Dealers are calling for the Canadian government to focus on creating an environment for dealerships and small businesses to prosper.

The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association — representing 3,300 franchised dealers — launched its election campaign platform on Monday, which focuses on policy recommendations that will create a favorable environment for dealerships to succeed in what is a challenging domestic economic landscape in light of falling oil prices and a suffering currency exchange rate.

"Car dealers have a great story to tell," said Michael Hatch, CADA chief economist. "We are the largest and most geographically broad sector of the Canadian auto industry, which has come through very challenging times in recent years. As the federal parties finalize their own platforms and economic policies ahead of the vote in two weeks, we are here today to present automobile dealers' election campaign platform to help ensure prosperity in highly challenging domestic economic times."

CADA’s federal policy priorities focus, in particular, on four items, as outlined by the organization:

  • Further tax reduction for small businesses and consumers

Explaining CADA’s tax deduction plan, the organization is calling for legislators to improve dealers accessibility to the small business deduction by “reducing the current grind that sees capital-intensive small businesses like auto dealers lose access to the small business tax rate.”

It is also calling for the government to remove lien notes from the calculation of taxable capitol in further efforts to seek access to the small business tax rate.

  • A continued push for red tape elimination

CADA is asking the government to continue to cut down on what it calls “needless red tape.” Specifically, the organization is calling for paper fuel economy labels for new cars and trucks to remain voluntary and not mandatory, noting these labels are “old fashioned.”

  • Maintenance of automobile leasing provisions in the Bank Act

CADA is also voicing its continued support for the maintenance of current restrictions on the Banks in the automotive leasing business. This is particularly important to the new-car industry as leasing levels extremely high before the economic downturn and fell off dramatically after 2008, impacting the new- and used-car business.

  • Policies aimed at improving the way in which the Canada Revenue Agency administers tax law in Canada

On this point, CADA is focusing on calling the government to make the needed investments to ensure CRA has the industry-specific knowledge it needs to “administer tax law fairly and evenly for new-car dealers.” They are also calling for increased communications between CRA’s rulings and audit divisions on business tax policies going forward.

Lastly, the organization is asking the government to continue its efforts to lower tax levels for consumers and small businesses, working to ensure these tax reductions are not made void by provincial tax hikes.

"Canada's car dealers bring to the federal parties a comprehensive list of policy recommendations aimed at ensuring a sustainable economic recovery for small businesses of all kinds," continued Hatch. "As all parties finalize their campaign platforms, we urge them to keep economic policy and small business at the forefront of their policy priorities."