Surrey Business News

Child­care, Phar­ma­care, Busi­ness Sup­port, Job Cre­ation Pos­i­tive Fo­cuses in Speech from the Throne

– De­tails in Fed­eral Bud­get will be Crit­i­cal for Sus­tain­able Fis­cal In­vest­ments and Fis­cal Man­age­ment

- FULL THRONE SPEECH: canada.ca/en/privy­coun­cil/cam­paigns/speech-throne/2020/ stronger-re­silient-canada.html Business · Finance · Small Business · Canada News · Entrepreneurship · Business Trends · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · Ottawa · Surrey · British Columbia · U.S. government

The Septem­ber Speech from the Throne in Ottawa was im­por­tant to Sur­rey’s busi­ness com­mu­nity. Most en­dured sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges dur­ing the pan­demic. Sur­rey, still, con­tin­ues to grow by over 1,200 peo­ple per month. This has op­por­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges in it­self. Sur­rey will be the largest city in Bri­tish Columbia very soon, and this is some­thing that we need to keep at the fore­front of our minds as we make de­ci­sions for our busi­nesses and our or­ga­ni­za­tions to en­hance the liv­abil­ity of our city, and for our work­force. Sur­rey is well po­si­tioned to weather the eco­nomic storm given our di­verse in­dus­try base.

Sur­rey is a com­mu­nity of small and medi­um­sized busi­nesses and en­trepreneur­s whose work­force size ranges from sin­gle own­ers up to 500 em­ploy­ees. Across Canada these busi­nesses com­prise a ma­jor­ity of the econ­omy. Their work­forces are dra­mat­i­cally un­der­cap­i­tal­ized. Many have faced sig­nif­i­cant hard­ships and dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions as a re­sult of de­clin­ing or ter­mi­nated rev­enue as­so­ci­ated with the pan­demic. De­spite this, ex­penses con­tinue with lim­ited or over-lever­aged fi­nan­cial re­sources to ad­dress them and de­layed, com­pli­cated or lim­ited gov­ern­ment pro­grams to sup­port busi­ness con­ti­nu­ity and the econ­omy. Cur­rent pro­grams, while help­ful to some, have cost the Cana­dian econ­omy bil­lions of dol­lars of in­curred debt and done lit­tle to pro­tect the econ­omy and Cana­dian busi­nesses over the mid to long term.

We asked: Did the Septem­ber Speech from the Throne demon­strate strong lead­er­ship in pro­vid­ing ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ate and longer-term strate­gies to pro­tect Canada’s econ­omy and busi­nesses, es­pe­cially as we face sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic un­cer­tainty? Yes and no.

TAX RE­FORM: We have been ask­ing the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to have a com­pre­hen­sive re­view of Canada’s tax sys­tem to re­duce ad­min­is­tra­tive bur­den to busi­nesses and to save busi­ness money.

The Sur­rey Board of Trade didn’t hear any tax re­form ini­tia­tives in the Throne Speech. PHAR­MA­CARE:

We were pleased that the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment main­tained its com­mit­ment to im­ple­ment a uni­ver­sal phar­ma­care pro­gram. The bur­den of Canada’s in­com­plete and in­ef­fi­cient sys­tem of public drug cov­er­age falls heav­ily on busi­nesses, es­pe­cially small and medium sized en­ter­prises who are the back­bone of Canada’s econ­omy. With ris­ing costs of med­i­ca­tions, many busi­nesses are see­ing their bot­tom line erode and some find they sim­ply can­not af­ford to pro­vide in­sur­ance plans for their em­ploy­ees.

But there wasn’t a con­crete an­nounce­ment on im­ple­men­ta­tion. How much longer must we wait? CHILD­CARE: In 2007, the Sur­rey Board of

Trade was the first busi­ness or­ga­ni­za­tion to ad­vo­cate for child­care in­vest­ments from an eco­nomic lens, even in the face of sig­nif­i­cant crit­i­cism say­ing that child­care wasn’t a busi­ness is­sue. Child­care is a busi­ness is­sue. Af­ford­abil­ity and ac­ces­si­bil­ity to qual­ity child­care are nec­es­sary for em­ploy­ees to be able to per­form at peak pro­duc­tiv­ity, con­fi­dent in the knowl­edge that their chil­dren are cared for in a safe, learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment. This has been fur­ther demon­strated dur­ing the pan­demic with school and day­care clo­sures.

The Sur­rey Board of Trade was pleased that there was a com­mit­ment to a na­tional child­care plan but what will the de­tails be and what will it cost tax­pay­ers? BUSI­NESS & ECO­NOMIC SUP­PORT:

We heard that there will be a plan for con­tin­ued in­vest­ment and lever­ag­ing of the nat­u­ral re­source sec­tor. This is good news for Sur­rey busi­nesses. Sup­port­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing, agri­cul­ture and en­ergy busi­nesses through cli­mate change and emis­sion pro­grams is good, but we await the de­tails of the sup­port in the next fed­eral bud­get.

But

we didn’t hear about faster de­ci­sion­mak­ing for trans­porta­tion or other in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ments. We didn’t hear about ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tional in­vest­ments or in­no­va­tion.

We did hear about a com­mit­ment to reskilling or up­skilling though.

With dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion at the fore­front of ac­tion, there also needed to be a move to­wards blockchain in­no­va­tion and in­vest­ment.

We heard that there will be an ini­tia­tive to re­duce in­ter-provin­cial trade bar­ri­ers – a sig­nif­i­cant long-time pol­icy ask from the Sur­rey Board of Trade.

Canada’s pen­sion fund, hous­ing in­vest­ments, a cam­paign to cre­ate up to one mil­lion jobs, wage sub­sidy pro­gram ex­panded to Sum­mer 2021, youth em­ploy­ment, ac­cel­er­at­ing women’s en­trepreneur­ship sup­port, fur­ther sup­port for the hard­est hit in­dus­tries such as arts/cul­ture and our hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try and a skills strat­egy are all pos­i­tive.

We await the de­tails of the pro­grams and the de­tails within the fed­eral bud­get. HEALTH:

Sig­nif­i­cant fo­cuses on a vac­cine strat­egy and dis­tri­bu­tion, from the Sur­rey Board of Trade’s vac­cine pol­icy, seemed to be pos­i­tive with the fo­cus on build­ing do­mes­tic ca­pac­ity to man­u­fac­ture PPE and se­cure health-fo­cused sup­ply chains. The opi­oid cri­sis was men­tioned.

This other cri­sis needs ac­tion now. FIS­CAL DEBT: We heard about more spend­ing when Canada’s debt is over a tril­lion dol­lars.

We were hop­ing for more de­tail on the spe­cific in­vest­ments that will re­duce the gov­ern­ment’s debt. Busi­ness is won­der­ing who will pay for this debt. Find­ing rev­enue sources, re­duc­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive costs, and im­prov­ing ef­fi­ciency are es­sen­tial to eco­nomic re­cov­ery.

IN­TER­NA­TIONAL TRADE: We heard a com­mit­ment to har­ness­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ties by free trade agree­ments. On the ground as­sis­tance to busi­nesses in a struc­tured way is needed to en­sure that we re­al­ize these global op­por­tu­ni­ties.

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