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Restoring fairness must start now: chamber

According to a report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the provinces and the federal government must work together to restore fairness by ending current practices and by implementing systems to measure success or failures of government programs.

According to a report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the provinces and the federal government must work together to restore fairness by ending current practices and by implementing systems to measure success or failures of government programs.

Fairness in Confederation, Fiscal Imbalance: A Road map to Recovery, the second report released by the chamber, outlines several recommendations including new tax measures to restore balance to the federal transfer system, putting an end to side-deals with the provinces and measuring the effects, good or bad, of regional subsidies.

The chamber is also requesting that Canada's auditor general review the lack of common measurements of accessibility, quality, consumer response and outcomes associated with programs funded by the federal transfer system.

The phase 1 report, Driving Ontario to ?Have-Not? status, released in August, provided quantified data demonstrating the scope of the damage to Ontario?s economic health because of the fiscal imbalance.

They contend that the level of funding for such things as doctors, nurses, university professors, immigrants and infrastructure projects in Ontario are typically well behind most ?have-not? provinces, despite the stated goal of federal transfers to provide comparable levels of public services at comparable levels of taxation.

?The problem extends right into each Ontario community, including Sudbury,? said Vicki Smith, chair of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce.

?A shortage of skilled workers, long delays at borders, doctor and nursing shortages, failing infrastructure and a lack of services for recent immigrants can all be traced to unfair systems.?