Surrey Board of Trade Says 2021 Federal Budget Presentation Delivered Support for Business, Housing, Transit, Women and Youth but Lacked Detail on Debt Reduction, Tax Reform, Pharmacare and International Strategy

Businesses need to reduce their costs, need skilled talent to drive innovation and need to maximize the potential of trade deals. Today’s Federal Budget, the first in 2 years, focused on:

  1. Economic shock
  2. Conquering Covid
  3. Recovery of lost jobs
  4. Support for businesses
  5. Social infrastructure

“The Surrey Board of Trade is pleased that the Federal Government’s proposed budget focused on child care, transit and housing investments,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “We observed though that no specific fiscal anchor was announced to reduce the debt.”

“Surrey, which is going to be the largest city in BC by 2030, needs red-tape reduction for business, a comprehensive tax reform to ensure that bottom line profitability isn’t further eroded in the face of rising costs, a universal single-payer pharmacare plan and an international strategy to focus on economic recovery.”

“The Surrey Board of Trade also wanted to see a clear strategy to get infrastructure dollars to projects. We have seen a significant delay in this money being allocated, and that is in large part due to the inefficiency of the approval process. We are waiting for the details for Surrey for transportation investments.”

The Surrey Board of Trade submitted a pre-budget response that helped shape the budget presented today. Some priorities included:

  • Address exacerbated inequality;
  • Help small businesses especially those in the hospitality sector;
  • Improve access to education, training, upskilling/reskilling programs, and jobs for those that are unemployed;
  • Increase affordability in many major cities;
  • Reduce the deficit;
  • Improve foreign credential recognition to ensure that qualified professionals are able to get a job when immigrating to Canada;
  • Implement a national pharmacare plan to alleviate the burden on businesses; and,
  • Implement a childcare strategy that will allow for highly qualified individuals to enter the sector, and reduce the barriers that prevent current not-for-profits from entering the sector.

The Surrey Board of Trade observed the following in the Federal Government Budget 2021:

  • CHILDCARE:
    • $10 a day daycare through a $30 billion investment over the next five years, as well as $8.5 billion in ongoing spending to support this vision, with a goal of bringing costs down by half by end of 2022
  • VACCINES:
    • Manufacturing domestic vaccines and supporting provincial and territorial healthcare
  • HEALTH:
    • Bio-manufacturing and life sciences investment of $2.2 billion to create vaccines in Canada
  • BUSINESS SUPPORT:
    • Extending supports such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to September, flexible EI access to Fall 2022, Canada Recovery Benefit to September 2021
    • $4 billion to help up to 160,000 SME buy and adopt new technology needed to grow (Canada digital adoption program)
    • Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative – financing to Canadian innovative businesses so they can grow
    • Immediate expensing of up to $1.5 million of eligible investments in each of the next three years. These larger deductions will support 325k businesses in making critical investments and will represent $2.2 billion in savings over the next 5 years.
    • Black entrepreneurship program
  • JOBS:
    • Create 1 million jobs by the end of 2021
    • Create 500,000 new training and work experience opportunities
  • WAGES:
    • $15/hour federal minimum wage
  • NEW TAXES:
    • Budget 2021 proposes a luxury tax for expensive cars, aircraft and boats for vehicles worth more than $100,000 and boats for personal use over $250,000
    • Annual 1% tax on foreign-owned vacant or under-used residential properties – effective Jan 1, 2022. Owners will be required to submit a declaration outlining what the property is being used for, with penalties proposed for those who fail to file
    • Digital Services Tax on revenue from digital services that rely on data and content contributions from Canadian users
  • HOUSING:
    • As part of Budget 2021, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation would receive $2.5 billion over seven years to address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians. Money is broken down, with some being allocated to building additional units, while other portions would go to supports for low-income earners and women
  • YOUTH:
    • $5.7 billion over 5 years in Canada youth by making university and college affordable and accessible, double Canada student grant for 2 years, increasing access to digital skills education
    • Training of 28,000 Canadians in technology to work with Canadian small businesses, to become digital, and make them more efficient
  • INDUSTRY:
    • Pan Canadian Artificial Intelligence strategy (quantum science and genomics as well)
    • Projects that help reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions will be provided $5 billion over 7 years through the Net Zero Accelerator
    • Reduce general corporate and small business income tax rates for businesses that manufacture zero-emission technologies (wind turbines, solar panels, and more). Reductions begin Jan 1, 2022 and scaled back gradually starting at the beginning of 2029
  • IMMIGRATION: Immigration system will become more efficient

“The Surrey Board of Trade looks forward to reviewing the specific policies needed to implement the vision of the budget.”