22 April 2015
For Immediate Release

(Fredericton, NB) – The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce is pleased with the measures  taken in the 2015-16 federal budget to help small businesses. Announcing a balanced budget, Finance Minister Joe Oliver also presented several initiatives that will help local businesses.

A reduction in the federal small business tax rate (from 11 to 9% over four years) and a reduction in Employment Insurance premiums in 2017 will particularly assist small businesses to re-invest in their organizations, hire more staff and ultimately grow the economy.  These measures,  coupled with the announcements related to accelerated capital cost allowance for investments  in manufacturing and processing machinery and equipment will provide incentive for investment  in business growth.

“Reducing the cost of doing business should have a significant positive impact on the economy,” said Joseph O’Donnell, Chamber President. “The small business tax and EI premium rate cuts, coupled with the government’s red tape reduction efforts are steps that will affect nearly every business in the country.”

The chamber is also supportive of the announced $5.8 billion in additional infrastructure spending - a key to creating short-term jobs and long-term economic growth.

“Effectively maintaining infrastructure not only saves the government  money in the long-term, but is critical to expanding our exporting capacity,” stated  Krista Ross, Chamber CEO. “These are particularly important  to New Brunswick as the Auditor General has repeatedly reported on the poor condition of much of the infrastructure in the province and we are the most export-dependent province in the country. The increased investment  in trade promotion abroad should also help Opportunities New Brunswick more effectively execute its mandate.”

The top priority of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce - the skills gap - was also addressed with several announcements. In particular, $65 million to help post-secondary institutions more closely reflect current and anticipated  labour market needs and $35 million towards assisting skilled immigrants to align their foreign credentials to Canadian standards  along with $248.5 million for aboriginal labour market programming could have a significant impact on the Fredericton area. A new labour market information portal is also welcomed news. The chamber is interested in learning more about the federal government’s intention to reform its Labour Market Development Agreements with the provinces to provide increased support for employer training.

“The promised assistance to the provinces to work towards further harmonization of apprenticeship training and support of the development of a nation-wide Blue Seal Certification program aimed at improving the business skills of journeypersons and encouraging entrepreneurship is a daunting but worthwhile task,” added O’Donnell.  “This will certainly assist New Brunswickers as we prepare  for near term projects in the natural resource sector as well as for current projects.”

Measures that increase small business’ ability to access capital align with the city’s Vision 2020 plan and Fredericton’s position as the start-up capital of Atlantic Canada.   The chamber also sees $14 million in additional funds to Futurepreneur as well as policy changes to the Canada Small Business
Financing Program as positive steps.

“Access to capital is an issue that pops up on our members’ lists of concern every year in our annual survey,” added Ross. “As Fredericton develops its start-up community and encourages entrepreneurship on the local level, accessing capital will be increasingly important  to maintaining the momentum created  by Vision 2020 and all of the other efforts by groups like Ignite Fredericton, CBDC and the chamber.”

There were a number of non-financial, red-tape reduction announcements that will assist businesses to be more efficient and productive, particularly in reference  to the Canada Revenue Agency. The new quarterly remitter  category for new businesses, the expanded use of business numbers and enhancing online service capabilities are simple, but effective ways to help small business.

The chamber is hosting a post-budget luncheon discussion with Minister Rob Moore on Monday, April 27, 2015. Members of the public are welcome, tickets can be purchased on the chamber website (www.frederictonchamber.ca) or by calling the chamber office at (506) 458-8006.

With  more  than 950 members,  the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce is one of Atlantic Canada’s largest  chambers   of  commerce.   A  dynamic  business  organization,  the  Fredericton  Chamber  of Commerce is actively engaged in policy development that affects the competitiveness of our members and of the Canadian business environment.

Contact: Krista Ross, CEO – (506) 458-8006

P.O. Box 275, 364 York Street, Suite 200, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, E3B 4Y9
E-mail:  fchamber@frederictonchamber.ca   Website:  www.frederictonchamber.ca
Tel: (506) 458-8006 Fax: (506) 451-1119