Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC

The Top 3 Issues in the Federal Election: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

by Admin 30. June 2015 07:27

Jobs are always a top issue in a federal election, but with this shaky economy, it’s fast becoming the number one priority. Opposition parties have made much of the recent bad news: in the first quarter, Canada’s GDP shrank by 0.6%, exports tumbled 5.6% and corporate profits fell by 14% as the drop in oil prices slammed the Canadian economy.

And yet the Canadian labour market has held up well, adding an average of 20,000 jobs per month since the beginning of 2015. In fact, Canada added a rip-roaring 59,000 jobs in May. What gives? Where are these jobs coming from in the midst of economic despair?

Our regional differences are as stark as ever. Energyrich provinces once drove job creation while the manufacturing sector of Central Canada lagged behind. Now lower oil prices and a weaker Loonie have flipped the numbers. Still, the outlook is very mixed.

There are now 25,000 fewer jobs in the Alberta oil patch, but there is good reason to believe that the worst is behind us. Firstly, oil prices have stabilized around the $60 range and are headed slightly higher. The market no longer fears a drop to $20 as Citibank had predicted. Secondly, oil sands projects require huge upfront investments, but once those are made, they can go on producing for years with relatively low costs. And they need to keep operating continuously: most can’t be shut down without damaging the equipment. Thirdly, new investments are on-track with 10 new oil sands projects scheduled to start this year and 7 set for 2016 with total capacity over 300,000 barrels per day, according to Oil Sands Review. These are probably safe because once they’re partially paid for, “you don’t stop a project mid-cap-ex”. Some exploration and drilling activity has been scaled back, but job losses should ease.

In manufacturing, the outlook is much improved and the parties have all pledged support for the sector, which is certainly welcome. The challenge is that manufacturers are increasing production by investing in capital and new technologies: they’re becoming more efficient and more competitive. As a result, we’ll see an impressive resurgence in manufacturing and exports, but it may not translate into big job gains.

The political parties are missing the big picture by focusing so much on jobs in manufacturing and natural resources because together they account for just 11% of the labour force. The overwhelming majority (78%) of Canadian employment is in the service sector and recently it’s been the fastest growing part of our economy.

Services are a poorly understood grab bag of different occupations. It’s sometimes perceived as low-paying because it includes retail and restaurants, but there are also scientists, engineers, lawyers and financiers.

Over the past year, Canada’s fastest job growth is in sectors like business and support services (up 4.5% compared to last year), education (up 4.1%), finance and insurance (up 3.5%) and professional, scientific and technical (up 1.7%), while retail has barely budged (0.3%). And the gains in high-end services employment are spread right across the country.

With the election just around the corner, we would love to hear a politician say: “we need highly specialized skills to compete and succeed in the service economy. That’s why we must invest in Canadian education and training to make it the best in the world.”

 

-Hendrik Brakel, CCC 

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Commodity Wildcard: What is happening in China?

by Admin 22. June 2015 14:19

When someone asks where commodity prices are headed, they’re really asking: what’s the outlook for China?

Last year, China consumed more coal than the rest of the world combined and imported 70% of the world’s seaborne iron ore. In 2012, China accounted for half of the global growth in oil demand. It’s a commodity behemoth and the recent slow-down in the Chinese economy is a big reason for weakness in prices for this sector. Should we be worried?

China’s economic growth is definitely slowing, but the real concern is that official estimates of China’s GDP growth are overestimated. Economists are scratching their heads and coming up with widely varying estimates:

 China GDP Growth in Q1 2015    
Source   Estimate
 China’s Official Govt. Statistics Bureau  7.0% 
 Citibank   6.0%  
 Capital Economic  4.9%  
  Conference Board China Centre   4.0%  
 Lombard Street Research   3.8%

Why all this guessing? China’s growth numbers are always suspiciously consistent and always within 0.2% of the government forecast. Moreover, skeptical analysts see hard data, such as industrial production, energy consumption and construction, which are much weaker than GDP, and are using it to create their own estimates of what is going on. But it’s not just the data that is worrying.

The big question is China’s real estate. Property prices in 70 Chinese cities have fallen for more than a year, and 60 million empty apartments await buyers.

The Chinese government is well aware of the risk and has taken action. The Central Bank has lowered interest rates three times and it has twice reduced the amount of reserves that banks must hold, while easing mortgage rules. Still, new construction starts have fallen 16% in the first five months of 2015, a significant hit to the economy.

The challenge is that China is trying to shift the focus of its economy away from exports towards domestic growth, all while gently deflating a housing bubble. China has lots of resources, $4 trillion of reserves and its tight control of the banking sector gives it policy levers that other governments could only dream of. The Chinese government can intervene to stimulate demand, but China’s economy will grow a slower pace.

What does it all mean for commodity prices? The following graph shows China’s demand growth for oil, which has been massively volatile, oscillating from 16% growth to 2%. And that was during times of smooth sailing. We believe commodity prices should improve in 2015, but producers should brace themselves for more volatility as the world’s biggest consumer of natural resources has a bumpy road ahead.

-Hendrik Brakel, CCC

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Breaking Barriers to Employing in Multiple Provinces

by Admin 16. June 2015 08:34
Many businesses in British Columbia's resource sector must grapple with differences between the employment standards legislation of British Columbia and Alberta. This places an undue burden on many small businesses, and may result in a competitive disadvantage to British Columbia businesses relative to those based in Alberta. British Columbia should eliminate this drag on business by harmonizing key provisions of its employment standards legislation laws with those of its eastern neighbor.
A new resolution was presented at the BC Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting and Conference, May 24-26 in Prince George called Harmonizing British Columbia's regulation of worker hours that won the unanimous support of the province's Chambers of Commerce.                                               
President of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Ken Carmichael felt that it was important that the Chamber attend this event to ensure that our local businesses' views are heard and understood at the provincial level, and that our local companies keep their competitive edge.  
Part 4 of British Columbia's Employment Standards Act ("ESA") provides various conditions on employees' hours of work and overtime. Among other things, this legislation prescribes conditions on split shifts, hours before overtime applies and hours free from work each week.
British Columbia's ESA differs from Alberta's Employment Standards Code. As a result, businesses that operate in British Columbia and Alberta must abide by different regimes. Particularly in industries where there is close integration of operations across provincial borders, this causes complications in scheduling and payroll practices. Such complications are especially burdensome on small business.
As well, British Columbia's ESA, in general, provides less flexibility than Alberta's Employment Standards Code.  In markets where Alberta and British Columbia businesses compete for the same opportunities, the differences in applicable legislation can result in a competitive disadvantage for British Columbia business.
By harmonizing British Columbia's ESA with Alberta's Employment Standards Code, the provincial government can ensure British Columbia businesses do not face the complications of dealing with multiple employment standards regimes and compete against Alberta business on a more level playing field.
If employers are dealing with this issue we advise them to be aware that the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce is calling on the Province to work with the Alberta Government to harmonize British Columbia's Employment Standards Act hours of work and overtime provisions with those in Alberta's Employment Standards Code prior to seeking  harmonization of employment standards with other provinces.
 
-KCC Contributor 

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Advocacy Update

by Admin 8. June 2015 12:09

Recently, our CEO, Caroline Grover and myself travelled to Prince George for the BC Chamber AGM. We brought forward five resolutions from our membership and received support from our colleagues across the Province.

The theme this year for four resolutions seems to be the continuing fight on four separate issues where we have seen some success and support from Provincial and Federal governments, but feel that there is still room for improvement. We recognize the positive support the BC and Canadian Chamber networks receive from government on many of our resolutions and sincerely appreciate that we are their go to organization representing business.

  1. We are asking the Province to tighten the net and improve check points on BC border points. To ensure that no invasive mussel species enters BC’s pristine lakes on boats and devastates our infrastructure and lake dependent economies.

  2. Another on-going issue is the shipment of private purchase wine, beer and spirits between provinces. Some provinces like Ontario are refusing to allow the free flow of quality BC product. The BC Government will be asked to keep the pressure on these hold outs.

  3. The digital media industry has become a significant economic driver in B.C. with no signs of slowing down over the next years ahead. With this growth B.C. has an opportunity to set up the infrastructure necessary for this industry to become global leaders across all its sectors and continue to strengthen B.C.’s economy. There is an opportunity for the provincial government to work with the federal government, local governments, the academic sector and the digital industry to identify impediments to this sector’s growth.

  4. The Chamber network continues to work with the real estate and construction associations to draw the province’s attention to the Property Transfer Tax that is counter productive to housing affordability. We are making joint recommendations to ensure tax flows to government are tied to indexing of new housing prices and ultimately we call for the elimination of the Property Transfer Tax. We have also asked to eliminate tax on title transfers of common owner, better breaks for first time home owners and higher rates for non-resident property owners.

  5. And we rounded out our weekend of policy debates with a new resolution to consider changes to British Columbia’s Employment Standards Act to harmonize its hours of work and overtime provisions with those in Alberta’s Employment Standards Code. This is an issue with employers who have employees working in both provinces.

  

-Ken Carmichael, President, KCC 

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Right Place, Right Time

by Admin 2. June 2015 07:40

As spring races into summer, Kelowna’s economic numbers continue to reflect a sturdiness that makes us all feel optimistic. Our Chamber members are cautiously confident – not all businesses are enjoying growth, but optimism and expectations for good times ahead are a theme we hear repeated several times every week from business members: both those with new businesses, and those who are long established players in our market.

In terms of tracking spending and purchasing, it’s always instructive and often entertaining, to look at what Millennials are doing. Earlier this week, I heard that Millennials not only are entering their peak buying years, but that they are expected to soon surpass Boomers in total population. [NARGenerational Survey, Washington, DC, 2015] Good news for tech, general retail (more than 50% of Millennial households already have children) and real estate.

Millennials are 2.5 times more likely to be “early adopters” of technology than any other generation.[2015 Millennial Marketing]. This means lots more buying and upgrading.
Other interesting news for Kelowna this month included the Employment Insurance stats released May 21st. It’s no secret that Alberta saw a significant increase in EI numbers – in March EI recipients went up 24.7%. Large centres weren’t immune – Calgary’s EI numbers jumped, too.

By comparison, Kelowna shines in this regard: there were slight EI increases in BC outside of the province’s CMAs (census metropolitan areas of 100,000+ population). Again, Kelowna demonstrated immunity.

In fact, Kelowna and Guelph, Ontario have the lowest unemployment rates among ALL Canadian cities,according to Stats Can. Our two cities’ jobless rates are tied at 4.1%. Of course, that means a challenge for companies looking to expand and hire and acquire talent. That can place constraints on in-migrating companies which may look to establish elsewhere.

However, as we look ahead, we see the Central Okanagan Economic Development forecast of apopulation of 250,000 for our Kelowna CMA. The steady growth that COEDC predicts of 1.9% per year ensures that goods, services, real estate and our local industries will continue to expand.

Of BC’s three top industries, lumber, mining and real estate, real estate is a star in the Okanagan. In the central Okanagan (Peachland to Lake Country) residential sales were up 21.5% January-April over 2014.

The estimated spin-off economic impact of those $651 million in sales was an additional $99.5 million (renovations, appliances, taxes, etc.) [Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board]., and let’s not forget the growth in international awareness of the Okanagan as we continue to take a world-leading role in the ‘farm to table’ travel experience. These travel experiences helped the BC-wide tourism industry generate revenues of $13.5 billion in 2012. Awareness is growing by mega leaps every year – dollars are sure to follow as our agri-businesses mature. [Destination BC]

Of course, the volatility of the Canadian dollar continues to concern many of our businesspeople, including those importing, exporting, and paying for travel expenses in the US or paying for any goods and services in US dollars. Pundits and economists continue to prognosticate, but the ride to a mor estable dollar isn’t one that is ending any time soon.

Still, the next two decades in Kelowna and in BC (“We’ll carry the country with our strength,” said a lecturer from Investors Group earlier this month) are going to put smiles on a lot of business people’s faces as expansion continues.

Earlier this week, BC Premier Christy Clark announced an agreement in principle with Pacific NorthWest LNG, owned in majority by Malaysia's Petronas, for a liquefied natural gas development on the province's northwest coast.

Clark said the LNG framework will result in stable, long-term revenue for BC and $36 billion ininvestment, including a proposal for an LNG facility near Prince Rupert, with spin-off employment throughout BC.

So what does all this mean for Kelowna? We are in the right place, at the right time, with the right product. We’re the fastest growing city in BC, ahead of Vancouver, and have great business and socialties to the top cities on the national list in Alberta and Saskatchewan. It’s a good time to be a part of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.

- Caroline Grover, KCC

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Access to Technology & Innovation a Key Economic Issue ahead of the Federal Election

by Admin 26. May 2015 07:14

We've added our voice to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's, who released its electoral platform this morning in Ottawa. This document outlines a list of recommendations the Canadian business community has for the federal political parties as they prepare for the upcoming fall election.

 

Amongst the four key areas outlined in the Canadian Chamber's platform is one that is especially important to the members of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce: access to technology and innovation.

 

"Access to new technology can be a real game-changer for many businesses. Innovative manufacturing and export methods can significantly reduce costs and help create new products," said Ken Carmichael, President of the Kelowna Chamber. 

Specifically, we are requesting that the federal parties commit to the following:

  • Providing incentives to move ideas from mind to market, such as an "innovation box" regime in Canada that would see any sales/revenues earned on a patent or a new technology developed here in Canada taxed at a much lower rate
  • Investing in digital infrastructure (networks and switching required to handle the volumes of next generation data transfer) and rewarding private sector investment driven by profit motives
  • Providing incentives that encourage collaboration through technology clusters or centres of excellence

Three other key areas that are critical to enabling Canadian businesses to compete and win in the global economy were identified by the Canadian Chamber in its platform today: access to a powerful workforce, access to capital and access to markets.

 

"The challenge, today, is that we are racing against the greatest competitors in the world's toughest marathon-the global economy-and are losing ground to the front-runners. Only by putting in place the measures that we recommend in our platform can our next federal government turn this trend around and bring us back into the leaders' circle. We certainly hope the candidates are listening because local chambers are counting on them to contribute to the discussion and will be voting accordingly," said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. 

 

"We look forward to hearing from both the national parties and their local candidates on how we can address the issue of access to capital and we are, of course, open to meeting with our local political representatives," said Carmichael.

 

To download a copy of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's electoral platform, please click here

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New awards a reflection of #trending business models

by Admin 20. May 2015 07:34

Kelowna is home to world-renowned, nationally recognized, and otherwise excellent businesses. With each year that passes, more and more developers, entrepreneurs, corporations and the commerce-savvy are recognizing the economic viability and feasibility of Kelowna as a place for business.

For the past 27 years, the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has been celebrating business excellence during small business week (3rd week of October) and has handed out nearly 200 awards to well-deserving businesses at the Annual Business Excellence Awards Ceremony. With the ongoing support of key sponsors such as Farris and the Business Development Bank of Canada, we have been able to carry on this tradition and host this prestigious event. 

This year's Business Excellence Awards have been enhanced with the addition of two new categories, refinement of others, and the introduction of the 1st Annual Nominee Reception & Judging Kick-Off Party!

After a review of our annual awards process, categories and ceremony, the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce determined that this year's awards needed to develop in order to reflect the changing business environment in the Valley.  

It is common knowledge that 95% of the Okanagan's businesses employ fewer than 20 employees. 85% of those businesses fit into our "Small Business of the Year" category (which was defined as employing 1-10 individuals). Upon further research, we realized that 73% of those businesses, actually employed 4 or less individuals!1 Thus the creation of the Micro- Business category. This new category is for businesses with 1-3 employees, and the Small Business category has been revised to recognize businesses employing 4-15 employees. 

During our review we also recognized the need to include a trending business model which has had a major impact on BC over the past couple of years. Social Enterprises - organizations committed to a social mission that direct their revenue to drive social change - have   generated over $60 million in revenue and provided services to over 700,000 people.2 We agreed that this year's awards wouldn't be complete without a social enterprise aspect and as a result, the Social Entrepreneurship category was born. 

These two new awards will round out the categories for a total of 12 awards. For more information on the awards, categories, criteria and ceremony please visit our website at kelownachamber.org/news-events/Business_Excellence_Awards.aspx

 

The call for nominations is open until June 12th! 

To nominate a business: http://bit.ly/1A795fy

 

For further information contact:

 

Dicky Dack

Operations Manager

Kelowna Chamber of Commerce

 

Direct line 250 469-7355

 

1Based on the 2015 Okanagan Valley Economic Profile 

2Based on a 2012 Survey from the Canadian Social Enterprise Sector Survey Project

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Back in Black: What's so great about a surplus anyway?

by Admin 13. May 2015 13:19

 

With the tabling of the federal budget, the curtain falls on the best spectacle we’ve seen for a while–the government’s fight to rescue its carefully orchestrated plan to balance the budget in time for the election. This pledge has been the long-standing centerpiece of the Conservative economic platform. Last year’s estimates even gave them a $1.9 billion in surplus to play with, even with huge promises on income splitting and family benefits.

But, you know, stuff happens. Specifically, that lovely surplus disappeared as oil prices tumbled more than 50%. The first quarter of 2015 would be “atrocious” according to the Governor of the Bank of Canada. Suddenly, a party running on fiscal prudence might have to face the voters without a single balanced budget in its nine-year record.

In the end, they pulled it off, of course. The budget was delayed, the government’s shares of GM stock were sold, the contingency reserve was emptied. The government will go into the election with its image of sound economics intact.

The whole show raises the important question: “Do balanced budgets matter?” And if they do, is it always appropriate to cut your way to them?

Spending cuts are painful, but the IMF showed that economic impacts are usually modest. A spending cut of 1% of GDP typically shrinks the economy (GDP) by about 0.5% within two years–short-term pain for long-term gain.

But what if the economy is already in recession? This is very different because “automatic stabilizers” kick in. A recession causes tax collections to fall because business revenues plummet and people buy fewer things while government spending rises because more folks are dependent on employment insurance and social assistance programs. Deficits soar, and it becomes difficult to cut spending in the midst of a downturn. If government and the private sector are both in cut-back mode at the same time, then unemployment can soar in a manner that is terribly damaging.

The two-year recession in Europe is the best example of self-defeating austerity. In a follow-up report, the IMF said that for economies in recession, the hit to GDP from spending cuts can be up to four times greater, resulting in a much more severe hit to the economy that actually increases debt levels. This means a tough recession can result in years of deficits no matter what the government does.

And that’s why surpluses are important, so that governments have room to maneuver in a downturn and don’t have to layer public cuts on top of private sector cuts à la Greece and Spain, which are struggling with 25% unemployment.

Canada’s debt levels are certainly manageable, and the provinces can borrow 10-year money at an interest cost of 2-2.5% per year–which is just above “zero-risk” U.S. treasuries, so clearly markets aren’t worried.

Let’s remember that a $1.4 billion surplus on a $280 billion budget is 0.5%, barely a rounding error from a business perspective. More important is to have responsible spending and the type of investments in infrastructure and skills that will generate future prosperity. Surpluses make us much more comfortable so that we can cope with a storm, but let’s also build a speed boat so that we can race ahead.

-Handrik Brakel, CCC 

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Days of May

by Admin 7. May 2015 13:57

May is upon us- signifying flowers, a day for "mom" and the end of tax season (insert sigh of relief here).

 

This month also holds meaning for some associations. All week, Mental Health awareness has been campaigned across the nation. A subject that used to be kept mum in the past is gaining a much needed voice. #GetLoud

 

 

Additionally, in an effort to recognize the significant impact of a trending business model, the province proclaimed May 2015 asSocial Enterprise Month. Social Enterprises are organizations committed to a social mission that direct their revenue to drive social change. Based on a 2012 survey, B.C. social enterprises provided services to nearly 700,000 people and generated at least $60 million in revenues. #Impact4BC

 

 

To do our part in recognizing these big-hearted businesses, we've added Social Entrepreneur of the Year to our Annual Business Excellence Awards. To nominate a social enterprise, click here.


Finally, let's not forget one of the Okanagan's favourite things about May - great golf! If you haven't signed up for this year's tournament,act fast! We've got your Friday May 29th planned down to a "tee". Over $50,000 worth of prizes will be up for grabs. Have a prize to donate? Great! Please contact Sarah at 250.469.7350 or email.

 

Want to sponsor a hole? We've got a few opportunities left. Call 250.469.7358 or email Caroline Miller. 

 
-KCC Contributor 

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Budget Analysis: Federal Budget 2015

by Admin 5. May 2015 09:59
This is an election year, and this is undoubtedly an election budget. There is a strong emphasis on tax cuts for the (hardworking) Canadian families that will receive the bulk of federal largesse this year. Just the income splitting and the expanded universal child care benefit will cost $7.8 billion in 2015 and $4.5 billion per year thereafter. From innovation to infrastructure to the environment, this budget has something for everyone.
In fact, we at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce were pleasantly surprised by a number of the business-friendly tax adjustments and spending commitments. Back in the summer of 2014, the government was forecasting a $1.9 billion surplus on top of a $3 billion contingency fund. Then oil prices collapsed from $100 to $45 by the beginning of January and the Parliamentary Budget Officer expected that the resulting $5.5 billion hit to the federal treasury would leave a deficit of $400 million. Minister Oliver delayed the budget by a couple of months citing “economic uncertainty.”
Since then oil prices have recovered slightly, to around $56 this morning, and we expect them to be back in the $65 by year-end. The government also enjoyed a $3.4 billion windfall from the sale of GM shares. As a result, there is room for some helpful measures to support Canadian business, a few things that will make life easier for business, a couple of gimmicks and a nice healthy surplus of $1.4 billion.
Infrastructure
• The Canadian Chamber was very pleased to see $5.8 billion in funds for new infrastructure, with the majority spent over the next three years, on top of the existing $5.3 billion per year from the Building Canada Plan. There is also money for a new public transit fund: $750 million over two years, starting in 2017-18 and $1 billion annually thereafter.
• The debt caps for the Northwest Territories and Nunavut will be raised to $1.3 billion and $650 million respectively (pending Governor-in-Council approval) increasing the amounts these territorial governments can borrow to invest in the infrastructure needed for private sector economic development.
Taxes
• The big highlight was that the small business tax rate will be reduced from 11% to 9% by 2019 (0.5% reduction each year starting Jan 1, 2016), resulting in $2.7 billion in tax savings through 2020.
• The government is also targeting manufacturers by extending the accelerated capital cost allowance to 2025. The same 50% rate will be applied using the declining balance method. Previously, the straight-line method was used so that the full depreciation was taken in two years.
o The ACCA for LNG facilities will rise to 30% from 8% for equipment and from 6% to 10% for buildings.
Federal Budget 2015 Analysis | The Canadian Chamber of Commerce 2
o The government also promised to eliminate all remaining tariffs on M&E, manufacturing inputs, so no tariffs at all for industrial manufacturers, as well as eliminating tariffs on certain imported ships and mobile offshore drilling units.
• On payroll taxes, the Canadian Chamber was pleased by the government reconfirming the EI premium rate freeze (currently $1.88 per $100 of earnings through 2016) and, more importantly, the reduction to the seven-year break even rate in 2017. The government estimates this is somewhere around $1.49, a reduction of 21%.
• An area of special delight for tax enthusiasts, the long-awaited fix to regulation 102 of the Income Tax Act, the withholding requirement for non-residents. Previously, employers had to withhold tax amounts for any employee working in Canada even for very short periods, and the employee would have to file to get a refund. Now CRA will grant waivers to employers so they don’t have to withhold tax on foreign employees who visit Canada.
• A 10-year tax incentive measure to write-off investment in tools and equipment will benefit the Canadian manufacturing sector.
Capital
• Access to capital is always a big priority for the Canadian Chamber. The government announced changes to the Canada Small Business Financing Program that will expand availability: the maximum loan amount will rise to $1M from $500K, and the small business criteria will qualify a company with $10M in revenues, up from $5M.
• $14 million to Futurpreneur to support young entrepreneurs with start-up capital, learning tools and mentorship.
Trade and International Affairs
• There was an impressive list of commitments to expand trade, with a number of big wins for business and for the Canadian Chamber’s report that recommended expanded trade promotion. In fact, the government promised $50 million over five years for the Export Market Development Program to help SMEs explore export opportunities - market research, attending trade shows, pilot projects for between 500 to 1,000 exporters per year. There was also $42 million over five years to expand the Trade Commissioner Service.
• In the most innovative policy of the budget, the government will be creating a Development Finance Initiative to provide financing in developing countries. This was a major ask of the Canadian Chamber because one of the best ways for business to get into tough emerging markets and build relationships is to participate in a development project. With a capital base of $300 million, the DFI will be housed with Export Development Canada.
• There was a significant increase in funding for agriculture exports, including $18 million to promote competitiveness and trade opportunities and $12 million to market Canadian food.
• The creation of an internal trade promotion office in Industry Canada to reduce barriers to internal trade and promote efforts to renew the agreement on internal trade.
Federal Budget 2015 Analysis | The Canadian Chamber of Commerce 3
• The Canadian Chamber was disappointed that it did not see concrete investment in tourism promotion. The budget is proposing “support” to the Canadian Tourism Commission for a new initiative to promote Canada in the U.S. No dollar amount was given but details are to be provided in the coming months after consultations with stakeholders. We will be monitoring this closely.
Technology and Innovation
• The government promised $1.3 billion over six years starting in 2017-2018 to the Canada Foundation for Innovation for advanced research infrastructure at universities and research hospitals.
• $105 million for CANARIE, Canada’s high-speed research and education network and $46M to the granting councils such as NSERC, CIHR.
• $1 billion over five years for technical demonstrations in the aerospace industry plus $30 million over four years for Canada’s satellite communications sector.
• $100 million over five years for the Automotive Supplier Innovation Program for funding for R&D in the auto sector.
• $86 million over two years for the Forestry Innovation Program and the Expanding Market Opportunities Program.
People and Skills
• Skills featured prominently in the budget and the Canadian Chamber was pleased to see a focus on aligning post-secondary curricula with employers’ needs. The Canadian Chamber applauds the government’s $65 million investment for business and industry trade associations to work with post-secondary institutions to align curricula with the needs of employers. For example, CME will work with Siemens Canada and several post-secondary institutions to develop a curriculum for an advanced manufacturing skills certification.
• The government also emphasized that it was negotiating with provinces on the $2 billion labour market development agreements to reorient training to labour market demand. The government will also support provinces to harmonize apprenticeship training and certification requirements in Red Seal Trades, along with $7 million for improved labour mobility, which is helpful.
• For years, the Canadian Chamber has been advocating improved labour market information, so it was pleased to see $4 million over two years to launch a new one-stop national labour market information portal. We welcome this as a first step toward more investments in actual surveys.
• $35 million to the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Program, which pays for immigrants to take courses and tests to have foreign qualifications recognized in Canada.
• Improvements to the Canada Student Loans Program will expand access by reducing the parental contribution and excluding income earned while studying at a cost of $119 million and $116 million respectively.
• $248.5 million to support Aboriginal labour market programming - skills development and training.
• On Temporary Foreign Workers, the government offered no changes.
• A $200 million investment over five years in First Nations education through the Strong Schools, Successful Students Initiative for capacity building of school boards.
Federal Budget 2015 Analysis | The Canadian Chamber of Commerce 4
Natural Resources & Environment
• The budget included some previously announced programs to support Canada’s natural gas and mining sectors through tax breaks and the forest products sector through support for innovation. Many of the measures accounted have been on the Canadian Chamber’s agenda for a few years, representing a win for the resource community.
• No significant changes in direction for natural resource or environmental policy were revealed, with continued or incremental funding for community consultation through environmental assessments, environmental programs like the chemical management plan, and marine transport of oil.
• Perhaps most significant for the budget is what the budget did not mention. Despite the major upcoming climate negotiation at the UNFCCC in Paris this December, the budget made no mention of climate change.
Paperwork and Other
• New service standards and regulatory plans to reduce the paperwork burden on business. There will be quarterly remittance of employer taxes for very small employers. CRA agents will have a standard ID number, will partner with the CFIB and will be clearer in their communications.
• Should we look forward to a kinder, gentler CRA? Not if you’re one of Canada’s largest and most complex entities and you’re engaged in aggressive tax avoidance. The CRA will spend an additional $58 million over five years to go after these entities. Interestingly, the government estimates that it will collect an additional $191 million per year and is so sure about the amounts that it has included them as revenues in the budget.
 
-Hendrick Brakel, CCC 

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