TORONTO—Federal policies are acting as a barrier to growth in Ontario, according to a new report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC).
The report, A Federal Agenda for Ontario, claims federal policies are impeding growth in the province, with the OCC calling on the federal government to play a more productive role in improving Ontario’s economic competitiveness.
According to the report, federal approaches to areas like training, immigration, infrastructure and economic development are hurting Ontario and its businesses.
“The federal government has done much to help Ontario during the downturn, including supporting the harmonized sales tax (HST) and helping bailout the auto sector,” OCC president and CEO Allan O’Dette said in a statement.
“But Ontario’s economy is still recovering, and we need the federal government to continue to seek ways to drive economic growth in the province.”
The report says that Ontarians contribute $12.3-billion more into the federation than what they get back, and in many key areas, federal government policy is not aligned with provincial priorities.
“This misalignment isn’t the fault of any single government or party,” O’Dette said. “Our intention isn’t to pit one government against another. Instead, we’ve come up with an evidence-based case for how the federal government can help Ontario’s economy grow.”
The report makes 14 recommendations on how to reform policies relating to immigration, training, employment insurance, manufacturing, infrastructure, Aboriginal education, local economic development and the way that the federal government distributes wealth across the country.
With the exception of reforms to Aboriginal education, these recommendations do not require the federal government to spend more money, the OCC says.
“Ontario businesses are optimistic that the province will emerge from this period of economic uncertainty stronger and more competitive than ever,” O’Dette said. “This is best achieved when we work collectively to create the right conditions.”