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CFIB gives budget a "B" grade
Written by Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery   
Mar. 30, 2012, Ottawa — The 2012 federal budget had some positive news for small business, with major progress on eight of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business' (CFIB) top 12 priorities for 2012. 

However, the budget did not go fast or far enough in dealing with spending, the federal deficit or public service compensation and pensions, the CFIB said in a press release.

The good news, though, is that the employment insurance (EI) hiring credit was renewed for another year.

"The recent increase in EI premiums harms small Canadian businesses and extending this credit makes it easier for them to continue to support Canada's economic recovery by creating jobs," said Catherine Swift, president of CFIB.

In addition, positive changes have been made to the EI rate setting process, and future increases will be capped at five cents for employees and seven cents for employers.

Swift also pointed to positive steps the budget lays out to tackle "unsustainable" federal public sector and MP pensions. The CFIB was also pleased to see that the government has committed to making public sector employees contribute more to their pension plans, and introduce measures to discourage early retirement.

"These are important steps in tackling the $150 to $230 billion unfunded liability currently facing the federal public sector pension plan."

"Until all MPs and public sector workers start retiring at age 65 or older, there should be no increases in the eligibility age for old age security for the rest of Canadians," Swift said.

The CFIB also noted that it was pleased to see movement in some other key areas, including:
  • Increasing accountability at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) by having the department provide written responses in electronic form to businesses
  • The government's commitment to make red tape reduction permanent by implementing a one-for-one rule, among other measures
  • Work to reduce the backlog and processing time for immigration and temporary foreign worker applications to help small firms in their growing labour shortages.
The CFIB gave the government's overall budget plan a passing "B" grade.
 
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