Cost of doing business a top priority for Newfoundland and Labrador small businesses as the House of Assembly resumes

St. John’s, March 3, 2024 – As the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly reconvenes for its spring sitting, small businesses in the province are eager to see their concerns prioritized.  

In a recent survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), almost nine out of ten Newfoundland and Labrador small businesses cite the cost of doing business as their top legislative priority for the year, followed by taxes (83%), and health care (78%).  

“The reopening of the legislature is an opportunity for the government to show that they are listening and are prepared to meet the needs of small businesses. The cost of doing business is high and unfortunately, small businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador are burdened by a 3% small business tax rate, the highest in Atlantic Canada, and a 15% retail sales tax on insurance, the highest across Canada,” said Beatrix Abdul Azeez, Policy Analyst at CFIB.  

Small businesses in the province are facing cost pressures. According to CFIB, the top cost constraints are wage costs, cited by three-quarters of Newfoundland and Labrador small businesses, followed closely by insurance costs and regulatory costs. In addition, almost half of the province’s small businesses report that they are faced with a shortage of skilled labour, which is limiting their sales and production growth. 

To alleviate some of these pressures, CFIB recommends that the provincial government:  

  • Eliminate the 15% Retail Sales Tax (RST) on all insurance premiums that impact businesses (property and casualty, environment, professional liability, director and officers, etc.). 
  • Reduce the small business tax rate to 2% and increase the income threshold from $500,000 to $700,000. 
  • Tie minimum wage increases to the rate of increase of the median wage in the province. 
  • Adopt a “do no harm” approach to policies affecting small businesses, to avoid imposing new costs under the current economic strain. 

“Implementing CFIB’s policy recommendations would be steps in the right direction for small businesses who are striving to keep up with all the cost pressures and limitations they face,” Abdul Azeez concluded. 

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact: 
Beatrix Abdul Azeez, Policy Analyst  
(709) 743-6069   

Your Voice December 2023: An omnibus, controlled-access online CFIB survey. December findings are based on from 3,148 CFIB members who are owners of Canadian independent businesses, from all sectors and regions of the country. Data reflects responses received between December 7 to the 19th. For comparison purposes, a probability samples with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of +/- 1.7%, 19 times out of 20. 

February Business Barometer®: February findings are based on 645 responses from a stratified random sample of CFIB members to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received from February 1st to the 12th. 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 and 1,600 in Newfoundland and Labrador. 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