Montréal, April 21, 2015 – The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is very satisfied with the budget tabled today by Canada’s Minister of Finance, the Honourable Joe Oliver. The 2015 federal budget shows careful management of public finances and proposes tax cuts that will increase business competitiveness, that of SMEs in particular.
“Overall, this is a positive budget,” said Board of Trade President and CEO Michel Leblanc. “It stays the course to balance the budget and announces measures to reduce the corporate tax burden and stimulate research and innovation. But the federal government has remained silent on certain structuring infrastructure projects for our city.”
Concrete measures to improve SME competitiveness
The Board of Trade is delighted with the measures introduced to reduce the tax burden of businesses and support their development. “Reducing tax rates for small business from 11% to 9% by 2019 and introducing measures to improve SME access to financing are good news when it comes to supporting them in their growth,” Michel Leblanc said. “The $6.2 million investment in the Centre d’entreprises et d’innovation de Montréal will also support business creation and development, while initiatives to encourage investment in machines and equipment will improve productivity. We understand that the government intends to put in place certain measures in 2019, but we ask it to move faster once the price of oil rises.”
Measures to support research and innovation are essential to deal with structural economic challenges
Research and innovation are key to supporting our prosperity, particularly for a knowledge-based economy like that of Greater Montréal. “We applaud the government’s $1.5 billion investment over five years in international-calibre research, as well as initiatives to support the aerospace sector,” Mr. Leblanc said.
The budget reiterates the importance the government places on market diversification for businesses with the implementation of a $50 million program to help SMEs break into new markets, the expansion of the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service and the creation of an Internal Trade Promotion Office. “Access to new markets is essential to ensuring the growth and sustainability of the city’s businesses against a backdrop of intense global competition,” Michel Leblanc said.
A number of investments in the city’s strategic infrastructures must be clarified
For a number of years, the Board of Trade has been calling on the Government of Canada to develop a national public transit strategy. “We are pleased with the announced $750 million investment in public transit beginning in 2017-2018,” Michel Leblanc said. “It’s a visionary move that will help major cities in their development. But we ask the government to deploy this fund faster: starting next year, if public finances allow.”
While the federal government has confirmed its intention to continue to invest in infrastructures, it has remained silent on a priority project for the city. “The Government of Quebec, the Ville de Montréal and the Montreal Port Authority have already announced their financial contribution to restoring the Alexandra Pier and building a new maritime terminal, but we are still waiting for a formal commitment from the federal government to finance its share, estimated at close to $26 million,” Mr. Leblanc said.”
Finally, the budget devotes $210 million to celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation. “It’s time for the federal government to confirm its participation in the 375th anniversary celebrations for Montréal,” Michel Leblanc said. “The budget does not refer to how much will be dedicated to these celebrations, which makes the work of the Society for the Celebration of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary difficult, given that barely two years remain to bring together this major event.”
About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has over 7,000 members. Its mission is to be the voice of Montréal’s business community and to promote the city’s prosperity. It is involved in key areas of economic development, advocating a philosophy of action based on engagement, credibility, proactivity, collaboration and innovation. The Board of Trade also offers a range of specialized services to individuals and to business of all sizes to support them in their growth at home and abroad.
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Michelle LLambias Meunier
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4042
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