On March 19, 2019, Finance Minister Bill Morneau presented the government’s 2019-2020 federal budget.
This tax alert provides a summary of the tax measures proposed in the budget.
As many had predicted, this pre-election budget features many fresh spending promises, with little in terms of new tax legislation. Although the budget includes some smaller initiatives and technical changes, there are few surprises.
Proposals that might be of particular interest to Canadian businesses include the creation of a new national training benefit program, new funds for research and innovation, measures intended to support entrepreneurs and plans to streamline certain areas of federal regulation to reduce regulatory burden. In addition, provisions concerned with tightening international tax rules and increasing beneficial ownership transparency may prompt some companies to review and update their compliance practices.
The budget was relatively silent on matters related to current and pending trade agreements—with the exception of a promise of support for supply-managed farmers impacted by CETA and CTPPP. It does not contain any proposals to address the gap in corporate tax rates between Canada and the United States, nor the existing tarriffs on Canadian aluminum and steel.
A number of measures were announced where the legislative details have yet to be released—such as new limits on stock options and greater support for intergenerational business transfers. These will be worth watching closely as the specifics develop.