$2.5 Billion in Small Medium Enterprise Carbon Tax Rebates Unpaid, CFIB Calls for Action

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Ottawa’s Carbon Tax Policy: A Financial Dilemma for Small Businesses

TORONTO – BUSINESS – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has highlighted a troubling backlog in the federal government’s financial obligations to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Canada.

As of early 2024, it has come to light that Ottawa owes over $2.5 billion in carbon tax rebates to SMEs, a sum accumulated since 2019. This outstanding amount underscores a growing financial strain on small businesses, exacerbated by a recent policy shift that sees a reduction in their carbon tax rebate share.

Rebate Reductions Amid Rising Rates

The CFIB states that documents released by the federal government disclose a plan to decrease the percentage of carbon tax revenue rebated to SMEs from 9% to 5% starting in 2024.

This adjustment occurs alongside an increase in allocations for consumers and Indigenous governments, which will now receive 93% and 2% of the revenues, respectively according to the business group.

The move has been met with criticism from the CFIB, especially in light of a significant carbon tax rate hike scheduled for April 1, which would have otherwise resulted in a $500 million increase in SME rebates.

A Call for Fairness and Immediate Action

The CFIB’s stance is clear: the current system disproportionately affects small businesses, which are estimated to contribute 40% of the carbon tax revenue, yet are increasingly sidelined in rebate allocations. The organization’s President, Dan Kelly, has voiced strong opposition to the federal carbon tax, a sentiment echoed by 85% of small firms. In response to these challenges, the CFIB is advocating for several key changes:

  • The immediate disbursement of the $2.5 billion owed to SMEs.
  • Reinstatement of the SME carbon tax revenue share to 9% in 2024, with a future increase to 40%.
  • Passing of Bill C-234 to exempt natural gas and propane used in agricultural activities from the tax.
  • A freeze on the carbon tax rate and an exemption for all heating fuels.

Looking Ahead: The Federal Budget and SME Advocacy

As the debate over the carbon tax’s future heats up, the upcoming federal budget presents a critical opportunity for the government to address these pressing issues. The CFIB is rallying small businesses to join their cause, advocating for a system that recognizes and fairly compensates the significant contributions and challenges of SMEs in Canada. With the clock ticking, the call for action grows louder, urging Ottawa to rectify a system that has left small businesses waiting for much-needed financial relief.

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