“No new costs” tops British Columbia small business priority list for both the upcoming federal and provincial budgets

The economy needs to be an urgent focus and priority for both governments

Vancouver, April 14, 2021 – Amid uncertainty around a third wave of the pandemic and slow economic recovery, not introducing new tax increases or additional costs is the top priority for BC small businesses for the upcoming federal and provincial budgets, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). BC business owners also want to see the federal government articulate a plan for reopening the economy (69 per cent), payroll tax relief (64 per cent) and extended and expanded COVID-19 relief for small businesses (53 per cent).
“Small businesses across the country and in BC have been clear – they cannot bear more costs while they are under COVID-19 restrictions,” said Annie Dormuth, CFIB provincial affairs director. “They desperately need some certainty and good news right now. Both the federal and BC governments should use next week’s budget to not only extend their existing support programs, but also set a clear plan for economic recovery.”
The latest results on CFIB’s Small Business Recovery Dashboard for BC show:

  • 65 per cent of small businesses are fully open (no change from March) compared to 55 per cent nationally
  • 46 per cent are fully staffed (up from 45 per cent in March) compared to 41 per cent nationally)
  • Only 37 per cent are making normal sales (up from 35 per cent in March) compared to 29 per cent nationally

Over eight in ten (83%) of BC businesses think the economy needs to be an urgent priority and only one in four “somewhat agree” (23%) the BC economy is in good shape (0% strongly agree). To get small businesses on the road to recovery, the BC government should: 

  • Not introduce new tax increases or additional costs for small businesses
  • Implement a plan to balance the budget over the long term
  • Focus on red tape reduction efforts
  • Extend and expand provincial COVID-19 relief for small businesses, including those that will be forced to close for up to 10 days if 3 or more cases are identified in the workplace
  • Work with municipalities to reduce rising costs of property taxes

As the province enters its second week of third wave restrictions, over half (51%) of BC small businesses already report the new restrictions are negatively impacting their businesses. At the same time, a strong majority (78%) of BC small businesses recognize and appreciate that the government has managed and worked hard to keep businesses open in comparison to other provinces, like Ontario. 
“It’s important to recognize the BC government has navigated the pandemic well in comparison to other provinces in terms of allowing businesses to keep open as much as possible,” said Laura Jones, CFIB’s executive vice-president. “CFIB appreciates the BC government’s measured approach to business restrictions instead of going down the road of sweeping lockdowns that only push consumers to big box stores and devastate small businesses,” concluded Jones.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB
Source for CFIB data
Preliminary results for CFIB’s Your Voice – April 2021, online survey conducted April 8-12, 2021, n=3,283. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of +/-1.7%, 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 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.