Toronto, ON (March 19, 2019)

Today’s pre-election budget tabled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau featured many fresh spending promises but provided little in terms of new tax legislation – and even fewer tangible benefits to private businesses – nor did it address corporate and personal tax competitiveness.

At a time when Canada’s economy is strong, but slowing, Budget 2019 was a chance for the government to demonstrate its support for private businesses in their ability to grow and remain competitive on the global stage. While there were many important measures included, such as skills development, regulatory reform, housing affordability and income security for seniors, it does not go far enough to bolster competitiveness for Canadian business.

“We need to make sure our businesses are thriving in good times, so they can remain competitive during leaner times,” says Heath Moore, National Tax Leader, Grant Thornton LLP. “While an investment in skills training can help fill some jobs required for tomorrow’s business environment, the question remains if it will move the needle in a meaningful way to close the skills gap currently facing our country.”

Grant Thornton’s advisors recognize that competitiveness can be supported through enhanced policies related to innovation. As such, it was encouraging to see an update to the Federal government’s flagship innovation funding SR&ED program to support R&D-intensive businesses.

“Now is the time for business owners to develop new products and invest in innovation,” says Martha Oner, Partner and National Leader of the R&D and Government Incentives practice. “While changes like this help, they are baby steps in supporting R&D-intensive businesses in Canada.”

Other welcomed measures include:

  • Canada Training Credit: New training credit will give eligible working Canadians $250 a year to put toward the cost of future occupational skills training;
  • First-Time Home Buyers Plan (HBP) and Incentive: Proposal to increase the RRSP withdrawal limit to $35,000 from $25,000. Further relief through a shared equity mortgage opportunity which provides funding equal to 5% of the purchase price of existing homes, or 10% for newly constructed homes.

Access our full Budget 2019 summary