Yesterday’s federal Throne Speech had some good news for the BC Chamber membership, including a notable policy win for us on credit card regulation. In alignment with our credit card policy, the Throne Speech recognized that Canadians deserve to know the real cost to merchants when they pay by debit or credit card. The government will now require credit and debit card providers to disclose the cost of different payment methods to merchants.
Further good news in the Throne Speech includes:
- A commitment to balanced budgets: The federal government will introduce balanced-budget legislation, which will require balanced budgets in normal economic times and concrete timelines for returning to balance in the event of an economic crisis;
- A commitment to reduce debt: The government commits to achieving a debt-to-GDP target of 25% by 2021 and reduce the ratio to pre-recession levels by 2017;
- A commitment to freeze spending: The Throne Speech commits to a freeze of the overall federal operating budget, and to reform of the way the federal system manages spending; and
- A commitment to fight red tape: The federal government will introduce legislation to enshrine the One-for-One law; for every new regulation added, one must be removed.
Other items in the speech that the BC Chamber will be watching closely, and will continue active advocacy on, include:
- Canada Job Grant: The Throne Speech announced that the government is moving forward with introducing the Canada Job Grant. This training grant has a lot of potential, if designed so that all business sizes can access it, and the BC Chamber will continue active advocacy on this front to convey the needs of B.C. businesses in the implementation of the grant; and
- Temporary Foreign Workers: The BC Chamber was disappointed to see the government pushing ahead with changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program that are causing challenges for B.C. employers and other employers across Canada. The BC Chamber is following up immediately with the federal government to again stress the valuable role temporary foreign workers play in B.C.’s economy and the benefit of a robust temporary foreign worker program to supplement locally-available workers. We will continue active advocacy on this file and push for necessary access to skills and labour to fill critical B.C. jobs