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New survey ranks provincial governments on small business vision
New survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) show dramatic differences in how confident small businesses are that their provincial governments have a vision to support entrepreneurship and small business.
Respondents in Saskatchewan were by far the most confident their provincial government has a vision that supports entrepreneurship and small business (72 per cent). The other “new west” provinces of British Columbia and Alberta ranked second and third respectively in terms of confidence, with 48 and 40 per cent.
Quebec and Manitoba (tied for last in the rankings) had only eight per cent of respondents expressing confidence in their government’s vision to create a small businesses friendly climate.
In the middle of the pack, Newfoundland and Labrador was fourth (27 per cent); Prince Edward Island fifth (21 per cent); New Brunswick sixth (19 per cent); Ontario seventh (15 per cent); and Nova Scotia eighth (12 per cent). It should be noted the survey was conducted before the recent Nova Scotia election.
“Everyone should be worried about these less-than-stellar results,” says Jennifer English, CFIB’s senior policy analyst for Nova Scotia. “Creating the conditions for small business success should be a top priority for all governments across Canada and our new provincial government is in an ideal position to do just that.”
Results on the question of vision correlate closely with whether respondents would recommend starting a business in their province. On this question again, Saskatchewan ranked first, with Manitoba finishing last. The report also ranked provincial governments in specific policy areas, such as taxation, red tape and labour laws. Overall, 44 per cent of small business owners would recommend starting a business in their provinces.
“Many provincial governments talk the talk when it comes to making small business a priority, but very few consistently walk the walk,” says Laura Jones, CFIB’s executive vice president. “Each and every premier in Canada has stood at a podium and spoken about the importance of entrepreneurship, but Canada’s entrepreneurs aren’t always seeing that talk turned into action.”
CFIB intends to make this an annual report that policymakers can use as a benchmark. With budget season in full swing across the country, this report provides provinces with a perfect opportunity to respond quickly to the concerns of entrepreneurs.
The key recommendations to provincial governments from this year’s report are to focus on keeping taxes reasonable, controlling government spending, reducing red tape, balancing labour laws and balancing budgets.
To view the full report, Wanted: Government vision for small business, visit www.cfib.ca.