Ottawa, April 21, 2015 — With the deficit finally eliminated, Canada’s priority must be investments that will position us as a top-tier international competitor, according to Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Perrin Beatty. “As a nation, we have the potential to win internationally against strong, aggressive business rivals, but we need the right tools. This budget is a good starting point, but more needs to be done.”
“We salute the fact that the government presented a balanced budget. But this only serves to bring us to base camp; we still have a mountain to climb. To keep the budget balanced in the future and give us a fighting chance against international competitors, the government’s priority must now shift to economic growth and global competitiveness. Our prosperity depends on Canadian business winning in the global marketplace,” said Mr. Beatty.
The Canadian Chamber particularly welcomes renewed investments in infrastructure.
“Access to global markets starts at home,” explained Mr. Beatty. “It’s no use having the greatest resources in the world if we can’t get them to market. Export infrastructure is critical. And basic public infrastructures – roads, water systems, transit – are also strongly linked to improved productivity across the economy.”
“The measures to support Canada’s manufacturing sector are timely,” said Mr. Beatty. “This sector is evolving rapidly and set to seize new opportunities. The budget will have a positive impact in a sector poised for new growth.”
"We also appreciate the fact that the government took the needs of small business into account in this budget," continued Mr. Beatty.
Mr. Beatty particularly welcomed initiatives to improve Canada’s skilled workforce. “Measures to improve skills – such as better and more apprenticeship training – can create a new generation of capable workers. For many businesses, the skills gap is the number one barrier to growth, and the Canadian Chamber has made skills a priority for the last four years.
Access to reliable labour market information will also allow students, businesses and governments alike to focus their energies and resources on the right training programs and incentives. “Right now, Canadians are choosing career paths and investment opportunities in the dark. Having more and better information will paint a clear picture of different aspects of Canada’s labour market, allowing people to make smarter, better-informed decisions.”
Efforts to improve access to capital are also welcome. Access to capital is often the difference between life and death for start-ups and companies moving from innovation to commercialization, and Canada’s venture capital industry is small and difficult to access.
The Canadian Chamber also salutes the creation of a national Development Finance Initiative. This institution will help fund business projects in impoverished countries, turning them into tomorrow’s business partners.
“By recognizing that Canadian businesses need improved access to skilled workers, international markets and capital, the government is setting the building blocks for a more competitive Canada. However, there are still many steps to take.
Access to game-changing technology must also be improved, and more can still be done to link skills training to the needs of the market. “This budget is an important starting point, but we still have a long way to go.” concluded Mr. Beatty.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. Follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.
G. Will Dubreuil
Director, Public Affairs & Media Relations