Federal budget 2018: Missed opportunity to increase business competitiveness



February 27, 201

CALGARY – Today the Government of Canada tabled the 2018 federal budget. While there are some positive measures in this budget, above all, business was disappointed to see a missed opportunity to increase competitiveness.

“Government policies – from all levels of government – are making it harder for businesses in Alberta to succeed, adding regulatory burden and increasing costs” says Zoe Addington, Director of Policy and Government Relations at the Calgary Chamber. “Meanwhile in the U.S. we are seeing some of the most significant tax and regulatory updates in recent memory.”

In the Chamber’s Fall 2017 Business Leader Market Perceptions survey, business indicated government regulations and taxes as the top challenge they face, more than any other factor. When businesses see an increase in costs as a result of these policies, it can mean higher prices for Calgary’s households, fewer funds for Calgary’s businesses to reinvest, and fewer job opportunities for Calgary’s workers.

“If Canadian governments continue to ignore competitiveness, discourage investment, and reduce regulatory certainty, other jurisdictions with more attractive policies will encourage talent and investment to shift away from Canada,” says Addington. “We strongly urge the Government of Canada to close that competitiveness gap to prevent the loss of further investment.”

However, while Budget 2018 was a missed opportunity to address competitiveness, there were measure that will benefit business.

“We were pleased to see the federal government reduce the small business tax rate and recognize the update to their original passive investment proposals as a step in the right direction.” says Addington. “We also commend the steps taken in Budget 2018 to support women entrepreneurs, as well as measures aimed at encouraging the inclusion of underrepresented groups into the workforce.”

With the national economy growing, it was disappointing that the government chose not to further address Canada’s fiscal challenges. The budget tabled today estimated Canada’s deficit for 2018 to be $18.1 billion and failed to outline a path to balance in the near future.

“We look forward to discussing our concerns around Budget 2018 with Minister Morneau at our upcoming event on March 7th. This will provide an opportunity for Calgary’s business community to participate in a live Q&A with the Finance Minister” says Addington.


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