Manitoba budget provides some relief, but falls short in supporting small businesses

Winnipeg, April 2, 2024 - Today’s provincial budget was a missed opportunity to provide additional, meaningful cost relief for Manitoba’s small businesses. While CFIB appreciates that there were some support measures, more needs to be done to ensure that small businesses are better equipped to deal with the skyrocketing costs of doing business.

“We appreciate the Manitoba government’s efforts in taking an approach to making life more affordable for citizens,” said SeoRhin Yoo, CFIB policy analyst. “That being said, we would have liked to seen the province address more issues that continue to impact small businesses such as red tape reduction, utility costs, and small business supports.”

Small business owners are pleased to see the government acting on CFIB’s recommendation to extend the provincial fuel tax holiday for an additional three months. The 14-cent per litre of gas cut is supported by 73 per cent of businesses in Manitoba. This extension provides breathing room for not just many businesses but also everyday Manitobans, to deal with the carbon tax which saw another increase on April 1st.

CFIB also welcomes the province introducing a security system rebate for Manitobans buying security cameras for their home or business. This long-awaited measure is a step in the right direction, with over half (54%) of Manitoba small businesses being impacted by crime and safety issues.

However, as Manitoba business owners continue to face significant cost pressures, the $300 rebate program may prove insufficient for those struggling to cope with repeated occurrences and reparative costs. CFIB continues to recommend a higher rebate amount, similar to British Columbia’s Securing Small Business Rebate program which provides small businesses rebates for both preventative (up to $1,000) and reparative measures (up to $2,000).

Additionally, small business owners were disappointed to see no mention of the government’s campaign promise to freeze hydro rates.

While we were disappointed that there was not a greater focus on red tape reduction in this year’s budget, we are pleased to see the government has committed to continuing the physician administrative burden task force. Manitoba doctors lose nearly 600,000 hours annually to unnecessary paperwork and the task force has helped make strong strides in reducing that burden.

Furthermore, the province has made the decision to eliminate the school tax rebate for commercial properties in 2025 in anticipation of the introduction of a new education funding model. We will be watching for the new plan and look forward to working with the government to ensure it’s enacted in a timely manner and reduces costs for small business.

“The challenges facing small businesses in Manitoba are significant and ongoing, with 19 per cent indicating they are at risk of closure”, commented Yoo. “The skyrocketing cost of doing business is continuing to challenge small firms across the province, who are dealing with insufficient demand, ongoing wage pressures, and higher taxes”.

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 over 4,000 in Manitoba. 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