Small business calls on new Ontario government to put CPP expansion on hold

New data released today by CFIB

With significant hikes in Canada Pension Plan (CPP) premiums set to go ahead on January 1, 2019, new survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) show that small business owners want the newly elected Ontario government to put the plan on hold or cancel it altogether.

“Small business owners are calling on Premier Ford and Finance Minister Fedeli to press pause on the previous government’s decision to raise payroll taxes on small employers,” said Dan Kelly, CFIB president. A total of 84 per cent of Ontario business owners want their new government to delay CPP expansion pending a review of other options (52 per cent) or withdraw its support entirely (32 per cent).

In 2016, the federal government met the required level of provincial support to raise premiums by 20 per cent and increase the maximum pensionable earnings to nearly $80,000. Changes to CPP require the support of two-thirds of the provinces representing two-thirds of the population, giving Ontario an effective veto as Canada’s largest province.

“We cannot forget that CPP expansion means every Canadian’s paycheque and employer’s payroll budget will be smaller every January 1 for the next five years,” Kelly added.

“Many Ontario small businesses are struggling with the legacy of high costs imposed by past decisions,” said PlamenPetkov, CFIB’s vice-president for Ontario. “Massive hikes in the costs of energy, the minimum wage and new labour rules will have negative effects for many years and small firms simply cannot afford to pay even higher payroll taxes.”

A recent CFIB study, done through the University of Toronto’s Policy and Economic Analysis Program, found that the CPP hike will initially mean 64,000 fewer jobs, a loss 4.5 times greater than the federal government’s projection. CFIB’s analysis also shows that negative job impacts will last until the late 2020s, after which the impacts will transform into constrained wage growth and higher government deficits.

CFIB believes there are other, less harmful ways to improve retirement savings for employees, including Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs), and stands ready to work with the Ontario government to review its options.

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