Monday, March 1, 2021

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the King Chamber of Commerce (the “Chamber”) I am writing this letter to highlight the Chamber’s support for the proposed Community Improvement Plan Refresh (“CIPR”).  Additionally, the Chamber wishes to acknowledge the tireless efforts made by King’s Economic Development department to develop and bring the much needed CIPR to the table.

The Chamber supports both the expanded the CIP coverage areas and permitted uses of the CIP funds contained in the CIPR.  As we emerge from the public health and economic disaster brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic access to the expanded CIP funds may prove to be an important lifeline for local small business. 

We encourage the Township to seek out innovative ways to use the available CIP funds to support local businesses in the hardest hit sectors, for instance our local hospitality industry.  One way the enhanced CIP funds could be used is to support expanded outdoor dining in the spring, summer and fall of 2021 while we all patiently wait our turn to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

We thank you for taking the time to carefully consider our submission and for supporting the local business community.

Sincerely,

Angelo Santorelli,  King Chamber of Commerce President

January 28, 2021

King Chamber of Commerce Rural Broadband Position Statement

On behalf of the King Chamber of Commerce, I am writing with an open letter of support for the proposed rural broadband initiative.

As the voice of business in King Township, we generally advocate for open markets where competition provides variety and allows broad customer choice.  However, as economists have long noted, there are instances where an open market does not lead to a market solution that provides sufficient choice for consumers. 

Governments in Canada have a long history of providing the basic infrastructure required to encourage market participants to provide greater choice in under serviced areas.  Previous large-scale government interventions and initiatives include the construction of the trans-Canada railway, the platform on which this country was founded 150 years ago, and the infrastructure supporting rural telephone service implemented a generation ago.  Broadband quite simply is to the 21st century what railways were to the 19th century; and what telephone lines were to the 20th.  All were/are key facilitators of commerce.  

Having high speed internet connectivity in King will help with our local business sustainability.  We seek to build a sustainable, wholesome community where future generations can live, work, and play in the township in which they were raised.  Local work opportunities are key to this balance.  Unfortunately, a rural environment does not readily lend itself to a market solution to providing high speed broadband connectivity to the community.  This is most easily evidenced by our current lack of service despite our proximity to the many urban communities surrounding us who have had this service for any number of years. 

While we live in the large region of York, King is a very rural place; even our settlement areas are well distributed with quite some distance between King City, Nobleton, and Schomberg.  The York wide rural broadband initiative will provide an open access which market participants will use to provide choice.   This initiative, if approved, will create an attractive cost-benefit opportunity for potential internet service providers to the community, even though a single provider may not have a compelling business case to build the infrastructure required to provide this service on their own. 

We have a few hundred medium sized employers, a few hundred small businesses and over a thousand home-based businesses widely distributed across our rural landscape.  Having the availability of high-speed internet access is an enabler for all these businesses and is critical to their future success.  More importantly, because of the severe negative and in some cases debilitating impact COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns have had specifically on sole proprietorships, small and mid-size businesses in the King Township regardless of location,  business owners are having to adapt and rethink how to sustain their businesses.  Without a broadband functionality, for a business owner to begin contemplating how to develop an on-line option for their business becomes an impossibility and leaves sole-proprietorships, small to mid-size operators in rural areas like King Township at an unequivocal disadvantage.  Given that government at all levels continue to declare that “Small businesses are the back-bone of Ontario” and we must all “Support our local small businesses,” by not offering high-speed internet access makes this a meaningless assertion, futile intention and unachievable strategy.  Let us provide our existing businesses with the tools they require to facilitate their long-term sustainability.

Further, when thinking about entrepreneurs in internet-based businesses who have the whole world from which to choose an operating location, we want them to consider King (which means York Region, the Province of Ontario, here in Canada) as a destination of choice for locating their business.  Let us enable them to choose to settle here, hire local people and fuel the local economy.

On behalf of the business community in King Township, we sincerely appreciate your careful consideration of this letter of support.

Angelo Santorelli 

President, King Chamber of Commerce

Wednesday December 02 2020

Re: Proposed Non- Residential Development Charges

As many are aware, King Township faces a significant “jobs deficit” and is definitely not on track to meet the preferred Growth Scenario of 16,000 jobs (i.e. 8755 new jobs representing a 120% increase in total employment) in King by 2041 contained in King’s approved Economic Development Strategy Plan.  The non-residential Development Charge rates (the “non-res DC rates”) in the proposed 2020 Development Charge By-Law currently before Council for debate will only further discourage and limit economic development in King Township. 

The proposed non-res DC rate increases range from 32-47% and bring King into the same “snack bracket” as our dense, well serviced and economic development friendly urban neighbours to the south, Markham and Vaughan.  With all due respect, these municipalities are not the ones we should be aligned with for non-res DC rate setting purposes.  Rather, King Township must compete with the likes of Caledon, Bradford, Whitchurch-Stouffville, East Gwillimbury and Georgina who all already maintain non-res DC rates that are significantly lower than the existing non-res DC rates charged in King..

Let’s just do some simple arithmetic:

  • ·         The proposed non-res DC increase for Schomberg is $42.41 per square meter.
  • ·         1 square meter is 10.76 square feet, so the increase is $3.91 per square foot.
  • ·         Under the proposed new DC By-Law the cost for anyone wanting to construct a 25,000 square foot retail, commercial or industrial                facility in Schomberg will increase by approximately $100,000.00 in 2021.

This magnitude of increase is simply unacceptable.  At an approximately 4% non-res tax base currently King already lags far behind its closest neighbours and the comparators noted above. 

The old adage that it is better to have a half loaf of bread rather than no loaf at all applies here.  If these non-res DC rate increases are put through we are concerned that there will be no significant interest in non-residential development in King for the foreseeable future.  We further believe the Township should play the longer game by holding the line on non-res DC rates, so that we can attract non-residential development and build the non-residential tax base to a more acceptable level.

We keep saying that King is “open for business” and that it is a complete community where residents can “live, work and play”.  The proposed non-res DC rates send exactly the opposite message to any interested commercial developers and business owners who are looking at King as a place to invest, develop, set-up shop or grow their business.

We suggest that there may be other more palatable and potentially lucrative sources of non-residential tax the Township could be collecting (e.g. identifying under assessed or misclassified properties).  In the event that Council nonetheless decides to approve the non-res DC rate increases, then the King Chamber of Commerce would like the opportunity to explore with the Township other possible incentives or programs that could be created to entice businesses of all sizes to set-up or grow their business in King.


Friday October 30, 2020

400 Series Highway Development

At the King Chamber of Commerce we have been actively monitoring the discussions at York Regional Council concerning a proposal from Whitchurch-Stouffville, supported by King, to study opportunities to open up land parcels at strategically located interchanges along the 400 series highways in northern York Region. 

We understand that Regional Council has heard from a small but vocal number of local advocacy groups and individuals in opposition to this proposal.  We do not believe these groups and individuals represent the majority view of King residents, and certainly not the views of the King business community.  Indeed, we applaud Mayor Pellegrini, Council and Township Staff for their continuing support of this potentially important economic development opportunity.

As many are aware, King Township faces a significant “jobs deficit” and is definitely not on track to meet the preferred Growth Scenario of 16,000 jobs (i.e. 8755 new jobs representing a 120% increase in total employment) in King by 2041 contained in King’s approved Economic Development Strategy Plan (for further information please see attached the KCC’s previous Statement on Economic Development in King and link to King Township’s approved Economic Development Strategy Update (2018-22) http://www.king.ca/Government/Departments/Economic%20Development/Publications/Documents/Ec

onomic%20Development%20Strategy%20Update%20-%20FINAL.pdf.

This occurs at a time when King Township further faces mounting challenges to meet budgetary requirements amidst tax payment deferrals and the simple inability to meet those required costs in tougher economic times.

In King Township there are limited opportunities for non-residential investment attraction and business park development leading to the creation of new well-paying jobs for King, in both the near term and foreseeable future.  However, there may already be an immediate opportunity to attract a major service/head office firm to develop the prime industrial land at Highway 400 and King Road.  In future, there may also be opportunities to develop the industrial lands at both 400 and Aurora Road and 400 and the north side of Hwy. 9.

The strategic location of these employment lands contiguous to interchanges on Hwy. 400 provides King Township with a unique opportunity to take advantage of infrastructure and economic development investments being offered by higher levels of government.  Further, development of the employment lands at the 400 interchanges would not, in our view, impair the movement of goods and people through our municipality in any material way and such development aligns closely with the recommendations contained in King Township’s Economic Development Strategy Update (2018-22).

We are confident that King Council would only permit industrial/commercial development on these lands after public consultation and after carefully balancing the potential for economic development and jobs creation with the potential impacts on issues like the environment, character of the community and quality of life (e.g. increased traffic) in King.

Monday June 22 2020

King Township Council Meeting June 22, 2020

Commercial Tax Rate Increase/Small Business in Township

Can it actually be true that King Township Council is even considering a Tax Rate increase directed at the limited Commercial sector of the Township’s Assessment Base at this critical “make or break” time for small business?  The Chamber of Commerce understands that discussion of this item is up at this Council Meeting.  This is both untimely and unfortunate given that it is difficult for the Chamber of Commerce and residents to speak to any proposed increase in the ‘virtual setting’.  It remains a problem with all public forums, the tribunals and the courts to get a ‘fair hearing’ of any issue currently.

At a time when we still have not seen the full economic effects of the Covid 19 Pandemic, we question why Council would even consider burdening small businesses further?  We understand that upwards of 40% of King Township’s small commercial businesses won’t reopen because of Covid 19 and that number could well be as high as 70% when the final body count is taken.  

Is a Tax Rate increase directed at the Commercial Sector at this point not roughly akin to kicking a person when already down?  Further, is this not a point where both Council and the Region should be taking a sober second look at the allocation of Tax Rates for all of the Tax Classes and determining a Rate approach more in tune for the current and post-pandemic years?

We submit that the Township should be looking at ‘a different way of doing things’ as the Covid and post-Covid years (with perhaps a 10 year horizon) are going to be fiscally challenging.  Residents and businesses are deferring mortgage and tax payments, there is uncertainty with the assessing Authority, small businesses are rapidly disappearing, and a largely imbalanced Assessment Base (95%+ Residential/almost no Industrial/small component Commercial/large Exempt/PILT component, etc.) present problems in go-forward budgeting for the Township.

While the Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the potential Tax Rate increases in general and the Commercial Tax Rate increase in particular, we are at the same time suggesting that a strategy needs to be established towards an integrated approach to be applied in terms of expanding and enhancing the local economy and Tax Base.  The Chamber notes the approach being taken in Orillia where a City of Orillia Economic Recovery Task Force (ERTF) has been created, Phase 1 being their Patio and Public Realm Initiative.  It involves streamlining the process of application for expanded patios, vetting by concerned groups, CIP participation, a degree of funding, and working with the local business community to create new opportunities and ultimately increased tax revenue.

The Chamber encourages Council to adopt the Orillia approach or the creation of a working group comprised of Stakeholders interested in seeing what we can do to encourage development of a more diversified economic and tax base in the Township that might help sustain us going forward.  Further, we recommend not approving any Tax increases until after they can be reviewed under a “post-Covid light” – the local economy is a different beast today than it was 6 months ago and it will be different again 6 months from now.  We must pause and look at how we could be doing things differently to remain healthy and sustainable as a Township.

All of which is most respectfully submitted.

Angelo Santorelli, President King Chamber of Commerce

President's Message  April 14 2020

A couple of weeks back we wrote pleading with all levels of government to implement an Emergency Standstill Agreement to protect and preserve businesses impacted by COVID-19 and mandatory business closures. Since then, the federal government has taken extraordinary steps to protect laid off workers (CERB) and to allow those businesses who can continue to operate at some level to keep employees on the payroll (CEWS).

What has not been addressed though is the economic survival of the many businesses who have payrolls of less than $50,000.00 or more than $1,000,000.00 who don’t qualify for emergency business loans and who are required to continue to pay rent on commercial space that they are unable to use as result of the mandatory closure of all “non-essential” services. This includes many retail outlets like the barber who can’t open to cut hair, the trainer who can’t train clients at the gym that is closed and all of the bars and restaurants who are trying to survive on takeout and delivery.

The knock-on effect of these businesses failing or being unable to pay their rent is that commercial landlords, many of whom are also small businesses or investors themselves, won’t be able to pay their mortgages or their property taxes. This conjures up images of abandoned restaurants, strip plazas and commercial buildings lying derelict with long term unemployment for those workers formerly employed at these sites.

Perhaps it is time for the federal government to create a third stream of subsidy, the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Subsidy (CECRS). Another alternative at the provincial level might be a mandated pause on rent for shuttered non-essential commercial businesses with a corresponding pause on mortgage payments and property taxes for their landlords. Without such support from one or the other levels of government we are going to lose many small independent businesses in our community due to COVID-19 and the dire picture painted above may well play out in our cities and towns.

Let’s continue to stand together and get through this together!

Angelo Santorelli

EMERGENCY STANDSTILL AGREEMENT  March 31 2020 

I have been in business in Ontario for 43 years and have seen a lot of economic turmoil over four decades.  I have had to deal with many situations in my business but nothing like this! Not many of us, or perhaps none of us have seen anything like this before, that’s why we have to act now.

During this difficult time, dealing with the spread of the Coronavirus, Covid-19, I was thinking of the effects on my business and all the other businesses in my community, in Ontario and across the country.  The stories are very real, heartbreaking and many are living in fear and uncertainty.

I believe that we need the governments and leaders at all levels to install or put in place an EMERGENCY STANDSTILL AGREEMENT for every person, every business, small, medium or large. 

This agreement, as basic as it may be can work with the cooperation of all parties.

1.    All payments would stop, such as mortgage, lease payments, taxes, etc.

2.    All businesses would pay their employees with a pay through fund that all levels of government pass on to employers to pass on to                   employees that are currently on staff as of a specific date set by the government.

3.    This needs to be implemented immediately, with all levels of government working together to make it happen so we can have stability               and continuity in our work place, our homes and our businesses.

4.    The government would take care of those who are not currently employed or have no proof of employment such as those who are self-           employed.

We need to bring all business leaders and governments together to make this agreement now. Our goal should be to have this in place within 15 days and have the EMERGENCY STANDSTILL AGREEMENT become the life line that is so badly needed at this time, a life line that can’t be broken until life gets back to normal.  No waiting period, start now!

I have many ideas on how this could work but something must be done now.  The government must stop throwing more money out without working out a sustainable future for all people and all businesses in this great country.  We need long term positive action.

Thank-you!  Let’s stand together and get through this together!

Angelo Santorelli

President of the King Chamber of Commerce

MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release

Businesses Gather to Discuss Areas of Efficiency with Senior Members of the Provincial

Government, House Leader Paul Calandra and MPP Michael Parsa


Red Tape Reduction the key focus at Roundtable with York Region Business Leaders

AURORA, ON–January 31st 2020 – The York Region Business Coalition gathered businesses to engage provincial leaders on reducing red tape. Local business leaders were in attendance to highlight the challenges they face on growth and scaling.

The Honourable Paul Calandra, Government House Leader, MPP for Markham—Stouffville as well as Michael Parsa, MPP for Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill and Parliamentary Assistant to the President of the Treasury Board, directly engaged businesses on a new platform launched by the Ontario government.

The Ontario government has launched a new website that allows business to provide direct feedback to the government on areas of regulation and red tape which can be streamlined.

The discussion covered a number of key challenges facing business owners including: red tape reduction, layering of regulations and small business tax.

Sandra Ferri, President & CEO for the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, hoped the meeting would give the government further feedback on how they can help businesses.

“Aurora businesses and the Aurora Chamber of Commerce look forward to continuing to work with Government in support of business growth and development, by reducing red tape and regulations. Meetings with key business stakeholders are a critical piece to understanding the changes needed to make Ontario a better place to do business.”

Newmarket Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Tracy Walter also called on the government to further reduce regulations. 

“The Provincial Government has taken some positive steps to make conducting business easier for small businesses. We look forward to continuing to work together on specific measures to alleviate the regulatory burden on small businesses in the Region.”

Michael Parsa, MPP, reaffirmed the Provincial Government’s commitment to keeping Ontario open for business.

“Making Ontario work better for people and smarter for business is a key part of our mandate, and by cutting red tape, as well as modernizing and streamlining regulations, we are working to improve Ontario’s investment climate so that businesses are able to create jobs, grow wages, and help Ontario prosper.”

The YRBC will continue to engage with the government to advocate for further red tape reduction to keep York Region a competitive place to do business.

For more information please contact:

Abdus Samad

Manager of Government Relations and Policy York Region Business Coalition

C: 613.697.2435 E: abdus@yrbc.ca

King's Sign By-Law  - Jan 25 2018

After engaging in an extensive process of consultation with King businesses and collaboration with Township Staff, the King Chamber of Commerce is very pleased to see its efforts culminate with Council's decision on January 23, 2018 to approve the proposed amendments to King's Sign By-Law. These amendments modernize the Sign By-Law, ensure both flexibility and consistency, and provide an environment where King businesses will be able to visibly yet tastefully showcase their offerings. 

A special thanks goes to Tom Allen (Pres.) and to Board members Andy Nemes, Kelly Foley and Jay Rider who worked diligently throughout 2017 to ensure that the concerns local businesses were heard and communicated to Staff and Council. We also thank Township Staff, in particular Jamie Smyth, Economic Development Officer,  both  Kathryn Moyle and Nancy Cronsberry from the Clerk's Office, for working collaboratively and constructively with the Chamber to ensure that the most prevalent concerns of local businesses were addressed in the modernized Sign By-Law. 

Signage By-Law 

Wednesday May 24 from 7:00-9:00PM at Nobleton Public Library, 8 Sheardown Drive, Nobleton,

The King Chamber of Commerce is undertaking a review of the Township’s current Sign By-Law.  The purpose of the review is to identify what changes we feel are necessary to support our local commercial businesses.  We will be preparing a proposal to modernize the sign by-laws in order to make them more “business friendly”, while still respecting the Township and Council’s role in overseeing and directing the look and character of King.  Our plan is to present this proposal to Council as soon as possible.

In connection with the Sign By-Law review, we are hosting an Open Business Forum 

1.King - Sign By-Law Forum -Presentation.pdf

2.Signage Survey results.pdf


Open:Signage Survey - Feb 2017  Closed March 2017

The King Chamber of Commerce has created this survey to ensure we hear from as many businesses as possible regarding any issues owners / managers may have regarding the current signage bylaws for King Township. Once we have gathered and collated your feedback, we will be creating a submission to the township for amendments to the existing sign bylaws. Your feedback is critical in this process. 

Generally, we are looking for feedback on whether the current sign bylaws adequately allow for a business in King to announce its location and services to the traffic that is driving, walking or cycling by their location?   In order to assist with the completion of our survey, please refer to the  By-Law Summary for details on the existing Sign By-Law for King found at kingchamber.ca

J- Signage Survey(JARFinal).pdf

J -the President’s letter.pdf


The Corporation of Township of King By-Law Number 2013-127

A By-Law to regulate signs and other advertising devices in the Township of King

Sign By-law 2013-127.pdf

Sign Permit Application Variance Request.pdf

King Chamber of Commerce 

Concerned with Reports of Sweeping Labour Law and Employment Standards Reforms

Potential changes would stifle investment, eliminate jobs and diminish economic opportunities in Ontario, especially among small business owners

King Township, ON, Wednesday, May 17, 2017: The King Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of the business community in King Township, fully supports and endorses the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) who has sent a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne warning against potential changes to Ontario's Labour Relations Act (LRA) and the Employment Standards Act (ESA), including the introduction of a $15 minimum wage. Many of these potential reforms, if enacted, will stifle job creation and competitiveness, as well discouraging investment in the province.  We are concerned that many of the potential reforms being discussed may have more to do with advancing the institutional interests trade unions, as opposed to sound policy for the protection of workers in Ontario.

The potential reforms are coming at a time when costs for consumers and the cost of doing business is increasingly putting Ontario at a competitive disadvantage. The changes we understand are being discussed will have a disproportionate impact on costs and flexibility for small employers, who constitute the majority of the business community in King.

"We are concerned about unintended consequences. Where are the economic impact analyses? These sweeping changes could seriously impact job creation and the health of our local economy in King" said Tom Allen, KCC’s President. "The proposed changes would discourage investment in Ontario and diminish economic opportunities for all Ontarians. Politics cannot drive decision-making, evidence must."

On issues of non-standard and part-time work, Statistics Canada data shows that part-time work has risen 22 percent since 2003, down from the 36 percent increase in the previous 12-year period. Recent studies show that 76 percent of part-timer workers voluntarily choose part-time work to better accommodate schooling or personal life. 

"We are urging Premier Wynne to complete an economic impact analysis of the proposed reforms to limit potential consequences that could seriously jeopardize our future growth," said Richard Koroscil, Interim-President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. "We support reform where and when it is needed, but we caution against change for change's sake."

The OCC's letter reminds the Premier that Ontario's employer community is doing its part to create better jobs and working conditions in the province. Budget 2017 points out that 98% of all new jobs created since the recession have been full time, and 78% have been above-average wage for their respective industries.

The letter notes that the goals of economic growth and improved employee rights are not mutually exclusive. The OCC believes that what supports the competitiveness of Ontario's economy can also help enhance the quality of work. Increased education and enforcement may assist with compliance to Government regulations and can improve worker environments. Regulatory reform that raises costs for business, only to reduce the ability of business to invest in and grow the labour force, is counterproductive.

Read the OCC's letter to Premier Wynne.    

Statement of Position on the Future of Economic Development in King Township

As we are all well aware, King Township is undergoing a period of rapid transformation in terms of overall population growth, population demographics and economic opportunity. In addition, many grovernmental initiatives are currently underway at the Provincial, Regional and Local levels of goverment that will impact signigicantly on future growth and economic development in King.  Read more ...

Rural Broadband Position Statement

As the voice of business in King Township, we generally advocate for open markets where competition provides variety and allows broad customer choice. However, as economists have long noted, there are instances where an open market does not lead to a market solution that provides sufficient choice for consumers. Read more ...


King Chamber of Commerce - Box 381 Schomberg, L0G 1T0                        Administrator- Helen Neville         905-717-7199            info@kingchamber.ca               

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