MONTREAL, Nov. 21, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - At its participation in the House
of Commons Standing Committee on Finance public hearings in conjunction
with federal pre-budget consultations, the Quebec Employers Council
addressed members of parliament today in Ottawa about the specific
measures the Council believes are needed to maximize job creation.
Overall taxation: A freeze on payroll contributions
From the outset, Norma Kozhaya, the Employers Council's Research
Director and Chief Economist, noted the efforts the federal government
has put forth in the last few years to tighten the control of public
spending growth in order to stabilize public finances. This approach
has allowed the government to stay the course in its efforts to return
to a balanced budget in 2015-2016 at the latest and to maintain
competitive taxation, helped notably by a corporate tax reduction to
15% since 2012.
But Ms. Kozhaya also stressed the importance for the federal government
to quickly address the issue of funding the various programs that are
paid for through payroll contributions. These payroll taxes actually
have to be factored into the overall taxes employers must assume, and a
steady rise in these increasingly heavier tax loads could put the
brakes on investments and job creation.
In this regard, the Research Director and Chief Economist expressed
serious reservations about the various proposals to enhance public
pension plans in Canada, specifically the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and
the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP). Ms. Kozhaya remarked that Canada ranks
quite well in terms of retirement savings, although that doesn't
dismiss the fact there are major challenges that need to be met in the
coming years, including increasing the level of savings. The problem of
maintaining one's standard of living in retirement isn't generalized,
however, a fact confirmed by many recent studies and analyses.
"The proposal of enhancing the QPP/CPP that has been put forth in recent
weeks doesn't necessarily address a real need, and, contrarily, it runs
the risk of having adverse effects on economic activity, investments,
jobs and salaries, all of which would go against the federal
government's announced objective of maximizing job creation," said Ms.
Kozhaya. "Moreover, such enhancements don't encourage the extending of
an active life, - an objective on which we should be placing an
emphasis in terms of the aging demographic - but instead it would
encourage people to take early retirement."
Manpower training: An open and pragmatic federalism
Employers Council Research Director and Chief Economist, Norma Kozhaya,
urged the federal government to review its plan to introduce the Canada
Job Grant program and recommended that Canada's Minister of Employment
and Social Development, Jason Kenney, instead negotiate a new agreement
on manpower training with Quebec, so that the province remains in
charge of its own programs.
"Quebec employers hail the federal government's plan, through the Canada
Job Grant, to have more employer input, so that Quebec and Canadian
companies have a better trained and more productive labour force,"
stated Ms. Kozhaya. "But, in our view, it would seem to be more
promising and efficient that the federal government sets the guidelines
and objectives in terms of job training while refraining from getting
involved in implementing the measures to attain these objectives."
Ms. Kozhaya also noted that since the signing of a first Canada-Quebec
agreement on the job market, in 1997, the province has proven to be a
reliable partner, both in how the federal government money has been
spent and in accountability. The Employers Council doesn't believe
Quebec should be penalized by a new formula, such as the one being
proposed for the implementation of the Canada Job Grant program.
Other major issues for the Quebec and Canadian business communities
In addition to these priority matters, the Employers Council Research
Director and Chief Economist presented the organization's proposals
pertaining to other key issues for the Quebec and Canadian business
communities. Some of these issues include:
Implementing a strategic monitoring of any impact that stems from
employment-insurance reform, by proposing prompt solutions to any issue
that would arise in terms of manpower availability;
Following up on the implementation of the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan;
Continuing discussions aimed at ratifying the global economic and trade
agreement between Canada and the European Union and opening and
diversifying the country's economic and trade relations with other
Moving up the timetable for replacing the Champlain Bridge, including a
public rapid-transit system.
The detailed comments and proposals presented by the Employers Council
in conjunction with the federal pre-budget consultations are available
on the organization's website (www.cpq.qc.ca).
The Quebec Employers Council brings together many of Québec's largest
companies and the vast majority of sector-based employers' groups,
making it Québec's sole employer federation
SOURCE: Conseil du patronat du Québec
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