The Burnaby Board of Trade recently hosted 14 provincial ministries to advocate for the local business community’s needs.
Twenty-five government representatives, including senior deputy ministers from 14 ministries attended an all-day meeting with the BBoT to talk about issues businesses face in Burnaby and beyond. The meeting included 15 other chambers of commerce and boards of trade, who joined in advocating directly to the government.
The BBoT said it advocated on several positions, but specifically named three. It called for the B.C. employer health tax’s exemptions to be raised to include more small businesses. The health tax, which is replacing the MSP premiums, exempts businesses with payrolls of $500,000 and less, but the BBoT called for that to be raised to $1.5 million.
It also called on the government to amend the B.C. Assessment Act so municipalities would tax business properties on their current uses rather than the “highest and best use.” Taxing properties evaluated for their highest and best use is being called “an existential threat to businesses” by the BBoT.
Finally, the group called for government programs to be more accessible to smaller businesses, saying small companies are too often left “out in the cold” due to up-front costs, time-consuming paperwork and restrictive criteria.
The BBoT said it also called on the B.C. government to work with local businesses on reducing plastic waste, protecting the supply of industrial land and “stabilizing” minimum wage increases.