OTTAWA, April 21, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - The Quebec Employers Council reacted favourably to the Economic Action Plan 2015 announced today by Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver, a plan which is consistent with and respects many commitments regarding public finances management and fiscal competitiveness.
"Along with attaining the objective of returning to a balanced budget, this budget addresses many priority issues for employers and businesses insofar as it ensures a continuity in the efforts undertaken to improve the fiscal environment of companies at the federal level," stated Yves-Thomas Dorval, the president and CEO of the Employers Council.
Returning to a balanced budget and maintaining fiscal competitiveness
The Employers Council notes the government has put its words into action by managing to stay the course in its objective of returning to a balanced budget in 2015-16, while maintaining the level of transfers to the provinces and seeking a more favourable tax system for companies and individuals. The Employers Council also applauds the government's intention to table a bill for balanced budget legislation.
Toward an improved competitiveness for businesses
The federal government seems intent on pursuing its strategy aimed at maintaining fiscal competitiveness for businesses in an effort to contribute to job creation and encourage investment. The economic indicators seem to show the government is right on this count, and in the business community, too, as the broadening of the Canadian economic sphere provides new opportunities but needs to be able to improve competitiveness and productivity in certain sectors.
In this regard, several measures offer some interesting ways to enhance companies' investment ability, notably in the manufacturing sector. The Employers Council particularly notes the 10-year accelerated capital cost allowance for manufacturers and the initiatives encouraging research and innovation and trade.
On the manpower training front, the Employers Council singles out many of the federal government's objectives aimed at a better matching of workers' job skills and employers' needs, and fostering access to professional training. But the Council suggests the federal government come to an agreement with its Québec counterpart so the latter implements solutions that takes its actual situation and existing structures into account. The Council also hails the continuation of discussions with the provinces so that Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDA) can be renewed in a satisfactory manner, taking into consideration models which have been developed in some of the other provinces, such as Québec, which are working well.
Elsewhere, the Council notes the government is maintaining the freeze on employment insurance premiums until 2017 before lowering them, and the Council encourages it to exert every effort that would enable it to do this ahead of schedule.
But the Council wonders about the determination of the federal government in the matter of proposed changes to the temporary foreign workers program, which is scheduled to come into effect in Québec on April 30. The Council urges the federal government to discuss the issue with Québec to find acceptable solutions, which would avoid a negative impact on many Québec businesses, particularly in the context where Québec is experiencing a faster aging of the population than the other provinces in Canada.
Strategic benefits for Québec
Many of the measures in the budget target Québec's strong sectors, like the aerospace, forestry, digital or mining industries.
From the infrastructures standpoint, the Council is pleased to note investments in infrastructures should be moving along at the same pace, and it urges the federal government to act in conjunction with the provincial governments to target logistical infrastructures and strategic marketing.
The creation of a public transit fund is a welcome initiative. While it's unfortunate it will only be implemented as of 2017, the Council finds it interesting that it allows for greater involvement by the private sector in terms of funding, but it wonders about some of the terms and conditions that will have to be analyzed, as well as what happens with smaller cities.
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. It represents directly and indirectly more than 75,000 employers of all sizes in both the private and public sectors, with operations in Quebec.
SOURCE Conseil du patronat du Québec
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