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Costs of Doing Business
“We are disappointed the small business tax was not reduced as planned along with a less-than­-anticipated cut in Employment Insurance rates,” said Fredericton Chamber CEO Krista Ross. “These measures disproportionately affect small businesses which have seen their costs rise through a tough economy over the past decade.”

Business is concerned with the concept of a comprehensive nationwide CPP review which suggests increased expenses for business at a time when the economy is fragile and business cannot afford increased costs.  A review of this nature could bring about a significant increase in payroll taxes.

Lowering the EI payroll tax from 1.88 to 1.61 is a positive measure, however, there was a previously planned reduction to 1.49 which would have been seen as a better stimulus for potential business growth. The deteriorating economy and additional costs in the expansion of EI eligibility were factors in the determination to lower EI premiums less than planned.

Infrastructure
Infrastructure funding of up to $2 billion over three years in a new Post­-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund to modernize on­campus research, commercialization and training facilities.  The chamber looks forward to the government rolling out its full innovation agenda later in 2016 and its impact on local business.

“The delay in some aspects of planned infrastructure funding such as expanding and improving trade corridors may actually be to New Brunswick’s advantage as we are now ramping up our export efforts and working through regulatory processes for several large projects,” added Ross. “We are also pleased with Dominic LeBlanc’s comments that the federal government recognizes that some jurisdictions like New Brunswick will require flexibility in infrastructure funding based on the Province’s and its municipalities ability to pay.”

Jobs
“We were quite pleased to see further enhancements to skills training through the Canada Job Grant and labour market agreements, which has been a top priority for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and local chambers across the country for several years,” said Ross. “We hope that these investments can align with New Brunswick’s pending economic growth plan, Education and New Economy Fund and 10­ year education plan ­ which should all work to address our 9.9% unemployment rate and 17.1% unemployment rate amongst our youth.”

Tourism
Every community in Canada can benefit from tourism. The government’s announcement of an additional $50 million investment in Destination Canada over the next two years to improve the marketing of Canada as a tourist destination is quite welcome. With nearly 3000 tourism­focused businesses employing nearly 10% of the provincial workforce, tourism is a critical part of New Brunswick’s economic present and future.

In the coming weeks, the details of the budget will be disseminated and studied and the impact on business will be more fully understood.

About the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce
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.  The Chamber’s vision is ‘Community Prosperity Through Business’.

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