What is Doug Ford’s Plan to Make Ontario “Open for Business”?


Published December 10, 2018 at 4:06 am


It sounds like just a slogan, but what does “open for business” actually mean?

Ontario Premier Doug Ford constantly trotted out this line during the election campaign and after he took office. The notion that, somehow, the previous government was not allowing businesses to operate in the province seems, at the very least, illogical in its entirety.

But recently, the province announced a slew of changes and proposals last week that may better explain what being ‘open for business’ is all about.

Aside from the one policy to speed up the development application process which critics say opens up the Greenbelt for development, here’s a short breakdown of some other announcements:

Remove restrictions on home-based child care providers, including allowing additional children, to make it easier for parents to find affordable child care

These proposed changes under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 would remove some restrictions on home-based child care providers, such as the number and ages of children they can care for. This has generated some concern amongst people who worry that unskilled adults will be tasked with watching too many children. On the other hand, the lack of affordable childcare is a problem. The idea behind this change is to expand child care availability by allowing caregivers to care for more children than they are currently allowed, making it easier for parents to re-enter the job market and for employers to find workers. How this pans out–and whether or not it will lead to overwhelmed workers–remains to be seen. 

Lowering the age of children that authorized recreation programs can serve from six to four

This change under the Child Care and Early Years Act would allow children who are four years old to take part for up to three hours in authorized recreation programs before and after school. This change would increase access to programming, ideally making life easier for parents who want to reenter the workplace. The province says it would also maintain high standards and align rules with camps and kindergarten.

Allow electric motorcycles on controlled highways

Through changes to the Highway Traffic Act, electric motorcycles would be allowed on major highways, because of advancements in technology and in response to requests from the motorcycle industry. The province hopes this would provide customers with more options on the road as well as an “economic boost to the industry.”

Consult on new Environmental Activity and Sector Registries for permits to take water, and for storm and sanitary sewers

Ontario proposes to expand the Environmental Activity and System Registry regulation for low-risk water takings — such as ones in which water is removed for a short time only and then returned to a nearby point, with no significant change to water quantity or quality. The province says moving these activities to a permit-by-rule system would allow businesses to begin operations faster. It would at the same time continue to ensure that water takings in Ontario are managed in accordance with strict environmental standards, and in keeping with the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement.

Eliminated regulatory and licensing requirements for upholstered and stuffed articles

The province says removing all Ontario-specific licensing and regulatory requirements for upholstered and stuffed articles will reduce a long-standing burden on business, save businesses $4 million annually and eliminate trade barriers. These items will continue to be subject to the federal government’s health and safety, and labelling requirements — as is the case in other provinces.

“This package would also take major steps to make it easier for businesses to locate or expand in Ontario, and to protect industrial lands. As well, it reduces regulatory burden in specific sectors,” said Economic Development Minister Todd Smith.

Do you think these smattering of ideas would be better for business in Mississauga?

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