Barrie Haywood, 1935 – 2019

Barrie Haywood, 1935 – 2019

We are truly saddened to hear news of the recent passing of Barrie Haywood, an important member of our Burlington community.

He was a great supporter of BitNet during its lifetime and the Burlington Chamber of Commerce for over 25 years. He was also actively involved within the Burlington community, volunteering for local causes and initiatives.

Barrie had an impact on everyone he encountered: friends, family and strangers were all important to him.

On behalf of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, we would like to offer our sincere condolences to Barrie’s family and friends.

Lydia Jones, 1928 – 2019

Lydia Jones, 1928 – 2019

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Lydia Jones, a pillar of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce community. She contributed to our city while leading the Burlington Chamber of Commerce as the Executive Director from 1980 to 1995 and continued to be active in the community after her retirement.

Last year, Lydia moved to Barrie to be close to her family and passed away shortly after her 92nd birthday.

Lydia was an important figure for women in leadership, coming from the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce in 1980, she was a quietly confident, trailblazer.

She built on past Chamber achievements, which included starting the Teen Tour Band in 1947, from a small town association into a much larger, very effective driving force for the community advocating on behalf of business, but with a strong community commitment. She also participated in the original twinning ceremony, first in Burlington and later in Itabashi Japan in January 1990. That trip resulted in many business people connecting with the Burlington Chamber of Commerce for the next several years.

On behalf of the Burlington Chamber, we offer our deepest condolences to Lydia’s family and friends. Lydia will be greatly missed by the Burlington community. 

2019 Fall Economic Statement

2019 Fall Economic Statement

Rapid Policy Update on the 2019 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review

On November 6, the Government of Ontario released its 2019 Fall Economic Statement entitled, “2019 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: A Plan to Build Ontario Together,” which provides an update on the government’s finances and announces commitments for the upcoming 2020 Budget.


The government announced plans to:

  • Cut the small business Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate to 3.2 percent from 3.5 percent, starting January 2020. 
  • Develop an “Ontario Small Business Success Strategy” in which it will host consultations to better identify the needs of small businesses.

OCC Response:
We would have preferred to see a revenue-neutral restructuring of the Small Business Deduction (SBD) to encourage scaling up of small businesses. This would provide businesses with the right incentives while avoiding a loss in government revenues. The OCC and Ontario Chamber Network look forward to participating in the consultations as the government works to develop and “Ontario Small Business Success Strategy.”


The government announced plans to:

  • Form a Premier’s Advisory Council on Competitiveness to consult with business and make recommendations on improving Ontario’s competitiveness. 
  • As part of the Province’s upcoming Forestry Strategy, the government is investing $10 million annually to support the sector through the renewed  Forestry Growth Fund (FGF). The redesigned FGF will use an open and competitive rounds‐based application process that predominantly uses loans and loan guarantees to support business.

OCC response:
The OCC looks forward to participating in these consultations with government. The OCC has also asked for a Forestry Strategy. We are pleased to see movement on supporting innovation and competitiveness in this industry.


The government announced plans to:

  • Consult on ways to encourage investment into rural and undercapitalized areas of the province. 
  • The government plans to engage with rural stakeholders on the proposed Ontario Regional Immigration Pilot.
  • Beginning with a session at the 2020 Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference, the government will conduct a series of consultations with rural stakeholders on economic development challenges and opportunities in their regions.

OCC response:

The OCC supports measures to improve access to capital for businesses in rural regions. In The Great Mosaic: Reviving Ontario’s Regional Economies, we recommend introducing a Rural Investment Tax Credit (RITC). The OCC supports efforts to encourage immigrants to live and work in rural and Northern communities, adding more skilled workers to communities where they are needed most. 

The OCC and the Ontario Chamber Network look forward to participating in the government’s consultations with rural stakeholders to address economic development challenges and opportunities.


The government has announced plans to:

  • The Government of Ontario is proposing to simplify industrial electricity billing and introduce advisory services to assist businesses with navigating regulatory approvals and connection issues. The government will also direct the IESO to retain an independent third party to undertake a targeted review of existing generation contracts for opportunities to reduce electricity system costs.

OCC response:
Industrial electricity rates are one of the top factors affecting business competitiveness in Ontario. While the OCC is pleased with commitments to review existing generation costs and help businesses navigate the electricity system, more can be done to reduce industrial electricity rates. In particular, we would like to see the government consider revisions to industrial rate structures to support businesses that have not benefited from the program, as recommended in our submission on industrial electricity rates.


The government has announced plans to:

  • The Government of Ontario will propose legislation to reduce the aviation fuel tax rate in North Ontario to 2.7 cents per litre from the current 6.7 cents per litre, returning it to 2014 levels. This change would take effect on January 1, 2020.

OCC response:
Between 2014 and 2016, Ontario’s aviation fuel tax increased by nearly 150 percent, making it the highest in Canada. This acts as a financial barrier to many of Ontario’s attractions, particularly in northern and remote communities, where other forms of travel may be infeasible for visitors. While this announcement is a good first step, the OCC would like to see the aviation fuel tax in all communities be lowered to match other Canadian provinces.


The government announced plans to:

  • The Government of Ontario announced that it will begin its first‐ever assessment of how climate change will affect Ontario’s economy, infrastructure, communities, public health and safety, and ecosystems.

OCC response:
The OCC applauds this decision. An assessment of climate change impacts will enable the province to take meaningful steps to protect Ontarians and the economy.


The government has announced plans to:

  • The Government of Ontario announced that it will amend legislation to allow authorized cannabis retail stores to sell cannabis online or over the phone, with pick-up by the consumer in-store (also known as click-and-collect).

OCC response:
As recommended in our recreational cannabis report, Supporting Ontario’s Budding Cannabis Industry, the OCC supports this decision as it offers a consumer-friendly option to purchase legal cannabis, allows retailers to better serve customers, and will help combat the illegal market.


The government announced plans to:

  • The Government of Ontario announced that the Ministry of Finance will consult with representatives from industry, retail associations, public health, and First Nations communities to address contraband tobacco.

OCC Response:
The OCC applauds this decision given that contraband takes away revenue from the Province, Ontario accounts for the lion’s share of contraband tobacco in Canada, and the profits are used to fund organized crime. The OCC is undertaking a comprehensive report on the tobacco and vaping industries and looks forward to providing the Province with analysis in December 2019.


The government plans to:

  • Introduce legislation to pause wine and beer tax increases.

OCC Response:
In our beverage alcohol report, Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario, the OCC undertook a comprehensive analysis on the tax issues facing all four categories – wine, beer, cider, and spirits. While the OCC is pleased that the government will introduce legislation that, if passed, would pause wine and beer tax increases, we encourage them to take a comprehensive approach to reforms. Neglecting to consider taxation as it pertains to cider and spirits would serve to reinforce inequities between producers in Ontario.


The OCC would have liked to have seen new announcements in the following areas:

  • Considerable new infrastructure investments, especially in rural and Northern Ontario, as well as the development of adaptable and resilient infrastructure standards.
  • A commitment to streamlining public funding programs and removing regulatory barriers that limit private sector investment in high-speed broadband internet
  • Meaningful transformation in health care, particularly related to value-based care, digital health, and modernizing procurement and supply chain processes.
  • A clear commitment and timeline on the government’s plan to implement an open allocation model for licenses for retail cannabis based on demand. 
  • With the dissolution of the Ontario College of Trades, further details on what the stewardship process looks like for apprentices and journeypersons.



The Importance of Small Businesses

The Importance of Small Businesses

Chamber Network Highlights Importance of Small Business to Ontario Economy and Communities

Ontario Chamber Network kicks off Small Business Week 2019 Too Big To Ignore Campaign

(Burlington, October 21, 2019) –  Today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and the Burlington Chamber of Commerce launched Small Business Too Big To Ignore, a campaign taking place October 21 to 25, 2019 for Small Business Week highlighting the important contributions of small businesses to communities across the province.

“Small businesses of 100 or fewer employees are the core of our membership and employ nearly 3 million Ontarians, accounting for over two-thirds of all private sector workers. They are powerful economic drivers in local communities and across the province. That is why for Small Business Week, we’re identifying the challenges small business owners face and celebrating everything they give back to our province,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

The OCC’s report, Obstacles and Opportunities: The Importance of Small Business in Ontario, highlights the contributions of small businesses to the provincial economy, while also recognizing, and offering solutions to, the most pressing challenges that small business owners face.

The report identifies the top three obstacles for small businesses in Ontario:

  1. Small businesses need access to talent.
  2. Small businesses need government investment in infrastructure; and
  3. Small businesses are concerned about the rising costs of doing business.

“Small businesses make up 98 per cent of all Ontario businesses and account for 30 per cent of the provincial GDP. They are the backbone – and heart – of our community,” said Carla Y. Nell, President and CEO of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce. “This week, we’re proud to engage with small businesses across Burlington to recognize and celebrate the significant role they play in our economy and broader community. We also want to discuss how we can support them to ensure they are not ignored.”


For more information or to arrange an interview:

Carla Y. Nell

Burlington Chamber of Commerce

905-639-0174 ext. 7212

Small Business Week 2019

Small Business Week 2019

In partnership with:

Small Business Week runs from October 20th – 26th

Small Business Week is an annual celebration of Canadian entrepreneurship. Events held during the week bring entrepreneurs together for workshops, networking, and tradeshows across the country.

Small Business Week is about celebrating the amazing things being done in our own neighbourhood. We are hosting a variety of events available to members and non-members. You do not need to be a small business owner or employee to attend!

As a tireless advocate for local businesses, the Burlington Chamber of Commerce invites you to join them in celebrating small businesses and the incredible contributions they make to our community!

Why celebrate Small Business Week?

According to the Government of Canada, small businesses account for 97.7% of all businesses.

That’s a lot of businesses to celebrate! Help us recognize the people behind our businesses in Burlington and the hard work they put in all year round.