Letter to the Honourable Anita Anand, P.C., M.P., President of the Treasury Board
On behalf of the Business Council of Canada (BCC) and its entire membership, please accept our congratulations on your appointment as President of the Treasury Board. Your new role and responsibilities cover several important economic policy areas which are top priorities for Canada’s business leaders, such as leading the government’s continuing regulatory reform efforts to improve the competitiveness of Canadian businesses.
In addition, Budget 2022 committed that the President of the Treasury Board would lead a comprehensive strategic policy review which would help “identify opportunities to save and reallocate resources.” The Department of Finance calculated that this effort would target savings of $6 billion over five years and $3 billion annually by 2026-27. An update on the review’s progress was promised in Budget 2023, but none was delivered.
Budget 2023 did, however, increase substantially the total projected value of savings to be generated by the comprehensive strategic policy review to $15.4 billion over the next five years. This includes phasing in a 3% reduction of all eligible spending by all departments, agencies, and Crown corporations. With renewed leadership on this important file, we believe even greater savings and efficiencies can be identified in Budget 2024.
As you know from your previous cabinet position, reallocating inefficient or unnecessary government spending could help Canada deliver on commitments such as honouring our promise to our NATO allies to invest 2% of GDP on defence spending. Savings could also be used to help stimulate economic growth by incenting provinces to eliminate all barriers to interprovincial trade, investment, labour mobility, and credentials recognition.
Lastly, a comprehensive strategic policy review would help identify savings which could reduce the deficit and, over time, pay down our national debt. The government’s current spending is unsustainable and unless it takes serious steps to reconsider some of what was previously allocated Canada may soon be at risk of a credit downgrade. The seismic negative impact this would have on our national economy cannot be overstated.
Rest assured that Canada’s business community stands ready to work collaboratively with you and your officials as you undertake your important new responsibilities.
Yours very truly,
c.c. The Honourable Chrystia Freeland
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance