Both the Ontario and Federal governments seem to be doing their best to make it even more difficult for small business to survive. In spite of being the largest employer in Canada small business just “can’t get no respect” from government.
The Ontario government has gradually removed all of the size limitations on government programs soon business owners will have to have safety meeting with themselves and post rules on their basement walls if they work from them. Then there is the minimum wage which seriously affects small business. The government claims that it is necessary to guarantee a “living wage” to workers but the large majority are part time workers many with a second source of family income or students. According to some reports I have seen the net gain to these workers will be about $.40 an hour because the increase will jump them up a tax bracket. The winner of course is government tax coffers more money to waste on gas plants, ehealth or ORNGE. Then there is the obvious fact of where will the money come from to pay the raises, where else but from consumers through higher prices or less hours for employees. Any thought that businesses will be able to just absorb the increase costs is just plain stupid.
Now the federal government is concerned that business owners who have privately held corporations may be using them to avoid paying taxes. There should be some tax advantages to owning and running a small business and providing work for Canadians. Small business owners don’t get paid overtime, don’t get vacation pay and must pay both the employers and employees share of government benefits. The investment they have tied up in their businesses doesn’t earn interest and they don’t have a pension plan. There is no protection for a small business owner for rent increases, or other protections offered by “consumer” legislation. If someone pulls a fast one on a business owner there is no government agency to go to just the courts at great expense.
If our governments want small business to survive they need to recognize their value and help them survive instead of throwing obstacles in their path. Picture a country without small independent business, Doctors working in large group publicly owned practices, family farms disappearing (already happening) and all of the small individually owned businesses taken over by large public companies. Small privately owned companies can keep going with a reasonable return every year, large public companies must increase their profits and share value every year for management to keep their jobs. Do you think service and prices with improve should the big guys take over? Look at the changes in Walmart over the last few years since they saturated the market and can’t increase return through expansion. Empty spaces in the shelves, fewer employees, higher margins (and prices) as the competition falls off and lower quality goods as they pressure suppliers to reduce prices.