vessel Marine Trades in Ontario to include Marine Electrician, Service Technician and the overall expansion for Marine Training Certifications across Ontario." Thank you to Chamber Member Swiftsure Vessel, Loyalist College, Georgian College, Ontario Boaters Association and others for their support in crafting this document. This advocacy issue was passed at the 2021 OCC AGM and will make its way to Queen’s Park & Parliament Hill.
Contributing over $47 billion to the provincial GDP and supporting close to 861,000 jobs, Ontario’s agri-food sector is a significant economic driver that has the potential to stimulate the province’s economic recovery. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the food supply chains in Ontario and Canada experienced numerous pressures such as panic buying and shifts in consumptions levels and consumer spending. Ultimately, while the pandemic caused parts of the food supply chain to bend, the chain itself did not break. The food system stabilized relatively quickly and continued to provide Canadians with uninterrupted access to food. This owes to the overall strength and resiliency of the many sub-sectors that make-up Ontario’s complex food supply chain.
The pandemic not only exposed certain issues, such as the inadequacies associated with the AgriStability program, but it also accelerated longstanding issues, such as the shift to e-commerce and rising food insecurity – issues that will extend beyond the pandemic if left unaddressed.
The COVID-19 crisis is having a disproportionate economic impact on women. There are several reasons for this. First, temporary business shutdowns and layoffs during the state of emergency most severely affected occupations and sectors that predominantly employ women. Second, these sectors are those in which women entrepreneurs are more likely to operate, and their businesses are newer, smaller, under-financed, and more vulnerable than those owned by men. Third, restrictions on schools and paid child care facilities have shifted additional hours of unpaid family care onto parents, and this work has largely been taken up by mothers. Fourth, while women are dominating the frontline responses to the COVID pandemic, they have not been included in the planning for recovery.
The pandemic has also exacerbated existing inequality and has been especially challenging for certain groups of women, including racialized women, Indigenous women, single mothers, low-income women, immigrant women, women with disabilities, and those living in rural areas.
The long-term impacts of COVID-19 on women in the workforce remains unknown. However, with women’s labour force participation at a record low, decades of progress towards gender equality are at stake. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) strongly believes this is not only a watershed moment for women but for Ontario’s economy and society more broadly, as women’s participation in the labour market is a precondition to its fulsome economic recovery and future prosperity.
Ontario Supporting Women in Post-COVID Economy
Ask – In the OCC report, The She-covery Project: Confronting the Gendered Economic Impacts of COVID-19 in Ontario, we called on the government to take the steps to support women as their efforts to join or re-enter the labour force. We called on the Government of Ontario to offer financial support (including loans, scholarships, and child care subsidies) that would enable women’s participation in reskilling in addition to design skilling, upskilling and, reskilling programs that respond to women’s needs through flexible formats, customized support and wrap-around services.
Win – On November 18, the government of Ontario announced an additional $500,000 in the Investing in Women’s Futures Program bringing total funding to $2.7 million this year. The additional funding will help improve the delivery of online services to increase access for women who are not able to attend in-person due to dependent care responsibilities, mobility and/or living in a rural or remote community and provide greater access to counselling and other wrap-around supports to bolster their physical and mental health and safety.
June 22, 2020
Small Business, Big Impact: How SMEs are Pivoting During COVID-19 highlights a range of Ontario’s SMEs that have successfully adapted during this difficult time.
With the path forward for Ontario’s economy still uncertain, SMEs across the province are rapidly adapting their business models and operations to survive the crisis. Read the release.
February 26, 2020
The 2020 iteration of the OER reveals new facets of Ontario’s competitiveness, including the perception gap between micro- and macroeconomic realities, how friendly (or not) the business environment is for small firms, and the oft-significant differences in experience among regions of the province. These are factors all tiers of government and industry must consider as they seek to make Ontario competitive for business.
Recently the OCC released the Ontario Chamber Network’s Alcohol Report, Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario, with recommendations that your PEC Chamber, and our membership, have actively participated in developing. The Beverage Alcohol industry impacts and supports a number of adjacent industries, including farming, tourism and hospitality. The power of beverage alcohol to be a force for economic development – particularly rural economic development – should be reflected in policy making. As a member of the Ontario Chamber Network and its diverse 60,000 members, our mission is to support economic growth by defending business priorities.
With that said, please click here to access the Ontario Chamber Network’s Alcohol Report, Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario. This report outlines how the Province could modernize the sale and distribution of beverage alcohol responsibly and promote growth across all four categories-wine, beer, spirits, and cider. Click here for a “Key Highlights” document from the report.
Since March, the PEC Chamber has been participating in the development of the report and was pleased to have hosted the OCC for 2 days in May, including 6 round-table discussions at the Chamber office, with contributions to the report coming from over 25 local businesses across all 4 beverage alcohol sectors in The County. Our guests from the OCC policy department were also delighted to have visited and toured 18 businesses, restaurants and sights in the County during their stay.
As a Chamber Network we hope to achieve the following with this report:
- With the end of the VQA Wine Support Program, the cancellation of the Small Cidery and Small Distillery Support Program, and the lack of funding geared towards promoting beverage alcohol tourism, we note that the industry is at a critical juncture.
- We aim to encourage the Province to take a comprehensive, rather than a piecemeal, approach to reform. Doing so would level the playing field and address existing inequities facing all 4 categories – wine, beer, spirits, and cider.
- As the Province must work with all 4 categories, the LCBO, and public health officials to bring about reforms that benefit consumers, producers, and the province alike.
By removing barriers and leveling the playing field, the Province can unleash the potential of the beverage alcohol sector, support regional economic development, meet the needs of today’s consumer, and generate greater tax revenue to fund the public services on which Ontarians rely. The power of the beverage alcohol sector to be a force for economic growth extends beyond just the expected industries. The production, distribution, and sale of alcohol has a ripple effect that benefits agriculture, tourism and hospitality, and retail in all corners of the province.
Following the release of the County’s draft licensing bylaw and regulations for short term accommodations, the Prince Edward County Chamber of Commerce received numerous questions, comments, and concerns from our members.
The Chamber held a special Policy and Governmental Affairs Committee Meeting and invited Chamber members to attend to voice their questions and concerns regarding the proposed Licensing Bylaw for short-term accommodations in the County.
The result is a policy and recommendations paper, respectfully submitted by the Board of Directors and the Policy and Governmental Affairs Committee of the Chamber.