Federal budget puts businesses on the sidelines: PQB chambers

Chambers claim 2019 budget misses chance to fix flaws in economy

According to an analysis by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce and the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce, the 2019 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.

“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” said Dave Willie, president of the Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce. “Until these 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 systems.”

RELATED: Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

The Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce and the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce are part of a network of more than 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trades representing more than 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 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 programs, with a view to create up to 20,000 new Work Integrated Learning opportunities outside of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics-related fields.

• $150 million to create new partnerships between government and industry to create up to 20,000 new Work Integrated Learning 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 small and medium enterprises 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.

“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 Hon. 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 Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce and the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce through the chamber network will continue to engage with federal representatives to focus on reducing the overall taxation, regulatory burden and the need for federal incentives to build attainable housing as critical priorities for Canadian businesses and SMEs to maintain competitiveness and prosperity for all Canadians.

— Submitted, NEWS Staff

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