OTTAWA – Yesterday the federal government brought down its 2018 budget with heavy emphasis (read spending) for women’s issues and Indigenous reconciliation. There’s money for science and research and to study how a national “pharmacare” program might work.
But not so much for boosting business competitiveness, something the Mining Association of Canada says is sorely lacking.
Pierre Gratton, MAC president and CEO.
MAC president and CEO Pierre Gratton said in a release, “Unfortunately, budget 2018 does little to enhance Canada’s competitiveness at a time when the country’s relative share of exploration spending and new mine investment has been declining, and as our major trading partner, the United States, has significantly reduced corporate and personal income taxes.”
Despite this major concern, MAC has found several policy measures to be worthy of note. There is enhanced funding for Indigenous skills training with the creation of the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program. This replaces the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Program, which has made important contributions to Indigenous participation in Canada’s mining sector. There is funding to pilot an apprentice incentive grant for women to encourage more women to pursue careers in trades.
Such measures will push the mineral industry workforce toward diversity.
When it comes to finding mines, the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit has been renewed for another year. This is perhaps an example of maintaining the status quo, but no one wants to make it harder than it already is to attract financing to the junior sector.
There is funding to support the implementation of the new Impact Assessment Act and the Species at Risk Act. This replaces the former environmental assessment oversight by the federal government. Hopefully, the new law will come with less red tape and shorter timelines for decisions.
And, there is funding to establish a stronger Canadian diplomatic and trade support presence in China and Asia, potentially opening these markets to increased trade with Canada’s mineral industry.
MAC remains optimistic about the future of the global mining industry, particularly as doors are opened to growing demand for metals needed for society to move away from its reliance on carbon-based fuels.
Click here to download a PDF version of the new federal budget.