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Clear Federal budget priorities proposed by business

Canada is unique among free societies in our potential to underwrite global economic security through our abundant natural resources.
Canadian Flag with Parliament Hill Ottawa | Jason Hafso on Unsplash
Canadian Flag with Parliament Hill Ottawa | Jason Hafso on Unsplash

Canada’s competitiveness is slipping. We must achieve much stronger growth if we are to maintain our standard of living and continue to provide the services Canadians require. This message was recently conveyed by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) to the federal government through its 2024 Budget submission.   

Further, the government’s focus on economic growth must include building trade-enhancing infrastructure, easing the burden of doing business, facilitating the transition to net-zero, enabling an innovative economy, attracting and retaining talent, and leading in life sciences.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, our international competitors continue to outpace us, but our opportunities are clear. Geopolitical conditions have introduced insecurity and disrupted the rule of law and traditional trading relationships. While Canada is also exposed to this problem, we are unique among free societies in our potential to underwrite global economic security through our abundant natural resources.

We now have an opportunity to show the world we can, quite literally, deliver the goods.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is eager to partner with the government on the strategy that will allow us to respond to this moment. Given the headwinds we face, collaboration between policymakers and the business community is more critical than ever before.

Clear priorities on trade infrastructure projects that yield measurable economic returns are critical. Government can work with provinces, the private sector, communities, and Indigenous peoples to resolve supply chain challenges to enable the Canadian exports the world needs.

Canada must build and maintain trade infrastructure that reliably and efficiently transports goods to and from market. Domestic and international trade corridors should solidify supply chains and establish Canada as a reliable business partner.

To address these priorities, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Chambers of Commerce in Milton, Mississauga and Brampton, founded the Halton Peel Supply Chain Council. Leading transportation and logistics companies make up this council that focuses on the advancement of the supply chain through resources from collaboration and information sharing to technology and talent recruitment. The council’s efforts provide policy direction and recommendations to all levels of government on directives that will support supply chain issues and economic growth.

Moreover, recent and recurring labour disruptions continue to inflict damage to Canada’s economy and reputation. To that end, government should consider providing new dispute resolution tools, including the authority to the federal cabinet to compel binding arbitration for the resolution of a labour dispute in sectors that are essential to Canada’s supply chains, including railways and ports.

As well as abandon introducing Anti-Replacement Worker Legislation. Any actions that introduce more volatility and disruption to supply chain processes will only raise costs on Canadians and businesses and further undermine our trading relationships.

Regulators and businesses must also work together to ease the burden of doing business in Canada and to avoid losing the next generation of talent and innovation to competing nations.  We continue to urge the government to launch a comprehensive independent review of the tax system with the goal to create a simpler tax system as well as avoiding new business taxes that further drive away investment.

Additionally, introducing an economic and competitiveness mandate for regulators would encourage manageable regulations that support economic growth and take into account our competitiveness in the global marketplace.

Attracting and retaining top talent while increasing productivity is vital to Canadian businesses and are a current challenge for many local based businesses. The Chamber recently hosted a meeting with Oakville’s top employers, and it is evident that many sectors struggle to find and retain the talent needed to grow. We continue our advocacy work to decentralize the immigration selection process and support local solutions to address community workforce needs. To that end, the Oakville Chamber has drafted a resolution to be presented at the Canadian Chamber AGM on the development and advancement of Canada’s skilled labour workforce with the skills required to meet industry needs.

Budget 2024 will provide the federal government the opportunity to implement a decisive strategy to attract the investment needed for strong, sustainable growth and a successful net-zero transition.  The business community looks forward to the government’s action on these critical issues to increase Canada’s competitiveness and economic growth.