Federal budget 2024 needs to address the cost of doing business and return the $2.5 billion in promised carbon tax rebates to SMEs

Toronto, April 10, 2024 – The federal government needs to leverage its upcoming budget to address the high cost of doing business and introduce a plan to return the $2.5 billion owed to small businesses in carbon tax revenue, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). 

“The upcoming budget needs to return confidence to small businesses about their future,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Executive Vice-President of Advocacy at CFIB. “These remain challenging times for Canada’s small businesses. They’re still struggling to recover and grow, especially after Ottawa’s decision not to extend the forgivable Canada Emergency Business Account deadline and forging ahead with increases in carbon taxes, employment insurance premiums, CPP premiums and alcohol taxes so far this year.”

In a new CFIB survey, over three-quarters of small business owners (79%) said that the recent carbon tax increase poses a challenge for their business, making it difficult to cover other operational expenses. Unsurprisingly, a strong majority (92%) of businesses want the government to immediately return the $2.5 billion to small businesses across all sectors, not just select ones. 

“Our top budget priority is to see an immediate return of the $2.5 billion in carbon tax rebates that the government has been promising to SMEs since 2019. In addition, the government has promised to return $623 million for 2024/25, raising the total to over $3.1 billion in money owed to SMEs,” said Dan Kelly, CFIB president. 

The upcoming budget needs to lay out a clear plan to help small businesses recover and grow, and CFIB recommends the government:

  • Return the $2.5 billion in carbon tax revenues owed to all small businesses, not just certain sectors
  • Lower the federal small business tax rate from 9% to 8%, at least for the next two years
  • Increase the small business deduction threshold (e.g., to $700,000) and index it to inflation going forward
  • Lower Employment Insurance (EI) premiums for smaller employers 
  • Introduce a timeline to balance the budget
  • Reduce red tape

CFIB will be available for comment prior to and after the release of the federal budget.

Business owners can call for a reduced cost of doing business by signing CFIB’s petition. Another CFIB petition is calling for carbon tax fairness.

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

Preliminary results for the Your Voice – April 2024 survey. The online survey is active since April 4, 2024, and will close on April 19, 2024, number of respondents = 1,827. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of at most +/-2.3%, 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 cfib.ca.