Both the federal and provincial 2015 Budgets were released recently. What follows is the analysis from both the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC).

Canadian Chamber urges focus on competitiveness for the future

The 2015 federal budget is a good starting point for positioning Canada as a top-tier international competitor, but more needs to be done.

We salute the fact that the government presented a balanced budget. But this only serves to bring us to base camp; we still have a mountain to climb. To keep the budget balanced in the future and give us a fighting chance against international competitors, the government’s priority must now shift to economic growth and global competitiveness. Our prosperity depends on Canadian business winning in the global marketplace.

We particularly welcome the renewed investments in infrastructure, initiatives to improve Canada’s skilled workforce and initiatives to improve access to capital, three measures we have been actively advocating in the last year. The creation of a national Development Finance Initiative, which will help convert impoverished countries into business partners, is also a long-standing recommendation of ours.

By recognizing that Canadian businesses need improved access to skilled workers, international markets and capital, the government is setting the building blocks for a more competitive Canada. However, there are still many steps to take. Access to game-changing technology must also be improved, and more can still be done to link skills training to the needs of the market. This budget is an important starting point, but we still have a long way to go.

Consult our complete analysis of the federal budget by clicking HERE.

Ontario Budget 2015: Businesses Worried About Government’s Growing Deficit Budget 2015

Ontario’s business community remains concerned about Ontario’s debt and deficit problem, according to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC). The deficit for 2014-15 is expected to grow to $10.9 billion, raising the province’s debt to $284 billion, or $20,772 of debt for every Ontarian.

“We’re concerned that this government will not be able to meet its deficit reduction targets,” says Allan O’Dette, President of the OCC. “This budget is short on details and appears to push much of the heavy lifting down the road.”

The budget does little to address business’ concerns regarding the growing cumulative regulatory impact. The OCC notes that over the past year, the government has implemented or announced several new initiatives that will have a direct impact on business, including the introduction of a cap and trade system and the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan.

The OCC calls on government to consider the negative impact that the ORPP could have on job creation, foreign direct investment, and the economy in general.

According to a recent survey conducted by the OCC, only one in four businesses in Ontario claim to be able to afford the costs associated with the ORPP, while 44 percent of those surveyed believe they will need reduce payroll or hire fewer employees in response to the ORPP.

The OCC welcomes the additional $2.6 billion investment in transportation infrastructure, available over 10 years.

“Infrastructure investment is among the most effective ways for government to create jobs and spur economic growth,” adds O’Dette. “We’re pleased to see this government taking leadership on modernizing infrastructure in the province.”

The budget also reiterates government’s previous commitment of up to $1 billion towards the development of transportation infrastructure in the Ring of Fire region. However, the OCC notes that regulatory stalemates continue to stall progress in the region.

The complete OCC analysis can be found HERE.

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