Calgary Chamber encouraged by focus on housing; urges acceleration of decarbonization support
Calgary, November 22, 2023 – The Calgary Chamber of Commerce is encouraged by the federal government’s Fall Economic Statement (FES), and its focus on housing, affordability and building an inclusive economy. We are pleased to see the federal government’s commitment to establish a national, indigenous loan guarantee program – which will build on the success to date of the AIOC (Alberta Indigenous Opportunity Corporation) and meaningfully advance economic reconciliation. We also applaud the progress on clean growth policies but underscore the urgency of these to effectively leverage private sector investment in a timely manner. As continued fiscal prudence is necessary, we encourage the government to focus on accelerating the use of previously allocated dollars to support business growth, including for decarbonization projects through investment tax credits.
“Businesses are struggling with rising costs and inflation – the Fall Economic Statement provided some optimism for the future, however concerns remain, particularly in light of the tepid economic growth forecast outlined in the FES,” said Deborah Yedlin, President and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. “The progress on Investment Tax Credits and decarbonization is an important step forward, but we have significant ground to make up because of the time it’s taken to define the ITCs, which means the success of these initiatives remains inextricably tied to their accelerated implementation.”
We are pleased to see initiatives such as the removal of GST charges on purpose-built rentals and financial support from the Housing Accelerator Fund, which are critical to ensuring Canada remains an attractive and affordable place to live and own a business. With housing demand continuing to outpace supply, the commitment to provide new loans for rental construction, alongside investments into affordable housing starts are a step in the right direction. Moreover, the recognition from government that labour shortages are impacting the ability to build new homes highlights the importance of remaining focused on addressing persistent labour challenges, including reducing barriers to labour mobility within Canada.
Calgary’s business community has advocated for the implementation of decarbonization Investment Tax Credits since Budget 2021 and has consistently underscored the urgency of of this incentive since the introduction of the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States in mid-2022. While we are pleased to see projected timelines, clarity on legislation and accelerated implementation are critical to ensuring businesses are appropriately supported in their efforts to decarbonize – and to ensure capital is invested in Canada rather than other jurisdictions. The commitment to support Carbon Contracts for Difference (CCfD) through the Canada Growth Fund is welcome, however, an increase to the amount of funding will be needed to effectively move the needle.
As the government looks to develop Budget 2024, the Calgary Chamber encourages engagement with the business community. We also urge an increased focus on fiscal prudence, policies that support technology adoption and digital growth and the advancement of our National Supply Chain strategy to guide strategic infrastructure investments needed to increase Canada’s economic productivity.
ABOUT THE CALGARY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Calgary Chamber exists to help businesses reach their potential. As the convenor and catalyst for a vibrant, inclusive and prosperous business community, the Chamber works to build strength and resilience among its members and position Calgary as a magnet for talent, diversification and opportunity. As an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 1891, we build on our history to serve and advocate for businesses of all sizes, in all sectors across the city.