Cost of doing business, taxes and labour shortages: The top three concerns for small business owners as the Nova Scotia legislature resumes

Halifax, October 12, 2023 – Eight in ten of Nova Scotia’s small businesses (83%) are saying the cost of doing business is their top concern, followed by taxes (70%) and labour shortages (51%) according to recent data from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“Cost pressures, taxes, and labour shortages are making it harder and harder for small businesses to keep up and chip away at the debt they accumulated over the pandemic,” said Duncan Robertson, Policy Analyst at CFIB. “The provincial government needs to demonstrate it’s listening by not adding new costs and providing targeted relief and supports.” 

CFIB recommends that government increase the small business tax threshold or lower the small business tax rate itself, similar to the approach taken by the Government of Prince Edward Island which lowered their rate to 1%. If the Nova Scotia Government provided tax relief this fall, seven in ten small businesses would use those savings to pay down debt, and close to six in ten would increase employee compensation via wages or benefits.  

Small businesses in the province also expressed support for extending programs aimed at incentivising older workers to remain in the workplace longer (72%), enhanced skills development in specific trades and occupational fields in high school (90%), increased accessibility of housing (83%), increased accessibility of childcare services (82%) and ensuring government programs and benefits do not disincentivize people from working (91%).

“At a minimum, Nova Scotia’s small businesses are looking to all political parties to take a ‘do no harm’ approach this legislative session,” concluded Louis-Philippe Gauthier, CFIB’s vice-president in Atlantic Canada. 

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

The data referenced in this news release was gathered through the Your Voice September 2023 CFIB online, controlled-access survey – Final Results, Active dates: September 7-21, 2023. Results based on responses from 2,687 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.

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. 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