The federal parties should all clarify their economic visions during the final days of the 2015 election campaign, says a report by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC).

So far, the OCC welcomes the possible reductions of tax burdens on Ontario’s small employers. But the organization says whoever’s elected to lead Canada must also push for improved funding of regional economic development funds.

Read: Many small biz owners worry about finances

In particular, “Ontario is a vote-rich province and Canada’s economic prosperity depends on our success,” says Allan O’Dette, president & CEO of the OCC. “A strong Canada necessitates a real commitment by Ottawa to the success of Ontario.”

O’Dette says the OCC’s report looks at the policies of the Conservative, NDP, and Liberal parties as they relate to key policy areas that matter to Canadian businesses. Those include infrastructure, Employment Insurance and economic development. “Ontario’s economy is in a period of transition,” he adds, so “we need leadership from the next federal government to provide solutions” and to boost growth.

Read: Is it time for small biz owners to draw dividends?

If you’d like to hear more about the parties and all of their policies, Advisor’s Election 2015 guide lays out where the parties stand on taxes, the economy, and pensions.

Breakdown of small biz promises

The Conservatives have pledged to:

  • maintain employers’ CPP contribution rates;
  • lower the small business tax rate by 2 percentage points; and
  • lower EI premiums from $1.88 to $1.49 per $100 of salary.

However, the OCC is concerned that the Conservatives refusal to reverse their decision to scrap the mandatory, long-form census—incomplete data collection will make it more difficult to get reliable labour market information.

Read: Put the election into context

The Liberals have pledged to:

  • invest $125 billion in infrastructure;
  • reduce EI premiums from $1.88 to $1.65 per $100 of salary; and
  • cut the small business tax rate by two percentage points.

But there’s a lack of clarity concerning the Liberals commitment to reduce the small business tax rate. And, says the OCC, the party has exaggerated the extent to which wealthy individuals seek better tax treatment by creating small businesses.

The NDP has pledged to:

  • reform Canada’s EI program by creating a universal threshold for access to benefits;
  • develop an auto strategy within the first 100 days of their mandate; and
  • reinstate the mandatory, long-form census.

However, the OCC is concerned about the NDP’s commitment to raise the corporate income tax rate—a move the OCC says could hurt Ontario’s investment climate.

Read: How could Canada’s next government support businesses?

More election news

Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation, or CASL, received widespread support in Parliament. But an independent review of this year’s federal election campaign emails has found the top four political parties may not properly follow CASL laws.

To conduct the review, a Toronto-based email marketing and compliance software service provider (itracMarketer) signed up for the email lists of each of the main federal parties. Then, the company monitored all of the emails received for a two-week period in August. It evaluated each party’s email collection forms, privacy policies and subscription processes.


The marketing firm found that all of the parties have adequate privacy policies, but that they all failed at properly capturing consent to send materials on their email collection pages.

In particular, they didn’t:

  • explain the kinds of communications and content they would send; and
  • indicate how to unsubscribe from communications.

“Since most parliamentarians supported CASL legislation, they should be setting a better example,” says Steve Vermeiren, vice president at itracMarketer.

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