CFIB: Only 13% of small businesses are confident their concerns will receive attention during the election campaign

Fuel and business tax reductions, lower energy costs, and health care investment among top election priorities 

Toronto, May 5, 2022 – A dismal 13% of Ontario’s small business owners are confident their concerns and priorities will receive attention during the campaign leading up to the June 2nd election, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s Ontario pre-election survey.

The survey also reveals that 93% of small business owners will vote, 99% are concerned about the current state of Ontario’s economy, and 90% believe the cost of doing business in Ontario is too high.

“Affordability is the key theme for small businesses during this campaign,” said Ryan Mallough, CFIB’s senior director of provincial affairs for Ontario. “Just as people are struggling with the increased cost of living, small businesses are struggling with the increased costs of doing business. That’s why we’re asking all parties to take a “do no harm” approach to their platforms and not introduce any more costs on small businesses, like tax increases or new fees.”

According to the survey, reducing fuel taxes is the top small business priority at 65%, followed by lowering small business taxes (60%), reducing energy costs – i.e., electricity and heating (57%), investing in health care (56%), and addressing labour shortages (55%). More than seven in 10 businesses said the rising cost of living is affecting their ability to attract employees.

“The next provincial government will be the steward of Ontario’s small business recovery,” said Julie Kwiecinski, CFIB’s director of provincial affairs for Ontario. “High inflation, rising costs already in the works by governments, skyrocketing commercial insurance rates, and massive COVID debt levels all form the backdrop against which the next government’s decisions must be weighed.”

Among other recommendations detailed in CFIB’s Ontario small business priorities document, Do No Harm: Small Business Election Priorities, CFIB is calling on the next government to:

  • Reduce fuel taxes immediately.
  • Index the Small Business Tax Rate and Employer Health Tax thresholds to inflation annually.
  • Invest in the healthcare system to ensure province-wide lockdowns are never again needed or used.
  • Avoid imposing the cost on employers of any paid sick days program.
  • Adopt policies to address Ontario’s labour shortages.
  • Review municipal building permit processes, and adopt a comprehensive construction mitigation package as part of all significant provincial construction projects.
  • Focus on red tape accountability and reduction measures, including eliminating internal trade barriers.
  • Increase the existing 750 kWh threshold for the tiered rate electricity system to 3,000 kWh.
  • Expand the sale of beverage alcohol to Ontario’s convenience stores.

CFIB also started a petition calling for the next Premier to “make Ontario more affordable for small businesses”.

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 95,000 members across every industry and region, including 38,000 in Ontario. 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