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What should policymakers be prioritizing in order to set up Canada for success now and in the future?

24 days ago

Canada faces a challenging economic environment. In addition to the dramatic decline in economic activity as a result of COVID-19 that the country now has to recover from, Canada also faces persistent challenges related to its competitiveness, to skills development, to lowering carbon emissions, among others. 

What should policymakers be prioritizing in order to set up Canada for success now and in the future?

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  • Nazrawit Gebeto 20 days ago
    The Federal Government response to corona virus and the resultant impact on the economy could be addressed in two folds: financially (through sound fiscal policies) and socially. Below are my recommendations:
    1. Given that COVID-19 has resulted in a slowdown in international trade, Canada should now shift its focus to removing provincial trade barriers. It is reported by IMF that Canada is foregoing 4% increase in GDP per capital due to these barriers.
    2. COVID-19 has exposed the long-standing income inequality that exists between low- and high-income earners. Government fiscal policy could focus on addressing this either by improving the minimum wage across all provinces and sectors or by making wage growth to low- and middle-income earners a pre-requisite to continuing to receive wage subsidy. This is imperative for achieving aggregate demand growth (spending by household, business and government) and increasing spending.
    3. The federal government could provide financial incentive aimed at encouraging manufacturing firms to repatriate their offshore manufacturing processes. Where necessary the government could provide additional funding for research and developments aimed at technological improvements in the manufacturing industry. At the same time the government could put in place a policy to encourage local industries with the capacity to produce more to do so and thereby reduce reliance on imports.
    4. Socially the government could increase funding for community-based projects that support the vulnerable in society and those affected either directly or indirectly because of COVID-19. Focus is on improving the mental well being of individuals through counseling to either acquire new skills or build their confidence on their path to entering the workforce post COVID-19.
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  • Randy 18 days ago
    Today’s CPA Poll showed conclusively that uncertainty is our key issue. It is hard to feel certainty when government does not demonstrate confidence of integrity. The third ethics investigation of the existing PM & Finance Minister is shocking. There are basic governance controls that we as CPA, CA’s are trained in. The apparent lack of financial literacy present in the PMO and his inner circle is quite troubling. It would be completely unacceptable to run a business like this. How can people tolerate the government being run like this? Do other business leaders feel this should be a government priority?
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  • cpiche 18 days ago
    To stimulate the economy a supply chain for crude oil to the east is definitely something that could be done to help the Canadian economy, especially in the long-term. Crude oil is currently being imported on the east coast but it could be shipped from Alberta to the east coast. Crude oil could be shipped to a terminal in Thunder Bay and then shipped safely down through the Seaway to the east coast. The Seaway infrastructure is already in place with available capacity to support this. The Seaway already ships petroleum safely via double-hull tankers and is an environmentally friendly option. A terminal would need to be built in Thunder Bay; injecting infrastructure funding and creating jobs. This option would help stimulate the economy and utilize assets already owned by the government. One of many options the government could be looking at.
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  • Larry RIch 20 days ago
    1. assess affordable housing needs locally
    2. assess daycare needs locally
    3. assess vacancies with landlords in large buildings and single-use properties
    4. assess infrastructure requirements re roads, TCHC buildings, municipality-owned properties, space vacancies in colleges and universities
    5. tax subsidy to be cross-referenced with give-back to provinces; otherwise received amounts should be taxable to corporation and not received free of obligations
    6. convert vacant property spaces to accommodate items 1, 2, 3 and 4 above
    7. subsidies not to be considered a non-taxable receipt
    8. expenditures re above should result in a fast write-off over one year for tax purposes
    9. HST should be increased by 2% with no exemptions for the next 2 years after 2020
    10. do not increase personal or corporate income taxes
    11. set up an independent committee of stakeholders to oversee execution of above decisions
    12. Canadian offshore corporations have a tax moratorium if they bring back taxable income not currently reported in Canada over the next 2 years to be taxed at 10% flat rate of taxable income during the 2 years and thereafter regular tax rates will apply.
    13. unreported income (personal and corporation) will be given special consideration with a 10% tax rate with no special exemptions for the next 2 years and thereafter regular tax rates will apply
    Larry W Rich FCPA,FCA,TEP
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  • autumn 21 days ago
    1. Focus on Job creation (well-paying jobs in diverse sectors, including building up our manufacturing capacity) and getting Canadians back to work. People need a purpose and opportunity to be productive and tax-paying members of society. Those that cannot work do need social assistance - but get strategic as to who should qualify for it and tactical in how those programs function.
    2. Cut spending on programs / departments / services that don't contribute to the overarching goals or can be delivered by private/social enterprises. Necessity breeds creativity and innovation. Allow individuals solve problems and enable them to profit from it.
    3. Identify the most challenging policy problems and get an A in addressing those first. Economy, health and security.
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  • tlweiss 22 days ago
    Are we not overdue to roll-up our sleeves and really work on eliminating inter-provincial trade barriers? The Canadian Free Trade Agreement (2017) and the accompanying Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table (RCT) are completely unknown entities. The agreement and forum should be common knowledge to Canadian business people with a well established avenue where they can contribute and work on achieving freer trade within our own country. It's ridiculous and embarrassing how often businesses find it easier to go elsewhere due to our patchwork of regulatory fiefdoms.
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  • sidney halpern 22 days ago
    Programs should be incentive based not blanket handing out funds. The goals of the programs fro business should be to encourage creative, new transformational ideas. This isa great opportunity to demonsrate that CPA's do in fact have ingenuity creativity and know how to spur the economy
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  • rjaspar 23 days ago
    We need to prepare for the next pandemic. This can be done in a way that stimulates economic recovery. For example:
    - Canadian manufacture and stockpiling of critical medical supplies and equipment.
    - Require all public washrooms to utilize non-touch doors and equipment. Besides the significant health benefits in reducing germ spread, this will stimulate the economy with the manufacture and installation of the upgraded equipment.

    We can’t continue to print money and freely give it away. The resulting inflationary pressures will create other problems down the road. A public benefit must be received for the money spent. Channel the money to government agencies, businesses and non-profit organizations that can create employment to address public needs. The needs and opportunities are endless. For example: infrastructure projects, environmental clean-up, social programs, etc... Such initiatives were undertaken during the great depression of the 1930’s and could be done again.

    To the extent government support is still required, simplify a single support program, rather than multiple programs with different criteria. Make the support payments taxable with claw-back levels (similar to OAS) to ensure that the funds do not remain with individuals that don’t need the support.
    The whims of a USA president and a damaged relationship with China have caused significant economic hardship to Canada, compounding the problems created by the Covid pandemic. We need to reduce our economic dependence on USA & China
    For example, it is ludicrous for eastern Canada to import Arabian oil, compound environmental and wildlife problems in the St Lawrence seaway, while western Canadian oil is sold at a discount to US oil companies that are effectively blocking our ability to create other markets for the oil.
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  • Kenneth Michalak 23 days ago
    Give a man a fish and he will have one meal. Teach a man to fish and he will have many meals.
    We need to encourage self reliance rather than reliance on Government.
    An economy grows and thrives by it's people working.
    The simplest way to encourage entrepreneurship and self reliance is to eliminate income tax on newly formed active businesses both incorporated and unincorporated.
    This can be for a period of time ( 5-10 years) and total up to cumulative business income of ($ 500.000 to $1,000,000.)
    Government to provide funds for teaching how to start and operate a business.
    Government to provide micro loans to qualifying new businesses. Dr. Muhammed Yunus won a Nobel Peace Prize for this idea and was very successful.

    There are many ways to get this economy moving. It is the simplest ideas that work.
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  • fouriewa 23 days ago
    Dear reader,

    . > The current monetary easing can only lead to 1. Hyperinflation (MMT), 2. Dispossession (Bank money), 3. Totalitarianism (CBDC), 4. Stagnation (Austrian), 5. Communism (Marx), or 6. Fascism (government by corporation).

    > It is obvious we are on the path to many of these.

    > 1. Bank money is debt issued by private corporations at interest, leading to shortages, defaults, and dispossession (asset stripping) of governments, corporations, and individuals.

    > 2. Government control of money leads to hyperinflation and totalitarianism.

    > 3. Central bank digital currency (or treasury digital currency) would control our lives completely, who can buy what, and even starve anyone.

    > We propose private money that provides adequate money for economic activity without interest, either:

    > 1. Digital cash, emulating notes and coins, thus anonymous and interest free; created as work is done. The challenge to adoption is trust.

    > 2. Mutual credit also supplies money for economic activity without interest, but in order to establish trust it cannot be anonymous, but rather private, between trading partners (as is done in business anyway).

    > Private money does not constrain the economy meaning that skills (ie., full employment) become the capacity of the economy, freeing people and corporations from crushing competition for finance charges (interest) to focus on fulfillment, care for each other, and maintaining the planet.

    > Please see for further discussion, solutions and software.
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  • Ramj012 23 days ago
    The largest roadblock to the Canadian economy’s recovery is opening schools safely. Without schools, the economy will likely lose close to half of its workforce who have children. This will impact household spending dramatically as well as the housing market.
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  • lindamcp 23 days ago
    After the 2008 economic recession, the government introduced a home renovation tax credit that seemed to be very successful in restarting the economy. It would make a lot of sense for the current government to consider this as an option as well. People are staying in their homes more as a necessity and would appreciate the home renovation tax credit making their homes nicer. It would even be possible to tie it to improvements to energy efficiency. This will increase demand for labour, building supplies and other goods such as furniture, etc.
    The government should also consider incentives to encourage manufacturers to produce products in Canada instead of in China. In particular, they could provide incentives to manufacturers who produce PPE. This would help keep people employed while also securing a readily accessible supply of PPE for our own country.
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  • joannec1990 24 days ago
    1. Focus incentives on small to medium businesses, the foundation of our economy. If incentives help large corporations, make sure the corporation is in a sector actually affected by Covid - this should not be indiscriminate help. Set limits on exec. compensation for any company receiving government benefits.
    2. Downtown cores will never be the same without the office workers and office workers will not return in the same numbers. Government can subsidize/provide grants for non-chain businesses to move their operations to the suburbs
    3. Per 2 above, create 'high streets' in suburbs with pubs and places people want to be at night.
    4. Look to other countries outside of North America for solutions to help small businesses. e.g. create family opportunities and nightlife in shopping malls (we still need this kind of thing in winter-y Canada! But make them a fun destination for the family in the evening, focused on socializing, not shopping. How about family salsa lessons at shopping malls?). i.e. provide an opportunity for alternate small businesses to have a forum for their businesses.
    5. Health care workers throughout the chain - and teachers, policemen, social workers, essential workers - all need to be paid more. Pay them for their value to society and their contribution to society. Also, we need to make these attractive (well-paying) careers so they attract the brightest and best (and so that our brightest and best don't just become hedge fund managers...). Government can regulate/stipulate these wages. Look internationally for good ideas here. This wage inequity may be a legacy of a past patriarchal society where some work hasn't been valued sufficiently but we can fix that.
    6. Re-purpose excess office space to be downtown day cares and schools. Encourage parents and kids to ride transit to/from work together. Rather than having parents only collect their kids before/after their commutes.
    7. Fix the economics of professional sports and re-direct the excess funds to the health care/education/etc. essential worker salaries. We all want sports entertainment and sports heroes. This can happen, as it did in decades past, without sports players earning crazy amounts of money. Governments should not fund arenas for sports teams that then collect high tickets prices from fans and pay out these high salaries. This excess money in professional sports system should be paid to the workers listed above who aren't being paid enough.
    7. Over time, work on income inequality. Gradually, set limits on the maximum multiplier a top earner can make over the bottom earner in a company. Other countries do this without gutting their country's corporate investment chances.
    8. Convert suitable excess downtown office space to accommodation to help address housing shortages in big cities.
    9. And why not! Use this opportunity to fix the issues facing journalism and newspapers - no access by anyone, including Facebook and Google, to their content without paying the source newspapers for every article for every hit. Other countries like Germany and Australia are getting this right. And so profits aren't concentrated in a few large corporations - this will help job creation throughout Canada.
    10. Fix university and college funding to address Canada's actual skills shortage and potential shortfall in immigration during Covid and in the future: funding provided per space to address Canada's job needs (i.e. more STEM, health care, less social science - funding needs to be tied to needed job needs in Canada); a healthy limit on foreign students (we need lots of immigrants and foreign students, but limit it so that the university needs to be able to operate without them).
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  • Shawcross 24 days ago
    Stimulation to our business sector to get us all back to work again. While I appreciate the need to move to a cleaner and renewable future we are not there. Therefore we need to support what will put our people back to work while also balancing out future changes. This could be incentives for corporations to put together executable change with a defined time table. This would have to include measurable goals/milestones where if not met incentives are repayable. Right now we need to focus on stemming the bleeding of high value employees by ensuring they have jobs they can obtain here. And lastly - deal with our out of control mental health issues which is creating homelessness/drug addiction/marginalized people. This became so evident during this COVID break out.
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  • Ahmed Faied 24 days ago
    I have two scenarios in my comment:

    * Scenario one:
    I believe from the bottom of my heart that there's nothing at all called COVID-19.
    It's all POLITICS, the global system just created it for political and economical reasons. In this case I have one single answer, which is "SCREW POLITICS" and STOP manipulating simple people's lives.

    * Scenario two:
    I'll go with the flow and assume that there's something called COVID-19.
    I also believe from the bottom of my heart that the global economy including the Canadian economy starts from the PEOPLE. We should stop complicating people's lives. We should start from giving people their rights in; fair treatment, human housing and accommodation, better medical services, reasonable salaries the coope with their lifestyles and most importantly giving them the opportunity to do what they really passionate to do. Helping people to achieve their life goals and dreams is the best and time-efficient way for any economy to recover. Simply because people will be self-motivated enough to achieve their own dreams, which will be reflected positively on the single family level, the municipal level, the provincial level, the federal level in Canada and eventually on the global economy as well.
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  • Celeste 24 days ago
    The care-taking industry is in need of government intervention. In order for families to earn enough income to survive, someone has to care for children, the elderly, and the disabled. For too long, this has been left to the family to coordinate in a patchwork of systems that fall short of what they are intended to do. If there were proper care for children available in all regions, parents' workforce participation rates would be higher and more productive. With proper support and the means to lift families out of poverty, there will be less poverty associated trauma to children and fewer trauma associated costs down the road.
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  • stanjswartz 24 days ago
    Now is the time close the loop holes in the tax system. Large corporations that have their head offices in foreign countries need to be taxed as if they were in Canada.

    Many companies have large cash and near cash investments. A capital tax should be placed on this these unused funds.

    Time to tax services like Netflix. Why are they exempt?

    Business could pay into a Canadian Heritage Fund to reduce the Canadian debt and receive a large tax credit.

    Don't tax interest earned on Canadian, provincial or municipal bonds.

    All levels of government need to become more efficient. Waste is everywhere. Make unions partners in performance.
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  • hilary.carlson 24 days ago
    Investing in cleantech, renewable energy and the high performance building sectors should be top of mind for Policy makers. Innovative financing mechanisms such a property assessed clean energy, on utility bill financing and other options for helping individuals invest in these sectors is also critical to building a more resilient economy and environment at the same time.
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