Members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce have been successful in having at least two policy recommendations find their way into a pre-budget document submitted by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to the provincial government.
A resolution touting support for an expansion of broadband internet access throughout the province is one of those issues for which the Chamber received approval. The other was a recommendation that the province allow the children of small business owners to have access to student loans.
Both initiatives came from the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and were subsequently adopted by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce at its most recent Annual General Meeting.
The pre-budget submission (available here) by the Chamber includes a recommendation that the government demonstrate fiscal prudence and sound budget management.
The government is also being urged to address a significant infrastructure deficit by investing funds strategically.
Locally, one of the areas being highlighted by Chamber members is funding for the Oversized Load Corridor, an initiative that would help foster conditions for increased business competitiveness.
Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, said being part of a province-wide group of businesses like the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, helps leverage the influence local members have in the political process.
“The key thing here is that our membership is being heard beyond our community, which amplifies the urgency of issues that we believe will help drive the economy in the right direction,” she said.
Having issues that are important to Sarnia Lambton being supported throughout the province strengthens the likelihood that the provincial government will adopt those positions.
“In this case, we have strength in numbers,” added de Silva.
The pre-budget consultation document, released by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce early Thursday, also included calls for the province to be more transparent when it comes to the divestiture of Crown assets, an issue that at least in part referenced provincial government moves to sell parts of Ontario Hydro.
The pre-budget submission encourages the provincial government to improve conditions that will allow municipalities to thrive.
“We are very focused here in Sarnia-Lambton in urging the government to be strategic in the way it handles taxpayer funds,” added de Silva. “It’s by taking unified positions like we have here and throughout the province that real progress can be made.”