MEDIA RELEASE: Business Confidence Improves but More Remains to be Done: 2019 Ontario Economic Outlook

(Toronto – February 19, 2019) – Today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released its third annual Ontario Economic Report (OER), offering a unique perspective on the experience of businesses of all sizes across the province. Through the Business Confidence Survey, the Business Prosperity Index, and the Economic Outlook, this report presents a candid look at private sector sentiment and opportunities for economic growth for the year ahead.

“New research shows that businesses are gaining confidence in Ontario’s economic outlook as well as gaining confidence in themselves. At the same time, challenges relating to access to talent, embracing technological innovations, and the cost of doing business—including regulation, taxation, and input prices—remain major sources of concern,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the OCC. “Ontario’s overall prosperity depends on the strength of its regional economies, yet these vulnerabilities are expected to be most acutely felt in rural regions of the province. We should all be concerned that the province’s employment growth has been largely concentrated in the Greater Golden Horseshoe since 2003, while other regions have experienced slow or even negative growth during that same period.”

This landmark document is aimed at shaping and informing future public policy and will act as a reference and benchmark for debate and policy change.

The key takeaways include:

Confidence in Ontario’s economic outlook has improved. Thirty percent of members surveyed expressed confidence in Ontario’s outlook for 2019, up seven percentage points compared to last year.
Despite a more optimistic outlook for 2019, decreasing levels of organizational and economic confidence over the years have impacted business’ willingness to invest, take risks, and adopt technological advancements.
Businesses are gaining confidence in themselves. Sixty-one percent of respondents reported confidence in their own organization’s economic outlook heading into 2019, a seven-point increase from last year.
Revenue projections for 2019 are more positive than those of 2018. Eighty-six percent of respondents believe their organization’s revenues will increase or stay the same over the next twelve months, with only fourteen percent anticipating a decline. This represents a notable change in direction from 2018, when 27 percent were projecting their revenue to decrease.
“2019 will be a formative year for the Ontario economy. We urge decision-makers to develop thoughtful policies that foster competitiveness and address the potential vulnerabilities that loom large within our province,” added Rossi. “We need to take action and address these challenges to build a stronger Ontario for today and tomorrow.”

As Ontario’s economy continues to face many challenges outlined in the OER, the OCC’s 2019 Ontario Economic Summit will be dedicated to the question of competitiveness with an agenda that will explore how our province can lead in innovation, knowledge-generation, and trade. The OCC will be engaging its members, government and other leaders to explore these issues and develop the necessary solutions to drive forward a competitive province for years to come.

Read the 2019 Ontario Economic Report here.

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For more information please contact:
Ceara Copps – Edwards
Senior Communications Advisor
Ontario Chamber of Commerce

About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan voice of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members.

General Manager Job Posting

The Stratford & District Chamber of Commerce is our region’s prominent business organization. We are committed to being the voice of business by championing economic prosperity and an exceptional quality of life for our region.

Join our Dynamic Team! 

We are currently recruiting for the role of General Manager to begin December 2018.

Reporting to the Chair & Board of Directors of the Stratford & District Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber), the role of General Manager is to help shape the direction of the Chamber in fostering a healthy business to business environment in Stratford & Perth County.

The successful applicant will be responsible for all operations of the Chamber, and will be accountable to the Board for operating within approved policy. They will lead all business, financial, communications, marketing, and human resources plans and events on behalf of the Chamber, thriving in a fast-paced office environment where prioritization and multi-tasking are essential.

The candidate will possess excellent written and verbal communication skills, be highly organized, able to work within tight deadlines and without direct supervision. They must be competent managing support staff and volunteers, have a mastery of financial statements, and the ability to direct operations to within constrained budgets while growing the impact of the Chamber.

It is essential that the candidate is social media savvy, comfortable with sales and marketing and skilled at maintaining online platforms (website and database). 

They will have a post-secondary degree/diploma in business or sales and marketing (or related), as well as event management experience. Mastery of Microsoft Office and Quickbooks would be an asset.

This is a permanent, full time position, which requires flexibility to accommodate regular operating hours as well as some evening and weekend activities. Our membership is diverse and our service to their needs on their timelines is paramount.

Recognizing that diversity fosters a rich business environment, we welcome applicants varied abilities and are committed to accommodating them throughout the hiring process. We encourage all qualified applicants to provide a resume and cover letter in a single PDF document no later than November 28, 2018 to:

Board of Directors
Stratford & District Chamber of Commerce 
Subject: General Manager, Chamber of Commerce

City of Stratford News Release

City Hall, 1 Wellington Street
Stratford, ON N5A 6W1


For Immediate Release: June 26, 2018
Re: City of Stratford Explores Partnership With Canadian Opera Company

Stratford, ON – Stratford, ON – The Toronto-based, world-renowned Canadian Opera Company has expressed an interest in leasing space in Stratford’s former Grand Trunk locomotive repair shops.
Initially, the company is seeking creative solutions to fabricating and storing production sets and costumes both before and after their use on-stage at the COC’s performance venue, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in downtown Toronto.

Using Stratford’s refurbished Grand Trunk shops could create a mutually-beneficial partnership that would bolster Stratford’s reputation as a diversified centre of global excellence in arts and culture. It could also advance the development of the Grand Trunk property, guided by the Council-approved Master Plan. Further uses by the COC may be contemplated for this site as well.

“We’re excited about the potential to have the Canadian Opera Company become a part of Stratford’s creative community,” said Mayor Dan Mathieson. “Not only would that help with our efforts to breathe new life into the former Grand Trunk shops, but it would also create a strong local connection to yet another important Canadian cultural institution.”

Over the past decade, General Director Alexander Neef has transformed the COC into an institution of national and international prestige. It is now considered a peer to the greatest opera companies in the world, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, Opéra national de Paris, and La Scala in Milan. The COC attracts and employs some of the world’s best artists, creators, and technicians in the performing arts sector, and its co-productions frequently appear on stages throughout North America and Europe.

Discussions between the City of Stratford and the COC are ongoing, and include ensuring that space is reserved for potential future uses. The City will also be further exploring the potential economic benefits of a COC partnership, which could include new tourism revenues through regular public events, and educational/technological partnerships with the University of Waterloo.

More broadly, this opportunity could increase the scale of the existing “creative sector,” which already plays a vital role in the local economy through a combination of entrepreneurship, technology and arts and culture. It could also complement existing and planned uses, including the future expansion of the University of Waterloo Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business.

For more information, please contact:
Rob Horne, Chief Administrative Officer
519-271-0250, ext. 233

Keep Ontario Working Coalition: Ontario Deserves Evidence-Based Reform

Keep Ontario Working Coalition: Ontario Deserves Evidence-Based Reform

Changes Will Hurt Job Creation, Consumer Costs and Economic Growth

TORONTO, May 30, 2017 – The Keep Ontario Working coalition, in partnership with the Stratford & District Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), today expressed concern that the Government of Ontario’s Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan, commits to unproven sweeping reforms without ensuring protection against unintended consequences, including job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship.

The Keep Ontario Working Coalition (KOW) is a broad-spectrum group of business sector representatives concerned with sound public policy to help produce jobs and grow Ontario.

As noted in the Business Prosperity Index of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Ontario Economic Report, despite projections that Ontario will lead Canada in economic growth in the coming years, diminished profitability, lower labour market participation, and sluggish market activity; along with other key factors have resulted in a risk-averse atmosphere that businesses are disinclined to grow production. Businesses are questioning if they should grow in Ontario or expand offshore.

Despite that, Ontario’s private sector is still doing its part to support workers. As the Government pointed out in Budget 2017, 98 per cent of all new jobs since the recession in Ontario have been full time, and 78 per cent in above-average wage industries. This positive economic activity by Ontario’s private sector demonstrates a clear commitment to good jobs throughout our province.


The following is a statement by the Keep Ontario Working Coalition on the Government’s proposed workplace reforms:

“We share in the Government’s desire for broadly inclusive growth. However, in order to achieve this, we need to ensure that we are not risking job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship as a result of over-regulation.

“Government cannot regulate prosperity. To demonstrate true fairness and compassion for workers, we must ensure Ontario has a strong economy to help create jobs and increase economic growth.

“That is why we are urging the government to take time this summer to have an independent third party conduct a comprehensive economic impact analysis on the proposed reforms to consider the unintended consequences to employers. In addition, as the province’s biggest employer, the government must fully understand what these changes will cost in relation to the provincial treasury as well as social services and other government agencies. 

“Why is evidence-based policy important? Only three years ago, the Premier’s own Minimum Wage Advisory Panel conducted extensive research and concluded: ‘In the Canadian context, researchers have generally found an adverse employment effect of raising minimum wages especially for young workers…typically those studies find that teen employment would drop by 3 to 6 per cent if the minimum wage is raised by 10 per cent.’

“While the Changing Workplaces Review cautioned that any regulatory change shouldn’t impair the competitiveness of businesses in the province, the reforms outlined in Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan thus far do not provide the balance needed to help ensure a competitive environment for Ontario.

 “But we have time. Now we must work cooperatively with government to identify the scale of the economic impact of these changes and help employers transition into any new policy regime. We will continue to be cooperative partners with government to find solutions that will, where possible, inhibit negative impacts on the growth of Ontario’s economy, our people, and our communities.”

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Keep Ontario Working Coalition Members

Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS)

Canadian Franchise Association (CFA)

Food & Consumer Products of Canada

Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO)

National Association of Canada Consulting Businesses (NACCB Canada)

Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA)

Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC)

Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA)

Restaurants Canada

Retail Council of Canada (RCC)

Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)


Media Contact:

Sydney Stonier

Ontario Chamber of Commerce