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Ontario’s focus on productivity, skills shortages, needs more bite, says CME

TORONTO, April 19, 2001 - -The Ontario government's emphasis on productivity, competitiveness and education in the...


TORONTO, April 19, 2001 – -The Ontario government’s emphasis on productivity, competitiveness and education in the April 19 Speech from the Throne strikes the right chord but the proof will be in the follow through, according to Ian Howcroft, vice-president, Ontario, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).

The appointment of a task force to measure and monitor the province’s productivity and competitiveness, to be led by Roger Martin of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, is an appropriate move and one that demonstrates a commitment to closing the productivity gap.

However, Howcroft said CME "is disappointed the government did not use this occasion to further reduce the mandatory overhead that businesses pay each year in the form of taxes and regulatory costs." He added that such reductions are needed to boost investment in Ontario’s key wealth-creating industry — manufacturing and exporting.

"By not signaling lower tax rates for manufacturers the government has lost an opportunity to make a real difference in attracting more investment and strengthening the province’s lagging productivity performance," he said.

Howcroft said CME also agrees with the government’s intention to link education and training to address the skills shortage issue, but added that what is really required is a "coordinated approach, involving business, academia and government."