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

Just Posted

Castlegar martial artist wins jiu jitsu gold

Ken Postnikoff brought home three gold medals from the 2019 Ohana Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championships.

Castlegar Chamber hosting PST seminar for contractors

Ministry of Finance representatives will teach contractors how and when to collect PST.

From Kerala to Castlegar: Celebration and donation

The regional festival of Kerala, India features food and dances.

Castlegar athletes excel at 55+ Games

Castlegar residents bring home 28 individual medals and six team medals.

Castlegar Rebels split weekend opener

Rebels opened KIJHL regular season with a win over Grand Forks and a loss against Spokane.

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Police investigate after intoxicated teens clash with security at B.C. fair

18-year-old woman arrested and RCMP looking at possible assault in Victoria-area fall fair incident

Most Read