Release: Business Council of British Columbia calls for comprehensive review of Canada's tax system

March 26, 2019

March 26, 2019 (Vancouver, B.C.) – The Business Council of British Columbia is calling on the Government of Canada to launch a comprehensive review of the nation’s tax system. The most recent comprehensive review of the tax system, the Carter Commission, was struck by then Prime Minister Diefenbaker in 1962 – the same year current Finance Minister Morneau was born.

Since that time, Canada’s economy has changed dramatically, yet government revenues and our economic competitiveness continue depend upon decades-old systems maintained through patchwork fixes.

“The domestic and global economies are becoming increasingly complex and competitive,” said Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia. “Canada needs modern, efficient and effective means of taxation to ensure the long-term sustainability of the economy and government revenues, both which support the prosperity of families and younger generations.”

Several factors are impacting Canada’s current tax regime. The rapidly growing digital economy is changing how people and businesses purchase goods and services, some of which fall outside the existing systems of taxation. An aging population means shifts in consumption spending and slower future growth of the economy and the tax base.

While the buying habits of Canadians are shifting in the modern economy, so to are the decisions and priorities of investors. Canada relies heavily on strong export activity and foreign investment for our collective prosperity. If our globally-facing industries and investment climate are not competitive, we will struggle to attract productive business investments that support the scaling up of companies, job growth and indirect benefits at the community level. The data shows that Canada’s competitive ranking among advanced economies is slipping, and that we are losing ground to other countries in the effort to attract direct investment and our share of trade.

Not only do these trends raise questions about the future of our economy, they also risk the ability of governments to collect revenues in a sustainable manner to meet the demand for services – including health care.

“The Business Council is keen to work with the federal and provincial governments, as well as key partners across the economy, to ensure that Canada’s model of taxation reflects today’s economic and business realities,” added D’Avignon.

Today, the Business Council welcomed Finance Minister Bill Morneau for a post-budget presentation to representatives from British Columbia’s business community. Following his remarks, the Business Council encouraged the Minister to launch a comprehensive tax review. The Council appreciates his openness to dialogue and looks forward to continuing this discussion in support of a more competitive economy, a sustainable tax system and affordability for families.

About the Business Council of British Columbia

Now in its 53rd year as the premier business organization in British Columbia, the Business Council of B.C. is a non-partisan organization made up of 250 leading companies, post-secondary institutions and industry associations from across B.C.'s diverse economy. The Council produces exceptional public policy research and advocacy in support of creating a competitive economy for the benefit of all British Columbians.


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