CFIB logo (Photo supplied by Canadian Federation of Independent Business)

Small businesses in Northern BC continue to struggle according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The province’s small business confidence rating continued to lag behind this with the index now sitting at just over 53 points, 4.5 points below the national average.

BC Vice-President, Richard Truscott told Vista Radio the recent sawmill curtailments and shutdowns in places like Fort Saint James and Mackenzie will only make the business environment more toxic.

“I think we are nearing a bit of a tipping point when it comes to small businesses, especially in the north when we see the curtailments happening, when we see the resource sector struggling and big businesses pulling back as that can only spell trouble for small business, there is no question about that.”

He adds whatever struggles bigger businesses are facing does have a trickle-down effect.

“The industries in places like Mackenzie and all across the north, if they are not doing well that means it’s trouble for small business because they depend on those resource industries to be prosperous, to be growing in order to make sure that their own bottom lines are solid.”

“It’s not just sawmills being forced to shut down, or curtailing production, we’re seeing some pullback in other resource industries too like oil and gas, which is also important in other parts of the north that’s been lagging in some of the production and all of this stuff trickles down to small business.”

About 70% of entrepreneurs in the province this month stated taxes and regulatory costs are causing major challenges for their business.

“Now that we’ve reached this two-year mark in the government’s mandate we need to reflect on where we’ve been and where we are going and it’s not looking good right now. Although the economy overall is looking good, in places like the north it’s been very soft and it’s starting to impact small businesses,” added Truscott.

“We’re not moving in a positive direction in terms of policy and I think that’s starting to seep into the overall outlook for entrepreneurs.”