CFIB calls on Manitoba government to take a ‘do no harm’ approach and avoid tax/cost increases for small businesses in upcoming budget

Winnipeg, March 25, 2024 - On behalf of over 4,000 small businesses in Manitoba, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is calling on the province to help address skyrocketing business costs by avoiding any tax or cost increases for small firms in the upcoming 2024-25 budget.

In response to a recent CFIB survey, Manitoba small business owners indicated their biggest challenge heading into 2024 is the increased costs they’re facing. Couple those increased costs with decreased revenues and heavy debt loads, and it’s not hard to imagine why 19% of Manitoba small businesses are actively considering closure.

Small business owners also indicate that government-imposed taxes/fees and persistent labour shortages are contributing to their struggles. Many owners have been forced to work longer hours and take on staggering debt loads just to stay open. With these challenges in mind, the Manitoba government needs to ensure business owners are not burdened with additional cost pressures at this time.

“Given that the province has recently said it will not be decreasing payroll tax rates, we hope this budget will include some other much needed cost relief for local small businesses. It would be great to see the Manitoba government follow through on its election promises to freeze Hydro rates and/or introduce a rebate program on security updates such as alarms and cameras purchased by families and small businesses,” said Brianna Solberg, CFIB director of provincial affairs.

CFIB has recently met with Manitoba’s finance minister to share recommendations as to how the provincial government can support small business recovery in Budget 2024-25. In addition to freezing Hydro rates for one year, some other recommendations include:

  • Extending the fuel tax holiday;
  • Holding the small business tax rate at 0% and raising the threshold from $500,000 to $600,000;
  • Introducing a securing small business rebate program (ex. BC) to provide small businesses with access to funding to support increased costs due to crime and vandalism;
  • Legislating the Worker’s Compensation Board’s surplus refund policy - requiring the Board to refund 100% of its annual surplus to employers; and
  • Continue with the plan to phase out Education Property Taxes, and consider increasing the commercial rebate from 10% to 20%.

These actions would go a long way to help Manitoba business owners deal with rising costs — especially as many are still struggling to pay back their pandemic-related debt.

The federal CEBA loans that helped many business owners survive the pandemic were due on Jan. 18, 2024. Yet, about 25 per cent of businesses missed this repayment deadline — a percentage representing approximately 5,800 small businesses in Manitoba that are still in debt.

“This year’s budget provides an opportunity for the Manitoba government to help businesses weather the storm by avoiding the introduction of any new taxes or cost increases and working to reduce costs for small businesses wherever possible. The situation for many small firms is becoming increasingly dire and they need affordability relief now before it’s too late,” said SeoRhin Yoo, CFIB policy analyst.

Click here to view CFIB’s pre-budget submission.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Brianna Solberg
CFIB provincial affairs director

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 97,000 members (4,000 in Manitoba) across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at