Montréal, February 23, 2015 – As part of prebudget consultations by Quebec’s Minister of Finance, Carlos Leitão, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal underlined the importance of supporting the business environment and economic growth in Greater Montréal.
Support private investment and business internationalization
“The government has shown it is on track to eliminate the deficit by 2015-2016,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “So the next budget must reinforce economic growth. The government needs to identify concrete measures to stimulate private investment and business internationalization. It needs to support entrepreneurship, in particular by making changes to the tax regime so that any entrepreneur who takes over a business enjoys the same advantages. It also needs to reinforce the internationalization of businesses by negotiating a new agreement on domestic trade and improving access to the American market.”
More competitive taxation: review the tax mix and lighten the overall tax burden
“Local companies absolutely need more competitive taxation,” Michel Leblanc said. “Again, we need to review the tax mix so that it offers greater incentive for work, productivity and investment. We also have to gradually reduce personal income tax and payroll taxes to bring them more in line with the Canadian average and rely instead on increasing consumption taxes and charges for public services. Once the budget has been balanced, the government must further reduce the corporate and personal tax burden.”
Ensuring the availability of skilled labour: a major challenge for companies
“The government must also increase the availability of skilled labour that meets the needs of companies,” Michel Leblanc said. “This is a crucial, priority issue for an economy like Greater Montréal’s, which is based on knowledge and is dealing with an aging population. We need to improve the fit between the needs of companies and available labour, increase the quality of institutions of higher learning and improve the selection, integration and retention of skilled immigrants.”
Move ahead with strategic infrastructure projects: properly identify priorities
“The government should leverage priority strategic infrastructure projects for the city,” Mr. Leblanc said. “To improve traffic flow in Greater Montréal, it needs to put in place priority measures for buses, extend the metro’s blue line as soon as possible and complete the implementation of the Pie-IX BRT. It also needs to complete major road work projects, such as rebuilding the Dorval Interchange, and improve road access to the Port of Montréal via autoroute 25. Furthermore, the Maritime Strategy needs to strengthen Montréal as a hub for transportation and logistics, and develop an economic centre around the new CHUM facilities.”
Strengthen Quebec’s largest city: additional powers and revenue sources required
“Finally, we emphasized the importance of strengthening Montréal as Quebec’s largest city,” Michel Leblanc said. “The current tax and structural situation penalizes the city and needs to be corrected. Montréal also needs greater autonomy and additional sources of funding as part of the bill to provide Montréal metropolitan status.”
The Board of Trade’s detailed prebudget recommendations can be consulted by clicking here.
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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