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Ontario Budget 2017

On January 18, CFIB presented our top budget reccomendations to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.

Key 2017 Ontario Budget Recommendations

Energy

  • Eliminate time-of-use (“Smart Meter”) pricing for small businesses and implement a tiered-rate system where the first 3,000 kWh are billed at a lower rate; or allow businesses to “pick their peak” (i.e., adjust their on-peak, mid-peak and off-peak hours to better address the energy demand and consumption needs of their business)
     
  • Remove the Debt Retirement Charge from commercial bills by no later than April 1, 2017 (i.e., at least one year sooner than planned)
     
  • Require the Global Adjustment (GA) fee to be visible on all bills to inform Ontarians of exactly where their hydro payments are going, apart from usage
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Regulation and Paper Burden

  • In addition to calculating red tape savings, determine the overall cost of provincial regulations and place a hard cap on the cost of rules in the system
     
  • Expand the Red Tape Challenge to include more sectors of focus (e.g. retail) and centre red tape reduction efforts on reducing the regulatory burden for Ontario's small businesses
  • Conduct thorough public consultations before acting on any recommendations arising from the Changing Workplaces Review to determine potential effects on small businesses and Ontario's economy

Cap and Trade

  • Creat a clear communications plan under which small- and medium-sized businesses would be made fully aware of and understand their obligations, if any, under the program
     
  • Clearly and transparently communicate measurements on targets (e.g., explain CO2 emission amounts in a way all people can understand)?
     
  • Commit to annual, independent value-for-money audits of all cap and trade-related programs

Government Spending

  • Deliver on the commitment to balance the budget this year
     
  • Upon balancing the budget, implement a clear plan that includes timelines to reduce Ontario’s growing debt, restrained and prudent government spending, and future balanced budgets

Taxation

  • Develop a clear path to gradually, but consistently reduce the small business corporate income tax rate (SME rate) to zero per cent over 5-10 years.
  • Increase the small business corporate income tax rate threshold to $600,000 and index it to inflation thereafter.
  • Reduce the general corporate income tax rate to 10 per cent, as promised in the 2010 Budget.