“This federal budget continues along the same path that the Federal Conservatives have been preaching for the last few years,” said Manitoba Chambers of Commerce President and CEO Chuck Davidson. “The federal government continues to understand the importance of improving the overall job market, and although not perfect, it does provide some measures that Manitoba business should warm to.”
The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce has identified skills and workforce as a top priority and welcome the focus on skills development and measures to better match young workers with the skills needed by business are a step in the right direction.
Some highlights include:
- $26.4 million over four years to help expand two training programs connecting Canadians with intellectual disabilities and employers.
- $25.2 million over two years for the Canada Apprentice Loan program. The program will offer interest-free loans to help registered apprentices in Red Seal trades with the cost of their training. Apprentices registered in their first Red Seal trade apprenticeship will be able to apply for loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training.
- $15 million over three years to help employ people with developmental disabilities.
- $40 million to help business entrepreneurs create new companies.
- $75 million over three years to assist unemployed older workers.
- $11.8 million over two years for a “job matching service” that helps connect people with available work in their area.
Development of Northern Manitoba is something the Manitoba Chamber has been advocating for some time. Money allocated to bringing internet access to more remote areas is a positive step forward for northern businesses.
Outside of the announcement of improved internet access for the north, the budget contains very little when it comes to the Port of Churchill and developing it as a major hub for future business. Also missing is a long-term infrastructure strategy for Canada, something the Manitoba Chamber has been pushing for. Another disappointment, although not surprising, in this year’s federal budget is the lack of mention of tourism.
“The federal government, much like the provincial government, seems to leave the tourism industry out on their own island,” added Davidson. “The industries return on investment to both Manitoba and the Canada would be far greater if only the powers that be would allocate much needed support.”
The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, established in 1931, is the umbrella organization for Manitoba’s chamber movement. With a membership comprised of Local Chambers of Commerce, as well as direct Corporate Members, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce is Manitoba’s largest and most diverse business lobby, representing over 10,000 businesses and community leaders.
President and CEO
Manitoba Chambers of Commerce