BRITISH COLUMBIA – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) warns this June will be a particularly difficult month for small business across BC.
“Governments often fail to realize the cumulative impact that tax increases and other policy changes have on small businesses,” says Richard Truscott, Vice-President of BC and Alberta. “Across British Columbia, we are seeing more vacant storefronts as many entrepreneurs are having to make the tough decision to either hold on by their fingernails or close their doors. It is incumbent on BC government to pay attention to the warning signs. Small business owners are facing an affordability crisis and need immediate support,” adds Truscott.
This June, BC’s small businesses will be hit with three major new costs:
- June 1: the second front loaded increase to the minimum wage (up $1.20/hour from $12.65 to $13.85);
- June 15: the first payment is due for the Employer Health Tax (EHT), a brand new $2 billion payroll tax imposed on BC business by the provincial government; and
- July 2: Property tax deadline. Many businesses have seen double digit increases in their 2019 property bill compared to last year
The City of Vancouver recently approved a modest reduction in the property tax share paid by business owners, approving a 2 per cent shift off of non-residential properties over the next three years, and also acknowledge there is still much more to do. However, the provincial government has lagged behind. Despite having received recommendations from their own Small Business Task Force following several consultations last year, the provincial government has made little progress on their advice.
“We are nearly two years into the provincial government’s mandate. Last year, small business owners gave them a “D-” for their first year’s grade. Despite the growing vocal concerns from small business, not nearly enough has been done to see their grade improve this year. It’s time for the government to shape up, before small business owners ship out,” says Truscott.