March 2, 2017

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: Mr. Speaker, I’m pleased to rise to share the results of my annual Oxford business survey. I want to thank all the businesses that took the time to respond and share their information with me.

Their message was clear. Despite all their hard work, Ontario businesses are struggling because of government red tape and the cost of doing business. Sadly, it’s the same message I delivered to the government last year and the year before.

They reported that their hydro bills have doubled or tripled and that the majority of the cost is not the electricity they use but the global adjustment, regulatory charges and delivery charges. In some cases, the extra costs created by this government are over 90% of the hydro bill.

In just the last few months, it has also been announced that we are losing 1,000 jobs in Oxford. That makes it even more important that government listen to these businesses. As one business owner said, “Taxes, taxes, taxes—they need to stop increasing. I am at the tipping point. If they go up any more I will close the doors.” Another said they are losing their business customers as companies move to the United States. Businesses need a government that will cut red tape and reduce the cost of doing business before it loses even more jobs. They need a government that will actually address the policies that have resulted in hydro costs tripling. Our business people and their employees work hard every day, and they deserve a government that will work for them and help them succeed.