Budget 2019 puts businesses on the sidelines, misses chance to fix fundamental flaws in our economy: Vaughan Chamber of Commerce
VAUGHAN, ON– March 20, 2019 – This year’s federal budget failed to address the fundamental issues undermining the ability of Canada’s business owners to create more jobs and economic prosperity for all Canadians, according to an analysis by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Vaughan Chamber of Commerce.
“We had hoped for greater investments from the federal Government in this budget for local businesses and job creators,” said Brian Shifman, President and CEO of the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce. “While the Budget delivers on some of our advocacy priorities, particularly in the areas of skills and infrastructure, it fails to provide concrete measures to address the tax and regulatory burden on businesses.”
The Vaughan Chamber of Commerce is the voice of local business in Vaughan to the federal government. We are part of a network of over 450 Chambers of Commerce and boards of trade representing over 200,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors of the economy across the country. On behalf of this network, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce had outlined several public policy priorities for the government in advance of the 2019 Budget.
The Budget did deliver on some of the Canadian Chamber’s policy proposals outlined in its Pre-Budget Submission, including:
- Multiple funding mechanisms to ensure that high-speed internet access is Canada-wide by 2030, with $1.7 billion specifically earmarked for rural, remote and northern communities.
- $631.2 million to expand Work-Integrated-Learning (WIL) programs, with a view to create up to 20,000 new WIL opportunities outside of STEM-related fields.
- $150 million to create new partnerships between government and industry to create up to 20,000 new WIL opportunities.
- Multiple funding mechanisms to enhance apprentice programs in skilled trades.
However, the Budget did not address the key issues identified by businesses across Canada:
- A commitment to a comprehensive review of the taxation system to make it fair and less cumbersome for businesses.
- A broad-based commitment to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses.
- A renewed commitment to eliminating inter-provincial trade barriers and mobility.
- Support for SMEs to help them find new export opportunities and expand Canada’s ability to diversify its trade.
- A clear strategy to move the Trans Mountain Pipeline forward, given the significant investment made by Canadian taxpayers.
Some Budget 2019 proposals require more consideration and details before determining the impact on businesses:
- The Budget identified funding programs to develop “regulatory roadmaps” to address stakeholder issues and irritants. While these efforts align with the VaughanChamber’s interest in reducing the regulatory burden on Canadian businesses, the Budget proposals unfortunately maintain a lackluster, made-by-government solution to a made-by-government problem.
- The new Canadian Training Credit and EI Training Support Benefits to assist the up-skilling and re-skilling of Canadians aligns with the Vaughan Chamber’s recommendations. However, the potential impact on small businesses remains unclear. The Vaughan Chamber needs more information and wants to see a commitment that business is consulted.
- The Budget offered little new information regarding the national pharmacare plan. The Vaughan Chamber supports focusing on the 10% of Canadians that are uninsured or underinsured.
- The Vaughan Chamber supports making the Global Talent Stream program permanent and would like to see the program include a focus on bringing skilled immigrants to rural communities, where they are often most needed.
“The core issues facing our economy that are driving away investment and suffocating our ability to attract top talent are broken taxation and regulatory systems and an inability to get our resources to tidewater. Without addressing the underlying, structural problems in our economy, we will not see the growth needed to create greater prosperity for Canadian families,” said the Honorable Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
Heading into the 2019 Federal Election, the Vaughan Chamber and the Canadian Chamber network will continue to engage with Federal representatives. The focus for the business community will be on reducing the overall taxation and regulatory burden. These have been identified as critical priorities for Canadian businesses and SMEs to maintain competitiveness and prosperity for all Canadians.
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For more information or comment, please contact:
Manager of Government Relations and Policy
Vaughan Chamber of Commerce
905.761.1366 ext. 102
Senior Director, Strategic Communications and Public Affairs
Canadian Chamber of Commerce