(Queen’s Park, ON) – This afternoon, Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton highlighted a recent report released by Vancouver’s Fraser Institute titled, ‘Growing government, increased regulation primary threats to economic freedom in Canada’. Although the report ranks Canada as 5th in the world for economic freedom, it mentions several troubling aspects facing Ontario’s provincial economy.
“Economic freedom is essential for our growth and prosperity, especially here in Ontario,” said McNaughton. “Economic freedom encompasses things such as the ‘size of government’, ‘rule of law and property rights’, ‘legal enforcement of contracts’, and ‘freedom to trade’. Sadly, among these key areas, Ontario continues to drag the rest of Canada down.”
The report maintains that the biggest threats to economic freedom here in Canada revolve around the size of government and the amount of unnecessary and duplicate regulations. The report goes on to point out that under the current provincial government, Ontario has launched a simultaneous spending spree and tax grab that will seriously damage economic freedom in the years ahead.
“Earlier this week, I toured Scarborough’s Stonemill Bakehouse, a real world example of unnecessary red tape and undue government regulation. The ownership that we met with in Scarborough said it quite clearly – layers upon layers of unnecessary red tape and government regulation are killing their business and putting good jobs at continued risk,” said McNaughton. “This is a smaller Ontario food processor who simply cannot keep up with the government paperwork and compliance regimes, not to mention the sky-high hydro pricing and incoming cap-and-trade carbon scheme.”
The Fraser Institute report also highlighted that Ontario’s personal tax rate rose by 15.3% in the seven years between 2009 and 2016. This increase brought Ontario’s combined federal-provincial top rate above 50%, one of only three provinces in Canada to tax personal income this highly. Likewise, the report referenced that Ontario has introduced a cap and trade carbon scheme which is effectively a consumer tax and will make our lives more complex while directly reducing our economic freedom across Ontario.
“There are over 380,000 different rules and regulations on the books here in Ontario. For a small or medium-sized business, just monitoring this many rules and regulations is a massive burden. Especially when you consider that the U.S. government is now moving forward with a sweeping ‘one-in, two-out’ plan by forcing the government to eliminate two regulations for every new rule added, Ontario is getting blown away. There’s no doubt, we are losing the battle on economic freedom.” summarized McNaughton.