Yesterday, Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released the following statement in response to the Fall Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review released by the Government of Ontario:
“A thriving business environment creates conditions that allow business owners to create more wealth, jobs, and invest more in their local communities. That is why our message in advance of the 2019 Fall Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review was clear: strengthen Ontario’s regions, create a more competitive tax environment for industry, and reduce the cumulative regulatory burden on businesses.
“We are encouraged to see the Government of Ontario taking reasonable steps towards enhancing Ontario’s competitiveness and further economic development across the province with attention towards fiscal accountability and key investments of $1.3 billion in critical services.
• Small Business: Reducing the small business Corporate Income Tax rate to 3.2 percent from 3.5 percent starting January 1, 2020, will help reduce the burden for small businesses earning up to $500,000, but unfortunately does not address the scale up challenge which many small businesses confront. To address this challenge, we recommend creating a variable Small Business Deduction rate, instead of the existing flat rate, for small businesses with an annual income above $500,000. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and a variable tax rate that increases gradually as revenue grows would help businesses scale and grow. We also look forward to working with government on its Small Business Success Strategy.
• Workforce Development: Businesses’ ability to recruit and retain talent remains a primary concern for Ontario’s business community, particularly in rural and remote communities. Attracting skilled immigrants is integral to addressing Ontario’s skills mismatch. We welcome the government continuing to encourage skilled immigrants in small and rural communities across the province through the proposed ‘Ontario Regional Immigration Pilot.’
• Aviation Fuel Tax: We’re pleased to see the government reduce the aviation fuel tax in the North which will help make the movement of goods and people more affordable in northern communities. Beyond this, lowering or eliminating the airline fuel excise on international flights will help bring Ontario in line with other jurisdictions and make our province more competitive.
“While more work remains to be done, the measures outlined in today’s statement will help to continue to lay the foundation for jobs and growth. As Ontario’s business advocate, we look forward to working with the Government of Ontario in building a Stronger Ontario.”