Month: September 2017

Federal tax reform and the risks to Guelph’s small business culture

During the September 25th council meeting I weighed in on matters relating to upper levels of government.

I expressed concerns on the proposed federal tax reforms for small business and the risks they pose to Guelph’s entrepreneurial culture.

Why did I discuss this? It was in the context of council voting on whether to expand the Downtown Guelph Business Investment Area (BIA) and subsequent tax increase on  dozens of independent small businesses in and around our downtown. Ultimately I could not support the BIA expansion at this time, but it was passed on a 7-5 vote.

Specific to the proposed federal tax reforms however, I want to thank our local Guelph Chamber of Commerce for their continued advocacy on behalf of Guelph’s business community. To read the Chambers positions, please see link here.

In addition to the Chambers concerns, I echo the growing number of small business experts across the country questioning the timing of these reforms. At a time when our country is experiencing an extended period of economic growth, experts agree these tax reforms risk compromising small business job creation and investment. As such, many (including the Canadian Chamber of Commerce) believe they should not be rushed.

Similarly, the opportunity for Canadian municipalities like Guelph to attract and retain small business talent and investment is now. Today our city is experiencing tremendous interest from prospective and existing small businesses to invest here! New start-ups are evolving and new storefronts are opening. The proof has never been more evident:

  • The 4th best large city in Canada to start and grow a business;
  • The 3rd best City in Canada to raise a family;
  • One of the top 10 places in Canada for new Canadians;
  • One of the best job rates and lowest unemployment rates in the country; and,
  • 2nd highest in full time job numbers nationally.

So again, I question the timing of these reforms. At a time when Canadian municipalities like Guelph are so poised to attract and retain new talent, new investment and new entrepreneurs (including recent graduates), why risk harming this growth by changing the foundation of the small business and entrepreneurial landscape? Especially in our downtown. These changes will almost assuredly result in reduced investor confidence and uncertainty.

It is for these very Guelph centric reasons that I expressed, and will continue expressing, my concerns on the proposed tax reforms. Our City, and our downtown, are currently positioned to succeed. From my perspective, any tax reform from Ottawa must be carefully calibrated so as not to compromise growth for our small business job creators.

If you have any questions on this file or would like to discuss further, please feel free to contact me.

Dan Gibson
Ward 1 City Councilor
[email protected]
519-827-6407 (c)

My Thoughts On The Solid Waste Service Review

First and foremost, I want to thank staff (both management and our labour groups) for undertaking a professional, honest and transparent process to date on the solid waste service review.  While this type of “inward looking” is never easy, I wholeheartedly believe this process has been respectful to our valued City staff while honoring this council’s commitment to ensuring value for taxes and efficient service delivery.

To this end I encourage everyone with an interest in this file to read the interim staff report on the state of the City’s Solid Waste Services. 

Now for some take homes messages.

It’s important to note that of the six solid waste services under review, five are performing at, or above the levels of our comparator municipalities.  This is a good news story that cannot be understated.

As for the sixth however (the operation of the Material Recovery Facility or MRF), the staff report indicates the current operating losses sit at $92/tonne, or $2.5M annually, while many of our comparator municipalities are seeing positive revenues (as much as $84/tonne).

From this perspective, our cost ($92/tonne) plus the loss of potential revenue (as high as $84/tonne), results in a net operating variance of $176/tonne (in some cases).  When projected over 23,000 tonnes of waste processed each year, it is conceivable to conclude that the MRF may be underforming by as much as $4M annually (by comparison).

This, in my mind, is the fundamental issue facing council on this file and one that cannot be ignored.  While no staff recommendations have been tabled to date, I believe this council is serious about correcting these losses.  As such I’m supportive of the work ahead and trust staff will bring forward sustainable recomendations for correcting these ongoing losses in the near future.


Mayors Blog July 12, 2017 | Addressing East End Concerns

The East end of Guelph should know this info: I’d like to thank Councillor Gibson for compiling these links after an inquiry was made by an East end resident to us both – wondering if the city wasn’t addressing their needs?
I had a blog post from the past about this here:
Where is The Grocery Store in The East End of #Guelph?
I have written a letter to the editor in response to a letter published by the Tribune in yesterday’s Tuesday paper. My hope is that it is published, but if not, I’ll post it here soon.
Thank you,

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