A strong and prosperous Canada depends on business growth, but businesses are grappling with daunting challenges at home and abroad. To help them compete and grow, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to release 10 Ways to Build a Canada that Wins today. 10 Ways provides businesses, decision-makers and government with a series of clear priorities and objectives that, if addressed, will give Canada a competitive edge, improve productivity and grow our economy.
“While the global economy remains risky, there are still tremendous opportunities for business growth, but we need to work together to create the conditions to support business growth and build a more prosperous economy for all Canadians,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “10 Ways identifies the ways in which business, government and others can work together to improve Canada’s public policy environment and create the conditions for businesses across the country to flourish.”
10 Ways touches on a range of key issues, including attracting business investment, supporting SMEs, and encouraging innovation and fixing Canada’s trade-enabling infrastructure.
“The Oakville Chamber is proud to partner with the Canadian Chamber again this year to release 10 Ways” stated Ken Nevar, Chair of the Board, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve finalized a list of 10 important ways in which Canada’s policy environment can be improved to support development and growth for businesses not only in Oakville, but across the country.”
“We are looking forward to meeting with government officials to discuss our recommendations” added Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce.
This annual list by the Canadian Chamber Network is particularly important given the growing pressures on businesses faced with uncertainty around the ongoing NAFTA negotiations, additional layers of regulation, rapid technological change and low capital investment. 10 Ways not only frames the necessary public discourse around the best ways to enable Canadian businesses to grow, it provides the Canadian Chamber of Commerce with the strategic direction for its policy and advocacy efforts throughout 2018, supported by the Oakville Chamber.
10 Ways to Build a Canada that Wins in 2018
1. Make Canada a Magnet for Business Investment
We need a policy environment in Canada that makes this country the preferred location for businesses to invest, employ, export from and grow.
2. Ensure a Globally Competitive North America
The growth potential of Canadian business depends not only rely on our domestic policy environment, but also on our access to business opportunities and capabilities across North America and around the world. We need to expand and streamline business access to resources as we eliminate barriers to trade.
3. Make Canada an Agri-food Powerhouse
Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector has a strong and well-earned reputation. In order to make Canada a global leader in high-value food production and exports, we need a national vision and clear objectives for an agri-food cluster development strategy, a supportive regulatory environment and an increased capacity to export.
4. Develop Agile Workforce Strategies
Agile workforce policies are vital in ensuring Canadian businesses can acquire the skill sets they need to compete and grow. To this end, Canadian businesses need easy access to comprehensive market information and to programs and policies that support diversity and labour mobility. Our workforce must also have access to formative and life-long learning opportunities in essential skills and basic science, technical, engineering and business education. Only then can we attract the best and brightest from all over the world.
5. Make all of Canada an Export Gateway
Trade is the linchpin of the Canadian economy. We can enhance the competitiveness and growth potential of Canadian businesses by building on the gateways and corridors modeled to make strategic, sustainable and long-term improvements in Canada’s trade infrastructure. It is time for us to create a single, unified and efficient trade-enabling network.
6. Improve Regulatory Efficiency, Achieve Regulatory Alignment, and Ensure the Unrestricted Movement of Goods and People across Canada
The elimination of trade barriers and unnecessary regulatory differences across Canada could add as much as $130 billion to Canada’s GDP by freeing trade and commerce within our own internal markets. Through incentives for regulators, we can concentrate on the big picture: nationally aligned standards and regulations that work for all, instead of a patchwork of regional rules.
7.Help SMEs Trade and Grow
Canada’s economic prospects depend in large part on the vitality and growth potential of small- and medium-sized enterprises. We can support our SMEs through tax policies that reward entrepreneurship, regulatory policies that take their reality into account and by giving them easier access to government contracts and international opportunities.
8. Provide Opportunities for Business Development to Support Self-determination for Indigenous Peoples
The economic and social benefits of encouraging greater and more inclusive participation by Indigenous peoples in employment and business development opportunities are shared by all Canadians. This includes a supportive tax and regulatory environment, access to new business opportunities, government programs that provide meaningful supports, and ready-access to education and training, leading to employment, apprenticeship and mentorship programs.
9. Make Canada a Global Innovator
Canada can retain its status as an advanced economy only if its businesses are world leaders in the development and application of new and advanced technologies. Canadian businesses need to be connected to the broadband infrastructure, research expertise and technology resources they require. Intellectual property and other regulatory regimes also have to be supportive and allow for easier R&D, development and, ultimately, commercialization.
10. Make Canada the World’s One-stop Shop for Green Resources and Technology
The application of new technologies and production processes is vital if Canada is to meet its goals for reducing carbon emissions and improving the quality of its environment while at the same time sustaining economic growth. This requires support for resource-based technology business clusters and the incentives and support programs Canadian technology companies need to be able to do business with global resource companies and engineering and procurement firms.
Read the report.
Please find attached a survey from the Federal Government relating to feedback on the ongoing review of federal labour standards.
The main issues this survey addresses include vacation hours, break periods for meals, as well as newer concepts such as a “Right to Disconnect” (ie, be unavailable for work-related email or phone contact), and the various definitions of “Job Quality” related to employment.
We encourage you to take 5 minutes to complete this survey so that your views are shared with the federal government. More information can be found here.
The federal government should scrap or at least delay plans to amend the Income Tax Act as the proposals risk harming the Canadians these changes are meant to help, the Senate Committee on National Finance said in a report released Wednesday.
The committee’s report is the product of extensive study and cross-Canada consultations with the people who have the most to lose under the proposed changes. This work took place with the endorsement of the federal finance minister.
The majority of senators on the committee believe cancellation is the most prudent course of action. However, committee Deputy Chair Senator André Pratte and Senator Éric Forest disagreed.
As an alternative to cancellation, delaying fiscal reform implementation would also give the government more time to consult with businesses and tax specialists on the details of the changes, once these have been released.
Witnesses described in concrete terms the extent to which some changes would be harmful to them. Proposed restrictions on passive investments, for instance, would discourage business owners from saving for capital investments, economic downturns or even parental leave and retirement.
There is another reason for the government to withdraw or delay its proposals.
Over the past decades, various governments have made incremental changes to the tax system, which has become bloated, complex and cumbersome. The last comprehensive review of the tax system took place in the 1960s; the committee believes it is long past time for the government to take a close look at our existing system.
If the government truly wishes to make meaningful, lasting changes toward a fairer tax system — and maintain Canada’s competitiveness with other countries that have simplified their own tax codes — the committee believes the government must embark on a full review of the tax system.
It would be an ambitious, time-consuming and difficult project. But, done well and with input from Canadians, it would leave a lasting legacy of stability and profitability.
The committee urges the government to embrace this challenge.
Read the report, Fair, Simple and Competitive Taxation: The way forward for Canada
The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, alongside the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and management-consulting firm, MNP, have released a comprehensive handbook (Steering Through Change) to help Ontario businesses navigate the new costs and regulations associated with Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act. The handbook provides a summary of the incoming changes, outlines the potential risks to business, and identifies strategies to help mitigate the impact.
From substantial increases to the minimum wage, new scheduling provisions, reforms to the collective bargaining process and dozens of other changes, Bill 148 will present many challenges for employers.
The handbook includes important insights into the legislation and offers practical solutions and strategies to support businesses through the initial changes. As the implementation dates draw closer, employers will be able to turn to this handbook to understand the legislation and navigate change.
The handbook provides a better understanding of how to manage and plan for Bill 148, should the legislation pass. However, there is still an opportunity to provide
feedback on Bill 148 before it comes to a final vote. To date, the bill has passed the second reading and has now been referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.
Business owners are strongly encouraged to send requests to deputize in front of the committee and send written submissions to the Standing Committee including your thoughts and concerns regarding Bill 148.
You can e-mail your submission to the following address:
Eric Rennie, Clerk
On November 2nd, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and MNP LLP hosted a webinar on Bill 148 featuring an overview of Bill 148, what the implications are, and what you can do for next steps. View the presentation slides. Watch the webinar recording.
Minister of Finance Bill Morneau announced a series of revisions to the federal government’s proposed corporate tax changes as well as a reduction to the small business tax rate. This announcement is a significant win for the business community and is a result of the hard work of business owners and chambers from across the country. The fight for tax fairness and our #protectgrowth campaign is not over yet, but keep reading to see what has been accomplished so far.
Small business tax rate reduction:
The small business tax rate will be reduced from 10.5% to 9% by 2019. This was originally part of the Liberal campaign platform, but was postponed indefinitely in Budget 2016. We are pleased to see this planned reduction restored.
Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE):
The government had planned to limit access to the LCGE as one of their three major changes to corporate taxation. This would have hurt family businesses by punishing intergenerational transfers. The government has cancelled this proposal and now says there will be no changes to the LCGE. The government has also indicated that it will ensure that the proposed tax reforms do not impede the intergenerational transfer of businesses. They have not yet provided any detail on this yet, but we will be monitoring the issue closely.
The government proposed onerous restrictions on how much family members could be paid. They said anything beyond a “reasonable” salary would be taxed at a much higher rate. The government has softened its approach, indicating that the tax reforms will only impact family members that make no “meaningful contribution” to a business. The government has also said it will simplify restrictions on income splitting. By excluding family members that make “meaningful contributions” to a business from this proposal, the government has taken a step in the right direction, but it is still not clear what exactly a “meaningful contribution” is. We are concerned that government still does not recognize the diverse contributions that family members make to a business.
The government is still moving forward on rules to discourage passive investment income, but they are setting a threshold that will allow $50,000 in income per year to be exempted. That means that $1 million held inside a corporation could earn 5% ($50,000) without being subjected to the new rules. We are still calling for government to completely cancel its proposed restrictions on passive investment income, but this ‘threshold’ is an improvement from the original proposal.
Although the federal government has taken some steps toward tax fairness through its reduction of the small business tax rate and revising its corporate tax proposals, there is more work to be done. The details of the government’s new proposals are still to be seen and the government has not yet conducted fulsome consultations or a comprehensive review of the tax code. That’s why we are calling for a Royal Commission to conduct a full and independent review of the tax system.
We urge you to continue to make your voice heard and contact your MP. Tell them that these revisions are a step in the right direction, but that Canada needs a Royal Commission. Make sure they hear your concerns so that Burlington can remain a fair place to do business. You can reach MP John Oliver here and MP Pam Damoff here.
The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Chamber of Commerce welcome the government’s plans to revise its proposed tax reforms and to reduce the small business tax rate as a result of the comments and concerns expressed through the national #ProtectGrowth campaign and in consultations.
“Oakville Chamber members are extremely concerned with the proposed changes by the federal government. On behalf of our members the Chamber met with our local MPs Pam Damoff, MP Oakville North Burlington and John Oliver, MP Oakville. We trust that our voices have been heard and that our local representatives will continue to advocate on behalf of their community on these critical changes that will impact Oakville businesses and the economy” said John Sawyer, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce.
As Canadians celebrate Small Business Week, Chamber representatives congratulate the thousands of businesspeople who joined the mobilization and made their voices heard on this important issue affecting Canadian workers and employers.
The Oakville Chamber also noted the Minister’s call for further input from Canadian businesses, and intends to continue providing a voice to ensure the tax system is simpler and less of a burden on Canada’s competitiveness.
“It is always more productive when government and business work together. We can only hope the government will listen as we provide advice on those areas where more remains to be done, and that they will propose concrete data to back up their claims. The Canadian Chamber will be working with the Oakville Chamber and other Chambers across the country for suggestions on reforms that can improve the competitiveness of Canada’s tax system. Lowering the small business tax rate is one such measure, but there is still much room for improvement,” Mr. Beatty said. “We must ensure that Canada, and with it Oakville, remain attractive places to do business. Although there is a great deal of work to be done, today’s announcement is a positive first step, but we expect more and we will be vigilant on the next steps,” he concluded.
Ontario’s Chamber Network provides recommendations to Drive Economic Development to the Forefront of Political Discourse
Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released Vote Prosperity, a platform and campaign outlining the Ontario business community’s priorities for the upcoming 2018 provincial election. Vote Prosperity provides a series of proactive recommendations that all of Ontario’s political parties should adopt to ensure growth for the province’s economy.
“Small businesses are the backbone of Oakville’s economy, they support working families in our local community and across the province, and that’s why candidates from every party in every community will become familiar with Vote Prosperity,” said John Sawyer, President, Oakville Chamber. “Ontario’s business community is prepared to be bold and with Vote Prosperity we are seeking to motivate our political leaders to follow.”
In releasing the platform today, the Ontario Chamber Network will strengthen the political narrative between now and the 2018 election.
Vote Prosperity is based on four aspirational pillars for Ontario:
- Strengthen business competitiveness: Rising input costs, especially those costs deriving from government regulation and policy, are the most common and acute concern of the business community in Ontario.
- Foster Job Creation: A robust labour market consisting of good jobs is essential to prosperity for all Ontarians.
- Build Healthy Communities: Building strong communities through adequate and affordable housing, sustainable health care, and good infrastructure also supports business prosperity and growth, which supports those communities.
- Improve Government Accountability: Poor implementation of government initiatives can result in resource waste, political frustration and disruption for ordinary citizens, as demonstrated by a series of policy failures under governments of all political stripes.
“Ontario businesses have made it clear that the ever-rising costs of doing business from all levels of government has hindered their ability to prosper and grow,” said Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Our objective is to achieve coherent, comprehensive pro-growth policies from all political parties. Our recommendations provide a prosperous path forward because when you vote for prosperity, Ontario wins.”
The platform provides 18 unique recommendations that will help bolster Ontario’s long-term economic future, while also addressing the pressing issues Ontario currently faces. Some of the 18 recommendations in Vote Prosperity include:
- Reinstating scheduled reductions in the Corporate Income Tax, standardize the Business Education Tax and reduce the Employer Health Tax.
- Conduct and publish the results for a comprehensive review of the electricity sector, including an objective economic impact analysis assessing the full range of inputs that make up the Global Adjustment (GA), and then pursue cost-reducing measures based on the results.
- Focus on strategic growth policies by ensuring that land use planning and development regulations are aligned, to increase density and create more housing stock.
- Create a meaningful plan to tackle the debt and more towards balanced or surplus budgets.
Over the coming months, ahead of the 2018 election, the Ontario Chamber Network will be voicing the concerns and recommendations outlined in Vote Prosperity with political parties and local MPPs and candidates. During the election, local chambers will be hosting debates where Vote Prosperity will be the primary focus of discussion.
Vote Prosperity outlines a number of current issues Ontario businesses face and includes original data from the Ontario Chamber Network’s member network. To learn more about the platform visit www.occ.ca/vote-prosperity2018/