Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, has issued the following statement on the Small Business Task Force report:
“Our government is developing a longer-term economic plan that puts people first. By establishing conditions that support mutual success for businesses and citizens, we are making life more affordable and working to increase the standard of living for all British Columbians.
“We thank the task force and all of the people who took time to share their insights and experiences. Small businesses are the heart of our communities, employing over one million people and contributing significantly to the growth of our economy.
“Government is committed to continuing to engage with small businesses. We are establishing a new annual program of regional engagement sessions with stakeholders, such as chambers of commerce, in 2019. This is part of a renewed framework to listen to business leaders from around B.C. about their needs and priorities.
“We will be acting on many of the task force’s recommendations related to increasing the awareness of government programs and services that can help small businesses succeed and grow, and to making it easier for entrepreneurs to interact with government and access programs and services.
“In its recommendations, the task force highlighted the importance of business development related to easier access to government procurement processes and continued export-market development services. Our new and simplified procurement approach changes the way government buys goods and services, making it easier for small businesses to access opportunities. These changes will drive economic growth in communities throughout the province, create well-paying jobs and take advantage of made-in-B.C. innovation. The Export Navigator program helps first-time exporters prepare for global trade, while our Trade and Investment Offices provide established companies access to markets in China, Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, India, the United States and Europe.
“The task force also made recommendations related to access to labour, including through action on affordable housing, transportation infrastructure and recognition of foreign credentials. Government has established a bold 30-point plan to make housing more affordable and is investing more than $4 billion in transportation infrastructure over the next three years.
“We have also heard the business community’s calls for affordable, quality child care and have made historic investments in child care to ensure that parents of young children are able to participate in the workforce.
“We welcome the task force’s call to support greater Indigenous participation in B.C.’s economy. Key initiatives such as the B.C. Aboriginal Business Loan Program, the Indigenous Skills Training Development Fund and the Indigenous procurement initiative provide programs and services that benefit Indigenous-owned local businesses.
“Since taking office, we have reduced the small business tax rate by 20%, are on track to eliminate the provincial sales tax on non-residential electricity by April 1, 2019, and have extended the Net Zero Regulatory Requirement to 2022. While government will continue to work closely with businesses, we will not be advancing the task force recommendations on taxation matters or minimum wage.
“B.C. is a success story with strong job growth, low unemployment and rising wages. Our government remains focused on providing the supports and services that small businesses need to help build a sustainable and innovative economy that benefits all British Columbians.”
To access the Small Business Task Force final report, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/employment-business-and-economic-development/business-management/small-business/small_business_task_force_final_report.pdf
To learn more about the Small Business Roundtable, visit: https://www.smallbusinessroundtable.ca/Home.aspx
To learn more about resources available to small businesses, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/business/small-business/resources