For what must seem like ages to many, we have seen much discussion both for and against, the Government’s decision to repeal Bill 148, also known as the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.  This column has more than once, hopefully provided information on the legislation and the impacts that it had on business both locally and throughout Ontario.  The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce heard loud and clear from its membership, that it was just too much and too fast for the business community, to absorb the increases.  Earlier this week, Bill 57 was passed through the Legislature and it is officially repealed.

Whether you agreed or disagreed with the previous legislation, that being Bill 148, we were all aware that in the Provincial election earlier this year, the Ontario PC party campaigned and announced that they would repeal Bill 148. Subsequently, they got elected to a majority government and did exactly what they said they were going to do.  It should not come as much of a surprise to most that it received Royal Assent and does send a positive message that the Government is serious about making Ontario, “Open for Business”.  The Chamber of Commerce, both at the local and provincial level s spoke with their members and in turn advocated on their behalf to the Provincial Government and the messages, were heard.

In the Fall Economic Statement, Minister Fedeli didn’t hold back anything when he updated us on the Provinces deficit and where changes were going to be made.  Again, it should not be a surprise that with a deficit close to fifteen billion dollars annually, that changes are going to have to be made and they are not all going to be popular.  Not popular, but necessary.  It is going to be an uphill battle to balance the books, but it is clear in the writer’s opinion, that they realize that they will also have to grow their way out of this deficit.  By encouraging growth in business and reducing red tape in how we do business in this Province, these are positive moves in getting our economy growing.

In the next week, our newly elected Council and Mayor will be sworn into office for the next four years.  From various media reports over the past few weeks it appears that it will be very short indoctrination period before they get down to work.  The mix of veteran Councillors and Mayor, together with some new faces and ideas, has an interesting but very positive mix for this upcoming term.  Since the election last month, we have heard from many of our members that they are encouraged with the positive messages that they have heard about growing our community and are optimistic on the business front.  We at the Chamber wish the new Mayor and Council, all the best for the upcoming term.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.