PEI Election

 

Retail is the largest private sector employer in PEI.

Find out why #RetailMatters to Prince Edward Islanders.


12.4%
of PEI’s workforce works in Retail. That’s 9,400 Canadians.

853
storefronts in PEI


$265 Million
in total annual salaries paid

$18.72/HR
PEI’s average hourly compensation in retail

$1.5 Billion
in Retail Sales

Source: Stats Canada

Why PEI Retail Matters

Downtown Charlottetown, PEI

When your local candidates knock on your door or you meet them at an event, take time to share your experiences and the pride you have for PEI’s retail industry.

The retail industry is proud of the substantial contribution it makes to the Prince Edward Island economy. Our focus is on our communities, and how our businesses positively impact our standard of living. A campaign is a crucial time to reinforce the importance of our sector.

You’ll likely find most candidates will not be familiar with the scope of retail in PEI. This is your opportunity to demonstrate the importance of the industry, fill in any gaps in their knowledge and take the opportunity to share key facts about what challenges and opportunities you face on a daily basis. Every party is interested in creating jobs, growing the economy, expanding businesses, and increasing our standard of living. These are all outcomes of a thriving retail industry.

Where the Parties Stand

voting ballot box

Retail Council of Canada sent a questionnaire to all political parties addressing the key issues affecting retail in the province. We will post the responses here once received. Responses are listed in order of the current number of seats held.

Question

Liberal

NDP

Green

1a. Will your party commit to lowering corporate taxes to 14% and small business taxes to 3%? Unclear/Yes Unclear No
1b. Will your party commit to lower the HST by 1% per year until it reaches 13%? No No No
1c. Will your party commit to eliminating ‘bracket creep’? Unclear Unclear No
2. Will your party take additional steps to increase the personal tax exemption threshold? Yes No No
3a. Will your party create a dedicated resource to emphasize and streamline red tape reduction and regulatory harmonization efforts? No No* No
3b. Will your party commit to a government practice of analyzing all proposed legislation through a lens of Atlantic regulatory harmonization? Yes No Yes
4. Will your party tie all future increases to minimum wage to the CPI for the previous year? Unclear Unclear No
5. Will your party commit to consultation with relevant stakeholders on plastic bag bans before enacting change? Yes Yes Yes
6a. If elected, would your party work with RCC to develop and implement a retail sector strategy? Yes Yes Unclear
6b. Will your party pledge to reward employers for taking risks, growing their businesses and creating jobs? Yes Yes Unclear

    1. RCC applauds the current government’s successful efforts to finally balance the budget in 2017-18 while providing modest tax relief to small businesses. Nevertheless, PEI retailers are still faced with a multitude of increasing costs and are looking for the next provincial government to find ways to further reduce these costs for retailers. For instance, PEI’s provincial portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), along with its corporate and small business taxes remain the highest in Canada at 10%, 16% and 3.5% respectively.

      1. Now that the provincial budget is balanced, will your party commit to lowering corporate taxes to a regionally competitive 14%, and to lowering the small business tax to the regionally competitive rate of 3%?

        The liberal party of PEI has created a strong environment for economic growth and business investment and we want to continue with our strong track record. One part of our economic plan to continue economic growth is to lower corporate taxes and specifically the small business tax rate. The Liberal Party platform commits to reducing the small business tax rate to 2.5%, equal to New Brunswick as the lowest in the region. This reduction is a continuation of our commitment to lower the tax burden for Island business. In spring 2018, we reduced the rate, effective January 1, 2018, from 4.5% to 4%. In fall 2018, we reduced the rate effective January 1, 2019 to 3.5%.In budget 2018, we introduced a small business investment grant, providing a 15% grant on business capital investments, with a maximum credit of $3,750. Retail is an eligible sector. Through Finance PEI we provide entrepreneur loans for rural retail operations.

        Regarding the general corporate rate, PEI currently supports the aerospace and bioscience sectors through tax contracts which rebate all corporate income taxes in these key sectors. These contracts return approximately 25m in taxes annually to these sectors.

        As demonstrated by our actions in reducing the small business rate, we are committed to lowering tax on business. Our current situation of balanced budgets may allow us the flexibility to reduce the general corporate tax and we will do so if the current financial trends continue.

      2. Will your party commit to lower the HST by 1% per year until it reaches 13%?

        The liberal Party of PEI has balanced the budget, continued with a robust investment in economic infrastructure and supported businesses with new initiatives and programs to enhance competitiveness in our business community and individual Islanders have confidence in our management of government finances. Through such actions as increasing the basic personal amount, provision of a rebate equal to the provincial portion of HST on residential electrical use, and helping Islanders to reduce energy consumption through efficiency PEI incentive programs, we have substantially increased the amount of disposable income available to Islanders which is a direct benefit to the retail sector. Our continued investment and success in tourism and our country leading population growth is also supporting leading increases in retail growth. These actions and those laid out in responses below will continue to drive retail sales growth in PEI for years to come.
      3. As one of only two Canadian provinces that does not index its personal income tax brackets, will your party commit to eliminating bracket creep and allow Islanders to be rewarded for their success?

        Since 2016, our Liberal Government has increased the basic personal amount from 8,000 to $10,000 as committed in our platform. This is a 25% increase over 5 years (assuming it takes until 2020 to hit 10,000), or 5% per year, well above inflation. We are on the right track and we want to continue with this trend. This demonstrates our commitment to lowering personal taxes, and well exceeds the cost of bracket creep experienced over those years. We are optimistic that continued growth in PEI’s economy will allow us to begin to address bracket creep over the coming years.

 

    1. Since 2015, the government has made five increases to the province’s basic personal amount of income that needs to be earned before an individual pays income tax. For years, this tax threshold was far too low and resulted in too many low-income Islanders having to pay tax. RCC has spent years arguing that increases to the basic personal amount can create a more positive impact for low income Islanders than the unpredictable minimum wage increases put forth by the provincial government. Yet, despite the five increases, the threshold is still only at $9,160, which is the second lowest threshold in Canada.
      Will your party commit to taking additional steps to increase the personal tax exemption threshold to a level that is competitive with the rest of the country? As most provinces have exemption levels over $10,000, continued increases in PEI’s exemption level will provide Islanders with more dispensable income.

      In 2018 we raised PEI’s basic personal amount twice, reaching 9,160 effective January 1, 2019. Our platform committed to increasing this to 10,000 in 2020. Additionally, we have committed to creation of a PEI Workers Benefit, which will work in conjunction with the Canada workers benefit, to return more taxes to low and moderate income islanders and provide incentive for those detached from the work force to re-engage. The benefit of up to $1,600 for a single worker and $2,700 for a couple, will directly assist 12,600 Islanders and reduce their collective tax burden by $4.5M

      Additionally, we will reduce property taxes by 10% on the first 200,000 of assessed residential property values and create an affordable accommodation credit of up to $300 annually for rental units with monthly rents less than $1,500. These initiatives will put more disposable income in Islanders pockets and assist in expanding PEI’s workforce.

 

    1. The Joint Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness (based in Halifax) has played an important role in eliminating / harmonizing regulations within Nova Scotia and between Atlantic Provinces. In PEI, support for the Office comes from staff within the government’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism as opposed to dedicated resources. The lack of focused resources limits the ability of the PEI government to harmonize its initiatives with proven best practices within Atlantic Canada. Harmonization reduces red tape and makes it easier for businesses to grow within the Atlantic region.
      1. Will your party commit to creating a dedicated resources to emphasize and streamline red tape reduction and regulatory harmonization efforts throughout all government Departments and between Atlantic governments?

        We are in favour of reducing unnecessary red tape and promoting regulatory harmonization. However, we cannot commit to dedicating resources without first reviewing government’s current use of resources.
      2. Will your party commit to a government practice of analyzing all proposed legislation / regulations through a lens of Atlantic regulatory harmonization and red tape reduction, before the legislative / regulatory initiatives are approved by Executive Council?

        The Province of PEI is strongly committed to sustained efforts towards red tape reduction. PEI is taking steps to ensure all legislation is viewed through a lens of red tape reduction and where possible, Atlantic harmonization. Moreover, the Liberal Party platform commits to:

        • Reducing by 25 per cent in year one and 50 per cent in year two the licensing and inspection
          fees for small businesses that have a positive business record
        • Eliminating red tape and time delays that small businesses face in dealing with multiple departments
        • Setting a goal of $8 million in regulatory savings for Islanders by 2022

 

    1. RCC supports the current government’s 2017 decision to achieve greater regulatory harmonization with its Atlantic neighbours by mandating April 1st of each calendar year as the only date in which PEI can increase its minimum wage. RCC welcomed this action but the PEI government needs to do more to create predictability and fairness in its minimum wage decisions. RCC continues its call for PEI to follow the lead of every other Atlantic Province and mandate that minimum wage adjustments be based on an objective minimum wage formula that is tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous year. This approach provides businesses with predictability and allows them to plan for the cost increases throughout their salary scale that result from minimum wage increases. PEI’s lack of a predictable approach has resulted in recent years where:
      • businesses were subjected to multiple minimum wage increases
      • minimum wage increases were made with limited to no stakeholder consultation
      • businesses were given less than two months between the government’s announcement of a minimum wage change and the actual change in the wage.

      The unpredictable nature of the government’s minimum wage increases has resulted in an 18% increase in the province’s minimum wage since 2015 while CPI has only increased by 5.8% over the same time period.

      Will your party commit to legislating that all future increases to minimum wage be made by the change in the CPI for the previous year?

      Prince Edward Island has an open and transparent process of setting minimum wage through the Employment Standards Board. We are committed to ensuring that decisions are fair and communicated with enough notice to allow businesses to plan.

 

    1. The province’s ban on single use plastic bags will come into effect on July 1, 2019. The implementation of this law will undoubtedly have an impact on retailers and retail consumers as it will force a change in long held consumer / retailer practice. RCC did not oppose the final version of last year’s plastic bag legislation but remains highly critical of the government’s non-consultative approach to legislative change. Consultation needs to occur before legislation is drafted and yet, the retail community was not aware that legislation to ban single use plastic bags was even being considered. By the time government began notifying stakeholders of the proposed bag ban, the bill had already passed second reading. The original version of the bill was flawed and would have been highly problematic for retailers and the general public. Thankfully, RCC was able to convince the government of the need to amend its own legislation by suggesting sensible amendments based on the experience of retailers in dealing with single use plastic bags.
      The upheaval caused by the original version of this bill could have been avoided if the government had first taken the time to consult with RCC. Sadly, this non-consultative approach has been used repeatedly by various Departments in the provincial government. Consultation is an important part of the democratic process. Consultation also allows stakeholders to provide their expertise in creating / improving government initiatives.
      Will your party commit to consultation with relevant stakeholders before enacting change?

      The Liberal Party acknowledges that businesses as stakeholders should be involved in all aspects of government policy, regulation and legislation that have a direct impact on their operations.

 

  1. The retail sector is one of the largest industries in Prince Edward Island, employing almost 13% of Prince Edward Island employees and contributing over $2.4 billion in sales each year. But unlike other key sectors, the Prince Edward Island government has not developed a sector strategy to ensure that government policies are aligned to support the industry and enhance its competitiveness.

    1. If elected, would your party work with the Retail Council of Canada to develop and implement a retail sector strategy? This strategy would be similar to the strategies that have previously been developed for other economic sectors and would ensure Prince Edward Island’s retail industry continues to prosper?
      Our Government would be very interested in collaborating with the Retail Council of Canada to develop and implement a retail sector strategy- we welcome this idea. The Liberal Party holds fast to a commitment that our small businesses are the backbone of our economic success. By working collaboratively, we have witnessed tremendous growth in all sectors, including retail. We are committed to working together to see that growth continue.
    2. If elected, would your party work with the Retail Council of Canada to develop and implement a retail sector strategy? This strategy would be similar to the strategies that have previously been developed for other economic sectors and would ensure Prince Edward Island’s retail industry continues to prosper?
      The Liberal Government of Wade MacLauchlan has a track record of supporting business that has growth potential. The Liberal Party platform commits to significant supports for business and employment, including:

      • Expanding wage subsidy supports to Island businesses that provide a job to a recently graduated Island student
      • Introducing an Experiential Learning Fund to support employers hiring in non-traditional fields Increasing skills development training to help small businesses grow and prosper
      • Continuing the Capital Assistance Program for small business
      • Supporting sales growth to national and international markets through the Export Growth Fund

    1. RCC applauds the current government’s successful efforts to finally balance the budget in 2017-18 while providing modest tax relief to small businesses. Nevertheless, PEI retailers are still faced with a multitude of increasing costs and are looking for the next provincial government to find ways to further reduce these costs for retailers. For instance, PEI’s provincial portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), along with its corporate and small business taxes remain the highest in Canada at 10%, 16% and 3.5% respectively.

      1. Now that the provincial budget is balanced, will your party commit to lowering corporate taxes to a regionally competitive 14%, and to lowering the small business tax to the regionally competitive rate of 3%?

        The NDP PEI believes in a progressive tax system that benefits people on low income, and which generates revenue to invest in strong public services such as healthcare, housing and education. We would support small and large businesses that are low-carbon, create good jobs and are good for the community and the environment.
      2. Will your party commit to lower the HST by 1% per year until it reaches 13%?

        The HST represents an important source of revenue that is essential for maintaining our public services and providing benefits to people on low income. Reducing it would provide upper-income households with benefits they actually don’t need. These two factors would likely outweigh the small positive effects on lower-income households. The NDP would increase the provincial portion of the HST refunded to low-income Island residents.
      3. As one of only two Canadian provinces that does not index its personal income tax brackets, will your party commit to eliminating bracket creep and allow Islanders to be rewarded for their success?

        The NDP-PEI believes in a progressive tax system. There is much to be done to introduce more fairness into the system. For example, we would introduce a new tax bracket for high income earners.

 

    1. Since 2015, the government has made five increases to the province’s basic personal amount of income that needs to be earned before an individual pays income tax. For years, this tax threshold was far too low and resulted in too many low-income Islanders having to pay tax. RCC has spent years arguing that increases to the basic personal amount can create a more positive impact for low income Islanders than the unpredictable minimum wage increases put forth by the provincial government. Yet, despite the five increases, the threshold is still only at $9,160, which is the second lowest threshold in Canada.

      Will your party commit to taking additional steps to increase the personal tax exemption threshold to a level that is competitive with the rest of the country? As most provinces have exemption levels over $10,000, continued increases in PEI’s exemption level will provide Islanders with more dispensable income.

      The NDP-PEI believes our income tax system could be changed in several ways to make it more progressive, and fair, especially for people on low incomes.

      We do not see raising the personal exemption level as a progressive way to lessen the tax burden on low-income earners. In fact, it is higher-income earners who would benefit much more. There are other ways to provide people living on low incomes with (more) disposable income. Increasing the minimum wage on a predictable, regular ongoing basis is a much more effective way to improve the lives of low-income earners. Another way, at least over the long term, to provide people with a livable income is to invest in a Basic Income Guarantee program.

      Implementing measures to increase the income of people who are on low incomes is important. At the same time we believe that government has the power to reduce peoples’ costs by using tax revenue to provide comprehensive, accessible public services such as childcare, housing and public transit.

      Increasing the personal exemption would reduce the amount of money available for these kinds of investments and it would do little to improve the lives of people living in poverty or decrease income inequality.

      On the other hand, one way in which the NDP would increase tax revenue and address income inequality would be to implement a new tax bracket for high-income earners.

 

    1. The Joint Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness (based in Halifax) has played an important role in eliminating / harmonizing regulations within Nova Scotia and between Atlantic Provinces. In PEI, support for the Office comes from staff within the government’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism as opposed to dedicated resources. The lack of focused resources limits the ability of the PEI government to harmonize its initiatives with proven best practices within Atlantic Canada. Harmonization reduces red tape and makes it easier for businesses to grow within the Atlantic region.
      1. Will your party commit to creating a dedicated resources to emphasize and streamline red tape reduction and regulatory harmonization efforts throughout all government Departments and between Atlantic governments?

        *Existing resources are adequateThe PEI NDP is concerned that important consumer protection and health measures are often labelled as red tape. The PEI NDP will promote the right of individual provinces to regulate in the public interest and respond to demands from the public to do so. We will work to ensure that public safety and public health, the right of the public to information and labelling on products, environmental regulation, the integrity of our roads and infrastructure and safety of workers are never compromised by deregulatory measures or efforts to harmonize regulation between Atlantic provinces.

        The NDP PEI will also, where it is in the public interest or helps us reach our carbon emissions targets, consider the benefits of harmonizing regulation upwards to a higher level.

        Where regulation is clearly non-effective from a public interest point of view the NDP PEI would consider eliminating it.

      2. Will your party commit to a government practice of analyzing all proposed legislation / regulations through a lens of Atlantic regulatory harmonization and red tape reduction, before the legislative / regulatory initiatives are approved by Executive Council?

        The NDP PEI will ensure that the primary lens through which legislation is viewed is the public interest. Regulatory harmonization schemes which exist in, or on the side of, international and interprovincial trade agreements have been used to stall or nip in the bud important regulation aimed at protecting the health and safety of citizens.

 

    1. RCC supports the current government’s 2017 decision to achieve greater regulatory harmonization with its Atlantic neighbours by mandating April 1st of each calendar year as the only date in which PEI can increase its minimum wage. RCC welcomed this action but the PEI government needs to do more to create predictability and fairness in its minimum wage decisions. RCC continues its call for PEI to follow the lead of every other Atlantic Province and mandate that minimum wage adjustments be based on an objective minimum wage formula that is tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous year. This approach provides businesses with predictability and allows them to plan for the cost increases throughout their salary scale that result from minimum wage increases. PEI’s lack of a predictable approach has resulted in recent years where:
      • businesses were subjected to multiple minimum wage increases
      • minimum wage increases were made with limited to no stakeholder consultation
      • businesses were given less than two months between the government’s announcement of a minimum wage change and the actual change in the wage.

      The unpredictable nature of the government’s minimum wage increases has resulted in an 18% increase in the province’s minimum wage since 2015 while CPI has only increased by 5.8% over the same time period.

      Will your party commit to legislating that all future increases to minimum wage be made by the change in the CPI for the previous year?

      The NDP PEI is committed to making the minimum wage a livable wage. It will determine the level of increases in the minimum wage by using information available on the actual cost of living. We will continue with an annual review process, one that is based on public consultation with adequate opportunities for employers, employees and organizations to have their say . The NDP will ensure that employers are informed well in advance of increases to the minimum wage.

 

    1. The province’s ban on single use plastic bags will come into effect on July 1, 2019. The implementation of this law will undoubtedly have an impact on retailers and retail consumers as it will force a change in long held consumer / retailer practice. RCC did not oppose the final version of last year’s plastic bag legislation but remains highly critical of the government’s non-consultative approach to legislative change. Consultation needs to occur before legislation is drafted and yet, the retail community was not aware that legislation to ban single use plastic bags was even being considered. By the time government began notifying stakeholders of the proposed bag ban, the bill had already passed second reading. The original version of the bill was flawed and would have been highly problematic for retailers and the general public. Thankfully, RCC was able to convince the government of the need to amend its own legislation by suggesting sensible amendments based on the experience of retailers in dealing with single use plastic bags.
      The upheaval caused by the original version of this bill could have been avoided if the government had first taken the time to consult with RCC. Sadly, this non-consultative approach has been used repeatedly by various Departments in the provincial government. Consultation is an important part of the democratic process. Consultation also allows stakeholders to provide their expertise in creating / improving government initiatives.

      Will your party commit to consultation with relevant stakeholders before enacting change?

      “Democratic” is our middle name. We believe in the people having authentic representation and direct voice in their government, and in the principle that government must report to the people with transparency and accountability. We commit to meaningful and comprehensive public consultation when new policies or legislation are introduced.

 

  1. The retail sector is one of the largest industries in Prince Edward Island, employing almost 13% of Prince Edward Island employees and contributing over $2.4 billion in sales each year. But unlike other key sectors, the Prince Edward Island government has not developed a sector strategy to ensure that government policies are aligned to support the industry and enhance its competitiveness.

    1. If elected, would your party work with the Retail Council of Canada to develop and implement a retail sector strategy? This strategy would be similar to the strategies that have previously been developed for other economic sectors and would ensure Prince Edward Island’s retail industry continues to prosper?
      Our party pledges to establish a department of Cooperative and Community Economic Development. This department would look to various sectors to understand better the needs of the community and work in collaboration to create strategies that benefit the whole community.
    2. If elected, would your party work with the Retail Council of Canada to develop and implement a retail sector strategy? This strategy would be similar to the strategies that have previously been developed for other economic sectors and would ensure Prince Edward Island’s retail industry continues to prosper?
      Our party pledges to support small and large businesses which are low-carbon, create good jobs and are good for the community and the environment.

    1. RCC applauds the current government’s successful efforts to finally balance the budget in 2017-18 while providing modest tax relief to small businesses. Nevertheless, PEI retailers are still faced with a multitude of increasing costs and are looking for the next provincial government to find ways to further reduce these costs for retailers. For instance, PEI’s provincial portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), along with its corporate and small business taxes remain the highest in Canada at 10%, 16% and 3.5% respectively.

      1. Now that the provincial budget is balanced, will your party commit to lowering corporate taxes to a regionally competitive 14%, and to lowering the small business tax to the regionally competitive rate of 3%?

        We will not commit to lowering the corporate tax rate to 14%, but we are committed to lowering the small business tax rate to 3%.
      2. Will your party commit to lower the HST by 1% per year until it reaches 13%?

        No
      3. As one of only two Canadian provinces that does not index its personal income tax brackets, will your party commit to eliminating bracket creep and allow Islanders to be rewarded for their success?

        We are open to reviewing bracket creep, but cannot commit to eliminating it at this time.

 

    1. Since 2015, the government has made five increases to the province’s basic personal amount of income that needs to be earned before an individual pays income tax. For years, this tax threshold was far too low and resulted in too many low-income Islanders having to pay tax. RCC has spent years arguing that increases to the basic personal amount can create a more positive impact for low income Islanders than the unpredictable minimum wage increases put forth by the provincial government. Yet, despite the five increases, the threshold is still only at $9,160, which is the second lowest threshold in Canada.

      Will your party commit to taking additional steps to increase the personal tax exemption threshold to a level that is competitive with the rest of the country? As most provinces have exemption levels over $10,000, continued increases in PEI’s exemption level will provide Islanders with more dispensable income.

      We are open to reviewing the basic personal amount, but we believe that minimum wage increases provide greater support to low-income Islanders, especially those who do not earn above the basic personal amount.

 

    1. The Joint Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness (based in Halifax) has played an important role in eliminating / harmonizing regulations within Nova Scotia and between Atlantic Provinces. In PEI, support for the Office comes from staff within the government’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism as opposed to dedicated resources. The lack of focused resources limits the ability of the PEI government to harmonize its initiatives with proven best practices within Atlantic Canada. Harmonization reduces red tape and makes it easier for businesses to grow within the Atlantic region.
      1. Will your party commit to creating a dedicated resources to emphasize and streamline red tape reduction and regulatory harmonization efforts throughout all government Departments and between Atlantic governments?

        We are in favour of reducing unnecessary red tape and promoting regulatory harmonization. However, we cannot commit to dedicating resources without first reviewing government’s current use of resources.
      2. Will your party commit to a government practice of analyzing all proposed legislation / regulations through a lens of Atlantic regulatory harmonization and red tape reduction, before the legislative / regulatory initiatives are approved by Executive Council?

        We are open to analyzing legislation and regulations through a lens of regulatory harmonization and red tape reduction where appropriate.

 

    1. RCC supports the current government’s 2017 decision to achieve greater regulatory harmonization with its Atlantic neighbours by mandating April 1st of each calendar year as the only date in which PEI can increase its minimum wage. RCC welcomed this action but the PEI government needs to do more to create predictability and fairness in its minimum wage decisions. RCC continues its call for PEI to follow the lead of every other Atlantic Province and mandate that minimum wage adjustments be based on an objective minimum wage formula that is tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous year. This approach provides businesses with predictability and allows them to plan for the cost increases throughout their salary scale that result from minimum wage increases. PEI’s lack of a predictable approach has resulted in recent years where:
      • businesses were subjected to multiple minimum wage increases
      • minimum wage increases were made with limited to no stakeholder consultation
      • businesses were given less than two months between the government’s announcement of a minimum wage change and the actual change in the wage.

      The unpredictable nature of the government’s minimum wage increases has resulted in an 18% increase in the province’s minimum wage since 2015 while CPI has only increased by 5.8% over the same time period.

      Will your party commit to legislating that all future increases to minimum wage be made by the change in the CPI for the previous year?

      We would raise the minimum wage in consistent and predictable increments to $15.00 per hour by 2023.

 

    1. The province’s ban on single use plastic bags will come into effect on July 1, 2019. The implementation of this law will undoubtedly have an impact on retailers and retail consumers as it will force a change in long held consumer / retailer practice. RCC did not oppose the final version of last year’s plastic bag legislation but remains highly critical of the government’s non-consultative approach to legislative change. Consultation needs to occur before legislation is drafted and yet, the retail community was not aware that legislation to ban single use plastic bags was even being considered. By the time government began notifying stakeholders of the proposed bag ban, the bill had already passed second reading. The original version of the bill was flawed and would have been highly problematic for retailers and the general public. Thankfully, RCC was able to convince the government of the need to amend its own legislation by suggesting sensible amendments based on the experience of retailers in dealing with single use plastic bags.
      The upheaval caused by the original version of this bill could have been avoided if the government had first taken the time to consult with RCC. Sadly, this non-consultative approach has been used repeatedly by various Departments in the provincial government. Consultation is an important part of the democratic process. Consultation also allows stakeholders to provide their expertise in creating / improving government initiatives.
      Will your party commit to consultation with relevant stakeholders before enacting change?

      We are committed to more collaboratives approach to governance.

 

  1. The retail sector is one of the largest industries in Prince Edward Island, employing almost 13% of Prince Edward Island employees and contributing over $2.4 billion in sales each year. But unlike other key sectors, the Prince Edward Island government has not developed a sector strategy to ensure that government policies are aligned to support the industry and enhance its competitiveness.

    1. If elected, would your party work with the Retail Council of Canada to develop and implement a retail sector strategy? This strategy would be similar to the strategies that have previously been developed for other economic sectors and would ensure Prince Edward Island’s retail industry continues to prosper?
      Our party pledges to establish a department of Cooperative and Community Economic Development. This department would look to various sectors to understand better the needs of the community and work in collaboration to create strategies that benefit the whole community.
    2. If elected, would your party work with the Retail Council of Canada to develop and implement a retail sector strategy? This strategy would be similar to the strategies that have previously been developed for other economic sectors and would ensure Prince Edward Island’s retail industry continues to prosper?
      We would be open to considering a retail sector strategy, but we favour multi-sectoral approaches that engage a broad range of private public, public, and non-profit stakeholders.

PEI Key Retail Issues

Ensure financial stability for business owners and tax payers

Prince Edward Island’s corporate, small business and HST tax rates remain the highest in the country.

For consumers, the government has made five increases since 2015 to the province’s basic personal amount of income that needs to be earned before an individual pays income tax. This is a positive initiative, but the basic personal exemption threshold is still far too low compared to the exemption thresholds across the country. In addition, PEI is one of only two provinces in Canada that does not index its personal income tax brackets. This limits economic growth and dissuades consumer spending.

RCC remains strongly opposed to the high tax rates in Prince Edward Island. Elevated corporate tax rates, HST and personal income taxes increase employer and consumer costs. These costs make it increasingly difficult for retailers to do business on the Island.

We are asking the provincial government to:

  • Lower the general corporate tax rate to 14% and the provincial portion of the HST to 8%.
  • Increase the basic personal income amount to a level that’s competitive with other Maritime provinces.
  • Commit to eliminating bracket creep and allow Islanders to be rewarded for their success.
man in front of grocery scale

Harmonize regulations across Atlantic provinces

person with scale and gavel

The Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness in Halifax has played an important role in working with Atlantic governments to eliminate or harmonize regulations within the Atlantic provinces. Support for the Office comes from staff within the government’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism as opposed to dedicated resources. The lack of focused resources results in too many examples where the PEI government still has not harmonized within the Atlantic region. Harmonization reduces red tape and makes it easier for businesses to grow on the East Coast.

We are asking the provincial government to:

  • Analyze all proposed legislation and regulations through a lens of Atlantic harmonization and red tape reduction before the legislative or regulatory initiatives are approved.
  • Create a dedicated resource to emphasize red tape reduction and regulatory harmonization.

Tie minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index

The current government has continually refused to join with the other Atlantic provinces in increasing minimum wage based on the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Erratic minimum wage hikes make it difficult for business owners to budget for salary costs. Indexing minimum wage to CPI allows for a transparent process. It also allows employers to be able to predict and have adequate lead time to budget and manage changes to labour costs.

We are asking the provincial government to:

  • Increase minimum wage based on the change in the Consumer Price Index.
minimum wage abstract

Consult employers and stakeholders

hands in air asking questions

In recent years, provincial governments in this region have taken positive steps towards increased stakeholder consultation in advance of making decisions. Unfortunately, the current government has a long history of implementing minimum wage increases with little-to-no stakeholder consultation. The 2018 legislation to ban single use plastic bags was on the verge of being passed when the government finally listened to the business community and made important changes to improve a potentially problematic piece of legislation. The PEI government’s record of action is one where employers are either not consulted, rarely consulted, or are consulted after government has made decisions that impact the Island’s business sector.

We are asking the provincial government to:

  • Pledge to consult with employers on issues that affect their businesses.

Develop a retail sector strategy

While the retail sector has been viewed in the past as a predictable source of jobs and tax revenue, retailers are facing the effects of significant cumulative costs and competitive pressures. In the modern age of retail, there is no certainty that Islanders will continue to be served by retailers based in PEI unless investment is made in this sector.

We are asking the provincial government to:

  • Work with Retail Council of Canada to develop a proper sectoral policy focus commensurate with the size of the retail industry. Retail is the largest private sector employer in PEI, but while other industries have been the focus of sector strategies and incentives, the retail industry has long been overlooked.
  • Work to attract greater investment, job growth and human resource talent to PEI.
  • Provide incentives for independent retailers to invest in people, technology and eCommerce.
Downtown Charlottetown, PEI

Get Involved

shopkeeper holding retail matters sign

Use these tools to contact your local candidates and make your voice heard.

Find your candidates

 

Find candidates and their contact info for your riding.

Find candidates in your riding

Find party contact info

Print your sign

 

Show your pride in retail by posting a photo of your retail staff holding a #RetailMatters sign or a photo of your store.

#RetailMatters sign

Print #RetailMatters sign

Tell candidates #RetailMatters

Use these links to send parties your staff photos or customized tweets.


You can also send a letter to your candidate

Let your candidates know how important retail is to PEIns by sending a letter. RCC has created a pre-written template you can use to make sure candidates and elected officials understand retail’s impact in your community and how they can support our sector.


Contributing to political parties – what you need to know

Contributing to a campaign can be an effective way to build relationships with candidates in your riding.

Make sure that you understand the rules before lending your support to a provincial political party and its campaign. Here is a quick summary of things to remember:

Who can contribute?

Only individuals can contribute. Donations cannot be anonymous. The individual must be a resident of Prince Edward Island or be able to prove that despite working in another province, they are still connected to the Island (e.g. working in Alberta but spouse, home, etc. remain in PEI).

What is the contribution limit?

There is a $3,000 contribution limit, which will be subjected to the annual change in CPI. The contribution limit encompasses financial and in-kind contributions. An individual may choose to donate to multiple candidates but the total of all donations from the individual cannot exceed $3,000. The Official Agent must provide a tax receipt for any contribution above $25. For any donation in excess of $250, the Official Agent must provide the Chief Electoral Officer with the name and address the contributor. This information will be posted publicly.

How can a contribution be made?

The contribution is made to either a registered political party or the party’s electoral district association. Once the election is officially announced, a contribution can be made to the Official Agent of a candidate.

Who can receive contributions?

The Official Agent of the political party or the Official Agent’s designate must receive the contributions. During the election, a candidate’s Official Agent can also receive contributions. The Official Agent for the political party is ultimately responsible for keeping a complete record of each contribution (e.g. name of the recipient) and for issuing all tax receipts.

Contact Us

Jim CormierFor questions or to find out more, contact Jim Cormier, Director, Government Relations (Atlantic) jcormier@retailcouncil.org or 902-422-4144.

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