• Atlantic Chamber of Commerce and St. John’s Board of Trade Pre-Budget Submission to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador

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    The Honourable Siobhan Coady
    Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance
    Department of Finance, Newfoundland and Labrador
     
    {Via email}
     
    December 15, 2023
     
    Re: Atlantic Chamber of Commerce and St. John’s Board of Trade Pre-Budget Submission to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador

    Dear Deputy Premier Coady

    The Atlantic Chamber of Commerce, representing 21 chambers of commerce and boards of trade and more than 3,000 businesses across Newfoundland and Labrador and the St. John’s Board of Trade, representing over 750 businesses, submits the following items for your consideration in the 2024-2025 Budget:

    Fiscal Responsibility for Business Confidence 
    The province has made significant strides in reducing deficit spending in recent years, curbing expenditures during the height of the pandemic. This fiscal prudence reflects a commitment to financial stability and responsible governance. Government should continue to make efforts to further reduce deficit spending and bring Newfoundland and Labrador back to a position of fiscal balance. Government’s commitment to fiscal responsibility is crucial for both the overall economic health of the province and the business community. A fiscally stable environment instills confidence among businesses and potential outside investors, as it provides a predictable economic landscape conducive to growth and development.
     
    Increasing Competitiveness
    Reducing regulatory burden stands out as a highly cost-effective strategy for enhancing overall efficiency and productivity within an economy. Newfoundland and Labrador’s three Atlantic counterparts have all taken significant steps to reduce the regulatory burden in their respective provinces for businesses and citizens--Newfoundland and Labrador is lagging behind. The province should allocate resources to dedicate a team tasked by the Premier with reducing financial and time burdens. Implementing a pro-active approach to regulation that includes business impact assessments, maximum response times, and a reduction in the barriers that entrepreneurs face when trying to start a business will yield a positive economic impact for the province.

    Childcare
    Childcare remains a high priority for businesses (or employers?) in Newfoundland and Labrador and directly impacts the labour market and economy. Access to affordable childcare enables more parents to participate in the workforce, leading to increased labour force participation, higher productivity, and greater economic output. Newfoundland and Labrador currently rank among the lowest provinces in Canada when measuring the percentage of children who have access to regulated child-care spaces. Addressing this issue requires a concerted effort to expand the availability of affordable and quality childcare services across the province. By increasing investment in childcare infrastructure, training for early childhood educators, and implementing supportive policies, the province can enhance accessibility for parents and contribute to the overall economic development by fostering a more engaged and productive workforce.

    Housing
    To increase housing affordability in Newfoundland and Labrador, the province needs to build a significant number of new homes. According to the Canadian Housing Mortgage Corporation (CMHC), 60 thousand homes need to be built in the province over the next six years to meet the demand. While Government’s 5-point plan addresses some issues with the housing crisis, it does not significantly impact the lack of housing supply to keep up with demand. In addition to the province’s 5-point plan, they should explore options that include public/private partnerships to expedite plans to build housing, collaboration with municipalities to streamline approval and permitting processes, and increase investment in training programs for individuals looking to begin their career in a field that contributes to the construction of new homes.


    Sincerely,
    Atlantic Chamber of Commerce                                     St. John’s Board of Trade
     
     
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  • Business Truth & Reconciliation Business Truth & Reconciliation

    The Atlantic Chamber of Commerce is taking proactive steps to promote reconciliation and respect for Indigenous rights within the corporate sector. In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action 92, the Chamber urges its members to embrace the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a guiding framework. This entails a commitment to meaningful consultation, fostering respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before embarking on economic projects. Moreover, the Chamber advocates for equitable access to employment, training, and educational opportunities for Indigenous communities, ensuring they reap sustainable benefits from economic development initiatives.

     

    Recognizing the importance of education, the Chamber encourages businesses to provide comprehensive training for management and staff on the history of Indigenous peoples, including the legacy of residential schools, Indigenous rights, and Aboriginal-Crown relations. Emphasizing intercultural competency, conflict resolution, and anti-racism, these efforts aim to foster a more inclusive and harmonious corporate environment rooted in mutual understanding and respect.

    Learn more click here