As the Chamber network moves through 2018, it remains imperative that both the national and provincial message be consistent as we look to bring changes that will improve the business climate and the lives of Manitobans. With the policy development process underway, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) is seeing some similar issues highlighted by the national Chamber in their recently released 10 Ways to Build A Better Canada That Wins.
Last fall, when the federal government proposed changes to the way pay businesses report and pay their taxes, MCC, along with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, led an effort that explained the process in which the feds were moving was going to be detrimental to the business and a generation of entrepreneurs. One of the significant challenges facing our province is that of economic competitiveness. Several clear indicators (taxes, personal tax threshold’s, etc.) will show that Manitoba is behind the eight ball in an increasingly competitive world of trade and retaining individuals.
To that extent, MCC, in conversations and presentations to the finance minister has called for a full, extensive review of the tax structure (both personal and corporate) in Manitoba. Any review should result in the implementation of long-term provincial strategies to provide the business community with the confidence and certainty that tax reduction is a priority. Also, it will signal to the business community that Manitoba is open for business investment and should be a preferred location to grow business.
Here in Manitoba, agribusiness remains a vital piece in our diverse economy, and we must ensure it continues to evolve and thrive. Farm cash receipts in Manitoba accounted for approximately 10 percent of Canada’s farm cash receipts and valued at $5.9 billion in 2016 ($2.1 billion in livestock receipts, $3.6 billion in crop receipts), and the food manufacturing sector saw revenues of $4.1 billion. Supporting a call and development of policies and programs that support innovation and business development in our agri-food sector and enable our agri-food producers to expand exports into international markets will continue to be something MCC and the or national body will continue to make a priority.
In their new document, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce calls for the development of agile workforce strategies. Addressing policy gaps, streamlining of temporary foreign work entry, expanding work-integrated learning and supporting colleges, and universities to deliver in-demand, on-time training will undoubtedly be a step in the right direction, but one other important piece also needs more focus.
Working with business, education, and government, a new strategy needs to result in a new governance framework to address the deficiencies in the quality and sharing of LMI and one that aims to create a new set of standard performance measures for future evaluation will be a massive step in the right workforce direction.
The new report from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is available by clicking here.