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Canadian businesses asking for access to win

The writ has dropped and the campaigning for the October 19th federal election is now almost through its first week.  The business community has a very strong message for all political parties and candidates.  Issues that local business owners from across the country have identified as most pressing have been packaged by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce into a platform document called “A Canada That Wins”.  

Why is the business community taking such a strong stand?  President and CEO Perrin Beatty sums it up in an introductory letter to the platform document. “Many factors are contributing to uncertainty in the economic landscape, and we (Chambers of Commerce) want to work with parliamentarians in crafting forward-thinking, long-term  public policies that foster a globally-competitive business sector.”

The document is all about access to help improve Canada’s competitiveness.  As such, four areas have been identified as standouts: access to a powerful workforce, access to capital, access to technology and innovation, and access to markets.  

Below are the four categories and the asks by the business community to all parties.

Access to a Powerful Workforce

  • Investing in more and better labour market information
  • Ensuring immigration changes stop unduly limiting employers’ access to the international talent they need
  • Addressing the serious processing issues and inflexible features of the Temporary Foreign Worker 
  • Program that are negatively affecting employers’ access to workers in a range of sectors
  • Providing incentives for employers to offer more post-secondary co-op placements and internships
  • Creating a financial incentive for employers to retain employees throughout the completion of their apprenticeship training

Access to Capital 

  • Introducing better tax incentives for venture capital and angel investors
  • Changing regulations to encourage insurance companies and pension plans to invest a modest part of their funds in venture capital
  • Forming an impartial panel of experts to review and recommend measures to simplify Canada’s tax system
  • Increasing the income threshold from the (11%) small business tax rate to $1,000,000 from $500,00 to encourage small companies to continue growing
  • Simplifying the Capital Cost Allowance rules from 52 separate asset classes to a few broad categories

Access to Technology and Innovation

  • 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 volume 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

Access to Markets

  • Continuing an ambitious free trade agenda by concluding and implementing bilateral agreements in Europe and Asia, while pushing forward regional and multilateral trade talks
  • Launching a national regulatory cooperation strategy that will mobilize resources and political attention to tackle internal trade barriers and enhance alignment with Canada’s trading partners
  • Strengthening export and tourism promotion services by improving coordination between the private and public sectors, expanding marketing campaigns and diplomatic presence abroad and establishing a national development finance institution
  • Investing in transportation infrastructure and improving Canada’s border services and visa administration to make it easier for businesses to get their products in and out of Canada
  • Ensuring stringent but streamlined regulatory processes for the extraction and transportation of natural resources
  • Supporting policies that will stimulate innovations in environmental sustainability and ensure a supply of skilled workers to help Canada meet the demands for its natural resource industries

Running in the Peterborough-Kawartha Riding are Mike Skinner for the Conservatives, Maryam Monsef for the Liberals, and Dave Nickle for the NDP. In Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock running for MP are Jamie Schmale as the Conservative candidate, David Marquis for the Liberals, Mike Perry for the NDP, and William MacCallum for the Green Party. In Northumberland-Peterborough South Adam Moulton is running for the Conservatives, Kim Rudd for the Liberals, Russ Christianson for the NDP, and Patricia Sinott for the Green Party.  

The Chamber has also started a Facebook page called the "2015 Federal Election Hub".  The site is designed to allow candidates to post business-themed election events and for constituents to ask business-related questions.  Check out the hub at www.facebook.com/fedelection2015ptbo