The Government of Canada is expected to release its 2023 budget in the coming weeks.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has put together its submission aimed at breaking down barriers and improving the competitiveness of Canadian businesses.
In his letter to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) President and CEO Perrin Beatty writes:
“The Canadian Chamber urges the government to focus its budget on the imperative for growth driven by the private sector: we cannot borrow our way to prosperity. The government’s role must be to ensure an environment that encourages private sector investment, and to foster the conditions for economic growth. Many of the measures included in our submission, including regulatory reform and dismantling internal barriers, will cost little or nothing now but will generate future wealth for our society.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, our international competitors continue to outpace us. In the areas where it must use tax dollars, the government must distinguish between spending and genuine investment: the bar must be whether an initiative will generate economic growth and create a higher standard of living for Canadians. Decisions we make in 2023 will determine whether future generations will enjoy the opportunities and prosperity we have been so fortunate to inherit. Our ability to respond to today’s health crisis or tomorrow’s climate emergency will be determined by whether we have built good jobs and robust growth across our economy.”
The proposals in the CCC’s submission fall under five categories:
• Building Trade-enhancing Infrastructure
As geopolitical tensions continue to disrupt global supply chains, Canada faces both an opportunity and an obligation to export our abundant natural resources. However, our inadequate trade-enabling infrastructure impedes our ability to get goods like food, fuel, fertilizer, and critical minerals to our domestic manufacturers, ports of export, and international partners.
• Easing the Burden of Doing Business
Developing a closer partnership with business need not cost the government anything, but it will help draw much-needed investment to Canada. Similarly, we must modernize the tax system to make it simpler, more efficient, and fairer. Our submission includes a series of low- and no-cost measures that can promote economic growth.
• Transitioning to Net-Zero
For Canada to become a global leader in producing and exporting sustainably produced energy, carbon dioxide-removal technologies, clean fuels, critical minerals, and sustainable goods, the government must implement and sustain investment and production tax credits alongside a trade corridors strategy that addresses supply chain concerns. Our goals of “friendshoring” ring hollow if we cannot demonstrate that Canada is a reliable business partner to our friends and allies.
• Attracting and Retaining Talent
With one million job vacancies, Canada needs a coherent plan to attract and retain a Twenty-first Century workforce, including through targeted supports for traditionally underrepresented workers. This plan must link our broader immigration targets to the skilled talent employers need right now, as well as to how we attract, retain, and provide international students with pathways to work and permanent residency.
• Enabling an Innovative Economy
To maintain a competitive edge that stimulates growth in emerging sectors, the government should capitalize on our innovative advantages in Artificial Intelligence, cybersecurity, digital health, clean tech, and clean fuels by modernizing research and development processes, and by stimulating product development and commercialization.
Check out the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Pre-Budget Submission for the list of recommendations.
We are heading into 2023 with record low confidence in our economy. Inflation is slowing along with the overall economy. How our governments invest in areas like climate change, innovation, workforce development, trade, and taxation will set the course for our economy and the resiliency of our local business community for years to come.
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