This afternoon Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland released the federal Fall Economic Statement 2022 (“FES”).
With the FES, Prime Minister Trudeau and his government have tried to strike a delicate balance between competing imperatives. On the one hand, the government recognizes the need for further investments in economic growth, innovation, productivity, and the green transition to ensure Canada’s economy continues to create good-paying jobs and prosperity while combatting climate change.
On the other hand, Canada is now in a post-COVID period marked by uncertainty with a looming recession, global supply chain shortages and geopolitical insecurity. Prudent fiscal management – keeping some powder dry for the challenges ahead – informed the government’s approach. In her speech, Minister Freeland noted that as economic challenges come to bear, the government will be able to invest in the Canadian economy “because we were prudent in April, and because we are being prudent today."
For private sector companies and their trade associations, there is plenty of opportunity to engage with the government as the FES is implemented and Budget 2023 is crafted. Significant new spending measures were announced in the green infrastructure sector, and there are a number of tax consultations planned for the months ahead. Conspicuously absent were commitments related to other key files including health, agriculture and defence. Much work will be done between now and the spring to ensure that those key sectors are recognized within Budget 2023.