Chamber urges lower trade barriers, regulatory reform
OTTAWA — Canada’s Chamber of Commerce is pushing Ottawa for lower trade barriers, regulatory reform, and support for small business when it tables the next federal budget.
The chamber, which represents tens of thousands of Canadian businesses, is to publish Thursday a list of 10 “opportunities for economic success,” hopeful that Finance Minister Bill Morneau will pick up on some of its recommendations for use in his 2017 federal budget.
The chamber’s recommendations, a copy of which was provided exclusively to the National
Post, fall on what chamber president Perrin Beatty calls the “uncertain canvas” of global economic conditions.
“However, we continue to possess important advantages, including our rich resource inheritance, the skills and industry of our citizens and our proximity to the world’s richest market,” Beatty writes in the introduction.
Recognizing that Canada’s competitiveness abroad may be under threat, the chamber has three recommendations that speak to maintaining and boosting a strong export economy.
It asks the government to continue to fight global protectionism, to provide funds and support for an international marketing effort to build Canada’s brand, and to provide more support for small businesses to tap into new export markets.
A suite of recommendations also speaks to a desire by chamber members to see government support businesses in Canada.
There is a recommendation, for example, to overhaul Canada’s regulatory system to be more open, transparent and efficient, particularly when it comes to developing the country’s natural resources.
Hand in hand with that motion, the chamber asks the government to include Canadian business representatives in the “design and execution” of Canada’s climatechange strategy.
The chamber also believes the federal government could do a better job of encouraging new investment in the Canadian economy by cutting the cost of doing business and by dismantling internal trade barriers.
Significantly, the chamber also believes there is great untapped potential among aboriginal entrepreneurs, many of whom face unique challenges in attracting capital for their businesses. The chamber is asking Ottawa for special help for indigenous enterprises.
The organization also believes the government could do more when it comes to giving Canadians digital skills for what it calls “the new talent economy.”
Finally, the chamber is encouraging the federal government to lead the way when it comes to creating and sharing “big data,” in the belief that discovering new ways to find, share and analyze data will provide a competitive advantage.
But the chamber cautions that a new framework to share data must come with some clear boundaries for law-enforcement agencies.
“Law enforcement and national security organizations must not demand access into commercial data stores or oblige businesses to work with security agencies without appropriate legal processes,” the chamber writes.