Massive minimum wage increases coming at the worst time for small firms

Moncton, December 2, 2021—The New Brunswick government’s unexpected decision to increase the minimum wage without consultation comes at the worst possible time for small businesses, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Today, only 39 per cent of New Brunswick’s small businesses are at normal revenues and many are operating at a loss.

“This will not help to address New Brunswick’s labour challenges,” said Louis-Philippe Gauthier, CFIB’s Senior Director of Legislative Affairs, Atlantic. “The tightness in the labour market is already having an impact on wages—this decision by government will add even more pressure on the wage scales of employers who are paying above the minimum wage.”

In a recent CFIB survey, the increasing cost of doing business was the top concern of small business owners at 76 per cent, followed by supply chain challenges at 64 per cent. Commercial insurance rates continue to increase, and the largest Canada Pension Plan (CPP) rise to date will take effect in January. The average COVID-19-related debt of small businesses owners in Atlantic Canada now sits at $75,000 with owners reporting it will take two-plus years to repay.

CFIB urges the New Brunswick government to reconsider the amplitude and timing of its decision. The small business community must be consulted on the best path forward and mitigation strategies should be considered.

For media inquiries or interviews, please contact:

Louis-Philippe Gauthier,  Senior Director, Legislative Affairs Atlantic - 506-961-5706

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 3,400 in New Brunswick. 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