Ontario budget acknowledges challenges for manufacturers
May 2, 2014 by Manufacturing AUTOMATION
Ontario’s budget, announced Thursday by Finance Minister Charles Sousa, acknowledges a number of the challenges facing the province’s manufacturing sector and includes several positives, according to Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters vice-president, Ontario, Ian Howcroft.
“We give them credit for recognizing a number of our concerns, but the government falls down on how far they’re going,” said Howcroft.
Manufacturers are facing tough economic times and rising energy costs, which are hurting their ability to compete globally.
“Energy still continues to be a real cost and a challenge for manufacturers in these tight economic conditions,” Howcroft said.
Measures in the budget that will have a positive impact on manufacturers include: a $2.5-billion jobs investment fund; new measures to help manufacturers reduce energy costs, including the GAM adjustment and surplus allowances for businesses expanding or hiring; and regulatory burden reduction.
The scant details on how the jobs fund will be spent, the particulars of the mandatory pension program and what business support programs will be continued punctuated the announcement. The limit of one regulatory reduction per ministry per year is also too limited, said Howcroft.
CME has recently held a series of meetings across Ontario to hear from manufacturers on key challenges and priorities. This has culminated in an “Action Plan for Ontario,” which made a number of key budget recommendations, including targeted stimulus such as the SMART program, and the introduction of refundable tax credits for manufacturing investments, training and innovation.