British Columbia - The Council of the Federation meeting is an opportunity to bring down the cost of doing business
Vancouver, July 11, 2022 – Transportation and fuel costs have driven 92% of small businesses to increase their prices in the past 12 months, according to recent data from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Record-high prices at the pump, coupled with ongoing supply chain challenges and labour shortages, have pushed the cost of doing business through the roof, adding immense pressure on small business owners and consumers across the country.
As Canada’s premiers are gathering at the 2022 Council of Federation meeting in Victoria, B.C. today and tomorrow, CFIB is calling on premiers and the federal government to make doing business in Canada more affordable by:
- Temporarily eliminating or lowering federal and provincial fuel excise taxes
- Pausing planned hikes to carbon taxes
- Raising the federal and provincial small business deduction threshold to $600,000 (currently $500,000) to match Saskatchewan, and indexing the threshold to inflation annually
“Every cent counts for small businesses, especially as they navigate skyrocketing input costs and labour and product shortages. Three provinces - Ontario, Alberta, and Newfoundland and Labrador - have provided temporary relief at the pumps—now the federal and other provincial governments need to follow their lead,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President of National Affairs at CFIB. “More than half of small businesses nationwide have yet to return to normal revenue levels. As the premiers come together today and tomorrow, they need to make small business recovery a top priority.”
Fuel and energy costs are the top factor limiting business growth, with 77% of businesses reporting they are struggling with them, according to the latest CFIB Business Barometer®. Skilled labour and input product shortages are also important cost constraints for 50% and 30% of businesses, respectively. CFIB’s recent survey also finds that 79% of business owners have increased their prices in the past 12 months by a lot more or a bit more than in a usual, pre-pandemic year.
In BC, 94% of small business owners indicated that increases in transportation and fuel costs drove their decision to raise prices in the past 12 months. While most of the price of gas is set globally, fuel taxes in the province are the highest in Canada. Overall, provincial taxes (carbon and fuel) make up around 20% of the cost of fuel in BC.
Internal trade barriers are costly to Canadian economy
Five years into the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, the progress on reducing unnecessary barriers to the movement of goods, services, labour, and investment has been slow. Reducing red tape and trade barriers is one of the most cost-effective, meaningful ways to help small businesses grow and expand. Canadian governments must increase trade opportunities and eliminate internal trade barriers to working and trading across Canada.
CFIB recommends governments:
- Adopt a policy of “mutual recognition” to internal trade, which means any regulatory standard in one jurisdiction is recognized in all other jurisdictions without meeting further requirements
- Provide better and more transparent data on progress, particularly on implementation of reconciliation agreements
“The BC government has the ability and tools to help small businesses by reducing fuel-related costs, refunding the WCB $2.9 billion surplus, providing school tax property relief and helping businesses afford 5-employer paid sick days. Now it’s time to muster the will to do it,” said Annie Dormuth, BC provincial affairs director.
Business owners can add their voice and sign CFIB’s petition asking for more fuel cost relief here.
For more information about CFIB’s work on internal trade, visit here.
For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
BC provincial affairs director
June Business Barometer®: June findings are based on 700 responses to a controlled-access web survey from a stratified random sample of CFIB members. Data reflect responses received from June 2-14. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.7%, 19 times out of 20. Every new month, the entire series of indicators is recalculated for the previous month to include all survey responses received in that previous month.
Small Business Recovery Dashboard: Your Voice – June 2022 survey, preliminary results for June 9-14, 2022, based on a sample of 2,353 CFIB members. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of +/-2.0 %, 19 times out of 20.
Your Voice – June 2022 survey: Final results for June 9-30, 2022, based on a sample of 2,533 CFIB members. For comparison purposes, a probability sample 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 95,000 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.