As the Ontario government looks at completing the Long-Term Energy Plan 2017 (LTEP), Northern Ontario chambers of commerce are asking for special consideration for their unique economic and environmental climate.
The chambers in Sudbury, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, and Thunder Bay made a submission to the LTEP in December.
Michael Macnamara is a lawyer at Conroy Trebb Scott Elurtubise and vice-chair of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce board, and worked on the submission.
"Whether you're a single person or a large corporation, you've felt the impact of energy prices," he said.
"We felt Northern Ontario in particular had specific needs or different needs than Ontario as a whole. There's an increase in costs as simple as heating."
The submission pointed to factors besides the cold, like the increased cost associated with getting gas and electricity to remote areas, the increased distance and cost of transporting goods to the North, and the importance of energy-intensive resource extraction to the local economies.
Macnamara said they are asking for three main things: economic development, transparency, and predictability.
While the submission commended existing government initiatives for economic development, it outlined the need for further policy adjustments to encourage industry to stay in the North. Macnamara said concerns include businesses going south, or even across the border, to reduce costs and stay competitive in a global market.
"Local businesses associated with mining, sheet metal...