Two announcements on Tuesday from both the provincial and federal governments are a testament to the work being done by Chambers across the country. The Fall Economic Statement identified significant improvements to increasing competitiveness on a global scale. The Federal government has been witness to the positive impact a strong economy has on higher wages and ultimately, more money to save, invest and spend (which helps us all) and along with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce representatives, they have been meeting with small business owners across the country to figure out how they can help best. Overall, we are getting the same message of “being open for business”. The government has realized they need to diversify their trading partners and offer a competitive incentive to become a partner to others. How this affects business here? Investments in capital expenditures can be written off sooner. In an environment where technology is out of date by the time it’s installed, this is a significant incentive for businesses to upgrade particularly in the context of clean energy equipment. They’ve also noted harmonization of building codes across Canada will help align regulations in the construction sector which hopefully dovetails nicely with the province’s interest in improving access to skilled trades.
On the provincial side, the royal assent of Bill 47 – which repealed Bill 148 – has business owners breathing a sigh of relief. In spite of the highly publicized issue of minimum wage increases, this was not the major concern of many of our members who are already paying a fair wage in order to retain good and loyal employees. Instead, Bill 47 tells business owners that the government will not be making sudden changes, they understand a balanced approach to fairness in the workplace will bring about more positive change, that improved access to apprenticeships will benefit everyone and that they will support small businesses to grow sustainably.
FROM THE CCC Release – November 21, 2018
Ottawa, November 21, 2018 – The federal government’s Fall Economic Update contains a number of important measures to address Canada’s competitiveness gap with other countries, but more urgently needs to be done, says the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
“Faster write-offs for new investment, regulatory reform and concrete actions to accelerate the removal of barriers to trade within Canada are all important steps in the right direction, and we applaud the government’s initiatives in these areas,” said Canadian Chamber President and CEO Perrin Beatty. “In advance of today’s update we have been calling for targeted tax cuts to stimulate investment, concrete measures to reduce the regulatory burden, and accelerated investments in the National Trade Corridors Fund. With today’s announcements it is clear that the government has clearly heard the message from job creators.”
Specifically, the Canadian Chamber welcomes the commitment by the Finance Minister and by Treasury Board President Scott Brison to regulatory reform. Today’s announcements reflect some of the core elements of the Canadian Chamber’s report Death by 130,000 Cuts: Improving Canada’s Regulatory Competitiveness, which was released earlier this year.
“If the government follows through on its commitments, this can be the most important series of regulatory reforms in recent years,” said Mr. Beatty. “I hope that the Prime Minister will add to the momentum by calling for concerted action at all levels of government when he meets with provincial and territorial leaders next month.”
While the measures announced today will help address Canada’s competitiveness challenges, the Canadian Chamber remains concerned that the government has not committed to a full review of our tax system, or set out a clear, realistic strategy for balancing the public books.
Some specific measures announced today that are supported by the Canadian Chamber include, but are not limited to:
- Making competitiveness a permanent part of regulatory mandates;
- Funding to help Canadian SMEs explore new export opportunities; and
- Export readiness initiatives to be delivered to businesses, including through chambers of commerce.
“The Chamber is concerned that today’s Economic Update lacks any plans to help Canada’s struggling energy industry. We call on government to lay out its plans for oil and gas workers during these exceptional times,” said Mr. Beatty. “We would also like to understand the government’s plans to address the need for more attention to skills development and training, as well as to attracting and retaining the best talent available for all industries in Canada.”
“We invite the federal government to continue listening to the business community to build a more prosperous Canada where all Canadians have the opportunity to succeed,” concluded Mr. Beatty.
FROM THE OCC Release – November 21, 2018
(Toronto, November 21, 2018) – Today, Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released the following statement in response to the Government of Ontario’s receipt of royal assent for Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018.
“On behalf of our 60,000 members in 135 communities across the province, we are pleased the Government of Ontario is holding strong in its commitment to make Ontario open for business. Bill 47 restores balance to both employers and workers as well as reduces significant financial and administrative burden felt by businesses of all sizes throughout the province. With the competitiveness of our province at a critical point, the labour reforms introduced by Bill 47 are fundamental to the long-term prosperity of our people, our businesses, and our economy.
“The OCC has long called for labour reforms that are both reasonable for employers and fair to workers. The compounding reforms previously introduced by Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, forced Ontario businesses to decrease staff hours, halt capital investment, and increase their reliance on automation – all in an effort to stay afloat.
“The OCC has also long advocated for the Ontario College of Trades to modernize the apprenticeship application system, promote the skilled trades as a viable career option for young people, and revise the journeyperson-to-apprentice ratio framework to create more opportunities within the skilled trades. As these reforms were not made, the OCC recommended to dismantle the College and return responsibility for trades regulation to the Province.
“With 77 percent of Ontario business stating that access to talent is critical to their competitiveness, today’s news is a bold step in building a stronger Ontario and creating an economy that connects workers to jobs.”
For more information contact:
CEO, Belleville Chamber of Commerce
P - 613-962-4597 Ext 4
C - 613-847-4090
Manager, Quinte West Chamber of Commerce
P - 613-392-7635
C - 613-920-4233