Over half of Atlantic Canadian small businesses don’t think municipal governments are business friendly

CFIB’s new report looks at fiscal responsibility, red tape and small business friendliness among Atlantic municipalities

Halifax, October 31, 2023 – Six out of 10 Atlantic small businesses do not think their municipality prioritizes small business needs and issues, according to a new report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). 

CFIB’s first Atlantic Municipal Report challenges municipal governments across Atlantic Canada to establish policies that make it easier for business owners to do what they do best: run their business. 

“Small businesses are facing an uphill battle as they struggle with rising cost pressures, labour shortages and pandemic debt. Business owners want policies that will allow them to focus on operating, innovating and growing their business instead of spending time on unnecessary paperwork and time-consuming application processes,” said Duncan Robertson, CFIB’s policy analyst. 

Over half (57%) of small businesses disagree that their municipality is small business friendly, while another 59% would not or were unsure if they would recommend starting a business in their municipality. 

One of the biggest red tape challenges for small businesses is the cost of sidewalk patios. The cost of a sidewalk patio in Atlantic Canada has an average of $995, ranging from $2690 in St. John’s, NL, to $131 in Moncton, NB. If St. John’s was excluded, the average would be $657. Compared to the country’s largest city Toronto, where a permit cost is $458, sidewalk cafes in Atlantic municipalities are overpriced.

To help small businesses grow and thrive, CFIB provides the following recommendations to municipal governments:

  • Reduce the tax burden on businesses
  • Make permit process timelines publicly available to allow businesses and residents to plan accordingly
  • Reduce the cost of sidewalk patios for businesses
  • Implement a compensation program for cases where construction has a negative impact on businesses

“While some good work has been done, municipalities can do so much more to support businesses within their community. Small businesses in Atlantic Canada are the backbone of our economy and communities. When they thrive, we all thrive,” Robertson concluded.

Read CFIB report here.

For media enquiries 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 97,000 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.