While applauding the federal budget's emphasis on affordability, the Burnaby Board of Trade says a clearer plan for business growth is needed.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled the 2023 budget on Tuesday (March 28) in Ottawa that heavily focused on cost-of-living, health care and economic impacts.
In all, the 2023-24 spending plan will cost $490.5 billion, including public debt charges, with $8.3 billion in new program spending.
The projected deficit is $40.1 billion, which is greater than the $30.6-billion deficit for this coming fiscal year forecast in November's fiscal update.
Burnaby Board of Trade CEO Paul Holden said post-budget that, due to numerous circumstances, it has "never been more important" for Canada to focus on economic growth.
"Burnaby businesses have faced unprecedented times these past few years, including a still active pandemic, thirty-year high inflation, and ongoing supply chain issues due to now almost yearly extreme weather events and a regional war in Europe," Holden said in a news release.
"A clear economic path forward that can counter the stubbornly high cost of doing business today is a clear miss in this year's budget."
The organization said the following measures will be welcomed by Burnaby businesses:
- A refundable tax credit equal to 30 per cent of the cost of investments in new machinery and equipment used to manufacture or process key clean technologies
- Investments in battery manufacturing facilities that generate important demand for Canadian critical minerals and can help attract additional processing activities to Canada
- Provide $500 million over 10 years to the Strategic Innovation Fund to support the development and application of clean technologies in Canada
- An additional $625 million in Labour Market Transfer Agreements to ensure Canadians continue to have access to the supports they need to skill up and get their next job
"Our members are very supportive of investing in supply chain resiliency, skills and training and combatting the costly effects of climate change through innovation in clean growth technology, but we can't lose sight that private sector-led growth fueled by a competitive, sustainable tax structure and further investments in foreign credential recognition to attract workers from around the world will unlock the full potential of businesses and workers alike," Holden added.
- with files from The Canadian Press