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The Political Round Up

Author: Brad Butt, Mississauga Board of Trade

 

Local and Regional

The Mississauga Board of Trade is the voice of business at the City of Mississauga and Region of Peel levels of government.

COVID19 Pandemic

All Governments have been focused on the effects of the COVID19 pandemic on the economy and general way of life.  Local governments like the City of Mississauga and Region of Peel have enacted a number of initiatives to assist business during this unprecedented time.

The Mississauga Board of Trade was constantly engaged in this issue including advocating for business support programs and business re-openings as soon as possible.

Property tax and utility payment deferrals, special rules to allow restaurant patios to expand and waiving of fees for permits have all been approved.  The Region of Peel Public Health Department has been the lead on determining the re-opening of business during the pandemic.

Mississauga City Council passed a by-law in July 2020 to make the wearing of masks mandatory in all indoor spaces including businesses.

Peel Region provides excellent resources for businesses as they re-open to ensure they do so in a healthy and safe way.  Visit https://www.peelregion.ca/coronavirus/ for more information.

The City of Mississauga Economic Development Office has also played a very important role in providing support to business during the COVID19 pandemic.  The Mississauga Board of Trade is a strong partner with the city to help businesses as they deal with the effects of this situation. 

There are lots of good resources at https://web.mississauga.ca/city-of-mississauga-news/covid-19-recovery/guidance-for-businesses/.

 

Tourism Mississauga

The City of Mississauga has established Tourism Mississauga and appointed a Board of Directors to oversee tourism activities in the city.  The Mississauga Board of Trade is part of the corporation to ensure the voice of business at large is included in its work.

The Corporation is funded through the Municipal Accommodation Tax which is a 4% charge on overnight hotel and motel stays and is remitted to the City of Mississauga.  In a typical year, this could yield as much as $10 million of which 50% of that money must be allocated to Tourism Mississauga.

Work is very much ongoing to make Mississauga a strong tourism destination for sports, cultural, artistic and business activities.

More can be found at www.visitmississauga.ca.

 

Mississauga Climate Change Action Plan

The City of Mississauga has adopted a Climate Change Action Plan to help minimize and prepare Mississauga for the impacts of a changing global climate.  The Plan sets out specific goals the City wishes to achieve.

The first goal is Mitigation to reduce corporate and community GHG emissions 80% by 2050, as compared to 1990 levels, with a long-term goal of becoming a net zero community and position the City competitively in the emerging low carbon economy. As this is a ten-year plan, an interim GHG reduction milestone of 40% by 2030 has also been set.

The second goal is Adaptation to increase resilience and the capacity of the corporation and community to withstand and respond to future climate events by taking action on the highest climate-related risks.

MBOT is actively involved as a stakeholder in this to ensure the voice of business is included in the plan’s development.  MBOT is a non-voting participating member of the City of Mississauga Environmental Action Committee.

The City of Mississauga is now looking at programs and services that could be offered to businesses to help them achieve GHG reductions and energy conservation.  It will also partner with groups like Partners for Project Green which has access to funds for similar programs.

 

Cannabis Retail Stores

The City of Mississauga decided at its December 12, 2018 Council meeting, that it will opt out and not allow privately-operated cannabis retail stores in Mississauga.

MBOT believes that this was a short-sighted decision and that Council, now armed with the success of the roll-out of cannabis stores throughout Ontario, should re-consider its decision.

Recent events and the rise of illegal dispensaries in Mississauga have led some politicians to ask that the City of Mississauga re-consider its decision to opt out.  MBOT will continue its advocacy role to get Mississauga City Council to change its decision in 2020.

 

Official Plans

Both the City of Mississauga and Region of Peel are reviewing their official plans in 2020 which is a statutory requirement under the Planning Act.  While most of Mississauga is developed, the Official Plan still sets out important terms for redevelopment and intensification as well as land use definitions.  MBOT will be involved in these reviews to ensure that valuable employment lands are protected, and that residential encroachment does not threaten existing business uses.

 

Noise By-law Review

The City of Mississauga is reviewing its two noise by-laws in an effort to modernize them and have them better reflect community concerns.  MBOT is involved in this review to ensure that business operations are not unfairly affected by any proposed changes.  While many businesses are adapting to environmental sensitivities some operations do create noise issues.  The potential changes will cover aspects such as the complaint response process, residential and construction noise exemptions, permitted periods for amplified sound and noise thresholds.

 

2021 City of Mississauga Budget

The City of Mississauga presented a preliminary 2021 budget to City Council in late June 2020 along with an update on the financial impact of COVID19 on the City’s 2020 budget.  The City has established seven financial recovery principles to provide guidance in making financial decisions throughout the pandemic recovery.  These include:

  • Public Health is the first priority
  • Preserve the long-term strength of the property tax base
  • Comply with legislation
  • Allow other levels of government time to fulfill their mandates
  • Use reserves appropriately to manage financial challenges
  • Deviation from the financial plan should not be permanent
  • Assess approved and future budgets and business plans to reconfirm priorities, including service levels

 

Staff will continue to refine the budget and look for ways to trim the proposed increases. Early numbers show the equivalent of a 9.2 per cent budget increase to the City’s 2021 Operating Budget due primarily to a 5.7 per cent increase from the COVID-19 impacts on revenue and costs and a 2 per cent infrastructure levy to help the City maintain existing roads, bridges and buildings and plan for their upkeep in the future. Foregoing the 2 per cent infrastructure levy would result in a loss of $90 million in revenue over ten years, slowing the City’s ability to renew and build new infrastructure.

This would be the equivalent of a residential property tax increase of 3.24 per cent while businesses would see a 1.98 per cent increase on their bills for the city portion of the tax bill.

 

Provincial Government

MBOT works very closely with our partners at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) on issues with the Ontario Government.  Our Committees work hard looking at resolutions, policy documents, government announcements on consultations to ensure the voice of Mississauga businesses is advanced on provincial issues.  Members of MBOT are automatic members of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

For more information on the OCC, please visit www.occ.ca.

 

Business Re-openings During COVID19

On June 24, 2020 the Government of Ontario allowed businesses in Peel Region to move to Stage 2 of re-openings after more than three months of mandatory business closures due to the health pandemic.  Most retail, personal service stores and outdoor patios at restaurants and bars were permitted to open.

The Ministry of Labour, Skills Development & Training has developed guidelines for return to work and help on how to develop a workplace safety plan for business.  It can be accessed at https://www.ontario.ca/page/develop-your-covid-19-workplace-safety-plan.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has developed a business support package as well.  It can be accessed at https://occ.ca/covid19/.

 

Commercial Tenant Eviction Moratorium

The Government of Ontario enacted legislation that prohibits commercial tenancy evictions in light of COVID19 from May 1 – August 31, 2020 if the landlord and tenant qualify for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program.

Landlords and tenants are encouraged to participate in the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The pause on evictions does not apply to those participating in CECRA for small businesses, as the program requires landlords to enter into a rent reduction agreement with their impacted small business tenants and commits them to a moratorium on evictions for three months.

 

Electricity Rates

The Ontario Government announced that companies that participate in the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) will not be required to reduce their electricity usage during peak hours, as their proportion of Global Adjustment charges for these companies will be frozen.  The Ontario government is helping large industrial and commercial companies return to full levels of operation without the fear of electricity costs spiking by providing more stable electricity pricing for two years.

 

Federal Government

MBOT members are also members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) which is the national voice of business to the federal government.  MBOT staff and Committees examine issues and resolutions of the CCC and provide Mississauga’s input.  More information on the CCC is at www.chamber.ca.

 

COVID19

The Government of Canada has developed significant support programs for businesses and workers during the COVID19 pandemic.  Some of the programs include:

  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit
  • Canada Emergency Business Account
  • Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program

All of these support programs provide direct financial assistance to businesses and/or workers to help offset the financial situation caused by COVID19.

More information on all of the programs is available at https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html.

 

Canada-United States-Mexico (CUSMA) Trade Agreement

On July 1, 2020, the new CUSMA trade agreement became in effect.  Signed on the margins of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires in November 2018, CUSMA outcomes preserve key elements of the long-lasting trading relationship and incorporate new and updated provisions that seek to address 21st-century trade issues and promote opportunities for the nearly half a billion people who call North America home.

 

Canadian Business Resilience Network

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) along with several other national business associations established the CBRN to help Canadian businesses through the COVID19 pandemic.

In partnership with the Government of Canada, it created a coordinated, business-led, inclusive campaign in both official languages, with the overarching goals of mitigating the impact of the pandemic on our economy, our communities and our citizens, and positioning business to help drive Canada’s economic recovery.

The overarching goal of the campaign is to mitigate impacts on business and the economy and build resilience against future shocks. To achieve this goal, CBRN helps businesses to:

Prepare – By providing insights, best practices and tools to help businesses be ready to sustain operations through the crisis, and a potential second wave, and to plan for a strong and speedy recovery.

Persevere – By advocating for timely and effective economic policy and stimulus, providing information and insights to inform decision-making and highlighting services to support operational health.

Prosper – By introducing new policy recommendations, program ideas and recovery initiatives that can be implemented while remaining vigilant about COVID-19. 

For full details on the program, visit https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/.

 

CBRN Small Business Relief Fund Supports Two MBOT Members

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Salesforce announced on June 29, 2020 that 62 businesses received a $10,000 grant from the CBRN Small Business Relief Fund.

More than 1100 small businesses across Canada applied to the relief fund. The recipients best demonstrated their financial strain, how the business will use the grant to change or innovate, how the change or innovation will sustain the business’s recovery and allow it to prosper, and how the grant will support the role each business plays in their community.

The fund was managed by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and made possible through the generosity of Salesforce. The funding was designed to help small businesses across the country stay afloat and support their recovery efforts, paying salaries, retrofitting their workplaces and acquiring technology to adapt their business model.

MBOT is proud to announce that members AGS Rehab Solutions and Sensyst – The Business Interiors Group were recipients of the grant.

 

People Outside Safely Together (POST)

The Government of Canada has created the POST program in association with Canadian business.  The POST Promise is a self-declaration that a business is working to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Once completed, a business is provided with the necessary communication and implementation tools to educate employees on the five key steps to workplace safety, which were created to be consistent with what has been recommended by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

To participate in the program go to https://www.postpromise.com/.



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