Cost of doing business, taxes and labour shortages: The top three concerns for small business owners as the PEI legislature resumes
Charlottetown, November 6, 2023 – Over three quarters of PEI’s small businesses (77%) are saying the cost of doing business is their top concern, followed by taxes (69%) and labour shortages (46%) 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 Frederic Gionet, Senior Policy Analyst at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) for the Atlantic region. “The Provincial Government needs to demonstrate they’re listening by not adding new costs and providing targeted relief and supports.”
CFIB recommends that government increase the small business tax threshold to provide the needed room small business owners need to create the necessary room for them to invest and grow. If the PEI Government provided tax relief this fall, 62% of small businesses would use those savings to pay down debt, and many have indicated would equally re-invest savings into employee compensation/benefits, training, expanding their business, and acquire new machinery/tools.
Prince Edward Island's small business community is also advocating for restraint in any introduction of employer-paid sick leave legislation, emphasizing the need for caution to avoid placing undue burdens on local enterprises, which our research has indicated:
• 91% of small businesses have stated their inability to incur additional costs
• 85% anticipating the need to forgo planned wage increases,
• 71% considering increasing product prices,
• and 49% would contemplate a reduction in staff numbers.
CFIB has repeatedly voiced the need for a shared-risk approach to paid sick leave legislation should it be contemplated in this legislature.
Additionally, there is a strong call for reigniting past successful initiatives aimed at maximizing regulatory accountability by minimizing bureaucratic obstacles (Red Tape), with a particular emphasis on streamlining processes that can hinder starting and operating a small business on the island.
This focus on red tape reduction resonates as a priority across government functions, underlining the importance of fostering an environment that is conducive to economic growth and the success of the small business sector in PEI.
"To ensure the stability and growth of PEI's small business sector, we urge every political party to commit to a principle of 'First, Do No Harm' during this legislative session," Gionet asserted.
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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.
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, of which 900 are in PEI. 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 cfib.ca.