Nixon: Coming out of the recession, small business deserves big respect

MLA Jason Nixon’s column

MLA Jason NIxon with class of students at the Sundre School. Photo submitted.

Folks often say that recessions begin on Bay Street, while recoveries begin on Main Street.

As our province takes its first shaky steps out of the steepest recession in a generation, we should celebrate the success of our small-business sector. Competing in low-margin, labour-intensive industries, these Mom & Pop shops, family restaurant owners, and self-employed tradespeople have endured tough times while displaying unparalleled moxy and entrepreneurial sprit.

Not only have these folks persevered through difficult circumstances, they have done so while carrying the rest of us.

For example, commercial businesses, including small business owners, typically pay a greater share of property tax. Across Alberta, commercial property tax rates are nearly two-and-a-half times the residential rates. In Calgary, commercial property owners pay 3.81 times more than residents. Through the recession, many municipalities opted to increase property taxes, relying on business owners to carry the load.

The vast majority of small business owners also employ at least a few people. As employers, they are required to match every employee’s Canada Pension Plan contributions. In addition, employers match Employment Insurance contributions. Under federal policy changes, both CPP and EI rates are increasing, putting additional pressure on employers.

The provincial government is also dipping into the pockets of small business owners in a variety of ways. As most Albertans are aware, the carbon tax is driving up the cost of both electricity and heat, not to mention the cost of transporting fresh fruits, vegetables, and other foodstuffs. Additionally, the province has most recently overhauled a series of labour regulations, resulting in significant impacts on small business owners. As a direct result of Bill 17, employees who don’t work on statutory holidays still must be paid for them. Of course, employees should be paid for stat holidays, but this change appears to be particularly punitive. It’s a ludicrous change that will cost restaurant owners tens of thousands of dollars, despite the fact that many don’t even open on Mondays.

These are just six of the ways governments have stacked the deck against small business in recent years. There are many more. The fact that so many managed to endure through the recession is a testament to their perseverance. At the very least, they deserve our admiration and gratitude.

If recessions begin on Bay Street, and recoveries begin on Main Street, just imagine what our small businesses could accomplish if government would get out of the way.

For more information, contact:

Constituency Office

117 Centre St. Sundre, AB T0M 1X0

Phone 403-638-5029

Twitter: @JasonNixonAB



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Active cases in central zone up Tuesday

Central zone active cases remains lowest of all zones

PHOTOS: Eckville graduates receive their diplomas, finally

Eckville Jr./Sr. High School held a socially distanced grad over the weekend

Central zone active cases down to 20

Province provides update

Gord Bamford serenades Sylvan Lake at sold out concert

Gord Bamford played for a sold out crowd at a drive-in concert Sept. 19 in Sylvan Lake

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

RCMP say body located of man who fell in river during stop for photos in Banff

Parks Canada has said the man was from India and living in Canada on a work visa

Paper towel in short supply as people stay home, clean more, industry leader says

While toilet paper consumption has returned to normal levels, paper towel sales continue to outpace pre-COVID levels

Lacombe beekeepers give the buzz on winterizing hives

Winterizing a honeybee hive is not a simple task, local apiarists say

Six injured, man in custody following BB gun incident in Alberta, RCMP say

Airdrie’s downtown core was told to shelter-in-place, while others nearby were asked to stay inside

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Most Read