Canada critically overdue for tax system review


The last time Canada undertook a comprehensive review of its tax system, humankind still hadn’t set foot on the moon. In the five decades since, a cut-and-paste approach has made Canada’s tax system more cumbersome and inefficient.

As the voice of more than 200,000 businesses, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is launching a project that will build the case for a comprehensive review of Canada’s tax system.

“Our complex and burdensome tax system is driving away investment and eroding Canada’s competitiveness,” said The Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “Canadian companies face serious competitive pressures from other jurisdictions that are aggressively acting to help their businesses grow and compete globally. To ensure Canadian businesses are not completely out of the game, our government needs to launch a comprehensive review of our taxation system to make it simpler and more modern, and to reduce compliance costs for business of all sizes.”

The project being launched today will be led by Dr. Trevin Stratton, the Chamber’s Chief Economist, and will include a series of roundtables that will bring together business leaders and other stakeholders to discuss the challenges Canada’s current tax system creates for businesses, innovators, and job creators.

“Canada’s declining tax competitiveness impacts all aspects of Canadian business, from cross-border supply chains, our ability to attract investment, to hiring and talent retention, as well as mergers and acquisitions,” said Dr. Stratton. “While we are focused on making the case for a comprehensive review of the tax system, we also recognize there are measures that government can implement right now to improve our competitive positioning.”

“For example,” Dr. Stratton added, “allowing businesses to fully expense the cost of new machinery and equipment in the tax year the investment is made or simplifying the delivery of benefit programs. Through this process we will also be advocating for changes like these that can help businesses now.”

The Chamber’s efforts will be supported by Canadian taxation experts, some of whom who will form the project’s Tax Advisory Panel. The panel will include: Dr. Trevin Stratton – Chief Economist, Canadian Chamber of Commerce; Bruce Ball – Vice President, Taxation, CPA Canada; Fred O’Riordan – National Leader, Tax Policy, Ernst and Young; Guy Legault – President, Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting; and, Victor Gomez – Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs, Sun Life.

The Chamber will issue a full report making the case for a comprehensive review of the tax system, along with recommendations for some immediate steps government can take to improve Canadian competitiveness in advance of the 2019 election.

This project comes on the heels of another Chamber report on business competitiveness that examined Canada’s high-cost regulatory environment, called ‘Death by 130,000 Cuts’.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions.

– Phil Taylor,  Senior Director

Strategic Communications and Public Affairs

Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Posted on:
Monday, August 27, 2018