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Federal Economic Statement will make it easier to invest in your business

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The federal government’s 2018 Fall Economic Statement contained some much-needed relief for independent businesses that we’ve been urging the government to implement for years! 

Incentives to increase productivity, measures to reduce red tape and fewer barriers to internal trade are all good news for business owners like you. While we’re still concerned about the impact of CPP/QPP increases and other costs coming your way, the economic statement is a good start. 

Good news on productivity upgrades and red tape

The new measures that will help make it easier for your business to become more productive include:

  • Introducing incentives to help you make investments in new technologies, equipment and buildings that are in effect as of November 20, 2018. Those incentives include:
    • Allowing your business to write off the full cost of machinery and equipment used for manufacturing and processing; 
    • Enabling you to immediately write off the full cost of clean energy equipment; and,
    • Allowing businesses of all sizes and sectors to write off a larger share of the cost of new assets in the year it was incurred.
  • Reducing red tape for your business through measures that include a faster way of striking out outdated or redundant government rules and a committee that will advise the government on cutting red tape.
  • Committing to reducing barriers to internal trade. The government will focus on working with the provinces and territories to address roadblocks in transportation, food, construction and alcohol.  

While this is definitely welcome news for many business owners, unfortunately the government did not release any plans to balance the budget in the years ahead. With the deficit now at $18 billion, it’s becoming urgent for the government to take charge before today’s deficits become tomorrow’s taxes!

Working towards Budget 2019 

Our work is far from done! Throughout the process leading to the budget, we will continue to urge the government to take steps to ensure that your business can stay competitive.

We have submitted your priorities in the first round of consultations, and with our member’s responses to our pre-budget survey, we’ll be sending in a more detailed submission in the next round.We are also meeting with MPs and their staff to make sure your priorities are addressed in the budget – as well as in the next federal election, less than a year away! 

Those priorities include:

  • Offsetting the upcoming Canada Pension Plan hikes and the increasing costs of labour by implementing a permanent lower EI rate for small businesses and/or introduce an EI holiday for hiring youth.
  • Exempting previous passive investments from the small business tax changes so you can keep your access to the small business tax rate. 
  • Allowing your business (and the CRA) to better understand how the new rules restricting family income-splitting apply delaying their implementation until January 1, 2019, or later.  
  • Recognizing the vital formal and informal roles spouses play to ensure the success of a family business by implementing a full spousal exemption from the new rules on income-splitting.
  • In order to better understand the full impacts and costs of red tape on small businesses, improving the current way the government measures red tape by including guidelines, policies and legislation.  
  • Ensuring that your business can feel the true impacts of red tape reduction by expanding the one-for-one rule to included policies, guidelines and legislation.
  • Keeping today’s debts from becoming tomorrow’s taxes by making a plan to balance the budget within the next three to five years
  • Making it easier and less expensive to transfer or sell a business to a family member. Currently, it is more expensive for you to transfer your business to a family member than to a third party. 

With the next federal election fast approaching, this is a key time to get your issues in front of MPs! Reach out to your Business Counsellor to tell them about your biggest priorities for the upcoming budget and election. 

What the 2018 budget means for your business

The 2018 budget was the first after our fight over the federal tax changes, and while the government moved forward with changes to income splitting, the updated rules on passive investments were slightly less harmful to your business. Access to the small business tax rate will now be tied to passive investment income – but we’re very concerned that previous passive investments won’t be grandfathered. We’re fighting for changes to these rules in the 2019 budget.

Other highlights and lowlights

The good news:

  • Working While on Claim: Your employees are now able to work while receiving their employment insurance (EI) benefits, which is especially helpful to those looking to progressively return to work. 
  • Better customer service: The government is taking a close look at the phone and online services for the Canada Revenue Agency, the Canadian Border Services Agency, and the EI program with the goal of making them better for your business.
  • Red tape and paper burden: The government knows it has to do more to reduce red tape for your business. It has promised to look to make regulatory reforms aimed at improving business growth and innovation. 
  • Women entrepreneurs: If you’re a female business owner, there was a lot for you in the 2018 budget, including measures aimed at improving your access to capital.  
  • Women in the trades: The government is looking at ways to encourage more women to enter the trades, which have been traditionally male-dominated. In order to do so, they’re offering incentives such as female apprenticeship grants. 

The not-so-good news:

  • Payroll taxes: The government didn’t include anything in the 2018 budget that would help your business cope with the CPP increases coming your way. 
  • Employment Insurance and Parental Leave: Five weeks of additional parental leave have been added for parents looking to split their leave. This will not lead to increased premiums because the new costs will be offset by the lower than anticipated unemployment rate. (In fact, premiums will go down in 2019.)