1.9 C
Friday, December 8, 2023

Budget 2012 Focuses on Sound Public Finances and Long-Term Economic Growth

OTTAWA – Canada’s finance minister, Jim Flaherty, introduced his seventh budget in Ottawa today and while some may have been expecting an austerity budget; the government did propose rather modest spending cuts including civil service staff cuts and expects to achieve balanced budget in three years, it also included some new spending and says that the government remains “focused on an agenda that will deliver high-quality jobs, economic growth and sound public finances.”
There is little specific to the transportation or trucking industry in the budget beyond a re-hash of the initiatives already underway through the perimeter security agreement. However, there are some measures which will be of interest to business owners such as a focus on new trade agreements with emerging economies, resources development and changes to the Employment Insurance system such as limiting EI premium rate increases to 5 cents each year until the EI Operating Account is balanced and extending the Hiring Credit for Small Business for one year to help small businesses to defray the costs of hiring new workers. The budget also proposes to realign the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) to better meet labour market demands. However, as it relates to the TFWP, businesses will still have to first look to the domestic labour force before accessing the TFWP.
Cross border travellers will welcome the increase in allowable exemptions for goods they can bring duty-free into Canada. The budget proposes to increase the value of goods that may be imported duty-and-tax-free by Canadian residents returning from abroad after a 24-hour and 48-hour absence to $200 and $800, respectively.