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The 2016-2017 federal budget – The business community disappointed in spite of some positive measures

Montréal, March 22, 2016 – The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is concerned about the budget tabled today by the Canadian Minister of Finance, the Honourable Bill Morneau.

“The budget heralds a much-needed effort to strengthen Canadian infrastructures in response to the deterioration of our economy,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “However, this budget will generate a much higher deficit than anticipated this year and for the next five years. We are concerned that the government has no clear, rigorous plan to balance the budget. Quebecers know how difficult it was to balance the provincial budget. The federal government is heading down a dangerous path.”

No support for Bombardier in the budget
“The business community is disappointed that the government has remained silent about the $1.3 billion investment required to finance the final phase of the C Series,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Bombardier is a strategic player in aerospace in Canada, concentrated largely in Greater Montréal. It is in the entire country’s interest to see this flagship of Canadian entrepreneurship complete a highly ambitious project in commercial innovation. It’s time to take action.”

Structuring infrastructure projects for the city
“In principle we support increasing infrastructure spending to stimulate the economy,” Michel Leblanc said. “As the Board of Trade called for, the budget confirms that the federal investment program will enable financing for priority projects for Greater Montréal, particularly knowledge infrastructures. We are also pleased to see that public transit projects are specifically identified as eligible. The budget also sets aside money to bolster the country’s ports and airports and to study plans for a high-frequency train proposed by VIA Rail.”

Reinstating the labour-sponsored fund tax credit is good news for business
“We are pleased that the government kept its promise to reinstate the tax credit for labour-sponsored funds, echoing calls from the Greater Montréal business community,” Michel Leblanc said. “The decision will make it possible to provide direct support for the startup and growth of innovative businesses and the creation of tens of thousands of high-paying jobs every year.”

An economic development plan that lacks teeth
“The absence of an explicit economic development plan is a concern, particularly given the current context,” Michel Leblanc said. “Aside from infrastructure investments, the budget has no measures for revitalizing small business. It is baffling that we would delay reducing taxes for small businesses, just when we need them to create jobs. Plus the budget contains no measures to stimulate exports, at a time when the American economy is growing and the Canadian dollar is low. The federal government has the leverage it needs to improve our economic performance. The city’s business community is ready to roll up its sleeves to step up investments and create jobs. But we need a proper economic development plan.”

About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of 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 businesses of all sizes to support them in their growth at home and abroad.

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Guillaume Bérubé
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Phone: 514 871-4000, extension 4042

Twitter: @chambremontreal
Follow the discussion: #ccmmqcca

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