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BC 2018 Year in Review

Let’s take a look back at 2018.

This year a lot of new policies were announced which could have serious implications for your business.

Some of these initiatives may have helped your business – but overall, the bad significantly outweighed the good. Here is an overview of the 3 least friendly policies for small business, and, what our advocacy plans are to help mitigate the impacts they may have on your business.

Employer Health Tax (EHT)

Through your responses to our surveys, we know the EHT was the most opposed policy introduced by the BC government in 2018. This new tax, scheduled to come into effect January 2019, places a brand new payroll tax on BC’s employers.

Thanks to CFIB's advocacy efforts, there has been some progress. Businesses with a payroll of $500,000 or less are fully exempt from the tax.

Additionally, the B.C. Government listened to our advice and made the new tax partially graduated.

That being said, the tax is still deeply flawed and discourages business growth. Our recommendations we have made to the Minister of Finance, Carole James, include:

  1. Do not introduce the EHT until the Medical Service Plan (MSP) has been fully phased out (i.e. no “double dip!”).
  2. Raise the threshold for exemption (currently $500,000).
  3. Ensure the thresholds increase by tying them to inflation.
Municipal elections

On October 20, 2018, B.C. municipal elections were held. The cost of local government has long been an issue we continue to prioritize.

This year we release two reports: Property Tax Fairness for B.C. Small Business and B.C. Municipal Spending Watch, 11th Edition, which highlight the skyrocketing property taxes and unsustainable spending trends happening in local government. These reports help us engage with Mayor and Council while highlighting the importance of fiscal responsibility. Our top four asks from Mayor and Council during, and after, the municipal elections are:

  1. Cap property taxes at a 2 to 1 ratio of what businesses pay versus residents.
  2. Reduce the share of property taxes business owners are forced to pay.
  3. Limit municipal spending to no more than inflation and population growth.
  4. Introduce a municipal business vote so business owners can vote in the city they operate in.

For our full list of recommendations, you can click here.

WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC released its financial results for 2017 – and they're not pretty. The program remains massively over funded, with an asset to liability ratio of 153%. That means the board’s assets exceed their liabilities by over $6.4 billion of employers’ money.

Other workers’ compensation boards including Alberta, Saskatchewan, and PEI have provided refunds in past years to the hardworking employers that pay into their systems. It's beyond time WorkSafeBC does the same thing in British Columbia.

This year, we delivered over 4,000 action alerts (signed by you!) to the board, calling for a refund of your money. For more information on the WCB’s over-funded position, click here.

A lot has happened in 2018. It is our priority to deliver your voice to the table and emphasize the importance of business friendly policies. Thank you for your help; your comments and survey feedback are key to delivering this message. We will continue to fight for policies that support your business!

Questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our business resources at [email protected] or dial 604-684-5325.