BNN Exclusive - RBC CEO: Tax policy will cause another flight of talent from Canada
A proposal to boost taxes on Canadian small businesses could make Canada less competitive when it comes to attracting top talent, RBC CEO Dave McKay told BNN in an interview.
“If we have foreign firms out there recruiting our best and brightest and taking them and their [intellectual property] to other markets, tax policy has to be part of that,” he said. “We have to have a fair competitive tax policy across small businesses, start-ups, options and personal tax rates that doesn’t become an issue that they leave.”
Finance Minister Bill Morneau has come under fire recently for a set of proposals that would close tax loopholes favored by small business owners and entrepreneurs. McKay did not weigh in on the specific proposals but said they must be considered in the context of U.S. promises to cut taxes.
“Other jurisdictions are talking about lowering corporate taxes, lowering personal taxes,” he said. “We have to make sure… our tax policy is competitive.”
Canada needs to step up its game in attracting and retaining top talent – especially in the technology sector, said McKay. That includes ensuring entrepreneurs have access to capital and a network of mentors, he said.
“Young people will go where they think they have the highest probability of success,” he said.
Canada already is producing tech talent, but many are choosing to work south of the border. More than 300,000 Canadians already work in Silicon Valley.
McKay says attracting top talent is “‘mission critical’ for Canada.” The CEO of Canada’s largest bank says he personally gets involved in recruiting technology talent for the bank – particularly for work in artificial intelligence.
”I’m up against firms like Google and Microsoft and Apple and others trying to recruit that talent… it’s very competitive.”