MPP Jim McDonell writes: As I travel across Stormont-Dundas- South Glengarry, people talk to me about the need to get this province back on track and to create the jobs that will allow our children to enjoy a bright future. Small businesses owners are frustrated by the unnecessary regulations and government forms. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business identified Ontario employers as having to face the largest regulation burden in Canada, costing them more than $11.8 billion in 2013. In today’s world, our entrepreneurs and employers face stiff competition from all over the world and government needs to be a partner, not a roadblock.
Over the past ten years, the world has seen an significant increase in worldwide consumption of goods, while Ontario has experienced a loss of over 300,000 manufacturing jobs and a drop of six places to rank fifteenth in the world’s top manufacturing nations. Over this same period of time, our average industrial electricity prices have skyrocketed to more than double that of our neighbours in Quebec, Manitoba, and Michigan. Instead of keeping power rates down to help create jobs in the economy, this current government has focused on creating jobs in the power sector itself, willing to have consumers pay any price to achieve this short-sighted goal.
Earlier this year, I tabled legislation to address issues that manufacturers are having with the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), Bill 61. This government agency places unnecessary roadblocks in their way, stifling innovation and their ability to compete in this very competitive market. By the time our businesses are able to work through the expensive, time consuming and unpredictable approval process, their competitors have already moved on to the generation of equipment. They need the ability to adopt new equipment and methods as soon as they are available if we want to regain our leading position as the economic engine of Canada.
Bill 61 will create an accountable, public procedure for adopting new standards or amending existing ones without delay, to accommodate new knowledge and innovation. It will also require that the TSSA’s inspection and safety criteria be made public so that all businesses and designers will know what standard they are being held to and to ensure consistency. Agencies such as the TSSA, must be a partner with business that encourages growth and allows them to be competitive. Recently, I heard of a local producer that experienced so many delays and unnecessary costs in the installation of a new line, that they moved the planned second line to a neighbouring jurisdiction. Equipment that has been approved for installation in every province and state in North America is being forced through this expensive and unpredictable approval process. It’s unnecessary and it has to change if we are going to re-build Ontario. It’s time for a government that will actually work and partner with entrepreneurs and make the necessary changes that will stimulate the growth needed to generate the good paying, high-skilled jobs that we want for our children and our grandchildren.
Member of Provincial Parliament