On November 8th, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivered the latest Economic Update providing a window into Canada’s current economic health.
The good news is that Canada weathered the global recession better than most other industrialized countries and is the only G-7 country to have more than recovered both all of the output and all of the jobs lost during the recession.
However, the economic turmoil being felt globally as a result of the sovereign debt and banking crisis in Europe is having an effect.
Growth of the global economy has slowed and, as a result, private sector economists have revised down their outlook for Canadian economic growth since the 2011 budget. Canada’s real gross domestic product (GDP) is now expected to grow by 2.2 per cent in 2011 and 2.1 per cent in 2012.
The deterioration of the global economic situation is also impacting Canadian employment, which remains almost unchanged since July 2011.
That is why the Government will remain focused on supporting jobs and growth, despite the fact that nearly 600,000 more Canadians are working today than when the recession ended.
Although EI rates were expected to rise by 10 cents, the Government has announced that it will reduce the increase in Employment Insurance (EI) premium rates in 2012 from 10 cents to 5 cents. This will mean savings for employers and employees and will strike the necessary balance between supporting our economic recovery and ensuring that the EI program breaks even over time.
It is also welcome news to local companies that Work-Sharing will be extended.
Work-Sharing allows temporary layoffs when there is a reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. The measure provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced workweek while their employer recovers.
Other initiatives, like the recently announced Hiring Credit for Small Business and investments in local economic engines like Accelerate Okanagan will also provide the incentives employers and entrepreneurs need to create jobs and grow new businesses.
And I was pleased to learn that four companies in our riding, including automobile parts manufacturer Marshall Innovations Limited, have received almost $145,000 in funding through the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).
The National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program helps small and medium sized businesses develop innovations and bring those new products, services and processes to market to benefit Canadians.
While global uncertainty persists, ongoing efforts by local companies and support from the Government should give us confidence that we are responding in a flexible and measured manner to support Canadian jobs and growth.
At the same time, the Government is following through on its deficit reduction action plan in order to achieve at least $4 billion in ongoing annual savings by 2014–15. These savings will support the Government’s commitment to return to budgetary balance over the medium term.
I’ll be meeting soon with Minister Flaherty to give him recommendations on other measures to promote job creation and to ensure that your tax dollars are not wasted on duplication, inefficient operating expenses and programs that have outgrown their usefulness.
If you have any suggestions in this regard, I’d be more than happy to share them with the Minister. Just drop me a line at email@example.com.
Also, thanks to all those people who put their name forward in the recent local elections. Congratulations to all the newly elected and re-elected members of council. I look forward to working together to keep our taxes low, grow our economy and create jobs. The bottom line is that there is only one tax payer. We are all in this together and I am confident that if we continue to proceed as we have, we will come out of this global turmoil stronger than ever.
Ron Cannan is MP for Kelowna-Lake Country