NEWS RELEASE Federal Budget “Boring”…but Stays the Course

Yellowknife, February 11, 2014 – Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he “would consider it a compliment” if some people called the 2014/15 Federal Budget “boring”. The compliments should be pouring in.

It was everything a stay the course budget should be: no major capital commitments, tweaks to a few previously announced initiatives like the Canada Job Grant, and a bit of new program support for recent graduates and those with disabilities trying to break into the job market.

“Overall, we’re pleased. It’s a fiscally-prudent budget that will contribute to a surplus in two years,” said Kathy Gray, President of the NWT Chamber of Commerce.

Gray commended the focus on skills training, including measures to better match young workers with the skills needs of business and the creation of the Canada Apprentice Loan to encourage trades development. Bridging the skills gap has been an NWTCC priority for several
years.

The budget touched on the importance of the North to the economy of Canada in several places, but was light on specifics.

“We look forward to further details in the Building Canada Fund and in Corridors for Canada III programs which we trust will help fund NWT infrastructure projects,” she added.

The budget did commit $305 million over five years to extend and enhance broadband highspeed internet access for rural and Northern communities; details “in the coming months” according the Finance Minister.
The NWT Chamber welcomed a series of measures that respond to Chamber network policies:

 

  •  Trades and Training: The creation of the Canada Apprentice Loan to help registered apprentices in Red Seal trades with the costs of training. Red Seal apprentices canapply for up to $4,000 in interest-free loans “per period” of training.
  • Red Tape: The reduction of tax compliance and regulatory burden for small and medium sized business, particularly a reduction in the frequency of remittances by increasing reporting thresholds for CPP and EI.
  • Job Matching: The provision of $11.8 million over two years and $3.3 million per year ongoing to launch an enhanced Job Matching Service to ensure that Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs that match their skills in their local area.
  • New Funding for the LMO Process: The investment of $11 million over two years and $3.5 million per year, ongoing, to strengthen the Labour Market Opinion process to ensure Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs.
  • Supporting the Economic Immigration System: The provision of $14 million over two years and $4.7 million per year, ongoing, towards the successful implementation of an Expression of Interest economic immigration system to support Canada’s labour market needs.
  •  SINED Funding Additions: An additional $20 million over the next three years for the Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED), delivered by CanNor.

In association with the network of community chambers in Fort Simpson, Inuvik, Norman Wells, Hay River, Yellowknife, and Fort Smith, the NWT Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization North of 60. It ensures that Northern business and economic interests are brought to the attention of both the Territorial and the Federal governments.

For more information contact:
Mike Bradshaw, Executive Director
(867) 920 9505(867) 920 9505

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Angela About Angela

Hi, I am Angela Fiebelkorn, President of the Fort Simpson Chamber. You can contact us at fscofc@gmail(dot)com or call 867-695-6538.