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Rising hydro crippling businesses – OCC report

northbaynow.ca, Ryan Veldhuis, May 03, 2016

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One in twenty businesses in the province expect to close their doors in the next five years due to rising electricity prices, a recent report reads. In addition, 38 percent will see their bottom line shrink, with the cost of electricity delaying or canceling investment in the years to come. These statements come from the recent Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has recently released a report titled, Top 3 Obstacles to Small Business Success in which they present the challenges faced in the Province.

The three obstacles outlined in the report are:

1) A lack of Access to the Workers We Need

2) Key Infrastructure Gaps

3) The Rising Cost of Doing Business

The report claims since 2004, electricity prices in Ontario have grown from a flat rate of 4.7 cents a kilowatt hour, to the 18 cents a kwh at peak times.8 That is an increase of 383 percent. OCC survey results show that one in twenty businesses in the province expect to close their doors in the next five years due to rising electricity prices. In addition, 38 percent will see their bottom line shrink, with the cost of electricity delaying or canceling investment in the years to come. The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP), which will see some businesses begin to make contributions in 2018, will require employers to contribute 1.9 percent of their employees’ salary to the plan. OCC analysis indicates that small business owners with 10 employees will see their costs rise by $9500 under the plan.10 The new cap and trade system, while laudable in its aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, will impose new costs on consumers and businesses. The system is expected to raise the costs of gasoline prices by 4.3 cents a litre and increase home heating costs by $5 a month. Ontario has the highest property taxes in the country. This is in part driven by dramatic increases in municipal emergency costs (partially the result of a broken interest arbitration system), including police and firefighter costs. In fact, in 2011, Ontarians spent $320 per capita on policing, $35 more than Albertans, $56 more than British Columbians, and $24 more than Quebecers.

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