CFIB logo | Handout photo

Small business confidence in BC held steady during March according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The provincial mark is sitting at 56 points, which is on par with the national average but is 10 points below the 65 to 75 point range which would indicate a healthy and growing economy.

BC Vice-President, Richard Truscott says getting the right employees continues to be a challenge for small businesses across Northern BC.

“We continue to have a lot of our members saying that they have a devil of a time trying to find qualified people to work in their business and that is something that is limiting their growth and it’s also causing some negative feeling to seep into their perceptions.”

“It’s not great, we are now 10 points below what the mark should be of a healthy and growing economy and now BC is just a fraction under 56 points, which is not great news.”

He adds one of the main issues right now is the overtaxing being done by several cities, however, one Northern BC market isn’t in that group.

“Prince George actually doesn’t do too bad in that measure but far too many municipalities across the province are still increasing taxes on small business putting those independent local businesses in a bit of a pinch.”

Some of the recent government initiatives like the Employer’s Health Tax as well as the push to a $15-dollar-an-hour minimum wage along with changes to employment standards is stretching some business owners thin.

“The province has a role to play in dialing back some of the things that they have been planning and looking for ways to make that Employers Health Tax a little bit easier of a pill to swallow for a lot of small businesses that are just above the threshold.”

Truscott believes the sagging confidence level is also due to volatile economic conditions around the globe with the World and Canadian economies slowing down as well as the BC economic outlook starting to cool.