The members of the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce, representing 93 chambers of commerce and boards of trade and more than 16,000 businesses have identified four key areas where business and government can work together to address challenges and opportunities to create a prosperous region. As problems and their solutions are rarely one dimensional, the four key issues contain a number of opportunities where business and government must clarify roles and improve outcomes.
Public Policy Overview
Promote a Positive Environment for Investment and Job Creation
Governments determine service availability and cost allocations to companies investing in a province. Our region needs to create a working balance between government’s duties to protect and promote development, and to recognize the private sector as the primary provider of jobs and public revenues. We should help all businesses choose Atlantic Canada. ACC advocates on creating conditions that encourage businesses to locate and grow their operations in our region as the primary means of increasing economic activity and increasing tax revenues.
Policy Pillar 1
Improve Access to a Skilled Labour Force
Full employment is an indicator and a driver of a vibrant economy. Under such conditions, employers compete for available resources, driving income gains and increased productivity. Reducing resources lost to employee attracting, businesses can increase production, improve profitability and pay more taxes. We must focus on youth retention, immigration and foreign student retention, increase entrepreneurship and skills training. ACC supports efforts to reduce the gap between unemployed and vacant job openings by improving skills development and attracting skilled labour.
Policy Pillar 2
Adopt a Business Lens on Regulation
In pursuing its mandate to provide security and public services, government processes have evolved to the point where business is burdened with repetitive and redundant demands for reporting, certifications and approvals. This is further compounded by regulatory inefficiencies and barriers between provinces—estimated to cost our collective economies $8.5B (APEC). Simplifying and eliminating complex, redundant regulatory obligations is required to improve business productivity and competitiveness. ACC supports efforts to reduce the compliance burden associated with government regulation and actively engage in efforts to reduce trade barriers for businesses operating in more than one province.
Policy Pillar 3
Exercise Prudent Fiscal Management
There is a growing acceptance among our political leaders that it is okay to borrow to the money needed pay for government services. Doing so results in government spending or overspending and adds to our GDP. We cannot borrow endlessly to fuel our economies. The burdens of provincial public debts have grown to the point where an excessive portion of our tax dollars are required to simply pay the interest on the money we collectively owe. ACC advocates for the balancing of budgets and paying down accumulated provincial debt.
Policy Pillar 4