Atlantic Canada’s provincial governments should have a common New Year resolution – helping lower the cost of doing business

Halifax, January 5, 2024 - As small businesses kick off 2024, they are passing along some New Year's resolutions for their provincial governments.  

“Small businesses are looking to make the most of the new year. Hopefully, provincial governments in Atlantic Canada will take positive New Year's resolutions. Addressing the cost of doing business should be on top of their list,” said Duncan Robertson, Senior Policy Analyst at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). 

2023 was a costly year for small businesses. According to a recent survey by CFIB, the cost of doing business has impacted over eight in 10 small businesses in Atlantic Canada. Business owners are reporting that taxes, fuel, wages, occupancy, insurance and borrowing costs are causing difficulties for their business. CFIB's latest Business Barometer shows these indicators were all above their historical averages in December. 

A new year also means new costs for small businesses. On January 1, employers saw their payroll costs increase due to Employment Insurance (EI) hikes and the addition of a second earnings limit to Canada Pension Plan (CPP). These latest hikes increased payroll taxes for employers by up to $366 per employee, and up to $348 for workers. This year, total employer contributions for CPP and EI alone could amount to $5,524 per employee. 

As the new year begins, CFIB is asking Atlantic Canada governments to consider the realities facing small businesses.  

One way the provincial governments can help small businesses keep up with the rising cost of doing business is by providing direct tax relief by lowering the small business tax rate and expanding the small business tax threshold. Over half (60%) of small businesses say they would use the tax relief to pay down debt and/or improve employees’ wages and benefits. 

“With increased costs and soft domestic demand putting pressure on Atlantic Canada’s small businesses, it is no wonder their optimism is low,” said Robertson. 

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact: 
Duncan Robertson, Senior Policy Analyst 
(902) 580-4538   

The data referenced in this news release was gathered through the Your Voice 2023 CFIB online, controlled-access survey – Final Results, Active dates: September 7-22, 2023. Results based on responses from 2,684 CFIB members who are owners of Canadian independent businesses, from all sectors and regions of the country. For comparison purposes, a probability samples with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of +/-1.9%, 19 times out of 20. 

December Business Barometer®: December findings are based on 624 responses from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received from December 5 to 8. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.9 per cent, 19 times in 20. Every new month, the entire series of indicators is recalculated for the previous month to include all survey responses received in that previous month. Measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index above 50 means owners expecting their business's performance to be stronger over the next three or 12 months outnumber those expecting weaker performance. An index level near 65 normally indicates that the economy is growing at its potential. 

About CFIB 
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 97,000 members across every industry and region, including 10,200 in Atlantic Canada. 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