BY DIANE J. BRISEBOIS, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada
Retail is the backbone to the Canadian economy. It’s a vital component of each community across the country. And for these reasons, I am taking the opportunity to talk to you about the importance, and the need, for a strong voice for the industry in 2019 and the critical issues that Retail Council of Canada (RCC) will be tackling and advocating on your behalf.
Let me begin by thanking the thousands of small, mid and large retailers who make a commitment, year after year, to support their industry association by joining RCC.
Did you know that RCC has 6 offices across Canada, more than 15 full-time employees whose primary job is to lobby on your behalf and the industry—at the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government? Their efforts are supported by 30 full-time team members who provide advice and support on regulations, human resources, store operations and other issues you might face, in addition to developing education, research, events and cost-saving programs that are essential to retail businesses.
Here are just some highlights of the 2018 advocacy efforts RCC put forward on behalf of retailers in Canada:
- Holding de minimis level to $40 (tax) in USMCA (NAFTA) for courier shipments only;
- 10 bps reduction for 2020 in credit card interchange rates ($400M annual savings for our retailers);
- Reversal of most aspects of Ontario Bill 148, including holding minimum wage increase to $14 for 2018-2020;
- Formal reversal of Canada Revenue Agency’s 2017 plan to tax employee discounts (Millions $ of costs and red tape avoided thanks to this victory!);
- Significant increases in accelerated capital cost allowance for retailers;
- Suspension of new regulations adding eco fees on appliances in Québec;
- Repeal of upholstered and stuffed articles regulation in Ontario and Manitoba—saving money and time for retailers selling apparel, furniture, and other stuffed articles;
- Timely intervention in Canada Post strike helped drive back-to-work legislation (RCC was the ONLY association that took a very public stance on this issue to ensure you could deliver goods to your customers before and during the Holiday Season).
Just a few examples of key areas of advocacy that RCC will be heading on your behalf in 2019:
- Enforcement of Tax & Duty collection—If you must pay duties and collect sales tax on products you sell online and in store, so should foreign businesses who sell online into Canada (special focus on parcels coming into Canada via Canada Post!);
- Ensuring that common sense prevails as Health Canada looks at developing legislation around Marketing to Children. Did you know that advertising a cupcake in a customer-directed weekly flyer could be considered marketing to children and therefore not allowed? Insane!;
- Ensuring labelling changes in food modernization regulations (e.g., best before date) are predictable, without unnecessary compliance costs;
- Re-establishing principle linking minimum wage changes in the provinces to CPI inflation—any increases beyond CPI implemented over a multi-year period to allow retailers enough time to adjust;
- Build on late-2018/early-2019 workers’ compensation wins in Ontario and New Brunswick with cost containment for our retailers in British Columbia (our focus is on bringing your costs of operations down!);
- Reinstatement of sales tax rebate for visitors to Canada (Making sure tourists spend their money in your stores and across Canada);
- Working with political parties toward the 2019 federal election to advance positive retail-relevant policies, ensuring all political parties understand and support the important contribution retailers make in every community from coast-to-coast-to-coast—#RetailMatters;
- And, promoting the importance of local independent retailers in our communities through MAINSTREET Retail Awareness Campaigns.
Your membership makes RCC the strongest and most effective Voice of Retail in Canada. It continues to be unapologetic about its retail-first position and it is proud to be un-conflicted when it speaks on your behalf. RCC is solely focused on RETAIL—ensuring it advances your needs, protects your retail business and promotes careers in retail.
If you are not a member of the association, I encourage you to join the thousands of retailers who support RCC and who allow us to be the most effective and passionate voice for retail in Canada.
DIANE J. BRISEBOIS
President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada