Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to respond to the hon. member's motion. Before I begin my remarks, I would like to say that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Richmond Hill.
I would like to thank the opposition for this opportunity to once again highlight our government's outstanding record on economic performance and achievement. Canadians are paying close attention. What the opposition does not understand is that Canadians know when they are being sold a false bill of goods like the one on offer in the hon. member's motion here today.
Canadians know the facts, and the facts are quite clear. The opposition speaks in today's motion of encouraging small business creation as though this is something it has experience in accomplishing. The fact is that it does not, and our government does. Ours is a record of success in the face of global adversity, and it is one that I and hard-working Canadians take great pride in.
Let me take this opportunity to help the opposition out a bit. It is important that it pays close attention so it does not continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. Here are the facts. Since the depths of the economic downturn, 1.2 million net new jobs have been created, the majority of which are full-time and high-paying jobs in the private sector. As a result of our government's actions, we have not only recovered all of the jobs lost during the recession, but more Canadians are working today than at any other time in our history.
Canadians understand these facts. They may not be convenient to the hon. member's agenda, but they are the facts.
The reality is that today, and for some time now, Canada has experienced one of the strongest job creation records among advanced economies. Our government does not need to be told that lower payroll deductions and lower payroll taxes create jobs. We know that. We have always known that, and that is exactly what we have been doing.
What is more, it is the very same opposition that is proposing to ask Canadians to accept a mandatory tax hike, one that affects employers and employees. This is the same as over $1,000 less in take home pay for every worker. As if this were not bad enough, it gets worse. Businesses have spoken, and job creators would need to pay billions of extra dollars in payroll taxes. What would this all lead to? It would lead to frozen salaries or salary cuts, and even terminated jobs.
With the opposition firmly supporting this reckless program, it is baffling to be having this debate with the opposition, which does not have a credible plan to get Canadians to work.
Our Conservative government has been clear. We have consistently refused to introduce tax hikes on employers and employees. Ours is the only government that can be trusted to keep taxes low for all Canadians.
We have also recently introduced the small business job credit, which is the latest in a range of measures that will cut costs and support small businesses in creating jobs and growth. The small business job credit will effectively lower small businesses' employment insurance premiums, from the current rate of $1.88, to $1.60 per $100 of insurable earnings in 2015-16. Since employers pay 1.4 times the legislated rate, this 28% reduction is equivalent to a reduction of $0.39 per $100 of insurable earnings in EI premiums paid by small businesses. Some 90% of EI premium paying business, about $780,000 in both 2015 and 2016, will directly benefit from this credit.
Overall, our small business job credit will cut EI payroll taxes by nearly 15%. We expect that it will save small businesses more than $550 million over the next two years. These are savings that will create jobs and growth.
Hon. members do not need to take my word for it. They should listen to the people who know best, which are small businesses themselves.
Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, has said:
...the credit will make it a bit easier for small business employers to hire that one extra worker, increase employee wages or help pay for workplace training.
Across Canada, we estimate that the $550-million left in the hands of small businesses will lead to 25,000 person years of employment in the next few years.
Clearly, small business owners and their representatives know that our efforts to reduce their costs are making a real difference in creating jobs. Our efforts are not just helping small businesses, but the entire Canadian economy. Small businesses employ half of the working men and women in Canada's private sector. They account for a third of our country's GDP. Small businesses drive our prosperity and give back to our communities.
Let us face it. Canada today is an economic success because small business is successful. It is our government's actions that are helping them to succeed each and every day. We have cut red tape. We have implemented the one-for-one rule. For every new regulation imposed by government, a regulation must be removed. By the end of 2013, that rule had reduced the administrative burden by $20 million, money that will be used to create more jobs. We cut their taxes. We cut the small business tax rate to 11% and increased the amount of income eligible for this lower rate. Together, these changes are providing small business with an estimated $2.2 billion in tax relief in 2014 alone.
Under our government, the amount of income tax paid by a small business with half a million of taxable income has declined by over 34%, a tax savings of $20,600 that can be reinvested in business to create jobs. However, once again, we are not stopping here. We are building on our success. Economic action plan 2015 is lowering the small business tax rate even further, to 9%.
Small businesses are saving even more on payroll taxes as a result of our actions. Last year, we froze EI premiums for three years, providing employers and employees with savings of $660 million in 2014. Going forward, we have instituted the seven-year break even rate starting in 2017, to ensure that any surplus in the EI account will be used for EI expenses.
We are not just supporting small business in job creation, but all businesses. We have delivered tax reductions totalling more than $60 billion in job creating businesses from 2008-09 through 2013-14. This includes the reduction of the federal general corporate income tax rate to 15% in 2012, from over 22% in 2007, and an extension of the temporary accelerated capital cost allowance for manufacturing and processing machinery and equipment through 2015. They would not be alone in acknowledging that we have created a superb environment for business.
Here is another fact that the opposition should listen to closely and take great pride in. As a result of our efforts, in 2013, Canada leaped from sixth to second place in Bloomberg's ranking of the most attractive locations for business. According to KPMG, Canada's total business tax rate is the lowest in the G7, 46% lower than that of the United States.
Our government created this environment on the understanding that lower taxes and payroll costs support jobs and growth. We have proven with our actions that they empower Canadian entrepreneurs, leaving more of their hard-earned money for them to invest and grow their businesses, supporting families and communities that depend on them. Where the hon. members opposite are big on talk, we are big on action.
Today's motion for debate calls for three tax cuts. Our government has provided tax relief over 180 times since taking office. I would encourage the hon. members to reject this motion and its empty rhetoric in favour of the real results that our government will continue to deliver in supporting small business and job creation.