Small business overwhelmingly reject TransLink Tax

80% say they plan to vote no in referendum, 17% say yes, 3% don't know

VANCOUVER, February 12, 2015 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) today released the initial results of a survey of business owners in Metro Vancouver about the Mayors’ Council proposal to add 0.5% to the PST in the region to fund transportation improvements.

When provided the exact same preamble and referendum question as proposed by the Mayors’ Council, as well as arguments for and against, business owners overwhelmingly rejected the new tax, with 80 per cent saying they would vote “no” if the referendum were held today, versus 17 per cent who said they would vote “yes”, and 3 per cent who “didn’t know”.

The CFIB survey was conducted between February 9th and 12th and had 260 respondents for a margin of error of plus or minus 6.2 percent 19 times out of 20.

“This represents a clear mandate from our members that they don’t believe the new TransLink Tax is the best way forward. We will respect that consensus, and advocate against adding a half point to the sales tax in the Metro Vancouver region. But let me be clear, a vote against this tax is not a vote against transportation improvements”, says Richard Truscott, CFIB Vice President, BC and Alberta.

Business owners were also asked: Which of the following best describes your views on how improvements to Metro Vancouver’s transportation system should be funded? Sixty per cent said “new transportation funding is not necessary, improvements can be made with existing revenues”, while 32 per stated “new transportation funding is necessary to make improvements”. Only 2 per cent responded “improvements are not needed at this time”, and 6 per cent “didn’t know”.

The 32 percent of respondents who said new revenue was needed were then asked: If new revenues were required to fund the Mayors’ Transportation and Transit Plan, which of the following would you favour? and allowed to choose maximum of three. Forty-nine percent chose a regional sales tax, 41 per cent supported introducing mobility pricing on roads, 37 per cent said fares on public transit should be increased, and 33 per cent supported implementing a vehicle levy.

All respondents were also asked: What impact would the introduction of a new Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax have on your business? and allowed to select as many as apply. By a wide margin, the top three answers were: 61 per cent “added administration time and cost”, 49 per cent “less investment back into the business”, and 45 per cent “negative impact on sales”. Only 11 per cent said there would be no impact.

“Business owners are clearly telling us transportation improvements are needed, but they question the wisdom of increasing the PST to do it, and say it will cause a whole lot of hurt. We will carry those views forward and add their voice to the public debate in a thoughtful and respectful manner”, concludes Truscott.

More survey results will be released in the days and weeks ahead.

To arrange a media interview with Richard Truscott, please call 604-684-5325. More information about CFIB is available at

As Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses, CFIB is Powered by Entrepreneurs™. Established in 1971, CFIB takes direction from more than 109,000 members in every sector nationwide, giving independent business a strong and influential voice at all levels of government and helping to grow the economy.