• London Chamber Responds to Fall Economic Statement

    Earlier this week, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland tabled the government’s Fall Economic Statement (FES). The FES contains measures to invest in net-zero skills, clean technology incentives, and eliminating over-regulation in major Canadian projects.

    While the London Chamber generally supports these initiatives, it was disappointing that the federal government did not offer details on a clear plan to generate the investment required for strong growth. It appears that we will have to wait until at least Budget 2023 to get these details.

    We had also hoped to see low-cost growth measures like a plan to eliminate longstanding barriers to interprovincial trade and regulatory reform. We also urge the government to produce an integrated plan to get desperately-needed food, fuel and fertilizer to global markets.

    Additionally, the Chamber would have liked to see a stronger commitment to help those industries still trying to bounce back from the effects of the pandemic and the rampant inflation we have been experiencing over the last year. One area in particular where government might have offered hope to the recovering tourism and hospitality sectors is the Alcohol Excise Escalator Tax which is projected to go up by at least 6% this spring without intervention from the federal government. This represents an additional $130 million in taxes on Canada's beer, spirits, and wine industries in 2023 – costs that will, in part, be passed down restaurants, the tourism and entertainment sectors, and ultimately to consumers.

    The London Chamber urges the federal government to strongly consider the impact that such a tax increase will have on the economy suspend this annual increase for the next two years or until inflation normalizes. We still hope to see an announcement to this effect in Budget 2023.

    Finally, we welcome the Minister’s announcement of measures to increase the supply of skills needed in our workforce to achieve net-zero and to provide tax credits for investments in clean technologies and clean hydrogen, as well as the commitment to reducing regulatory obstacles to investment in major projects.

    Canadian businesses are anxious to see economic growth and recovery and want to see the government produce a comprehensive strategy. For its part, the London Chamber of Commerce will continue to work with all levels of government to advocate for business friendly policies that will help to create economic prosperity and social progress.