Yesterday’s Fall Economic Update from the federal government contains a number of important measures to address Canada’s competitiveness gap with other countries suggests the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC).
The Chamber adds however that to reinforce Canada’s economic growth and viability, the government needs to commit to a full review of our corporate tax system and set out a clear, realistic strategy for balancing the public books.
Among some of the measures announced in Wednesday’s Economic Statement:
· the government will explore making competitiveness a permanent part of regulator mandates, introduce an annual modernization bill to keep regulations up-to-date, and establish a dedicated External Advisory Committee on Regulatory Competitiveness;
· the government plans to allow businesses to immediately write off the full cost of machinery and equipment used for the manufacturing and processing of goods as well as the full cost of specified clean energy equipment;
· the government plans to create an Accelerated Investment Incentive, which will allow businesses of all sizes and in all sectors of the economy to write off a larger share of the cost of newly acquired assets in the year the investment is made;
· the government will establish a continuous call for proposals for the National Trade Corridors Fund, backed by an accelerated investment of $773.9 million over five years;
· the government will provide funding of $7 million over five years to Canadian SMEs to help them explore new export opportunities and provide funding of $10 million over three years for export readiness and export capacity building initiatives through local organizations, including chambers of commerce;
· the government will provide a further $800 million over five years to the Strategic Innovation Fund, including $100 million that will focus on providing support to the forestry sector.
“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,” notes Don Mitchell, President of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber. “We applaud the government’s initiatives in these areas. Specifically, we welcome the government’s commitment to regulatory reform.
Reducing regulations and red tape is necessary in order to spur and encourage businesses growth. It also reflects some of the core elements of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s report, Death by 130,000 Cuts: Improving Canada’s Regulatory Competitiveness, which we supported at the local level.”
Mitchell adds: “From our perspective, many of these measures are good news for our local manufactures investing in capital expansion as well as our smaller enterprises that are looking to expand their exporting footprint. It is also good news for local businesses, like Algoma that continue to invest in technologies to improve and ‘green’ their operations. If the government follows through with everything announced yesterday, it will introduce some real incentives that will in turn, create some high value employment opportunities.”
While pleased with many of the measures announced, the Chamber suggests that it would have liked to see some additional concerns addressed, including a commitment to a full review of Canada’s corporate tax system, initiatives to offset Canada’s skills gap and a clear, realistic strategy for balancing the public books.
The Chamber states that it will continue to work with the federal government to ensure the voice of the business community is heard in order to build a more prosperous Canada where all Canadians have the opportunity to succeed.