Budget 2019 puts businesses on the sidelines, misses chance to fix fundamental flaws in our economy: Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce

GREATER SUDBURY, March 20, 2019 – Yesterday’s federal budget fails 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 Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

“The path to economic prosperity in Greater Sudbury is still unclear for local businesses and job creators,” said Michael Macnamara, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce. “While the budget delivers on some of our advocacy priorities, particularly in the areas of skills and broadband infrastructure, it fails to provide concrete measures to address the tax and regulatory burden on businesses. The Budget also does not include any investment in the Ring of Fire, FedNor, nor does it address concerns businesses have regarding the carbon tax.”

Until such issues are addressed, we will struggle to grow our economy, create meaningful employment for more Canadians, and generate the revenues we need to sustain our roads, healthcare, and education system.

The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce is the voice of local business with the federal government. The chamber is a part of a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trades representing over 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all 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 chamber network’s policy proposals outlined in the Canadian Chamber’s 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 fields;
  • $150 million to create new partnerships between government and industry to create up to 20,000 new WIL opportunities; and
  • multiple funding mechanisms to enhance apprentice programs in skilled trades.

However, the Budget did not address key issues identified by business in Greater Sudbury:

  • 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; and
  • support for FedNor to support economic development and job creation in Northern Ontario.

The new Canadian Training Credit and EI Training Support Benefits to support the up-skilling and re-skilling of Canadians is critical to supporting our labour force. However, the potential financial burden of these programs on small businesses remains unclear. Additionally, the Budget offers little new information on the national pharmacare plan. The chamber network supports a plan that focuses on the 10 percent of Canadians who are uninsured or underinsured.

“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 Honourable Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Heading into the 2019 Federal Election, the Greater Sudbury Chamber and the national chamber network will continue to engage with federal representatives to focus on reducing the regulatory burden on businesses and addressing the skills gap in our labour market to maintain competitiveness and prosperity for all Canadians