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Trade With Europe Easier Than Trade Within Canada – CFIB

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Trade With Europe Easier Than Trade Within Canada

Toronto: With Canada recently opening up international markets with historic trade agreements, it is time to drop trade barriers between our own provinces, urged Canadian Federation Of Independent Businesses recently. As Canada’s premiers come together in Charlottetown this week, CFIB is urging them to use international agreements like the Canada-EU free trade agreement as a model for modernizing trade within Canada’s borders.

 In advance of this week’s Council of the Federation meeting in Prince Edward Island, CFIB sent a letter to every premier, bringing attention to a number of small business issues and calling on provincial leaders to:

  • put pressure on the federal government to restore access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP);
  • take a strong stand against any mandatory increase to payroll taxes in the form of increases to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or the creation of new provincial plans like the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP); and,
  • improve inter-provincial trade by empowering their trade ministers to move forward on negotiating a more open market within Canada.

“Doing business with someone in Halifax should be at least as easy for a business in Burnaby as one in Budapest,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “We have a restaurant member in Toronto that would love to showcase Canadian beer and wine from other provinces, but finds it much easier to carry foreign beverages than to get these products across provincial borders.”

The current Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) is out-of-date, and does not go far enough in addressing key trade barriers, including the failure to recognize other provinces’ professional credentials and food safety certifications, inconsistent standards for food packaging and truck safety, provincial business registration requirements, and the rather puzzling restrictions on selling alcoholic beverages from one province to the next.

“There is a lot of red tape involved in dealing with other provinces, and that’s a big disincentive to growth,” added CFIB executive vice-president Laura Jones. “With international trade barriers coming down, our internal trade agreements need to keep up. This is a relatively easy way to boost the economy, and should be a top priority for every province.”

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COVID-19: Canadian Entrepreneurs less pessimistic in April

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BC entrepreneurs less pessimistic in April

THE monthly Business Barometer index for British Columbia rose 8.2 points reaching an index of 46, according to the latest survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). The low index continues to reflect the significant stress and challenges entrepreneurs face as the navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. As British ColumbIa looks ahead in developing an economic relaunch strategy, a small business lens is necessary to streamline the transition.

“The month’s barometer results indicate small business owners are feeling less pessimistic than they did in March,” said Muriel Protzer, Senior Policy Analyst, BC and the North, on Wednesday. “While ongoing financial support from government is helping keep many businesses afloat, those receiving the benefits cannot rely on them indefinitely and some continue to fall through the cracks.”

Additional survey data from CFIB finds that 83 per cent of businesses believe it is critical they make more sales soon to survive and become less reliant on government subsides (13 per cent disagree, 4 per cent unsure).

“The province of BC will play an integral part in transitioning businesses and workers off of government support programs as we look to reopen parts of the economy,” added Protzer. “Early preparation for a recovery phase is important to ensure businesses and residents are provided clear messaging on guidelines.”

Furthermore, 75 per cent of BC businesses are confident they could reopen quickly if current restrictions were lifted (19 per cent disagree, 6 per cent unsure). As the province looks to develop its economic recovery strategy, small business owners see the following initiatives to take priority:

  • Keeping taxes on small businesses at an acceptable level (88 per cent agree);
  • Reduce red tape affecting businesses (65 per cent agree);
  • Introducing campaigns encouraging consumers to shop at local businesses (62 per cent agree);
  • Continued financial help (57 per cent agree); and
  • Ensuring the availability of personal protective equipment and mass testing to help people feel safe (54 per cent agree).

Measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their business’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. An index level of between 65 and 75 means that the economy is growing at its potential. This month, it is notable to see no provincial index above 50 points.

To view the full report, visit http://www.cfib.ca/barometer  

The provincial numbers for April were: Quebec (32.1), Newfoundland (32.1), New Brunswick (39.2), PEI (43.1), Manitoba (45.0), Nova Scotia (45.3), BC (46.0), Alberta (46.7), Saskatchewan (50.8), Ontario (52.6).

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Skilled labor is discussed in agrifoods sector at roundtable in B.C.

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Agrifoods producers met with the provincial government today to discuss skilled labor initiatives and human resource planning as part of a series of roundtables being held over the coming months with sectors highlighted in the BC Jobs Plan.

British Columbia’s agrifoods sector is one of the most diverse in Canada. It provides the province with a competitive advantage and a wide range of opportunities for growth and innovation in agriculture, commercial fishing, aquaculture and food and beverage.

The roundtables, co-hosted with industry associations and employers, aim to stimulate discussion and create awareness about how sectors can access skilled labour and satisfy human resource requirements, as a result of an aging population. B.C. has reached a tipping point with fewer young people entering the workforce than older workers leaving it. These demographic realities, together with economic growth, place significant pressure on key sectors to find innovative solutions to address skills shortages. Through BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, the Province is helping British Columbians get the skills they need to be first in line for these job openings.

Roundtable participants were invited to share information and discuss the unique challenges faced by processors in the agrifoods sector, specifically related to recruiting and training a qualified workforce, the promotion of B.C. export-ready products internationally and identifying opportunities for growth.

The sector-specific roundtables are another way government is working to provide employers and industry the opportunity to ask and respond to questions and inform the provincial government of key labour issues.

Quotes:

Norm Letnick, Minister of Agriculture –

“B.C. food producers help keep our families healthy, our communities vibrant and our economy strong. The B.C. government is committed to working with B.C.’s agriculture industry to best meet their labour market needs and ensure local food production continues to grow in British Columbia.”

Rhonda Driediger, director and former chair, B.C. Agriculture Council –

“The economic survival of many B.C. farms and supporting agrifood businesses depends upon farmers’ access to labour. We need to understand the diverse employment opportunities that exist within agriculture. The B.C. Agriculture Council appreciates government assisting farmers to find, develop and train the workers we need to help produce all our agricultural products and continue the growth of our industry.”

Quick Facts:

  • B.C. has more than 1,800 food and beverage manufacturing operations around the province.
  • In 2014, the agrifoods sector generated almost $12.3 billion in total revenue.
  • British Columbia has some of the most diverse agrifoods industries in Canada, producing more than 200 agriculture commodities and 100 seafood species.
  • More than 75% of B.C. seafood is destined for export.
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Province of British Columbia affirms shipbuilding contracts

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Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Shirley Bond has issued the following statement regarding shipbuilding contracts:

“As a coastal province, British Columbia has a vital interest in fostering its shipbuilding and industrial marine industries to keep our economy diverse, strong and growing. Shipbuilding and ship repairs represent billions of dollars of investment in B.C., creating thousands of jobs in our province.

“In 2011, Seaspan was named a successful bidder in the federal government’s competition under its National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) to replace Canada’s aging non-combat navy, coast guard and Fisheries and Oceans Canada vessels.

“We now understand that the Davie shipyard in Quebec has made an unsolicited bid to the federal government for this procurement that has already been awarded to Seaspan. This is unacceptable.

“Since being named the successful bidder, Seaspan has already invested $170 million to modernize their Vancouver and Victoria shipyards and are progressing well on their NSPS commitments to Canada. Seaspan employs more than 350 tradesmen and women and upwards of 350 engineers, program and supply chain managers and other professionals in delivering on its commitments to the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy.

“We fully expect that the non-combat package of work awarded to Seaspan under NSPS is respected by the federal government. That work includes three offshore fisheries science vessels; one offshore oceanographic science vessel; two joint support ships; one polar icebreaker, as well as up to five medium endurance multi-tasked vessels and up to five offshore patrol vessels.

“We are confident Seaspan can deliver on its contracts and are pleased to see Seaspan’s NSPS commitments on target and on track.

“Our government supports creating a sustainable shipbuilding industry in B.C. and maximizing opportunities, resulting from more than $7 billion in federal shipbuilding commitments.”

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