Pre-Budget Consultations

January 13, 2016

It’s that time of the year once again. After the holiday and New Year’s celebrations are over with, the pre-budget consultation season begins. The House of Commons may still be on its winter break, but the government is hard at work seeking the input of stakeholder groups and individual Canadians for their upcoming 2016 budget.

This will be the first budget submitted by Prime Minister Trudeau and Finance Minister Morneau. The government has a lot of campaign promises to deliver on and they have to be nervously watching the economy as well. However, the pre-budget consultations are still a great opportunity for organizations to submit policy proposals.

Over the last week, Cabinet Ministers, led by Finance Minister Bill Morneau (Toronto Centre), have been meeting with stakeholder groups from across the country to find out what changes these groups wish to see. Usually, the House of Commons Finance Committee would also be having pre-budget hearings, but due to the fall election and the House not returning until January 25th, these hearings may not occur before the budget is tabled.

If your organization is considering submitting a pre-budget proposal, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. How much does your proposal cost?

The less that your proposal costs, the more likely that it is going to be able to be included in the budget. With their campaign promises and the requirement of deficit spending, there will not be money in the budget for large expenditures over the next few years. Try to keep your proposals as low cost as possible.

  1. What are the direct economic benefits of your proposal?

With falling oil prices and a low dollar, the government’s top priority will be on improving the Canadian economy. By identifying how your proposal will provide direct economic benefits, you may be able to get the government to take a hard look at your proposal.

  1. How does your proposal align with the priorities of the government?

The more that you can align your proposal to the priorities of the government, the more likely they are to implement it. Your ideas and arguments may be sound, but if they do not fit with the philosophy of the government in power, they might not be seriously considered.

Keep your proposals clear, succinct and brief. You may not succeed in your first attempt, but that does not mean that you should stop. Sometimes, it will take a lot of time and persuasive efforts to get your proposals added to the budget. A budget date has not been set yet, but senior finance officials have told journalists that the budget may be presented during the third week of March.

For Canadians interested in submitting pre-budget proposals to the government, you can do so here:

Pre-Budget Consultations