Kelowna: The Chamber on Friday made some initial observations on the Federal Budget released on Thursday in Ottawa. “As always, it is a densely written document, with some welcome information, some gaps, and many areas requiring further examination,” said Pamela Pearson, Chamber President.

“It’s a sprinkling of measures,” added Chamber Executive Director Dan Rogers. “No one area stands out as a game-changer – inflation remains at its highest point in over 30 years, workforce numbers are well below what business needs to survive and grow; however, the good news is that there are no immediate increases in personal income taxes. There are numerous changes in business tax planning policies: some help small and medium-sized businesses, and succession planning; others which aim to increase revenues to the government, will be less welcomed by the business community.”

“We support the more or less 50/50 split reflected in the budget: that it dedicates roughly $63 billion in new spending over the next five years and the remaining $50 billion goes toward reducing deficits.  For businesses, we’re not supportive of the lack of tax cuts to help deal with short term inflation,” Rogers continued.

“We wanted to see support for growth, plus, ways to address labour market challenges including childcare and immigration. Some measures are outlined in the budget, but in our view, are likely not enough to stimulate the sustainable growth needed to move us into a better GDP position and economic recovery. While GDP is forecasted to grow, it’s based on inflation, not new business value.”

“Budget 2022 adds approximately $35 billion more in spending over six years. The biggest areas of focus are the environment, Indigenous reconciliation, housing, defence, and health care. We are cautiously optimistic about the value of these programs, but wary of increased costs being borne unequally by Canadian businesses.”

Finally, Rogers says, “The changes to housing policies around accessibility could have far-reaching effects, and again, we’re unsure that all these effects will be positive. More housing quickly is a noble goal, but private enterprise must lead the charge, not government.”