Business Barometer®: BC Barometer: Small business confidence stumbles in May

Concern about taxes and regulatory costs reach all time high for small business owners

VANCOUVER, May 30, 2019 – The monthly Business Barometer® index for British Columbia fell 2.4 points in May, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). The BC small business confidence index sits at 53.1 points, placing it below the Canadian average (59.7) by 6.6 points.

Measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their business’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. An index level of between 65 and 75 means that the economy is growing at its potential.

Taxes and regulatory costs are causing small businesses the most grief. This month’s results show 67.4 per cent of business owners in B.C. mark it as the input cost causing the most difficulty for their business.

“BC small business concern over taxes and regulatory costs are the highest they’ve been over the index’s 10 year history,” said Muriel Protzer, Policy Analyst, BC and Alberta. “It’s no surprise, as starting June 15th many business owners will be obligated to pay the brand new Employer Health Tax. It’s a $2 billion tax on job creators. Business owners are saying loud and clear that it will have negative impacts on their hiring intentions,” added Protzer.

The provincial numbers for May were: PEI (66.3), Quebec (64.7), Nova Scotia (64.4), Ontario (61.7), New Brunswick (54.7), British Columbia (53.1), Manitoba (52.3), Alberta (51.8), Newfoundland & Labrador (49.4), and Saskatchewan (49.1).

May 2019 findings are based on 745 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through May 17. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.6 per cent 19 times in 20.

To arrange an interview with Muriel Protzer, CFIB Policy Analyst, about the BC results, please call 604-684-5325 or email after 8:30 AM PT.  To interview Chief Economist, Ted Mallett, about the national results, please call 416-222-8022. For more information, visit

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members 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