CFIB logo | Handout photo

Small business optimism in BC including Prince George and the north continued its nosedive in September according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

The provincial rating is under 56 points and is now the second lowest in the country only behind Alberta (54.8).

Business owners are entering some uncharted waters, and it’s not necessarily a good thing.

“We’re feeling a little bit of uncertainty from the small business community, earlier this year British Columbia was around the top three across Canada and now we’ve come down to this level, which is about ten points below what’s considered a healthy threshold,” said Muriel Protzer, BC and Alberta Policy Analyst.

The lack of a municipal business vote is also drawing concerns from the northern business community.

“A business owner that operates in Prince George but actually lives outside that municipality they are unable to vote so that’s something we’re asking local mayoral and council candidates to introduce so business owners have their fair say.”

Small business owners are also looking for a strong platform from their local candidates with the civic election just around the corner.

However, the one constant worry remains the impending Employer’s Health Tax, which is set to take effect in the New Year possible driving down the confidence rate even further.

“It’s one that’s going to be a hard pill to swallow, it’s a cost they’re going to have to absorb and look at areas in their business to cut back on so they can afford this new tax. We also have changes to employment standards coming up and that has the chance to really impact small businesses in terms of red tape,” added Protzer.

The most optimistic small business owners in the country are located in Quebec (74.5) and Prince Edward Island (74.1).