On November 6, the Government of Ontario released its 2019 Fall Economic Statement entitled, “2019 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: A Plan to Build Ontario Together,” which provides an update on the government’s finances and announces commitments for the upcoming 2020 Budget. The Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development & Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs provided an overview of the plan at our Leaders Luncheon on November 7th. We are pleased to see specific action to address some of the issues that our Chamber has raised with the Ontario Government in recent months.
Of interest to all local small businesses is the reduction of the Small Business Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate to 3.2 percent from 3.5 percent, starting January 2020, helping to reduce the tax burden for businesses making up to $500,000. According to the Ministry of Finance, this measure would provide tax relief of up to $1,500 annually to over 275,000 businesses that benefit from the small business CIT rate, from family-owned businesses to innovative start-ups.
As part of the Province’s upcoming Forestry Strategy, the government announced that it is investing $10 million annually to support the sector through the renewed Forestry Growth Fund (FGF). The redesigned FGF will use an open and competitive rounds‐based application process that predominantly uses loans and loan guarantees to support business. We are eagerly awaiting the release of the complete Forestry Strategy to learn more about the Government’s plan to ensure that we can continue to put wood to work for our communities.
Following 5 years of advocacy effort with many local and provincial partners, we are extremely pleased with the announcement that the Government will reduce the aviation fuel tax rate in Northern Ontario to 2.7 cents per litre from the current 6.7 cents per litre, returning it to 2014 levels. This change would take effect on January 1, 2020 and will be implemented across all of Northern Ontario.
These are positive steps for the Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario business community and we thank the Ontario Government for listening to and acting upon our concerns.
To read more about the many issues addressed in the Economic Statement, check out the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Policy Update.