CFIB urges municipal policymakers to keep costs down for local businesses

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The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has released a brand-new report that challenges municipal governments across western Canada to make it easier for business owners to do what they do best: run their business.

The Municipal Business Report analyzes the business friendliness of eight major municipalities in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Three major cost and regulatory performance categories are examined: revenue and expenditures, red tape reduction and small business friendliness policies.

According to the report, 70% of small business owners in the west think that their municipal government does not understand the cost pressures they face. 

“Small businesses are struggling with a challenging economic climate that is exacerbated by increasing property taxes, rising inflation, ongoing labour shortages, and pandemic-related debt. They are unable to shoulder additional costs from their municipal governments at this time,” said Emily Boston at CFIB. “CFIB asks that elected municipal leaders consider the needs of their local businesses when determining their budgets, spending and taxation levels.” 

“We hope that this report serves as a benchmark for what municipal governments should do to serve the needs of the small business communities better and that it will act as a catalyst for change,” said Seo Rhin Yoo, Policy Analyst at CFIB. 

CFIB has urged municipal policymakers to keep costs down and reduce the regulatory burden for local businesses. The recommendations include:

  • Halt cost increases for small businesses (property taxes, utility fees, permit costs, etc.)
  • Offer permanent and inter-municipal business licenses 
  • Implement a permanent public feedback mechanism for businesses and citizens to report their regulatory frustrations and red tape irritants 
  • Make target timelines (and their actual processing times) for licensing and permitting processing publicly available 
  • Create or improve dedicated pages for small business information with updated contact information 
  • Increase the accessibility of budget consultation processes to include small business owners 
  • Adopt a construction mitigation policy for public projects