Nova Scotia small businesses look to government for tax and cost relief in budget 2024/2025

Halifax, February 25, 2024 - As the spring sitting of the Nova Scotia Legislature and tabling of the 2024-2025 Budget approaches, small businesses are looking to the government to not leave them in the rearview mirror.  

“Costs are rising, demand is falling, and labour shortages are costing our province’s small businesses $1 billion in missed business opportunities. At the very least, small businesses are looking to government to not add to these problems and are hoping that Budget 2024/2025 has a vision for government to join small businesses in their pursuit to recover, grow, and prosper,” said Duncan Robertson, Senior Policy Analyst at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). 

According to CFIB’s Monthly Business Barometer, there are more Nova Scotian businesses that are pessimistic than optimistic about the next six months and 12 months. Small businesses are citing taxes as the top cost concern, impacting close to three-quarters of small businesses, followed closely by fuel, insurance, electricity, and wage costs. Additionally, the number of small businesses in Nova Scotia citing lack of domestic demand has risen significantly since last year. For 46% of small businesses, softening demand has impacted their sales, up from just one quarter a year ago.  

“Small businesses in our province are resilient, and there is no doubt they will do whatever it takes to keep their doors open and support their community. What government can do is show some kind of sign that they understand the challenges facing small businesses and give them some room to catch their breath,” Robertson added. 

The provincial government can take the following steps to help small businesses catch up and keep up: 

  • Reduce the small business tax rate to 2% and increase the income threshold from $500,000 to $700,000 
  • Reduce the provincial tax on fuel 
  • Publish a plan, including timelines, for the roll-out of the consumer incentive portion of the Nova Scotia Loyal program to increase domestic demand for local products  
  • Mandate Nova Scotia Power Incorporated to publicly publish an annual rolling forecast of electricity rates up to 2030 and update this forecast annually 

“Small businesses are not asking for the moon, they’re asking for government to show an understanding of the financial struggles many small businesses are going through, not increase the cost of doing business, and consider policies that could be solutions for the realities small businesses are facing,” Robertson concluded. 

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact: 
Duncan Robertson, Senior Policy Analyst 
(902) 580-4538  

January Business Barometer®: January findings are based on 670 responses from a stratified random sample of CFIB members to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received from January 9 to the 16. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.8 per cent 19 times in 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. Measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index above 50 means owners expecting their business’s performance to be stronger over the next three or 12 months outnumber those expecting weaker performance. An index level near 65 normally indicates that the economy is growing at its potential. 

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 10,200 in Atlantic Canada. 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