Federal Budget Must Address Canada's Competitiveness Problem
Apr 4, 2022
Canada is facing a competitiveness problem. Inflation, supply chain constraints, and labour shortages risk undermining a swift and robust economic recovery. Meanwhile, recent domestic and international events have renewed the spotlight on energy security and affordability. Today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and the Ontario Chamber network, including the Guelph Chamber, released the 2022 Federal Budget Submission focused on public policies that increase Canada’s economic resilience to ongoing and future threats.
“Businesses across Ontario are continuing to feel the effect of the pandemic,” said Shakiba Shayani, President & CEO of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce. “Budget 2022 must lay the groundwork for a strong, inclusive recovery with policies that support the sectors and demographics hardest hit by the pandemic, building the infrastructure and workforce of the future, and modernizing regulation to ensure Canada can attract investment and nurture entrepreneurship.”
Some key highlights from the budget submission include recommendations for the Government of Canada to:
- Promote Canada’s energy sector on the global stage and recognize nuclear power as a clean and necessary energy resource in the fight against climate change.
- Expand immigration and express entry of skilled workers to address labour shortages.
- Increase the Canada Health Transfer Payment to meet the current and future pressures facing Ontario’s health care system.
- Modernize transportation infrastructure to address bottlenecks along supply chains and facilitate the decarbonization of the transportation sector.
- Reform the federal tax system to attract foreign direct investment, drive domestic business growth and innovation.
- Develop a sustainable path to reduce the federal debt-to-GDP ratio and wind down other pandemic-related supports to ensure long-term fiscal balance and the capacity to address future economic shocks.
The OCC’s 2022 Ontario Economic Report found that a staggering 62% of sectors face labour shortages in Ontario and expect to continue facing them over the next year. Together with supply chain disruptions, these shortages impact the cost of living, service delivery, and product availability.
“As the indispensable partner of business, we call on the government to resolve long-standing structural issues, including barriers to interprovincial trade and skilled labour shortages, to drive entrepreneurship, investment and long-term economic growth,” added Rocco Rossi, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
The recommendations outlined in OCC’s budget submission were developed together with businesses, associations, labour, post-secondary institutions, and the Ontario Chamber Network.