The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance traditionally invites Canadians to participate in its annual pre-budget consultations. This year, the committee sought submissions that focus on helping Canadians, businesses and communities contribute to the country’s economic growth.\nThe submission put forward by CPA Canada addresses four priorities that are key to helping Canada achieve a sustainable economy.\n“A multiple lens approach works best when seeking ways to grow and strengthen the Canadian economy,” says Joy Thomas, president and CEO of CPA Canada. “Strong fiscal management, a more efficient tax system, helping Canadians gain knowledge and bolstered innovation are all factors that can help achieve economic prosperity.”\nCPA CANADA’S PRE-BUDGET SUBMISSION: FOUR PRIORITIES\n1. Responsible fiscal management\n“Accountability is crucial”\nGiven the government’s five-year projection of consecutive deficits and its 10-year $120-billion infrastructure plan, CPA Canada offers three recommendations. First, strive to balance the nation’s books by the end of the government’s mandate. Second, tie infrastructure investments to longer-term goals such as international competitiveness and sustainability. And third, offer details about the proposed Canada Infrastructure Bank.\n2. Tax reform\n“Canada needs a 21st-century tax system”\nThe federal government’s announced tax expenditure review is a step in the right direction, but falls short of the comprehensive review CPA Canada firmly believes is required. Canada’s tax system is a key lever for ensuring the country’s business environment remains competitive and attracts the best and brightest minds, but it has not received a thorough review in 50 years.\nSpecific advice? Focus on economic growth. Keep personal and corporate tax rates low. Don’t tax personal savings. Coordinate efforts with the provinces, territories and other countries. Clarify the rules on unacceptable tax planning and continue to combat global tax evasion.\n3. Enhancing skills and education\n“Special attention must be paid to those who are most vulnerable”\nA sustainable Canada needs an adequately funded strategy to improve the financial literacy of its citizens. Attention is also required to help internationally trained professionals quickly integrate into the workforce. In addition, ensuring equal access to education opportunities for Canada’s First Nations allows them to participate in a growing, productive and competitive economy.\n4. Innovation and adaptation\n“If Canada is to maintain its enviable quality of life, we must learn to continually innovate and adapt”\nCPA Canada’s advice focuses on ways the government can help firms grow, invest in intangible capital and better compete in foreign markets. Recommendations also include enhancing the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax program, implementing a patent box and adopting standardized business reporting for all government filings by businesses.\nINQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW\nRead CPA Canada’s submissions to the federal pre-budget consultations (2011-17): cpacanada.ca/federalbudget\nStay tuned: On budget day 2017, CPA Canada will offer expert commentary on the measures announced by the minister of finance.