May 16th, 2018 by

Business questions for local provincial candidates

President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Rocco Rossi at OCC presentation in Belleville, May 16, 2018 (Photo: Mary Thomas/Quinte News)

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce presented a long list of provincial government issues facing businesses, during a session in Belleville Wednesday .

Ontario Chamber policy analyst Andrew Thiele rolled out the issues, from extensive hydro prices to reducing corporate income tax.

Thiele said businesses in Ontario should be able to buy surplus electricity equal to or better than the exported price.

Ontario Chamber President Rocco Rossi highlighted the need for skilled labour and changes to apprenticeship rules.

Rocco Rossi says there has been “a stigma for too long against skills trades.”


President of Hilden Homes in Belleville, Eric DenOuden said the problem of only being able to have one apprentice is a big issue for his company. He pointed out it is a different program in Quebec.

DenOuden said “There is a need to modernize the apprenticeship program” to accommodate the needs of larger companies.  He emphasized “this is not the fifties.”

Rossi called out the College of Trades rules about only one apprentice each to a plumber, electrician or millwright, compared to doctors who mentor many doctors in training.


Dave Fairfield of Quinte Payroll Services at Ontario Chamber of Commerce presentation in Belleville, May 16, 2018 (photo: Mary Thomas/Quinte News)

Dave Fairfield of Quinte Payroll Services also expressed concern about the apprenticeship rules.

President Rossi urged the business people in the audience to question the local provincial candidates about where they stand on these issues.

The Belleville Chamber of Commerce will hold a candidates debate on May 24 at the Empire Theatre, the Quinte West chamber will host its debate May 29 at Trenton High School, and the Prince Edward County debate will be held May 30 at the Regent Theatre.

They will all begin at at 6 p.m.