Give business a break, says CFIB director

Shachi Kuri visits Abbotsford to speak at meeting of the city audit and finance committee

Shachi Kurl

Shachi Kurl

Abbotsford city hall is asking too much of its business owners.

That was the message brought by Shachi Kurl, director of provincial affairs for B.C. and Yukon for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), as she attended a meeting of the city audit and finance committee on Tuesday afternoon at city hall.

The CFIB has 215 members in Abbotsford, who Kurl says are being hit hard by taxes, and now face rising business licence costs.

The new proposed schedule of fees would rise dramatically in some sectors – from $520 to $1,500 for liquor primary businesses, and has already been criticized by business leaders.

“I strongly request that you reconsider this proposal,” said Kurl.

She told the committee that businesses are being hit with numerous expenses. The transition from the HST back to the PST will cost an estimated $3,000 on average, the Family Day holiday will add an average of $1,135 in labour costs, and in May the minimum wage rose to $10.25 per hour.

“The costs of doing business are starting to become unsustainable,” she said.

Kurl added that rising hydro and other utility costs, as well as the carbon tax, are other increases businesses have faced in recent years.

“All of this is coming out of the same till.”

She said the fee increase is also an issue of perception – whether Abbotsford is seen as “business friendly.”

“I myself was a bit alarmed when I saw what was being proposed,” said Coun. Henry Braun.

Coun. John Smith asked Jay Teichroeb, general manager of economic development and planning services, whether there was any service rendered for the licence fee, or “Is this pure taxation – an opportunity to stick it to the business sector?”

Teichroeb said staff is considering ways to raise funds without increasing the tax rate.

He noted 90 per cent of businesses pay a standard licence fee, which will rise from $120 to $140 under the proposed changes.

Overall, the business licence fees collected will rise 18 per cent since the last hike.

Studying business licence schedules in other nearby municipalities, city staff added new categories, including a $3,000 annual pipeline fee that will be paid by Kinder Morgan for the Trans Mountain Pipeline, and a $140 automated teller fee for cash machines at outlets such as convenience stores. The former bingo hall licence was $240, but it will rise to $500 in recognition that community gaming centres are more sophisticated operations. Real estate licences will increase from $120 to $500 per year.

Teichroeb will review and refine the fees based on comments from committee members, and bring adjustments back to the table next month.

Having heard Teichroeb’s explanation, Kurl said she remained concerned.

“Governments have a tendency to say ‘it’s just a little bit.’ A little bit, over time, adds up to a lot.”

Just Posted

Satwinder Bains of Abbotsford is the recipient of the 2021 aculty Service Excellence Award from University of the Fraser Valley. (UFV photo)
Satwinder Bains receives UFV Faculty Service Excellence Award

Bains has guided South Asian Studies Institute as director since 2006

The City of Abbotsford has prepared a draft Urban Forest Strategy that is now headed to public consulation.
Draft plan adopted for managing Abbotsford’s urban forests over next 25 years

Urban Forest Strategy now heads to public-consultation process

Country music star Chris Lane stops in Abbotsford next February. (Submitted)
Country music star Chris Lane coming to Abbotsford

Multi-platinum artist bringing ‘Fill Them Boots’ to Abbotsford Centre on Feb. 19, 2022

The Abbotsford International Airshow is back for 2021 with the ‘SkyDrive’ concept.
Abbotsford International Airshow returns for 2021 with ‘SkyDrive’

New format features a drive-in movie type experience, show set for Aug. 6 to 8

The intersection of Blueridge Drive and Blue Jay Street is one of three intersections in Abbotsford approved for traffic lights this year. (Google Street View)
Traffic signals approved at 3 Abbotsford intersections

Projects part of $1.45M in road upgrades around community

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read