Charlottetown, PE (February 24, 2022) – The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce is encouraged by investments in Island businesses and workers announced in the 2022-23 provincial operating budget, recognizing the government’s commitment to improving the quality of life in Prince Edward Islanders.
“The operating budget includes many new investments that are aimed to aid businesses after an exhausting battle with the pandemic and to improve the quality of life for all Islanders,” said Robert Godfrey, CEO of the Chamber. “Increased investment and programming in healthcare, education and housing will all work to make PEI a more attractive place to live and work, and ultimately help in addressing workforce shortages.”
The increase of the Basic Personal Amount to $12,000 puts more money in the pockets of lower-income workers, many of whom have been essential workers throughout the pandemic. This fulfills a longstanding Chamber ask. The Chamber will continue to encourage to find other ways to allow Islanders to keep more hard-earned money in their pockets, such as re-evaluating PEI’s income tax bracket model to better align with our Atlantic counterparts.
“As we begin to see the end of the pandemic and prepare for a busy tourism season, we were pleased to see some investment towards the issue of affordability in our province,” Godfrey noted. “With rising inflation and high costs of everyday goods, it is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses and employees to stay afloat, and we hope government can continue to be a part of the solution.”
In reinforcing the importance of investments in workforce development, given the labour gaps and skills shortages many employers face, the Chamber looks forward to learning more about programming for upskilling and reskilling Islanders looking to enter or re-enter the workforce.
The Chamber references several other investments in supporting our economy and its recovery:
- $850,000 to develop new tourism marketing campaigns and investments to provincial parks to ensure a quick recovery over the next 12 months.
- Investments in growing the Island’s Clean Tech sector.
- $500,000 for a new Diversity and Inclusion Growth Program to enhance opportunities for inclusion integration within Island organizations and communities.
- Continuing the work towards $10/day daycare, breaking barriers for parents to enter the workforce, and investments in early learning employment.
- Increased funding of $150,000 to the Employment Focus Initiative to help 400 social assistance clients find meaningful employment through upskilling.
- Two contingency funds of $15 Million, one for the PEI Potato Industry and another for managing COVID-19 as the province transitions to a post-pandemic economy.
The Chamber also recognizes that as of January 1, 2022, our province has the lowest small business tax rate in the region at 1%, which keeps approximately $2.2 Million in Island businesses to reinvest in their businesses and employees.
“As we move towards a path to economic recovery, we understand that the provincial government was required to undertake a deficit of $92 Million for the coming year,” said Godfrey. “While we understand many investments in Islanders were necessary, we encourage the government to devise a long-term plan for getting back to balance in the years to come to limit further increases to the cost of living.”
To view the 2022-23 provincial operating budget, click here.
To view the Chamber’s provincial pre-budget submission, click here.
About The Chamber:
The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce connects business and community and is PEI’s largest business advocacy organization with more than 1,100 members. For more information on the Chamber, visit www.charlottetownchamber.com.
Policy and Communications Manager
(902) 628-2000 x 224