The following Budget announcements have direct impact on retailers:

  •     The government listened to RCC’s position on minimum wage and made no change to minimum wage for 2013.  It also re-announced its attention to set up an Advisory Panel to provide advice on how to adjust minimum wage going forward.  The Panel would include business, worker and youth group participants and would report back within six months from the date of the Budget passing.
  •     The Budget establishes principles the government intends to use in evaluating the Metrolinx report on Infrastructure Funding expected to be released in June of this year.  The budget principles share RCC’s concerns about revenue sources needing to be dedicated to provide clarity and transparency to the process.  In addition, any new revenue tool should not unfairly impact one type of commute or community over another.
  •     As recently announced in the media, the Budget confirmed the intention to create high occupancy vehicle lanes for sections of 401, 404, 410 and 427 in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to allow drivers a choice to drive in these lanes with the payment of a toll.
  •     As a support to small business, the Budget proposes to increase the Employer Health Tax exemption threshold from $400,000 to $450,000 commencing January 1, 2014.  To offset the revenue loss to the government, businesses with annual payrolls over $5 million will lose the threshold exemption effective 2014.  RCC had requested an increase in the threshold to $1 million to be implemented over a number of years but fiscal challenges precluded the government from moving boldly.
  •     The Minister made no change to the Corporate Income Tax rate which will continue to be held at the current 11.5% rate until the deficit is eliminated.
  •     The rest of the Budget focused on addressing the fiscal challenges by maintaining public sector wage freezes and limiting expenditure growth.  In his first budget, Finance Minister Sousa maintained the fiscal target of eliminating the deficit by fiscal 2017/18.

Click here to view the 2013 Ontario budget papers.

For the budget to pass, the government needs to garner support from one of the opposition parties.  As a result, the final budget may contain modifications from the document that was introduced today.  RCC will continue to monitor the process and intervene where required to make sure retailers are minimally impacted.

Next Steps:

Retail Council of Canada will continue to meet with elected officials on the Infrastructure Revenue Tools initiative to ensure retail concerns are addressed.  A meeting is being set up with the Minister of Transportation to share retail concerns with the proposed options being considered by Metrolinx.

RCC will also be working with Ministry of Labour officials to gain membership on the Minimum Wage Advisory Panel.

If you have any questions or concerns about Ontario’s budget, please contact
Gary Rygus, Director of Government Relations (Ontario), at [email protected] or (416) 922-6678 ext. 225.