The Speech from the Throne recognized the role businesses play in Canada’s economic prosperity and the need to address many of the Top 10 Barriers to Competitiveness identified by our members.
International trade is a major engine for economic growth and we welcome the announcement that the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will soon be concluded. This agreement with the world’s largest economy will bring more opportunities for exporters and lower prices for consumers, as well as encourage new investments in Canada. We hope the momentum generated by signing this deal will help push Canada’s other major trade talks forward, including those with Japan, India, Korea and the Trans-Pacific Partnership countries. We will also be watching for the government to act on its commitment to introduce new measures to assist Canadian businesses expanding internationally.
Many Canadian businesses are hampered by the mismatch between their needs and the skilled employees available. Canadian businesses look forward to the government demonstrating the necessary flexibility in the Canada Job Grant to ensure it can meet the differing regional needs of the country and the abilities of smaller employers to participate. We will also look forward to the government’s actions to ensure underrepresented Canadians, including Aboriginal peoples, the disabled and young people, get the training and tools they need to participate more fully in the workplace. Our members are deeply perplexed by the changes already introduced to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program and the negative impact it is having on employers in smaller and remote communities. We will be watching any further changes very closely.
The government recognized that the time for us to diversify our energy markets is limited and that we need to move forward, responsibly, in building the infrastructure to do so. Continued delay jeopardizes billions of dollars in revenue that support services all Canadians benefit from.
Modern, efficient infrastructure is essential to a competitive economy. We are pleased the government has recognized the need for and committed to long-term funding for critical public infrastructure projects that will improve the movement of people and goods within Canada and with the U.S.
We are delighted the government acknowledged the $85 billion annual contribution of the tourism sector to our economy. We will be watching carefully to see if this acknowledgement is followed by any concrete action on key policy levers, including more support for international marketing, improving our visa system’s efficiency and reducing the cost of air travel, to enable the sector to make an even greater contribution.
Barriers to the movement of people and goods within Canada continue to frustrate our businesses and stand in the way of qualified people moving to where employers need them. We are very pleased at the government’s commitment to improve credential recognition throughout Canada and the movement of skilled workers. We look forward to the government’s action on this and to contributing to moving it forward as quickly as possible.
We, along with our members, look forward to seeing more details regarding the government’s commitments to these and the other top barriers to our competitiveness in the legislative measures promised and the 2014 federal budget.
View a detailed list of wins for Canadian business.