Ottawa Board of Trade releases priorities ahead of provincial election

By Alex Black

The Ottawa Board of Trade is inviting Ottawa business and community leaders to join the conversation about priorities for the nation's capital ahead of the Ontario election. 

In order to lay a foundation and set a pace of growth in the Ottawa, the board has launched a new initiative dubbed 'Build Up Ottawa,' which calls on political leaders to make innovative investments that drive economic inclusivity and sustainability.

“Particularly after the last couple of years, I think all of us should be looking at this provincial election as an opportunity to talk about what's important to us in our community and how to make sure, that in Ottawa, we are prioritizing a pro-growth agenda, Ottawa Board of Trade chief executive officer Sueling Ching told The Sam Laprade Show on Monday, May 16. “We worked really closely with our colleagues across Ontario to release the Growth Prosperity Report, which we released in April, but we also wanted to talk about, specifically, what was important to Ottawa. Working with many of our local business and community leaders, and validating this information with our membership, we decided to release our strategy which helps us hone in on what we consider the top five priorities for Ottawa.”

Build for Growth:

  • Finish light rail transit phase three: Connecting Kanata and Barrhaven to the rest of the city supports our climate and inclusivity agenda while making the city more attractive to investment and talent.
  • Build the new campus at the Ottawa Hospital: A state-of-the-art healthcare facility ensures our growing population is well served and healthy while attracting businesses and residents seeking amenities.

Build More Homes: 

  • Streamline development approval processes and incentivize the municipal government to accelerate approvals to get more inventory, faster. This will positively impact the market pricing of homes to attract talent and residents. 
  • Commit to a substantial investment over the next four years to build housing that meets the demand of families who require social support to increase their security and ability to contribute productively within our community.

Build targeted skills:

  • Expand programs to recruit and train workers for the skilled trades and professions where existing and forecasted labour and talent shortages are identified, including but not limited to construction, health, hospitality, and technology.

Build our downtown:

  • Provide incentives to economic stakeholders, property owners, developers, and businesses to revitalize the downtown core. From buildings to services in Ottawa’s downtown which was once occupied full time by one quarter of Ottawa’s employee base and is the centre of our culture and visitor economy.

Build Small Business: 

  • Provide targeted financial support for the hardest hit sectors. Expand programs that support digitization and access to new markets. Create programs for diverse entrepreneurs including businesses owned by women, Indigenous and racialized entrepreneurs, and those with disabilities. 

With election day in Ontario set for Thursday, June 2, the board is encouraging residents to elect leaders who are committed to collaboration, growth and innovation for Ottawa. 

Listen to the full interview with Sueling Ching on The Sam Laprade Show below:

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