Press Release | Chamber Reacts to 2019 Federal Budget
On March 19th, the federal government released its 2019-20 budget detailing spending, revenue, national fiscal and economic outlook, and program priorities moving into the next year. The budget titled Investing in the Middle Class fell short of providing substantial support for the business sector and economy that could address problems with Canada’s overall tax competitiveness, decreasing business confidence, and lackluster investment level. Nonetheless, the business community can count a few notable wins within the announced budget.
- 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-related fields.
- $150 million to create new partnerships between government and industry to create up to 20,000 new WIL opportunities.
- Enhanced apprenticeship investments that support a skilled, mobile and certified trades workforce.
- $3 billion in tax incentives through the SR&ED tax incentive to support business research and development (R&D) in Canada. The program provides a 35-per-cent refundable tax credit to eligible small and medium-sized businesses.
The Tri-Cities Chamber echoes the view of the BC Chamber that progress on the following key issues was lacking:
- 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 SMEs to find new export opportunities and expand Canada’s ability to diversify its trade.
The Tri-Cities Chamber also wants to highlight a number of other big announcements that could affect our members and the Tri-Cities community at large.
Skills and Training:
- Establish a new Canada Training Benefit by investing $1.7 billion over five years and $586.5 million per year afterwards. This will be a personalized, portable training benefit to help people plan for and get the training they need to succeed in a changing economy.
Housing and Rental:
- Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will provide up to $1.25 billion over three years for the First Time Home Buyer Incentive, where first time home buyers can apply to finance a portion of their home purchase through a shared equity mortgage with CMHC.
- An additional $10 billion over nine years in financing through the Rental Construction Financing Initiative to support 42,500 new units across Canada, particularly in areas of low rental supply.
Health and Pharmacare:
- Establish a Canada Drug Agency, including $1 billion over two years, with up to $500 million ongoing, to help Canadians with rare diseases access the drugs they need.
- The introduction of three Regulatory Roadmaps to modernize regulatory frameworks in agri-food and aquaculture, health and bio-sciences, and transportation and infrastructure to specifically address stakeholder issues and irritants in these sectors.
- Following the ratifications of CETA and CPTPP, up to $3.9 billion is being proposed to support supply-managed farmers.
- $2.2 billion one-time transfer through the Federal Gas Tax Fund to address infrastructure deficits and short-term priorities in municipalities and First Nations communities.
The budget projects a deficit of -$19.8 billion this fiscal year, and expected to shrink to -$9.8 billion by 2023-24. Debt-to-GDP is also projected to decline from 30.7% to 28.6% in the same time frame. GDP growth for the next year has been forecasted at 1.9%.
The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is a proactive network of business-minded individuals that are committed to acting as an accessible, visible, supportive and reciprocal resource to our members and theTri-Cities at large, communicating their collective voice to help shape a prosperous business community.
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