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19 October 2018

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Canadian Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, Issues Report Calling for Tax and Regulatory Reforms

The Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce has tabled its final report entitled: Canada: Still open for business? The report concerns new and emerging issues for Canadian importers and exporters in North American and global markets, including in terms of the competitivity of Canada’s tax system in light of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. In this regard, the committee recommends that:

  • The federal government establish a Royal Commission on Taxation to examine Canada’s tax system with the goal of improving the efficiency, simplicity and international competitiveness of the system and that the commission complete its study within the next three years.
  • The federal government act immediately to implement measures that would encourage companies to continue to invest in Canada, such as reducing the corporate income tax rate and temporarily allowing the full and immediate deduction of capital expenditures.
  • The federal government take action to improve Canada’s regulatory regime, aiming to balance competing interests and ensure project completion.
  • The federal government assist companies in commercializing their intellectual property through better protections in international trade agreements, increased funding for research and development and expanding the Scientific Research and Experimental Development investment tax credit program.
  • The federal government should, on an urgent basis, improve Canada’s trade infrastructure, with particular focus on bottlenecks within Canada’s gateway transportation networks including rail, pipelines, roads and port infrastructure, and should also re-examine the Beyond the Border Initiative and encourage the implementation of those measures in Canada and the United States that would expedite the transportation of goods across the Canada-United States border.
  • The federal government focus on expediting trade in emerging, fast-growing economies, such as China and India. It should continue to negotiate and implement free trade agreements and provide other support programs for businesses exporting beyond North America.

The report concludes by noting that the committee recognizes that making major changes to Canada’s tax system will not be an easy thing to do, but if changes are not made, Canada will be left behind, and economic prosperity will suffer.

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