Businesses don’t operate in a vacuum, isolated from any political or market changes, so it’s imperative to stay in-the-know of what’s going on. From the new Canadian carbon tax and 2019 Federal budget, it’s been an exciting year so far for the Canadian economic landscape. As we head into Q3, it’s time we take a step back to look at what has happened so far in terms of domestic changes and how these events are affecting Canadian businesses.
With the federal carbon tax now in effect in several provinces (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick), many businesses are asking how the tax levy will affect them. Designed to lower Canada’s carbon emissions, the tax is applied to greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels, and starts at $20 per tonne in 2019, increasing by $10/tonne yearly until $50/tonne in 2022.
Business owners should be glad to hear that there are funds set aside for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the form of grants and rebates, but they come with a caveat:
“nearly half of the revenues of the carbon tax will come from small businesses, but they can expect to receive just 7 per cent back in the form of yet-to-be-determined grants and rebates”,
and there are little to no details on how to apply for these funds and what the requirements are.
Since the news about the carbon tax, the government has allocated millions to big companies for retrofits, but there is still no word on the funding that’s available for small businesses. Considering that SMBs are already paying the tax, this lack of clarity is worrying.
Federal Budget 2019
We’ve mentioned the 2019 Federal Budget 2019 before, but here are some highlights important for all business owners:
- With the new Canada Training Benefit and the Employment Insurance (EI) Training Support Benefit, workers will have more access to the training they need. These benefits are paid through the EI system, but the EI rate is not expected to increase as unemployment rates remain low. An EI Small Business Premium Rebate is offered as a measure to offset any potential increase in EI rates for small businesses. As an employer, you’ll need to ensure the training is relevant to your industry and that the time allotted for training is administered properly. Keep in mind that you actually pay 1.4 times the EI rate an employee does, but the rate has gone down by five cents in 2019 for small businesses (excluding Quebec).
- To better support business research and development (R&D) in Canada, the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program provides a 35% refundable tax credit to eligible small and medium-sized businesses. The budget proposes to eliminate the income threshold for accessing this credit, as well as provide $395 million over five years, and $105 million per year ongoing.
- The Canadian Pension Plan premium has increased to 5.10%. You may have to take a closer look at your business budget (stay tuned for tips on how to create a balanced business budget on our blog!) to see how to cover the rising CPP costs.
Stay ahead of the game, stay competitive
To remain competitive, you need to stay on top of political, legal, and economic changes. Certain policy choices go beyond business owners’ control, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t shift your own strategy to maximize opportunities. Moving forward in the latter half of the year, you’ll need to make changes to your budget if you’ve been affected by the carbon tax and CPP costs. Stay tuned for our next blog post as we’ll be discussing the Canadian economic outlook in terms of international events, such as the political rift between China and Canada and the USMCA, which will have implications for your business.
At Qmulus, we offer budget planning, tax advisory, and business consulting with economic and industry trends in mind. Give us a call at 647-476-2145 or schedule an appointment if you have questions on how these economic trends in Canada will affect your business and how to best navigate through them.