Ontario Chamber Encouraged By Speech From the ThroneSeptember 23, 2020
(Toronto – September 23, 2020) – Today, Rocco Rossi, President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce released the following statement in reaction to the federal government’s Speech from the Throne.
“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government have done a commendable job to listen, respond to, and support Canadian business through this crisis. We are pleased that the government has indicated its intention to focus on skills, jobs and support for business, women and persons with disabilities. We are eager to see more details on these plans soon.
“Businesses across the province have been hard hit by the pandemic. We therefore are pleased to see targeted financial support to businesses that must close because of local public health directives, a renewal of the wage subsidy, and expansion of the Canadian Emergency Business account to cover fixed costs. We are also pleased to see a continued commitment to infrastructure investment, which is critical for our country’s success.
“Keeping the economy and schools open absent a vaccine means we need enhanced testing and tracing to control outbreaks. As we continue to hear growing concerns about capacity for testing centers, support from the federal government for testing is welcome news.
“In the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic, it is difficult for Canadians to look beyond confronting the immediate effects of COVID-19. However, even as we continue supporting each other today, we must also start planning how our communities and economy can emerge stronger.
“However, we are not out of the woods yet, and must be careful when planning for new, permanent programs when we still have considerable uncertainty to navigate.
“Government spending should focus on either temporary measure to get us through the immediate crisis, or initiatives with measurable and evidence-based growth outcomes. That means shovels in the ground, people back to work, and economic growth. For Budget 2020, we hope to see more details as to how the federal government will reduce interprovincial trade barriers, as free trade in Canada could unlock tremendous prosperity across the country.
“The OCC is also concerned that commercial rent assistance was noticeably absent from the speech, especially considering the established need for improvements to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program.
“The speech indicates unprecedented spending from the federal government. We will need strong economic growth to generate revenues to pay for these investments, as austerity measures and tax increases are not the paths to recovery. Instead, there should be a focus on funding the key determinants of growth: education and training, R&D and innovation, and infrastructure (particularly broadband internet).”
About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan, indispensable partner of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members.
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