Controlling Canada's public finances amidst economic uncertainty

The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal unveils its recommendations to the Government of Canada for the 2023-2024 budget.

The global economy is experiencing a slowdown, and Canada, Quebec, and Greater Montréal are not immune. In its Fall Economic Statement 2022, the government forecast a baseline growth scenario of 0.7% for the country and a downside growth scenario of -0.9% for 2023.

Given this unusual scenario of economic slowdown and inflation, businesses and individuals face uncertainty. The government must make concrete efforts to get through this period, while tackling a number of challenges.
With this as a backdrop, the Chamber has proposed five priorities to guide the development of the next federal budget:

  1. Agility and prudence given the economic uncertainty
  2. Efficiency in the delivery of public services
  3. Accelerated innovation and support to businesses for a green transition
  4. Energizing internal trade and intensifying international trade
  5. Supporting the relaunch of downtown cores and investing in strategic infrastructure

As such, the Chamber makes the following ten recommendations:

Recommendation 1: Show prudence in managing public finances in a context of economic slowdown and uncertainty by: 

  • Maintaining the trajectory to a balanced budget in 2027-2028; 
  • Maintaining the leeway to support businesses and individuals in line with the scope of the slowdown, to stimulate the economic recovery. 

Recommendation 2: Allocate the funds required to increase efficiency in government services and closely monitor the disbursement of sums already allocated.  

Recommendation 3: Give Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada the financial resources to reduce the backlog of applications and speed up processing to address the labour shortage.  

Recommendation 4: Finance an ambitious government strategy to support businesses in every sector – particularly SMEs – in their green transition, in cooperation with organizations on the ground.  

Recommendation 5: Finance initiatives to accelerate Canadian domestic trade, including support for trade missions and business development events across the country.

Recommendation 6: Deploy funding to step up efforts to promote the benefits of free trade agreements with SMEs, through aid programs and tools for entrepreneurs.  

Recommendation 7: Finance the implementation of a federal strategy for the downtown cores of Canadian cities. 

Recommendation 8: Pursue the implementation of permanent, predictable, indexed financing for public transit for 2026-2027. 

Recommendation 9: Grant financing from the Invest in Canada program to ensure the completion of the New Vic project. 

Recommendation 10: In cooperation with the Minister of Transport, draft a new agreement to enable airport authorities to reinvest funds currently paid in rent into infrastructure.  

Download the study (in French only)

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