Reduce business property taxes to make Ontario more competitive: Toronto Region Board of Trade
April 23, 2018 | By CGLR |
TORONTO, ON, April 23, 2018 — To mitigate the costs of an increased minimum wage and high energy prices faced by Ontario business, Toronto Region Board of Trade (the Board) is calling on the campaigning parties to harmonize and cut provincial property taxes on businesses.
In its Competitiveness playbook, the Board reveals while Ontario’s diverse and highly-skilled labour force makes Ontario an economic powerhouse, recent political decisions make the province less competitive than its North American peers.
“While Ontario has all the right ingredients to succeed, we’re falling behind in key areas where the government makes, or influences policy, notably labour costs, housing affordability and energy prices,” said Jan De Silva, President & CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade. “Our government must build a foundation for our businesses to grow and for Ontario to be one of the most competitive and sought after business regions in the world.”
Overall, Ontario received a middling ‘C’ grade across 18 indicators businesses consider when determining their capacity to expand within and outside our borders. While the ranking reflects Ontario’s strengths, such as a skilled workforce with high general and female participation rates, it also reveals areas requiring improvement to increase jobs, boost wages, foster greater innovation and generate economic growth.
“With Ontario businesses feeling the impact of the rising minimum wage, significant labour reforms, recent corporate tax cuts in the US, and rising input costs, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has been advocating that the next provincial government reduce the overall tax burden on business,” said Rocco Rossi, President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “The Board’s call for a return to provincial business property tax reduction and harmonization is a smart way for Ontario to strengthen its competitive advantage.”
The Board recommends the next provincial government harmonize and cut provincial property taxes on businesses to:
- Reduce the overall tax burden on business to free up more funds for employment and investment;
- Provide a response to U.S. corporate tax cuts to increase investor confidence in Ontario;
- Benefit all businesses, particularly small businesses most affected by high energy and wage costs; and,
- Promote fairness by eliminating different rates in municipalities across Ontario.
“The binational Great Lakes region, shared by eight U.S. states and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, is North America’s economic engine. While Ontario remains a key feature of the regional economy, data shows the province runs the risk of becoming less competitive than many of its peer jurisdictions in today’s borderless global economy,” said Mark Fisher, Chief Executive Officer, Council of the Great Lakes Region. “The softening of Ontario’s competitive position has shorter and long-term impacts, including the ability to sustain and invest in the province’s social and broader economic programs, such as health care, public education and infrastructure renewal.”
The Competitiveness playbook is based on a joint study conducted by the Board, the Conference Board of Canada and the Council of the Great Lakes Region. Ontario’s relative attractiveness in relation to 14 other competing jurisdictions—including Quebec and 13 U.S. states—were selected due to the importance of cross-border activity in the Great Lakes region and the growing importance of the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor as an Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster.
This is the fourth report in the Board’s Agenda for Growth Election Campaign, a series of comprehensive policy playbooks putting forward a thoughtful strategy for the economy and its residents to fuel the region’s competitiveness and drive Ontario’s success. The campaign launched with the release of the Energy playbook in November 2017, followed by the Transit playbook in January 2018 and the Housing playbook in February 2018. The Board will take the same campaign approach with the upcoming Toronto municipal election in October 2018.
Positioning the Toronto region as a global champion
The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential chambers of commerce in North America. Our constant flow of ideas, people and introductions to citybuilders and government officials firmly roots us as connectors for—and with—the business community. Backed by more than 12,000 members, we advocate on behalf of business for policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region. We act as catalysts to make Toronto one of the most competitive and sought-after business regions in the world, which starts with the success of our members. Learn more at bot.com and follow us @TorontoRBOT.
For further information:
Toronto Region Board of Trade
President and CEO
Council of the Great Lakes Region