“It’s time we get the facts on the table. Business investment has been a key driver of economic and job growth over the past five years, and lower taxes have contributed significantly to that growth.” This statement, made by CME President and CEO Jayson Meyers, summarizes a recent analysis done by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) on the recovery of the Canadian economy. The analysis looked at the correlation between the profitability of Canadian business (measured as after tax profits as a percent of GDP) to Canada’s unemployment rate. The data showed that every percentage point increase in after-tax profit led to a 0.8% decline in the unemployment rate. Meyers further states that without the federal tax reductions for Canadian businesses, Canada’s unemployment rate during the recession of 2009 would have exceeded 9%. He also points out that roughly 700,000 more Canadians are employed today than at the end of 2007.
Through the tax savings, companies have invested the additional income in capital assets. In 2012, the Canadian business sector invested $25 billion more in capital assets compared to 2007. Along with several funding programs and the new rapid depreciation that federal government made available to manufacturers, investment in industrial machinery and equipment has risen 12% since 2007 and 37% since the economic downturn. With no tax rate reduction, it is predicted that Canada’s unemployment rate today would be 1.1% higher at 8.4% and 0.2% higher than the US unemployment rate.
A pre-budget submission published last week by Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) makes recommendations to increase Canada’s tax competitiveness to spur global investment. Their recommendations can be summarized as follows:
- Make the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance (ACCA), or the 2-year write-off for equipment and machinery, permanent. This will help drive business investment in equipment and machinery, which are important drivers of productivity.
- Implement refundable SR&ED tax credits to provide more focused support to private sector R&D, and expand the ACCA to include machinery and equipment used for R&D purposes.
- Study the possibility of a separate tax credit for the acquisition of equipment and machinery.
- Increase direct support for R&D through a refundable SR&ED tax credit for large corporations.
- Eliminate labour shortages through the elimination of barriers to the movement of skilled labour between provinces through provincial regulatory bodies.
- Support workplace training by providing a tax training credit for employers.
- Increase the availability of labour for industry through labour market inclusion strategies, and streamline the regulatory processes for companies to bring in foreign workers when needed.
Continuous improvement in manufacturing is vital to help our businesses continue to grow and stay competitive in the global market. Have you thought about implementing changes to make your manufacturing process more lean? Are you working towards improving the quality of the product you manufacture? What about reducing a negative impact you may have on our environment? While these are great projects to implement, sometimes we don’t always have the funds available to actually do so.
That’s where the CME SMART Funding Program comes in.
The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters group (CME) created the CME SMART Program with funding provided by the government of Ontario. This program was created to help small to medium sized manufacturers in Ontario improve efficiency and productivity to better compete in the global market.
How do they do this? They help fund projects that implement changes to improve your operational efficiency. These projects could include lean manufacturing and/or design, environmental impact reduction, IT best practices, quality improvement and energy efficiency. These projects should hopefully not just increase your efficiency but would change the way you do business, as well as reduce or eliminate waste (both wasted time and wasted materials) and phase out mistakes and non-value-added activities.
After getting approval from CME for the funding, these projects must be started within 2 months of your notification of selection from the CME, and should not take longer than 6 months to implement.
How much do they fund? The best projects proposed to the CME SMART Program get selected for funding, and you can receive either 50% of your project costs, or $50,000 – whichever is less.
Who is eligible? Companies with 10-500 employees that have their manufacturing operations in Ontario are eligible for the CME SMART Program. These companies would have to have been in operation in Ontario for at least two years.
Northbridge Consultants is a service provider for the CME SMART Program. We can provide you with SMART Assessments and help you implement these programs.
The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters association has just released their March survey. Each month they survey over 700 companies on business conditions. The results for the month of March? Canadian manufacturers are more optimistic about the coming quarter than they had been about the previous portion of this year.
According to the CME group,
exactly 49 per cent of firms expect orders to decrease between March and June, down seven percentage points from February’s figure of 56 per cent. And there’s some good news for job seekers – 13 per cent of companies expect to increase employment over the next three months, up from 11 per cent in February. The number of firms who are planning lay-offs also shrunk over the past month, decreasing from 45 to 42 per cent.
Read the full survey here.