Ten Advocacy Achievements You Might Have Missed
31 July 2019
Edmonton Chamber Policy Team
At the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, we use our powerful voice to achieve real results for our member companies. Here is a look at ten of our most impactful advocacy wins over recent months at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.
1) Canada gives Trans Mountain the green light
After years of delays and legal challenges, approval for work to go head on the Trans Mountain pipeline couldn’t come soon enough for Albertans. We’ve been tirelessly advocating for new pipelines to tidewater to ensure our high-quality energy products reach global markets. While it’s a positive step forward, we’re holding off our celebrations until the project is complete.
2) Alberta cuts corporate taxes
Lower taxes keep businesses competitive—that’s why we continually push governments to consider the cumulative burden of taxes, fees and levies on businesses. With the Job Creation Tax Cut, the Alberta government will reduce the corporate tax rate by a third over four years to boost competitiveness and spur job creation.
3) Alberta pushes for free trade in Canada
We’ve persistently called for the removal of interprovincial trade barriers, which cost Canada’s economy between $50 billion and $130 billion each year. By eliminating half of the province’s regulatory barriers, the Alberta government is making progress towards unleashing free trade throughout Canada. Let’s hope other provinces follow our leadership.
4) Edmonton takes steps towards Priority-Based Budgeting
We advocate for public spending that is fiscally responsible so that businesses do not shoulder a higher tax burden. As a result of our advocacy, Edmonton’s City Council has taken the first steps towards applying Priority-Based Budgeting to municipal budgets. By better aligning its spending and priorities, the City can increase Edmonton’s competitiveness while still funding services that are essential to Edmontonians.
5) Alberta sets its sights on cutting red tape
We have repeatedly urged governments of all levels to consider the layered costs of government policies. The Red Tape Reduction Act is set to reduce red tape in the province by one third, and with the launch of the Cut Red Tape website, the Alberta government is showing just how serious it is about addressing overregulation, speeding up approvals and encouraging new investment.
6) Alberta appoints the Blue Ribbon Panel
We’ve consistently called on governments to exercise fiscal restraint by limiting—or eliminating—spending growth until budgets are balanced. By appointing an independent panel of experts to conduct a deep dive into Alberta’s fiscal situation, the Alberta government is taking action to control spending and return to a balanced budget by 2022-2023, all without raising taxes.
7) Alberta declares itself open for business
Fearing harmful impacts on both businesses and workers, we’ve strongly recommended a full review of recent changes to labour legislation in the province. With An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business, the Alberta government is strengthening provisions to the Labour Relations Code and reversing changes linked to holiday pay and banked hours. These measures will reduce costs for job creators and boost competitiveness.
8) Alberta allows municipalities to offer tax incentives to draw investors
Fighting for more competitive tax rates is a cornerstone of our advocacy efforts. Through the Municipal Government Act, municipalities can now offer tax incentives for up to 15 years to attract investors and encourage economic development in commercial and industrial areas. This is good news for the city’s ability to attract job creators and new investments.
9) Alberta reviews its health spending
Since 2017, our budget policy has called for controlled spending and a full review of government programs and services. With health care accounting for almost 40 percent of the provincial budget, we’re pleased the Alberta government is conducting a comprehensive review of Alberta Health Services to identify ways to find efficiencies, reduce costs and deliver better health care services to Albertans.
10) Canada streamlines its regulatory processes
All three orders of government contribute to the regulatory burden on businesses—that’s why we strongly encourage them to eliminate red tape wherever possible. The Government of Canada recently released regulatory roadmaps for four high-growth sectors, including agri-food and aquaculture, health and bio-sciences, transportation and infrastructure. It’s crucial that we remove the barriers that hinder economic growth in Canada, and reducing red tape in these four sectors is a good start.