Focus Federal Budget Priorities on Strengthening Trade Networks and Closing the Fiscal Gap: Ontario Chamber of Commerce

TORONTO, Feb. 17, 2017 /CNW/ - Today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) publicly released its federal pre-budget submission, which advances the need for the Government of Canada to reaffirm our trade relationship with the United States while supporting our private sector to achieve greater international growth opportunities. The submission also urges the federal government to re-examine its allocation of funding for important sectors like health care and labour market programs by addressing the fiscal gap.

In 2015, Ontario alone exported $194 CAD billion worth of goods to the U.S. while importing $182 CAD billion. Canada is also the largest goods export market for the U.S., in addition to being the top export destination for 35 of America's 50 states. These figures demonstrate the interconnectedness of both economies and importance of a collaborative relationship for continued growth and success.

"The global economy has changed significantly over the past decade, and dramatically in the past year. However, now is the time for Canada to take action and demonstrate its mutually beneficial relationship with the U.S.," said Allan O'Dette, President and CEO of the OCC. "But this will only take us so far. Canada needs to invest in itself to grow, a heightened focus needs to be placed on home-grown programs and incentives that encourage businesses to scale up and seek greater international trade opportunities."

The submission suggests that linking new market entrants and high-growth potential firms to more business support programs will assist in growing businesses export capacity and international trade ability. Currently, Canadian startups' inability to scale and connect to global trade networks poses a critical gap to the nation's business growth strategy. Canada continues to miss out on long-term economic benefits, because businesses are unable to scale-up and grow.

Ontarians continue to be disadvantaged by the allocation of federal funding when it comes to health care. With provincial health care systems across Canada facing additional pressures from aging and growing populations, health budgets are more strained than ever. Currently federal contributions to provincial health care do not provide sufficient funding to sustain core health care services, nor provide the funding necessary to support an innovation agenda in health care. A re-examination of how funding is provided through the Canada Health Transfer system (CHT) is a needed step.

"The need to transform the health sector represents a historic opportunity for the federal government to re-establish its role as a partner in the health care system," added O'Dette. "Inadequate health care funding will only hurt the province's ability to deliver transformative change in the health sector."

If implemented, these recommendations will help Ontario businesses partner with jurisdictions across the globe and compete in the increasingly competitive global marketplace. This, along with a federal government re-commitment to the CHT, will help close the fiscal gap for Ontarians.

Read the full federal pre-budget submission.

SOURCE Ontario Chamber of Commerce

For further information: Media Contact: Rachel Strong, Public Affairs & Media Relations Lead, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, E: rachelstrong@occ.ca, T: 416-482-5222 ext. 2470

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http://www.occ.on.ca

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