As outlined in last month’s article, it has been a challenging year for small business owners with the introduction of numerous regulatory and legislative changes that will have a direct impact on the success of business operations. Your Thunder Bay Chamber will always continue to push back against government directives that add costs that make it harder for businesses to succeed. We are realistic enough to know that there are times when governments listen and adjust plans accordingly; as well as times when it feels like we are talking to a brick wall. This month has shown us a little of both regarding Government response.
On the Federal front, the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance have heard our voices and are making changes to the proposed corporate tax changes to try to address the needs of small business owners. You can see an update of the revised proposals here. While there is still some uncertainty about these revisions and perhaps they do not go as far as many would like, we are pleased that the united voices of Chamber members from across the country have resonated with Minister Morneau and his department.
On the Provincial front, the Premier and Minister of Labour seem to have doubled-down in their efforts to convince us that Bill 148 Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act will have only positive outcomes, despite the numerous concerns that have been raised about significant unintended consequences for local jobs and our most vulnerable citizens. It is extremely disappointing that the Ontario Government has not yet lived up to their promises of offsets and supports to help businesses adjust to these dramatic changes and related increasing costs. However, we have not given up and are once again outlining our concerns to the Standing Committee as they review the legislation this week.
In the absence of support from the Province, our Chamber looked for resources to assist our membership in business planning. We have worked with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and accounting firm MNP to release a comprehensive handbook that provides strategies to help businesses navigate the incoming changes from Bill 148. We hope this handbook will help to round out your planning processes as we count down to the implementation of the legislation.
We have also heard about many conversations that are happening in our city as business owners come together to share ideas about how they can reduce the impacts and adjust their business models for this new environment. In times like these, our close-knit business community is a huge asset that we can put to use by supporting each other as partners, customers, and collaborators because we know that businesses that work together are stronger than those that stand alone.
This month, take a moment to reach out to a neighbouring business to tell them you appreciate their contribution to our community and offer your support as customer, collaborator and cheerleader. Together, we are stronger.