Speech from the Throne Delivered Laying Out Federal Government Priorities ; Burnaby Board of Trade Pleased with Action on Business Supports, Childcare, Environment
September 23 – Today, Governor General Julie Payette delivered the Speech from the Throne, which opens the new session of federal parliament.
The Burnaby Board of Trade was closely watching this speech to ascertain the direction the federal government plans to take in the months ahead in dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the related economic challenges, and other important policy matters.
The Burnaby Board of Trade is pleased to see action on more supports for businesses, childcare, and environment/sustainability, but will keep working with the government to make sure these actions are delivered in a way that best supports our members, and that they respect our long-term economic interests and support business competitiveness.
Today’s speech contained several proposals important to Burnaby businesses and our members. You can read the full speech here, or read the BBOT’s highlight’s below.
Highlights from the Speech from the Throne
- Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to help businesses with fixed costs
The BBOT is encouraged by this announcement and will engage with the government on how best to enhance CEBA to help businesses facing mounting rent, lease and other fixed costs. The CEBA has been an important lifeline for businesses by providing interest-free, partially forgiveable loans to help with cash flow. Read more on CEBA
- Extending the federal emergency wage subsidy program until next summer
Ensuring businesses understand and access the wage subsidy has been a priority of the BBOT throughout the pandemic. We have advocated strongly for this program to be extended to more businesses and welcome this announcement to enhance the program further. Read more on the wage subsidy
- A new effort to help more women get back into the workforce, coupled with significant, long-term, sustained investment to create a Canada-wide early learning and child-care system
The BBOT strongly supports efforts to increase the full economic participation of women. Childcare is a clear economic issue as a lack of childcare creates obstacles to employees returning to productive work and we look forward to engaging on this issue further. Read more on the importance of childcare and schools to our economy.
- Reaffirming the transition from CERB to the regular EI program, and creating a temporary Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) for the self-employed and others who are ineligible for EI
The BBOT has been advocating for temporary supports for self-employed individuals and solopreneurs during COVID-19, and is generally pleased with the transition from CERB to the regular EI program to reflect that Canadians are able to return to more regular work.
- Exceed Canada’s 2030 climate goal and legislate Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. It will also support energy retrofits, climate impact mitigations, increased transit, and the expansion of electric vehicle use.
Climate change presents serious challenges for businesses and supply chains. The BBOT will engage with the federal government to ensure solutions are developed that drive economic growth in the future and make sure small and medium businesses are provided with the supports necessary to increase their sustainability while maintaining their competitiveness
- Introducing further support for industries that have been the hardest hit, including travel and tourism, hospitality, and cultural industries like the performing arts.
- Scaling up the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy to provide more paid work experiences next year for young Canadians.
- Invest in all types of infrastructure, including public transit, energy efficient retrofits, clean energy, rural broadband, and affordable housing
- Increasing investments to rapid housing in the short term, and partnering with not-for-profits and co-ops in the mid- to long-term.
- Investments in training for workers through skills development, credentials, and connections with employers
- Launch a new fund to attract investments in making zero-emissions products and cut the corporate tax rate in half for these clean tech companies to create jobs, an important economic sector in Burnaby
Finally, the Speech from the Throne committed the government to a Fall Fiscal Update, which the Burnaby Board of Trade will participate in closely. The Burnaby Board of Trade urges the government to provide this update quickly, with policy specifics for the various programs proposed above, and outlines of the fiscal deficit our country is facing and the possible plans for addressing it.