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Small business to Premiers: focus on “affordability crunch” and internal trade at Council of the Federation

Toronto, July 18, 2017 – As Canada’s Premiers prepare for their upcoming Council of the Federation meeting (July 17-19), the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) sent the following letter last Thursday on behalf of Canadian’s small business:

Dear Premier:

We are writing to you in advance of the upcoming Council of the Federation meeting to share the top two priorities small businesses have for Canada’s Premiers.

Like you, small business owners are invested in their communities and want to see them thrive. They often risk their personal finances and work long hours to make their businesses a success.  These entrepreneurs are the essence of the middle class and create jobs and opportunities for other middle-class Canadians. That said, like governments across Canada, many small businesses are struggling to simultaneously manage growing costs, prioritize important investments, and remain competitive. Tax increases, growing labour and regulatory costs, and uncertainty around our trade relationship with the United States are all weighing on the minds of entrepreneurs. On NAFTA renegotiations, one member articulated a common sentiment in a recent CFIB survey “We are prepared for the potential that if NAFTA was canceled it could result in the closing of our business.” 

Given that Premiers often establish working groups to assume leadership on important issues, we ask Premiers to establish a working group to consult with small business owners about the growing affordability crunch and dedicate an upcoming meeting to identifying concrete strategies to help Canadian firms grow, innovate, and compete. Few things are more important for a thriving middle class than the success of small businesses. Such a focus by Premiers would send a clear message that they recognize the pressures facing small businesses and want to help them thrive.

Notably, a similar working group led the renewal of the Agreement on Internal Trade and the signing of the new Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). CFIB views CFTA as a critical opportunity for federal, provincial and territorial governments to begin eliminating red tape barriers that keep businesses from trading freely across the country. In June, all Premiers received a letter from CFIB outlining five key areas to be addressed by the new Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table (RCT). To keep this important work moving forward and improve the competitiveness of small businesses, we ask Premiers to ensure the RCT is as effective and productive as possible and established as quickly as possible.

As the largest organization in Canada devoted exclusively to the interests of independent business owners, we are happy to provide support, advice, and guidance on these initiatives, including assistance with consultations, roundtable discussions, or surveys with small business owners.

On behalf of our members, we hope that your Council of the Federation meeting is a productive one. 


Laura Jones, Executive Vice-President & Chief Strategic Officer

Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President, National Affairs & Partnerships

Erin McGrath-Gaudet, Director, Intergovernmental Policy


For more information or to arrange an interview with Laura Jones, Corinne Pohlmann or Erin McGrath-Gaudet, contact Kiara Morrissey at 416-222-8022 or [email protected].

July 18, 2017

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