CFIB’s response to Ontario Budget: Some relief, but a missed opportunity to support small business

Toronto, March 26, 2024 – Today’s budget was a missed opportunity to provide direct cost relief for Ontario’s small businesses. The government’s ‘do no harm’ approach to small business policy has been positive, but we’ve reached the point where small businesses need pro-active support. 

The rising cost of doing business has continued to challenge most small firms, with no end to the price pressures in sight. For many businesses, recovery has been stalled by low demand for their products and services. For the past six months, insufficient demand has rated above the shortage of skilled labour as the top limitation in Ontario on sales or production growth according to CFIB’s Business Barometer®. 

We are pleased that the government acted on CFIB’s recommendation to extend the gas and fuel tax cuts. The extension provides some breathing room to deal with the carbon tax increase on April 1. The next step is to provide cost relief certainty by making these cuts permanent, as recommended in our 2024 Pre-Budget Submission and supported by 85% of small businesses.

We also welcome the government’s training investments, especially for construction and attracting young people into the skilled trades, and look forward to working with government to make sure small businesses can access it.

The government missed an opportunity today to help small firms lower their costs with, for example, a reduced Small Business Tax Rate (SBTR) and/or an increased threshold to access this rate. There has been no government action on raising the SBTR threshold in Ontario since 2007.

While we recognize that many small businesses will benefit from today’s announced infrastructure investments, the Ontario government’s ambitious building plans must come with a comprehensive construction mitigation program that provides direct funding to small businesses for lengthy, disruptive projects. Small businesses need to survive to benefit from the finished project. All further provincial construction announcements should include construction mitigation policies.

We look forward to reviewing the budget in detail in the coming days to develop a clearer understanding of how it impacts our 38,000 members in all sectors across the province, and continuing our work with the Ontario government on tangible actions to address small business affordability.

-Ryan Mallough, Vice President, Legislative Affairs (Ontario)
-Julie Kwiecinski, Director of Provincial Affairs (Ontario)

For media inquiries or interviews, please contact:
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, CFIB

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 38,000 in Ontario. 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