Statement on Oxford Businesses

February 29, 2016

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: I’m pleased to rise today to report the results of my annual survey of Oxford businesses, and I want to thank everyone who took the time to respond.

Again this year, the cost of doing business in Ontario is a major concern. Some 92% of businesses said they would be negatively impacted by the mandatory pension plan, and 67% said the impact would be significant. All of the respondents said they had been impacted by increasing hydro costs, and 72% said the impact was significant. Businesses reported their biggest challenges were “rising government costs,” “hydro rates” and “increasing costs.” Last week, the government had an opportunity to address these concerns but instead presented a budget that will make it more expensive for both people and businesses in Ontario.

This year, I launched my business survey during the CFIB Red Tape Awareness Week, and it seems appropriate, given that 75% of respondents said that red tape has been increasing. Businesses reported that the cost of red tape is significant. One said it cost them tens of thousands of dollars; another said $50,000 a year. One small business said that red tape has reduced their revenue by 25%. These businesses are facing real challenges and the government’s red-tape-reduction photo ops haven’t solved the problem.

I want to thank all the business operators who took the time to tell me about their company and to share the challenges that they are facing. We know how hard they work, and I hope that the government will listen to their concerns so that we can create a climate where our businesses can succeed.