Road to fairness veers off course

    TORONTO, Feb. 26 /CNW/ - Fairness in Canada has advanced no further with
Federal Budget 2008, according to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
    "We were hoping the government would finish the job it began in 2007,"
explains Len Crispino, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
"We're disappointed that the government hasn't addressed the lack of
sustainability and fairness in Canada's equalization formula and outside
    The 2007 Federal Budget adopted a number of key recommendations of the
Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) including a commitment to equal per capita
cash support for the Canada Social Transfer and the Canada Health Transfer
(CHT). However, the new formula for the CHT will not take effect until 2014/15
and transfers outside of these fail to meet the principle of fairness.
    "In areas such as healthcare, employment insurance benefits and training,
infrastructure and education, transfers based on inequality continue to put
Ontario at a disadvantage," adds Crispino.
    In other areas, the OCC acknowledges the government has made some welcome
investments that are in line with recommendations made by its chamber network,

    -   Border efficiency and security with resources for enhanced drivers
        licences, a 10 year passport, and the Canada Border Services Agency
    -   A commitment to increase the efficiency of the immigration process in
        order to reduce wait times, acknowledging the important role
        immigrants play in our labour force
    -   Productivity-enhancing measures including the extension of the
        capital cost allowance for manufacturers and modest investments in
        research and development for the auto sector

    "While Ontarians are proud to contribute to healthcare and education in
other provinces, our ability to provide the same level of service for our own
residents has rapidly declined, threatening our competitiveness and our
prosperity. Canada is no further ahead with a weak Ontario."

    The OCC represents over 57,000 businesses through 160 local Chambers of
Commerce and Boards of Trade, and has been Ontario's business advocate since
1911. Its advocacy and policy initiatives focus on six areas key to the
economic well-being of the province: health; education; energy; finance &
taxation; transportation & infrastructure; and border issues.

For further information:

For further information: Amy Terrill, Cell: (416) 605-8205,

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