B.C. Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston (right) introduces small business task force members, Cybel Negris, CEO of Webnames.ca, Shahraz Kassam, owner and CEO of Shamin Diamonds and Michael Hwang, founder of Amicus Lawyers, May 2, 2018. (B.C. government)

Taxes, housing pressures measured in B.C. small business survey

Minister Bruce Ralston seeks input from business owners during June

Is collecting sales tax a burden on your small business, or is the tax you have to pay the problem?

Those are among the questions being asked by the B.C. government’s new small business task force, touring the province during June.

The three-member panel begins its tour in Surrey June 6, moving to Nanaimo June 8, Terrace June 13, Prince George June 14, Richmond June 20, Cranbrook June 26 and Kelowna June 28, with details provided to small business owners via local chambers of commerce and other business groups.

An online survey is also open until June 29 at engage.gov.bc.ca/smallbusiness/ to collect feedback for the task force’s recommendations to government. Submissions can also be mailed to the task force at PO Box 9822, St. Provincial Govt., Victoria B.C. V8W 9N3.

One survey question asks business owners to pick their biggest challenge: real estate costs, housing for workers, utility costs, minimum wages, taxes or other costs. Another seeks suggestions to support hiring of women, seniors, Indigenous people and those with disabilities.

The survey also seeks suggestions on how government can assist in skills training, and how to help startups and small businesses in rural and remote locations.

The task force is chaired by Michael Hwang, founder of Amicus Lawyers, with Cybel Negris, CEO of Webnames.ca and Shahraz Kassam, owner and CEO of Shamin Diamonds. Their report to Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston is expected this fall.

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