Richard Truscott is the Vice-President, B.C. and Alberta, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (Submitted).

Richard Truscott is the Vice-President, B.C. and Alberta, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (Submitted).

COLUMN: Business owners hand B.C. government another dismal grade, CFIB says

CFIB wants policy makers to take three simple steps in order to improve their grade

School may be out, but it’s time for the BC Government to get its mid-term report card from the province’s entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, the performance by policy makers warrants another dismal grade.

Last year, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) surveyed business owners after the government’s first year in office, and when asked to evaluate the government’s performance, BC’s entrepreneurs gave the government a D grade.

That prompted CFIB to call for the government to create a remedial plan to help improve their grade. However, the government’s failure to that important work done has led to another disappointing result. When asked earlier this summer to issue a grade for the government’s second year in office, the local business community gave the government another ‘D’.

Although the government has failed to improve its’ performance in the eyes of BC’s local business owners, there is still time. There’s (likely) two years left for the coalition government. Here are three simple steps for policy makers to take in order to improve their grade.

Step 1: Give municipalities the tools they need to lower sky high property taxes.

This July, business groups across Metro Vancouver stood with the City of Vancouver to support an innovative proposal that would give municipalities the ability to put small businesses in a commercial “sub-class” for property tax assessments. If adopted, this proposal would be a “made-in-BC” solution to the huge problem of escalating property taxes faced by business owners across the province. The adoption of this proposal would lift a huge burden off the shoulders of small business owners.

When CFIB surveyed entrepreneurs earlier this summer, we heard how many have been forced to relocate their businesses, work 16 hours a day, or put off plans to hire because of the astronomical cost of their property taxes. This first step is a critical one to ensuring BC’s small businesses are given a fighting chance.

Step 2: Fix the EHT.

In June, business owners had to start paying the Employers Health Tax (EHT) which, as currently designed, is deeply flawed. In announcing the tax, the government asserted it would only impact a limited number of small business owners. However, this is clearly not the case. According to CFIB estimates, 44 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses will have to pay the tax. Additionally, 84 per cent of business owners assert that the EHT will be more costly for their business than Medical Service Plan (MSP) premiums that the EHT replaced.

These facts fly in the face of the government’s assertion that the EHT will only affect a small percentage of BC businesses.

Step 3: Don’t use the surplus in the WorkSafe BC system to go on a spending spree.

On June 3r, the government announced a review of the Worker’s Compensation Act (WCA) led by former labour lawyer Janet Patterson. The results of her review are expected to be delivered to the Labour Minister by the end of September.

For years, CFIB has criticized the growing WorkSafe BC surplus, which reached a whopping $6.4 billion at the end of 2018. Clearly, the system is massively over-funded. However, the surplus does not mean WorkSafe BC should start spending. In moving forward with any proposals arising from the review, the government must uphold the principal of sustainability, which is paramount for a properly functioning workers’ compensation system.

These three remedial steps represent a clear path for the provincial government to improve their grade with business owners. Failure to do so will no doubt mean a third consecutive year of dismal grades from BC’s entrepreneurs.

Richard Truscott is the B.C. and Alberta vice-president at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business

signature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Luke Marston works on the seawolf mask for Canucks goalie Braden Holtby. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Stz’uminus artist Luke Marston designs new mask for Canucks goalie

The mask features artwork inspired by the Coast Salish legend of the sea wolf

Scott Saywell, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ superintendent and CEO, has seen his contract renewed for four years, the district announced Wednesday. (SD68 YouTube screenshot)
Ladysmith school district renews superintendent’s contract for four years

‘Singing superintendent’ Scott Saywell under contract through 2024-25 school year

Emergency services were on scene at 1st Avenue and Warren Street after a skateboarder was struck by a vehicle. (Submitted photo)
Skateboarder ‘bumped’ by vehicle on 1st Avenue

Emergency services personnel say the skateboarder is uninjured

Parents Robin Ringer and Wyatt Gilmore with the No. 1 baby of 2021 in the Cowichan Valley. They have yet to decide on a name for her. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Chemainus couple excited about having the New Year’s baby for the Cowichan Valley

Recent arrivals from Fort Nelson celebrate their girl coming into the world on Jan. 7

Regional District of Nanaimo’s transit select committee is expected to vote on a recommendation that could see busing between Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley. (News Bulletin file)
Regional District of Nanaimo staff recommending bus route to Cowichan Valley

More than 1,900 survey respondents expressed support for inter-regional transit, notes RDN report

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy, Everett Bumstead.
The tree-planting life on Vancouver Island featured in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)

Most Read