The recent Speech from the Throne delivered by the Honorable Governor-General on September 23 provided some insight into the direction the government intends to guide the Canadian economy through the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
The speech outlined four foundations: “Protecting Canadians from COVID-19”, “Helping Canadians through he pandemic”, “Building Back Better” improving the middle-class, and “Stand Up for Who We Are” addressing Canadian values.
From a fiscal perspective, there were several areas of interest we have identified as being of interest to the business community, commerce, industry and individuals.
“The economic impact of COVID-19 on Canadians has been worse than the 2008 financial crisis. These consequences will not be short-lived.”
The Government plans to launch a campaign to create over one million jobs through direct investments into the social-services sector, infrastructure, training and employer incentives including extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until the summer of 2021.
Another goal is to scale up the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy program providing more paid work experiences for young Canadians.
Women in the Economy:
The pandemic has disproportionately affected women in the workplace. The Government announced the creation of an Action Plan for Women in the Economy to assist women’s return to the workforce. A big consideration is the necessity of assistance with child-care. The Government has committed to making a “significant long-term, sustained investment” into early learning and childcare systems. This includes accessibility to high-quality childcare, before and after school programs subsidization, and flexible care options.
The Government has also decided to accelerate the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy to help women business owners grow their business.
The Government outlined several measures to assist businesses through the pandemic. These include:
- Extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
- Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account
- Improving the Business Credit Availability Program
- Introducing further measures for industries such as travel and tourism, hospitality and cultural industries like the performing arts
On fiscal sustainability
The Government has adopted a “whatever it takes” approach in the interim. For the long-term, the implications are that there will be changes to tax structures for extremely wealthy individuals by limiting stock option deductions for individuals and wealthy corporations as well as addressing corporate tax avoidance by “digital giants. The Government intends to release an update to Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan this fall.
The Government will be making the largest investment in Canadian history on training for workers. Helping them build new skills in growing sectors, receiving education and accreditations, and connecting them with employers.
The introduction of a free, automatic tax filing system for simple returns is planned to assist people to receive the benefits they need.
From a climate change perspective, there is an impetus on legislating the goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 through retrofitting homes and buildings, cutting energy costs, delivering more transit options and making zero-emissions vehicles more affordable. By cutting the corporate tax rate in half for companies in this industry, the Government hopes to make Canada the most competitive space for clean technology companies to operate in. This includes investments in renewable energy and next-generation clean energy and technology solutions.
They also intend to support manufacturing, natural resource and energy sectors to transform to meet a net-zero future.
Implications for SMEs and business owners
Many opportunities are unfolding as the Government works to support the economy through the transition from pandemic relief to long-term sustainability. The implementation of new programs and the initiation of the new funding will provide a variety of options for existing businesses and growth in emerging industries. For the full transcript of the Speech from the Throne please visit www.canada.ca. To discuss the impacts and incentives for your business, please contact us at (289) 806-2150.