By Jean-Paul McDonald
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has shed light on the growing discontent among small businesses towards the federal carbon tax. With 85% of businesses now against the tax, the CFIB is urging the government to take immediate action to address their concerns.
These businesses, which form the backbone of the economy, contribute roughly 40% of the tax's cost while receiving negligible rebates in return.
Dan Kelly, the CFIB President, voiced the collective apprehension of small businesses, highlighting the disproportionate burden of the carbon tax on them compared to larger corporations and consumers, who benefit from rebates and grants.
According to him, the selective exemption of heating oil and the potential reallocation of funds from small businesses to rural households are exacerbating the issue. These actions are viewed as counterproductive to the support that small businesses were promised.
The timing is critical, with the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan repayment deadline looming and businesses grappling with rising costs across the board. The CFIB's stance is that the government's delay in disbursing the carbon tax revenues—$2.5 billion since 2019—to the intended small businesses and Indigenous groups is further compounding financial strains.
The CFIB's proposal is clear: extend the carbon tax exemption to all heating fuels, stop the increase in carbon tax set for April 2024, and ensure businesses receive a fair share of rebates. Additionally, the CFIB supports the swift passage of Bill C-234 without amendments, which is vital for small businesses.