Archive | Ontario Economy

Inadequate infrastructure hurting national competitiveness – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – July 24, 2017)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Chamber report identifies key infrastructure challenges facing business

A new report released by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said much work needs to be done to move traffic in major cities, expand broadband networks, improve trade corridors to the U.S., lay down new pipelines, and unlock the North’s potential.

The report’s name – ‘Stuck in Traffic for 10,000 Years: Canadian Problems that Infrastructure Investment Can Solve’ – comes from the estimated amount of the time commuters in big cities spend stuck in traffic every year because of road congestion. The report has corporate sponsors including Telus, Rogers, Ontario Power Generation, Suncor, and various B.C. port authorities and container shippers.

The chamber said the lack of proper infrastructure is wasting Canadians’ time and leading to lost business opportunities. The report identifies seven infrastructure challenges that government must target to keep Canada moving and competitive. Continue Reading →

[Ontario] No business like coal business – by Lorrie Goldstein (Toronto Sun – July 21, 2017)

http://www.torontosun.com/

Premier Wynne back in black

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government is back in black – meaning the coal business. Specifically, the use of coal to generate electricity, a practice it outlawed in Ontario on Nov. 23, 2015, after shutting down the last of the province’s coal-fired power plants in 2014.

As the Wynne Liberals proudly proclaimed back then: “Ontario passed legislation today to permanently ban coal-fired electricity generation in the province – a first in North America and a significant step in the fight against climate change.

“The Ending Coal for Cleaner Air Act prevents new and existing facilities from burning coal for the sole purpose of generating electricity. It sets maximum fines for anyone who violates the ban and enshrines the health and environmental benefits of making coal-fired electricity illegal in law … Continue Reading →

Ontario Hydro sticker shock all thanks to Liberals’ mismanagement – by Lorrie Goldstein (Toronto Sun – July 20, 2017)

http://www.torontosun.com/

As a new shocking Fraser Institute report on electricity pricing in Ontario reveals, real people suffer when governments are incompetent. The governments in this case are the Liberal ones headed first by Dalton McGuinty and now Kathleen Wynne, who have turned Ontario’s energy sector into a financial train wreck from which there will be no easy or painless escape for generations to come.

The numbers in the Fraser study, titled “Evaluating Electricity Price Growth,” are damning. Torontonians today pay $720 more annually for electricity than the average Canadian. Ontario electricity prices skyrocketed 71% between 2008 and 2016.

That’s more than double the Canadian average of 34%, 2.5 times more than the rise in household incomes, four times the inflation rate, and 4.5 times the growth rate of the economy. In 2015-16 alone, Ontario electricity prices increased 15%, 2.5 times the national average of 6%. Continue Reading →

Another wheel flies off Ontario’s green energy bus, and lands on 340 workers – by Kelly McParland (National Post – July 20, 2017)

http://nationalpost.com/

Despite overwhelming evidence that governments do badly when they try to remove the freedom from free enterprise, Wynne and McGuinty ploughed ahead with their green energy vision

When former premier Dalton McGuinty visited the new Siemens Canada plant in Tillsonburg in 2011, he brushed aside protesters and boasted that the plant was part of the Liberal alternative energy plan that would “put us at the forefront in North America.”

The plant made windmill blades. Windmills were the future. Clean energy was what McGuinty’s two-year-old Green Energy Act was all about. It would free the province of old, dirty manufacturing and introduce new, cutting-edge jobs that would make Ontario the envy of the world.

Just six years later the plant is closing. Management says big changes in the wind industry make it no longer viable. The cutting edge plant that was to help lead Ontario into the Valhalla of a clean energy future can’t survive in a market that wants bigger blades. Continue Reading →

North Eastern Ontario urban mayors aim to put up united front – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – July 4, 2017)

http://www.timminspress.com/

TIMMINS – Mayors from Northern Ontario’s larger urban municipalities met in Timmins last week to discuss common concerns and plan strategies to get more funding from upper levels of government.

Key issues, according to Timmins Mayor Steve Black, included the need for more FedNor funding, a bigger commitment to Northern rail networks, more money for the opioid drug crisis and the need to restructure district social services administration board’s responsibilities.

Black said the first concern was discussion over the budget promise by federal Liberals to add $25-million to FedNor’s $41-million budget over a period of five years. “They have increased the FedNor budget but it’s not significant and substantial enough an increase to put us on equal ground with the other development agencies across Canada,” said Black. Continue Reading →

$1B worth of energy wasted last year: engineers – by Shawn Jeffords (Toronto Sun – June 30, 2017)

http://www.torontosun.com/

Jonathan Hack, the president and chairman of the OSPE board, said the group
provided the analysis to all three parties at Queen’s Park. They’d like to
see engineers more intimately involved in policy creation, because at the
moment, technical decisions about the province’s hydro system have been
politicized, he said.

Ontario wasted $1 billion worth of clean electricity in 2016, according to the province’s professional engineers.

The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, a non-partisan body, which represents the province’s engineers, says it has crunched government hydro numbers from 2016 and they show that 7.6 terawatt-hours of clean hydro went down the drain that year. That’s equal to the amount required to power 760,000 homes – or $1 billion worth of electricity – said the group’s past president Paul Acchione.

“This represents a 58% increase in the amount of clean electricity that Ontario wasted in 2015 which was 4.8 terawatt hours,” he said. “All while the province continues to export more than two-million homes’ worth of electricity to neighbouring jurisdictions for a price less than it costs to produce.” Continue Reading →

[Dr. Peter Warrian] U of T expert says future is bright for Canadian steel – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star -June 12, 2017)

http://www.saultstar.com/

But if Canada wants to retain a manufacturing industry, then the steel
industry will need to be a part of it, he said, because steel is the
materials backbone of manufacturing.

Dr. Peter Warrian, a University of Toronto professor and Canada’s leading academic expert on the Canadian steel industry, told city council that the industry will always have a volatile market but the need for steel in the future could certainly increase.

While prices rose substantially – 40 per cent – between October 2016 and March 2017, allowing cash flow improvements for steelmakers like Algoma, the problem remains that the cyclical nature of the industry will not see those high prices be sustained for long periods of time. And that means, investments into pension plans, injections of capital improvements and maintenance plans will not get the long-term attention they need, he said.

And while this has been a problem experienced to Algoma, the local steelmaker found itself in a serious cash crunch because of the long-term contacts it had inked that found itself paying for raw materials at exceptionally high prices – much higher prices than actual market values, Warrian said. Continue Reading →

Ontario Sault Chamber advocates for steel in Ottawa – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – June 5, 2017)

http://www.saultstar.com/

Sault Ste. Marie’s Chamber of Commerce joined their counterparts from Windsor-Essex Regional and Hamilton in Ottawa last week for an all-party Parliamentary steel caucus meeting. The message, said Sault Chamber Rory Ring, is simple.

Canada and the United States should not be fighting each other. Instead, as a joint North American market, they should work jointly to make sure the non-market economies are dealt with without creating blows to their own intertwined economies.

That’s the message the joint Chamber group was sending to the steel caucus, which will be attending an international meeting later this month in Washington. Sault MP Terry Sheehan, co-chair of the all-party Parliamentary steel caucus group said the same message has and will continue to be pushed by the steel caucus and from the Canadian government to its US counterparts. Continue Reading →

Another multinational employer is fleeing Ontario and the Wynne government doesn’t seem to care – by Bob Runciman (Financial Post – May 31, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Bob Runciman, now a senator, served as interim leader of the Ontario PC Party and as minister of Economic Development and Trade.

My hometown of Brockville, Ont. was hit with a devastating blow last week with the announcement that multinational consumer-products maker Procter and Gamble is closing its local plant, taking with it 500 jobs.

P&G is Brockville’s largest private-sector employer — only the school board and the hospital employ more. The company has been a model corporate citizen for 40 years, donating millions of dollars to local causes and generally making Brockville a better place.

And I think it is fair to say Brockville made P&G a better company. The local plant has a well-educated, resourceful, diligent workforce. Although the plant made such household cleaning products as Tide and Bounce over the years, it is most famous as the site that pioneered the Swiffer sweeper. Continue Reading →

Report urges new thinking for Northern Ontario – by Staff (Sudbury Star – May 9, 2017)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

New thinking is needed if Northern Ontario is ever going to restructure and reinvigorate its economy, a new report from the Northern Policy Institute suggests. Author Charles Conteh, a Brock University professor, said in his study, Economic Zones of Northern Ontario: City-Regions and Industrial Corridors, that Northern communities must be given the tools to control their economic development.

He said the top-down approach of senior levels of government towards Northern Ontario hasn’t — and won’t — work. “Due to the significant diversity between communities in Northern Ontario, policies and planning aimed at addressing specific economic challenges are more valuable than one-size-fits-all, top-down programs,” Conteh said.

“Economic zones offer an opportunity for upper levels of government to frame a new kind of partnership guided by the priorities of communities.” Conteh said it’s a mistake to think of Northern Ontario as one or two regions, or as five urban-centred regions, because they do not reflect the reality of northern diversity. Continue Reading →

Ontario’s Liberals feed another budget to the Big Green Central-Planning Monster – by  Terence Corcoran (Financial Post – April 28, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

The question all Ontarians must begin asking is how much economic pain — high transportation costs, soaring electricity rates, rampaging housing-market shortages and costs, stalled transit development, soaring debt — are they willing to endure to satisfy the Central Planning Monster.

The beast is everywhere, lurking in the background of every twitch in government policy and every legislative lurch. It’s thick claw-marks are all over Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s new Ontario budget, tabled Thursday, taking control of more and more economic activity and extending policy-making’s reach far beyond the iron grip it already holds on health care.

In the name of climate change and carbon control, Ontario’s Liberal government sent electricity prices soaring, the predictable product of the 2009 Green Energy Act that allows the government to seize control over an expanding range of energy operations. Continue Reading →

[Power Costs] Wynne and Liberals excel at fake news – by Lorrie Goldstein (Toronto Sun – April 18, 2017)

http://www.torontosun.com/

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and her cabinet ministers excel at alternative facts and fake news. The latest example was Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s speech Thursday to The Empire Club, part of which boasted about how the Liberals saved Ontario’s electricity system by doing the heavy lifting needed to improve it.

As a result, Sousa said, Ontario’s electricity grid is now “the envy of North America” because the Liberals restored “integrity and reliability” to it, unlike neighbouring Canadian provinces and the rust belt states. Simply put, what on Earth is Sousa talking about?

Hydro One controls the transmission of electricity through 29,000 km of hydro lines in Ontario and provides electricity to 1.3 million customers. Continue Reading →

Ontario hydro bill cuts won’t help manufacturers, group says – by Allison Jones (Canadian Press/CTV News – April 11, 2017)

http://www.ctvnews.ca/

TORONTO – Thousands of businesses in Ontario that don’t qualify for a 17-per-cent cut to their electricity bills are like the forgotten middle child, a manufacturing group said Tuesday.

The Liberal government’s announcement last month applies to residential electricity customers and about half a million small businesses and farms on time-of-use pricing. The Industrial Conservation Initiative program for large manufacturers and businesses was also expanded so that more industrial customers would qualify.

But there are thousands of Ontario businesses that are too big for one program and too small for the other, and the government estimates they will only see about two to four per cent off their bills. Jocelyn Bamford, with the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers, said the 70 manufacturers the coalition represents don’t feel valued. Continue Reading →

[Power Issues] Actually, witchcraft is a pretty good explanation for all that’s happening in Ontario – by Rex Murphy (National Post – April 1, 2017)

http://news.nationalpost.com/

Weird things are happening in Ontario. The premier of the province, a woman generally agreed to be well educated, confident, thoroughly in tune with the times, is virtually keelhauled in recent polling where she resides at an appalling 11 per cent. She is only slightly more popular than traffic tickets and overcooked broccoli (and even those are within the margin of error).

What gives, is the question whispered on every street corner and in every coffee shop. How can Kathleen Wynne have fallen so far when her competition is that other fella, whassiname, that the Progressive Conservatives recently front loaded into their leadership. His charisma floats in the same shallows and he has the inspirational force of kelp. Yet he is miles ahead of the impeccably progressive Wynne. It is not natural. The order of things is awry.

Other unnerving and eerily disturbing manifestations trouble this once stable, well-grounded, equable province. A businesswoman I met recently — on her way, incidentally, to meet with a spiritual adviser — showed me the energy bill for her company. She was distraught and clearly frightened. And with good reason. Continue Reading →

Ontario manufacturers eye greener pastures stateside as hydro rates go through the roof – by Peter Kuitenbrouwer (Financial Post – March 16, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Jocelyn Bamford, a white hard hat perched over red hair that curls down around her shoulders, has her hands on her hips. Behind safety glasses, her eyes flash. On the shop floor in the bustling Automatic Coating Inc. plant owned by her family, she has to shout to be heard above the squirt of compressed air nozzles, honks from forklifts, the clang of steel as it’s dipped in baths, and the hum of exhaust fans.

Bamford might be shouting regardless of the noise since the hydro bill for her Toronto-based company has her mad as hell. Once boasting one of the continent’s lowest electricity rates, Ontario today has some of the highest and that has many industrial companies planning to move at least some operations to the United States.

“The government treats us like bourgeois sweatshop operators who have to be stopped,” said Bamford, who has organized dozens of medium-sized companies into the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers of Ontario. “All the businesses are terrified of the government. My husband said, ‘Well, do you just want to pick up and go?’ And I said, ‘Well, I guess I gotta just stay and fight.’ I feel like I’m the Norma Rae of manufacturing.” Continue Reading →