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LETTER: Ottawa Liberals miss chance to fix flaws in economy

Federal budget did not provide concrete measures to address the tax burden on businesses, and failed to provide a road map back to fiscal balance, Newmarket's chamber of commerce president and CEO writes
20190321 Tracy Walter pres newmarket chamber
Tracy Macgregor Walter is the president and CEO of the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce. Supplied photo/Newmarket Chamber of Commerce

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The road to a more prosperous Canada and our community starts with helping businesses create more opportunities.  

Businesses drive the economy, provide jobs and build projects in communities. While there were some positive announcements, 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 our analysis.

We welcome the announcements on skills and infrastructure where the budget does deliver on policy areas critical to the success of Newmarket businesses and the community, however, it did not provide concrete measures to address the tax burden on businesses or provide a roadmap back to fiscal balance.

The Newmarket Chamber of Commerce is the voice of local businesses in Newmarket with the federal government. As a collective, we are part of a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade representing over 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors across Canada.

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.  

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 Chambers’ interest in reducing the regulatory burden on Canadian businesses, the Budget proposals unfortunately maintain a lackluster solution to the problem.
  • The new Canadian Training Credit and EI Training Support Benefits to support the up-skilling and reskilling of Canadians align with the Chambers’ recommendations. However, the potential impact on small businesses remains unclear. More information is needed, along with a commitment to consult with businesses.
  • The Budget offered little new information regarding the national pharmacare plan. The Chamber Network supports focusing on the 10 per cent of Canadians who are uninsured or underinsured.
  • We support making the Global Talent Stream program permanent. We 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,” said the Honorable Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “Without addressing the underlying, structural problems in our economy, we will not see the growth needed to create greater prosperity for Canadian families.”

Heading into the 2019 federal election, the Newmarket 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 small to medium-sized enterprises to maintain competitiveness and prosperity for all Canadians.

Tracy Macgregor Walter
President and CEO, Newmarket Chamber of Commerce