April 19, 2021
KELOWNA CHAMBER GIVES FEDERAL BUDGET 2021 PASSING GRADE
Kelowna: The Kelowna Chamber is giving the federal budget a preliminary passing grade but says a final mark depends on execution and efficiency. Execution on the investments as outlined, particularly on childcare will not be easy, primarily because it requires negotiation with the Provinces. Execution also relates to how the government does in managing debt and deficits over the next five years.
Efficiency is related to the outcomes of the proposed increase in spending of over $100 billion and whether that helps small business survive the pandemic while stimulating private sector investment that will grow the economy and create more opportunities for Canadians.
“It’s all about the delivery of programs, and the execution of budget measures,” said Dan Rogers, Chamber Executive Director. “We acknowledge there are still rough seas ahead. We want our businesses, and our residents to weather this third wave and be able to move forward once Canada is truly in recovery mode.”
“We’re pleased that the federal government is targeting measures which the Kelowna Chamber has championed for some time including more efforts to reduce interprovincial trade barriers; investments in hydrogen power and green energy; and affordable childcare – among other issues,” says Rogers.
Primary line items in the federal budget include ongoing support through CEWS (wage subsidy program), and CERS (rent relief) through to September, something the Canadian Chamber network had been pushing for. The creation of the Canada Recovery Hiring Program to help the hardest hit businesses hire staff when they are ready for recovery is also something the Canadian Chamber had advocated for in its pre-budget submission. Funding for reskilling and upskilling to get Canadians back to work is also seen as positive.
“Providing some certainty that these supports will be extended is good news for Canadians, and for Canadian business,” says Rogers. “There were many positives for business in the budget though our long-term economic health depends on government management of debt and deficits. The shift away from subsidies to economic stimulus and growth is one which we will all welcome, when the time is right,” Rogers said, echoing the words of the Canadian Chamber.
“Our members, businesses from Main Street to C-Suite and everything in between, wanted a clear plan to help them lead Canada’s economic revival. They are ready to kick-start our shared recovery, but they need the government to do its part and create an encouraging business environment. Today’s budget provided necessary supports for many Canadian businesses, but more needs to be done on the economic fundamentals to ensure longer-term growth,” said Perrin Beatty, President/CEO of the Canadian Chamber.
There are a few new tax measures coming though they are not likely to be felt by many Canadians unless you are thinking of spending a lot of money on a new boat. The federal government is going to implement a national tax on vacant property owned by non-residents. This would be an annual one per cent tax on the value of non-resident, non-Canadian owned residential real estate that is considered to be vacant or underused. The Kelowna Chamber will be seeking clarification from the Province that the addition of this federal tax may allow them to reduce or scrap the speculation tax levied by the Province on a few select communities in BC including Kelowna and West Kelowna.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Dan Rogers, Executive Director, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce
For more detailed analysis, join the Kelowna Chamber at 7:30 am Tuesday April 20th as they join KPMG financial experts in a deeper dive into the business issues affecting Okanagan businesses. Go to www.kelownachamber.org/events to pre-register.