CHARLOTTETOWN, PE – The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce responded to the 2019 Federal Budget by welcoming a focus on skills development, while expressing the need to address business tax competitiveness and increased government debt levels.

“Changing demographics and skill requirements are creating new challenges for Island employers,” said Chamber CEO, Penny Walsh-McGuire. “The new Canada Training Benefit to support the up-skilling and re-skilling of Canadians appears to align with our call to address current labour market needs. However, more information is needed and we would like to see a commitment that business be consulted on the specific program details.”

Further initiatives that the Chamber welcomed in the 2019 Federal Budget included investments in Canada-wide highspeed internet and the extension of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project in support of regional population growth.

“While the budget delivers on some of our advocacy priorities, a number of fundamental business issues that can support economic growth, appear to have been sidelined,” said Walsh-McGuire.

The Chamber noted the following business issues were not addressed in the budget:

  • A commitment to a more competitive and less cumbersome tax system.
  • A commitment to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses.
  • A renewed commitment to eliminating inter-provincial trade barriers.
  • Support for businesses to find new export opportunities and expand Canada’s ability to diversify its trade.

Another note of concern raised by the Chamber is the budget deficit of $19.8 billion.

“While the Chamber recognizes the federal debt to GDP ratio is among the lowest in the G7 countries, deficit budgets limit government’s ability to prepare for a possible downturn in the economy,” said Walsh-McGuire. “We believe that in preparation for such times, government should look for ways to lower debt.”

Heading into the 2019 Federal Election, the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce with the Canadian Chamber network will continue to focus on the priorities of businesses to support the growth of our economy.