by Morgan Peters
GNB Minimum Wage Review
In the fall, the Government of New Brunswick conducted its bi-annual review of minimum wage in the province. Currently, the minimum wage is adjusted annually on April 1 based on the Consumer Price Index, rounded to the nearest five cents.
The chamber has advocated for a system that is tied to CPI to ensure some predictability in the system (which has now been in place since 2016). Our submission, which can be found on our website, focused on maintaining the current system – which we also advocated for originally.
Atlantic Impressions Intelligence Community
The Atlantic Chamber of Commerce’s Insight Community, Atlantic Impressions, which is a cloud-based community dedicated to gathering and sharing Atlantic Canadian’s views on key businesses issues is live. This will be a valuable tool to help the business community gather information and opinions that can be used for more effective government advocacy. In addition to a host of valuable information, Atlantic Impressions will produce two (2) surveys per month that will take between four (4) and eight (8) minutes to complete.
If you have not done so, please consider signing up to the community and respond to the surveys. The initiative is not limited to chamber members or even the business community (although the issues and insights will be business-focused) – so please encourage all of your colleagues, friends and family to register as well! Register here: https://www.atlanticchamber.ca/atlantic-impressions.
New Brunswick First Procurement Strategy
Earlier this fall, the Government of New Brunswick released its New Brunswick First Procurement Strategy. Key actions include:
• A New Brunswick First procurement policy to ensure that goods, services and construction services required by the government are procured from New Brunswick suppliers wherever possible, while respecting trade agreements. This includes adjusting principles to include best value, not just low-cost considerations, in awarding contracts and adjusting contract specifications to ensure New Brunswick companies have an opportunity to bid.
• An Unsolicited Proposals Program that will give New Brunswick suppliers the opportunity to submit unsolicited proposals to the provincial government for innovative, market-ready products or solutions that could assist in the delivery of public sector programs or services.
• A new Reverse Trade Show and Networking event hosted by the government every two years to connect suppliers in the province with public sector organizations.
• A new dashboard on the provincial government website to transparently track and report how successful New Brunswick businesses are in obtaining government procurement contracts.
Alcohol Escalator Tax
This fall, we send a letter to federal representatives asking the government to freeze the alcohol escalator tax that was introduced in the 2017 budget as a means to support business in a COVID-19 context. We also originally opposed the introduction of the tax in 2018. The letters can be found on our website. We were disappointed it was not addressed in the Fall economic update.
National Tax Review
After a series of consultations with a broad mix of Canadian businesses and economic experts on how to harness Canada’s tax system to foster growth, the Canadian Chamber’s tax review process wants to engage Canadians across the country. As COVID-19 continues to impact the ability of Canadians to come together in person, the Canadian Chamber has launched a new website, www.thinkgrowth.ca, to collect their ideas on potential tax reforms that will help businesses and individual Canadians recover from the economic impact of COVID-19.