Choose the Party that Checks the Most Prosperity Boxes
“London’s business community has done its part to help make London and Canada more prosperous. The next federal government will now have a critical role to play. That’s why it is so crucial that we ask all federal party candidates what they intend to do to commit to these important priorities.”
Vote Prosperity reflects the priorities and concerns of job creators in communities across Canada. Developed in partnership with Canada’s provincial and territorial chambers of commerce, Vote Prosperity lays out our seven priorities, along with a series of specific measures to attract investment to Canada, and help businesses create jobs, grow and strengthen our communities. “The London Chamber of Commerce has played an active and vocal role in the development of these priorities”.
A Tax System That is Fair, Efficient and Modern
Our taxes fund government programs and initiatives that contribute to making Canada the great country it is, and businesses are willing to pay their share. However, while other jurisdictions make their tax systems more competitive, Canada’s is becoming increasingly complex and inefficient, killing investment and jobs.
Canada has not undertaken a comprehensive review of its tax system since the 1960s. Until we do, it will remain a cumbersome, inefficient patchwork. The next federal government can fix this problem by initiating a full, independent review with a goals of aligning it with the realities of today’s competitive environment and helping set our businesses up for success.
Compounding the challenges created by our outdated tax system are the federal debt and deficit. Canada’s fiscal flexibility is extremely limited, and there is no clear plan for returning to balance. This is terrible long-term policy, and failure to get our fiscal house in order increases Canada’s vulnerability whenever the next economic downturn occurs.
To restore fairness and increase the ability of Canadian businesses to compete, ask your federal party if they will commit to:
- Presenting a concrete plan, with timelines, to return the federal books to balance.
- Appointing a Royal Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of the Canadian tax system guided by the principles of tax competitiveness, simplicity and fairness.
- Adjusting the tax mix to better promote business investment, including offshore investment and economic growth.
Well-managed regulation can provide investors and businesses with certainty, while protecting consumers and the environment. Countries with effective, predictable regulatory systems attract investment and get major projects built. Unfortunately, Canada’s complex web of overlapping regulations at all levels of government is strangling business, driving away investment and preventing our resources from getting to market.
Canada’s regulatory system must provide appropriate environmental, social and economic protections, strengthen relationships with Indigenous peoples and help get our products to market without further increasing the cost of doing business. To achieve these goals, ask if your federal party will commit to:
- Giving regulators economic growth and competitiveness mandates.
- Implementing a 2-for-1 rule to require the elimination of two regulations for every new one introduced over the next five years.
- Creating a Minister of Regulatory Efficiency responsible for regulatory oversight at the Treasury Board to lead an ambitious federal regulatory reform agenda.
- Convening business, Indigenous peoples and other levels of government to develop a clear, consistent framework for the duty to consult and accommodate.
- Providing compensation to major project proponents and Indigenous communities that lose economic opportunities when projects cannot proceed because the Crown or its agencies fail to discharge their legal responsibilities.
- Allowing First Nations to extricate themselves from aspects of the Indian Act via a Band Council resolution and the support of a clear majority of band member
Access to New Markets around the World and the Elimination of Trade Barriers at Home
Canada is a trading nation, and agreements signed in recent years have created significant new market opportunities. Canadian businesses are eager to take advantage of these agreements but cannot do it alone. Similarly, our domestic market represents a tremendous growth opportunity. However, internal trade barriers cost Canada’s economy more than $14 billion each year. The next federal government must build on existing trade opportunities, open up new ones and make it easier for Canadians to do business with one another here at home.
Ask if your federal party will commit to help diversify trade opportunities for Canadian businesses at home and abroad by supporting the following?
- Completing negotiations with Mercosur and Pacific Alliance in the Latin American region.
- Accelerating the process for additional countries to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
- Tackling foreign industrial subsidies so Canadian companies can compete on a level playing field at home and abroad.
- Protecting and expanding trade opportunities with the UK after its departure from the EU.
- Enhancing labour mobility and increasing the scope of mutual recognition of professional qualifications at home and abroad.
- Promoting trade facilitation measures to ease the movement of goods across the border.
- Developing a Canadian position in support of cross-border data flows in bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.
- Tackling non-tariff barriers, particularly in the agriculture sector.
- Developing concrete plans with clear timelines for creating the necessary infrastructure to get Canadian energy products to global markets.
- Working with the provincial and territorial governments on the mutual recognition of regulations, rules and policies to allow for the free movement of labour, goods and services in Canada.
- Conducting a full review of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) to ensure it:
Like their larger counterparts, Canadian SMEs need relief from the tax and regulatory systems that have become increasingly complex and dysfunctional over the years. But SMEs also face challenges that are unique to them.
- Institutes a dispute resolution mechanism that includes binding and enforceable powers.
- Includes a specific focus on the removal of barriers to interprovincial trade in wine, beer and spirits.
- Includes the elimination of non-tariff regulatory trade barriers through mutual recognition.
When it comes to trade, just 4% of Canadian small- and medium-sized businesses exported goods in 2017. This is a fraction of the 20%+ of exporting SMEs in other G7 countries. A key reason is that Canada’s SMEs lack the resources of larger companies to access foreign markets. Additionally, the Canada Revenue Agency remains the most challenging federal agency SMEs deal with because its processes and procedures often do not align with the realities of running a small business.
Ask if your federal party will commit to:
- Providing sector-by-sector analyses of free trade agreements (rather than agreement-by-agreement) and communicating them widely.
- Providing high-potential SMEs with access to experts to help them navigate the relevant markets.
- Ensuring federal programs and interactions with business align with and respect small business realities.
- Conducting an independent service delivery audit of the Canada Revenue Agency, targeted at identifying and eliminating the compliance, audit and communication problems small businesses face in dealing with the agency.
Innovation and Infrastructure to Make Canada the Most Connected Country in the World
Artificial intelligence. Automation. Big data. These are just some of the forces changing how we live and work. In particular, we are seeing the importance of intangibles, like intellectual property growing dramatically in importance, with our ability to develop and attract 21st century skills fast becoming critical to our economic success. Canada must ensure that companies and entrepreneurs can seize the opportunities of the digital age. That means adopting a more flexible approach to regulations, making smart investments in skills training and in digital infrastructure.
We remain an export-dependent country, and our physical infrastructure will continue to play a vital role in getting our goods to market and in driving our prosperity. As Canada’s next government considers its priorities for public infrastructure investment, trade enabling infrastructure, which has the greatest long-term economic benefit, should top the list.
Ask if your federal party will commit to:
- Embracing a more nimble, flexible and evidence-based approach to regulating new technologies in the digital age.
- Recognizing the need to promote and strengthen Canada’s ability to capitalize on intangibles, like intellectual property.
- Improving access to high-speed networks in underserved communities.
- Prioritizing the auction of the 3,500-megahertz spectrum so Canadians can take advantage of 5G networks.
- Accelerating the pace of mmWave spectrum allocation so businesses can use the power of the internet of things (IoT) for logistics and other industrial purposes.
- Enhancing the digitalization of government, including more user-focused services that reduce administrative burdens on business.
- Closing the gap between infrastructure demand and investment in Canada by maintaining current levels of federal infrastructure funding and making economic growth and productivity, not politics, the criteria for project selection.
- Allocating a greater share of funding in federal infrastructure plans towards trade-enabling infrastructure projects throughout Canada.
As the world of work constantly evolves, finding the right talent with the right skills and training at the right time remains one of the biggest challenges, and doing so is growing more difficult as industries adapt to new technologies and new ways of doing business. For Canadian companies to grow and thrive, they need access to a skilled workforce.
Ask your federal party if it will commit to ensuring Canada’s workforce has the skills, education, training and retraining programs needed to help businesses succeed, regardless of industry or region by supporting the following:
- Working with business to ensure government re-training programs meet the demand for skills required for the economies of today and tomorrow.
- Working with business and other levels of government to ensure primary and secondary education includes the skills necessary for our evolving economy, including the soft and hard skills required to thrive in a world of increased automation and globalization.
- Supporting private sector upskilling/re-skilling initiatives.
- Expanding work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities
- Replicating the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project outside of major urban centres across the country.
- Ensuring the Indigenous workforce has the skills required to meet local labour shortages.
While approximately 90% of Canadians can access the drugs and treatment they need, some federal parties advocate a national pharmacare plan. If the next federal government proceeds with national pharmacare, the plan should focus on closing the gaps between those that have and those who do not have prescription drug coverage, as well as provide solutions that meet the real needs of patients and employees. Any new program must provide an advantage over what the current system offers and must not reduce or replace the comprehensive coverage options already available through private and/or group plans. The business community is concerned the federal government cannot develop a cost-effective approach.
Ask if your federal party will commit to:
- Building on the strengths of the existing system without reducing or replacing the coverage already enjoyed by most Canadians.
- Consulting with private sector stakeholders (including benefits providers, pharmaceutical companies and health care practitioners) when designing and implementing a national program to prevent unintended consequences, such as loss of access to medicines.
- Ensuring the costs of any new program are not passed on to businesses/employers.
- Ensuring any new program addresses coverage for rare diseases and other high-cost medications.
- Fostering an investment and regulatory environment that encourages clinical trials in Canada by applying our competitive advantages in artificial intelligence and big data to health innovation.
- Ensuring our businesses have continued access to health data to improve health outcomes as well as government funding that goes beyond early science for both medications and devices.
“An educated, enlightened and informed population is one of the surest ways of promoting the health of a democracy.”