The 2018 holiday season will be a stressful time for small business owners in Northern BC, but not for the reasons you might think.

CFIB logo | Handout photo

Instead of worrying about a spike in holiday shopping traffic, entrepreneurs are concerned about the impending Employers Health Tax, which kicks in January 1st.

Richard Truscott with the Canadian Federation Of Independent Business says there are a couple of things the province can do to ease the burden for small business owners.

“Number one is ending the requiring employers to pay both the new EHT and MSP premiums and secondly, exempting youth from the payroll calculation of this new tax.”

“Where that new tax will be felt the most is with youth who have less experience because they are the ones who will be feeling the impact on fewer opportunities or fewer hours for their jobs as a result of these taxes and exempting youth from the impending EHT for employers, that would go a long way in making sure employers continue to have an incentive to hire young people and train them otherwise it’s going to be a lot more expensive to do so in the future.”

With potentially a lot less on the plate for younger workers, the current small business landscape in BC, as well as the economy, could suffer as a result.

“That’s not good for the economy, that’s not good for the individual who is seeking to get their foot in the door and get some of that first job experience this is not good news and without some mitigation the EHT will be a very difficult pill for a lot of small business owners to swallow.”

In a recent article with MY PG NOW, the CFIB stated BC had the second-highest job vacancy rate in the country at 3.7% or 67,000 unfilled jobs with entrepreneurs in Northern BC having a much tougher time filling the gaps in a much lesser talent pool.

Truscott echoes that same statement on the EHT front where places not the named the Lower Mainland will have a tougher time getting help.

“This challenge is even more difficult for employers in places like Prince George and even Kamloops where employers have already been discovering with great difficulty in trying to find enough people to work inside their business and governments have made it even tougher and costly to create jobs, especially those at entry level.”

Truscott is very concerned about a lot of things the government is doing to make life tougher for small businesses including a rising minimum wage and Ottawa spiking the Canada Pension Plan premiums.