With both provincial and federal budgets set to be presented March 29, the president of the Cornwall & Area Chamber of Commerce has put forth the business association’s priorities.
“A focus on business and the manufacturing sectors with respect to economic growth is critical,” said Rick Shaver. “From a federal standpoint, we want to see the government develop priorities with respect to sustained economic growth, quality job creation and the assurance of relatively low taxation rates. In terms of the latter, we hope to see a more efficient tax system that minimizes administration and compliance costs.”
Shaver went on to note the need for flexible labour policies to allow employers to manage their businesses effectively and to review internal trade barriers. “There is an immediate need to remove the barriers to interprovincial trade and labour mobility and to strengthen the agreement on internal trade. We also want the government to keep the promise of scheduled corporate income tax reductions.”
Turning to the province, the chamber is looking for reforms to Ontario’s arbitration system.
“There is an imbalance with respect to arbitrated settlements and the chamber has already been lobbying the provincial government ,” said Shaver.
Other issues the chamber wants addressed include a reform to Ontario’s health care system by adjusting some compensation models and allowing more specialized clinics to operate in the province. In parallel, the chamber would like a reduction in WSIB benefits and employer premiums. It would also like to see some reforms to the Ontario pension system in order to retain its viability.
“In general, the chamber would like to see the following as the top budgetary priorities: addressing the deficit, cutting red tape, a cut in spending and a re-directing of funds to priority areas, and support for innovation,” said Shaver.