The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) President and CEO, Chuck Davidson, recently represented the interests of businesses in the province in pre-budget consultations for the upcoming federal budget. The event provided a platform to voice key concerns and provide recommendations to members of parliament, including Manitoban MPs Marty Morantz and Daniel Blaikie. The key points made to the standing committee were:
CEBA Loan Repayment Extension
MCC expressed that the CEBA loan repayment extension is inadequate, with its impact particularly felt by small businesses in Manitoba. Discussions highlighted that businesses struggling to repay the loan would face further challenges if forced to refinance, potentially leading to closures. If this were to happen, there would be a non-repayment of funds rather than simply a delay in repayment which would be a greater detriment to the finances of the country.
Comprehensive Tax System Review
MCC advocated for a comprehensive review of the federal tax system, citing positive outcomes from the recent review of the structure in Manitoba. This initiative aims to create a more equitable and simplified tax environment for businesses, encouraging growth and sustainability.
Reducing Interprovincial Trade Barriers
MCC insisted that a priority should be placed on reducing interprovincial trade barriers and to create open market access for businesses across Canada. Establishing a public registry of interprovincial trade barriers was proposed to enhance awareness and facilitate prompt action in eliminating these barriers, which is a cost-effective solution to improving Canada’s economic climate.
Improving Immigration Systems
Recognizing the effectiveness of the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program in addressing workforce gaps, MCC called on the government to continue improving immigration systems. Streamlining foreign credential recognition processes and expediting Canadian equivalency procedures were highlighted as crucial steps to support filling workforce gaps.
Fair Carbon Taxation
MCC reiterated the need for a fair carbon tax system applicable to all provinces. Noting that climate action incentive payments are not sent to businesses, a call was made for programs and funding to help businesses reduce the environmental impact of their operations and lower their operating costs. This would ensure that businesses receive support in their efforts to contribute to environmental sustainability.
The upcoming federal fall economic statement is anticipated to provide further insights into the direction for the next federal budget. The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce remains committed to advocating for policies that support the growth and resilience of businesses in the province.
As the voice of Manitoba’s business community, MCC continues to engage with policymakers to foster economic growth and prosperity for all. Look for analysis on the fall economic statement and the subsequent implications for businesses in Manitoba in the week to come.