The Federal Fall Economic Statement: Going the Way of Our Southern Neighbour?

Prior to the release of the federal government’s Fall Economic Statement on November 21, 2018, the business community was asking if the Liberals would pursue a pro-business agenda, similar to the United States, to drive business competitiveness. The pro-business agenda in the United States includes a mix of corporate tax cuts, reduced regulatory burdens and protectionist measures.

The answer – yes and no.

While there are no broad-brush corporate tax cuts, the Fall Economic Statement highlights the Liberal’s  much more mixed bag approach to promoting business competiveness.

Here are some of the key elements proposed in the Fall Economic Statement that would support business competiveness:

  • Businesses will be allowed to immediately write-off the full cost of specified clean energy equipment to support climate change efforts by spurring new investments and the adoption of advanced clean technologies.
  • Regulatory burdens would be minimized through actions that include: making competitiveness a permanent part of regulatory mandates; the introduction of an annual modernization bill to keep regulations up-to-date; and launching a Centre for Regulatory Innovation.
  • Businesses will be allowed to immediately write-off the full cost of machinery and equipment used in the manufacturing and processing of goods.
  • To support trade within Canada, actions are being taken to accelerate the removal of barriers, including those that make it difficult to transport goods between provinces and territories.
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises will receive funding to support their exploration of export opportunities, including funding to support participation in trade shows and trade missions, market research, legal fees and adaptation of marketing tools.

Sussex Strategy Group sees the Liberal economic plan as being designed to:

“…shore up Canadian economic confidence in the face of a strained trade relationship with the United States and a gradual shift from a resource-based economy to one based on the Liberal government’s clean-growth model of innovation, technology and services.”

(Sussex, Federal Fall Economic Statement Briefing Note)