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Confidence is low in Ontario’s economic outlook

Chamber survey indicates northeastern business owners see dim prospects in 2018
Downtown Timmins

Only 19 percent of businesses in northeastern Ontario are confident in Ontario’s economic future, according to a report by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

This represents a five percent drop from the previous year as reveal in the business confidence survey inside the chamber’s 2018 Ontario Economic Report. Growing operating costs with rising taxes and electricity rates are the main concerns.

“These findings are in keeping with the challenges faced by Timmins businesses, whose costs continue to rise in virtually every sector,” said Jamie Clarke, president of the Timmins Chamber of Commerce in a Feb. 9 news release.

“Over the last year, our membership has expressed strong concerns about the impact that issues like cap and trade and labour law changes are having on their competitiveness, and we continue to advocate on their behalf to urge government to relieve some of that burden.”

While northeastern businesses are downcast about the regional economy, they are more upbeat about their own individual prospects. Forty per cent have a positive outlook due to a growing client base and increased demand.

The report projects a stagnation in Ontario’s overall economy, reinforced by regional data that nearly half of businesses expect their organization’s revenue to stay the same over the next 12 months.

“Industry in Ontario are feeling the impact of the rising minimum wage, significant labour reforms, increasing global and US competition, NAFTA renegotiations, consistent overregulation, rising input costs, and challenges to accessing talent,” said Ontario Chamber president Rocco Rossi in a statement.

Through feedback from the Timmins Chamber, the Ontario Chamber intends to tackle the barriers to business including larger regional issues such as transportation and infrastructure issues such as Connecting Link highway funding.