EDMONTON, AB – The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce is encouraged to see thoughtful investment in Budget 2022. While there is still work to do, the budget outlines steps towards economic recovery from the pandemic.
- Keeping the small business tax rate accessible to more businesses as they continue to grow.
- Broadening the investment opportunities of the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
- The creation of an Investment Fund for technology and innovation companies.
- Recognition of the importance of Carbon Capture Storage and Utilization (CCUS) and energy transition strategies.
On Small Business: While we are pleased to see access to the small business tax rate accessible to more businesses, for many businesses at the taxable threshold the benefit will be delayed by one year, based on the fiscal tax year. This creates an unfair playing field at a time when all small and medium-size businesses need continued support through their recovery.
On Canada Infrastructure Bank: Edmonton is a growing centre for the hydrogen and CCUS industry. The opportunity to partner with private investors on major infrastructure projects like hydrogen hubs, irrigation, small nuclear reactors and more, will yield great benefits for Alberta and the Edmonton Region. This could attract the kind of foreign direct investments needed to help our economy recover.
On the creation of an investment fund for technology and innovation: As the Minister of Finance said today, innovation ecosystems across our country have accelerated these past few years. Both Calgary and Edmonton have seen immense growth in artificial intelligence, and technology and innovation businesses, however, attracting capital remains a problem. We have watched funds like the Alberta Enterprise Corporation successfully accelerate venture capital. Structuring the federal fund similarly could give a much-needed boost to Alberta's growing sectors.
On Carbon Capture Storage and Utilization: We are pleased to see the budget propose a refundable investment tax credit for CCUS expenses however, this industry has advanced beyond our current policies and investments. Alberta and Edmonton can be a leader in our desired energy transition goals, and we will advocate to the federal government to collaborate and support this industry.
We need careful spending and long-term planning to ensure that Canada maintains a healthy balance sheet. It is critical to have strong fiscal guardrails and to lower the debt to GDP ratio as soon as possible. We are facing critical labour shortages, burnout in various sectors, high inflation that affects our small and medium businesses, and growing supply chain issues.
“This budget blurs the line on fiscal responsibility and spending. While it is a small step toward recovery, the relief needed to address economic stability is lackluster. The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce has been a strong advocate on these issues, and we look forward to working with our federal partners on beneficial solutions.” - Dennis R. Schmidt, Board Chair, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and Principal, ALTURA Legal Advisory.