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Broader immigration and credits for investment are needed immediately in Atlantic Canada, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
The CFIB’s latest report warns small businesses in the region are being forced to adapt to the reality that workers are becoming increasingly hard to find.
The report shows more than one in five businesses are considering cancelling expansion plans because they simply can’t find people.
“As a first line of defence, small business owners are doing more hands-on work themselves,” said Jordi Morgan, CFIB’s vice president for Atlantic Canada.
“For those with persistent staffing challenges, future growth is next to impossible.”
Immigration is the primary tool being used to offset population decline, but immigration programs tend to target only highly-skilled, highly-educated workers. CFIB’s report reveals regional small business owners urgently need workers at all skill levels.
“To augment the success of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, we are again recommending an Introduction to Canada Visa, giving lower-skilled workers the opportunity to work towards permanent residency,” Morgan said.
Many businesses are also investing in equipment and other technology to innovate and stay productive, but already high taxes, unnecessary regulatory burden and increasing federal tax loads such as CPP and carbon taxes make it more difficult for small businesses to contribute towards future projects and investments.
“Government funding is too limited in scope and application processes can be loaded with red tape. Many small businesses either can’t or don’t have the resources to access them,” Morgan said. “Regional governments should be looking for ways to allow small businesses to claim much more of what is spent on new equipment or technology in the year of purchase.”
To see the CFIB’s full report, visit cfib.ca.