On May 29, the B.C. legislature debated Bill 53, enabling the creation of B.C.'s new Family Day holiday. While many are happily anticipating the arrival of an extra holiday next February, little has been said about the costs that will be borne by B.C.'s small business sector.
For small business, Family Day doesn't bring a relaxing break, but major pressure. An average-sized small business paying B.C.'s average wage will face an extra $1,135 in labour costs alone. Add to that three minimum wage increases in the last year, and more than $3,000 in costs to transition to PST.
Small business accounts for 98 per cent of all business in B.C., providing close to 60 per cent of all private sector jobs. Small business contributes 30 per cent of our GDP.
Yet only Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington, joined by the legislature's two other independent members, chose to stand up for small business.
Huntington pointed out that margins for small business owners are already slim, if not downright thin.
She paid tribute to the risks B.C.'s entrepreneurs take, and the new jobs they generate. She recognized that small business owners risk everything to build an enterprise, mortgage their homes to create jobs and services and products, and that these are the people who need to be listened to.
But the B.C. Liberals, and the New Democrats who voted with them, have failed to offer concrete action that will mitigate small business cost concerns. They're not even talking about it publicly.
It's not always easy to take a position that runs counter to the majority. It takes conviction to take up a battle no one else will fight. On behalf of small business owners in Delta South, including 170 represented by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, we commend her courage.
Shachi Kurl B.C. Director Canadian Federation of Independent Business