In advance of the Government of British Columbia’s release of Budget 2023, expected at the end of February, representatives from the BC Chamber of Commerce are in Victoria today to press for actions to address the cost of doing business in B.C. The meetings with the provincial government, which are taking place during B.C. Chamber of Commerce Week, are being led by Board Chair Dr. Greg Thomas and President and CEO Fiona Famulak.
“In the past six months, I’ve visited nearly 50 local chambers of commerce and boards of trade and have been told consistently that businesses, especially small- and medium-sized ones, are struggling,” says Dr. Thomas. “We need government, with the support of all MLAs, to develop policies and initiatives aimed at making B.C. a more friendly and welcoming place to run a business.”
“We need the provincial government to take meaningful steps to reduce the costs on business so they can continue to operate and keep people employed,” says Famulak. “Rising and new taxes, high fees and mandatory benefits are impacting the wellbeing of businesses across the province. Additionally, we are calling for government to address the unnecessary delays in permitting decisions which are impacting our natural resource sectors and hindering investment opportunities in B.C.”
Over recent years, B.C. has implemented several measures that have increased costs and made it harder for B.C. businesses to succeed. These include new and increased taxes, mandatory five paid sick days, increases to the minimum wage five years in a row, and the recent introduction of a new statutory holiday. Faced with the ongoing challenges caused by high interest rates, inflation, and supply chain challenges, B.C. businesses need help.
The BC Chamber of Commerce represents 100 member chambers of commerce and boards of trade and more than 36,000 businesses of every size, and from every sector and region of the province. In a recent survey of members, 87 per cent of respondents confirmed the “costs of doing business” has gotten worse over the past year and 78 per cent said “costs of labour” have also gotten worse.
“The BC Chamber of Commerce is calling for decisive actions from government to reduce the cost of doing business in B.C. and create conditions that attract new investment to our province,” adds Famulak. “We cannot have healthy communities without healthy businesses. If businesses struggle, their communities will too. It is time to address the barriers that are preventing our economy from reaching its full potential.”