Budget Receives Thumbs Up for Training, but Action Needed on Tax Reform, Says CGA-Canada: Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners Rewarded
VANCOUVER/ OTTAWA - The federal budget handed down by Finance Minister James Flaherty stayed the course to eliminate the deficit and made good on promises to invest in skills training and infrastructure, according to the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada).
"The government delivered a responsible budget for uncertain times," says Anthony Ariganello, president and CEO of CGA-Canada, noting that while Canada is doing well compared to other G-7 economies, the economic environment is still fragile.
The centrepiece of today's budget is the creation of the Canada Job Grant to help Canadians get the skills they need to get jobs in high-demand fields. The grant, details of which need to be negotiated with the provinces and territories, will require matching funds from employers as well as provinces and territories. The government claims that nearly 130,000 Canadians each year could benefit from $15,000 or more per person for training, of which $5,000 would be from federal sources. It is expected the program will be available next year.
"We welcome this skills training initiative," says Ariganello. "In creating the Job Grant fund, the federal government has shown leadership in addressing the growing skills gap. We encourage provinces to support it. All should benefit - employers, workers and governments."
The government took steps to secure the tax base by closing loopholes available mostly to high-income Canadians. Strengthening compliance and combating international tax evasion was another theme highlighted by the finance minister.
Additional measures introduced include:
-- Renewal of the Building Canada plan to build public infrastructure
-- Extending the temporary accelerated capital cost allowance for new
investment in machinery and equipment in the manufacturing and
processing sector for an additional two years
-- Raising the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption to $800,000 and indexing
the new limit
-- Expanding the services of business incubators and accelerators
-- Establishing a new Entrepreneur Awards program
-- Enhancing the Adoption Expense Tax Credit
-- Providing annual tariff relief on baby clothing and sports and athletic
-- Introducing a new, temporary First-Time Donor's Super credit for first-
time charitable donation claimants
"While the federal budget will be welcomed by many businesses," says Ariganello, "the absence of any clear message on tax simplification is sending the wrong signal if Canada is to remain competitive, attract investment, and create jobs and economic growth. This is a missed opportunity. Enough is enough - we need tax reform now!"