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Ontario Chamber of Commerce on Federal Budget 2019

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(Toronto – March 19, 2019) – Today, Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released the following statement in response to the Government of Canada’s 2019 Federal Budget, Investing in the Middle Class.

“Despite a projected deficit of $19.8 billion, Budget 2019 made little effort towards addressing the issues we raised in our federal pre-budget submission, which urged the government to focus on creating a business climate that encourages growth through reforming Canada’s tax system, providing sustainable multi-payer drug coverage, and nurturing the innovation economy.

“We are encouraged by the small steps taken in today’s budget with regard to skills, regulation, and broadband, yet more remains to be done to ensure that Canada remains competitive in the global market now and into the future. Challenges relating to access to talent, regulation, and the cost of doing business remain major sources of concern for our membership. The government’s proposed solutions fall short in making real change for Canada to be competitive in the global economy.”

“With the ability to recruit and retain talent as well as the ability to innovate remaining the top two factors critical to competitiveness, we need to build an environment in which business can invest and innovate and individuals can continuously develop in-demand skills to compete in the global market. We are encouraged by the federal government’s commitment to helping workers gain the skills they need to participate in the global labour market. We will continue to work with the government to address the ongoing skills mismatch.”

“Broadband access is extremely important to our members. We are pleased the Government of Canada is taking steps to ensure Canadians in every corner of the country – including in rural, remote and northern communities – have access to high-speed internet.”

“Cumulative regulatory burden remains a major concern for businesses of all sizes. The OCC is pleased to see the federal government’s continued commitment to regulatory modernization and cutting red tape, as well as taking a leadership role in regulatory harmonization between the provinces and between other countries. We encourage the government to work closely with industry to find solutions in cutting unproductive red tape.”

“Pharmacare is an issue that remains top of mind for our members, and though it is now a federal concern, the OCC expects the resulting program design and funding model to provide the greatest benefit to both Ontario residents and the Ontario health science sector. We encourage the federal government to work to streamline drug assessment so that Canadians can more quickly access much needed innovative medicines. We will continue to wait for the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare final report, with the hope that the concerns of the business community will be reflected in their recommendations.”

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