CFIB: Threat of New Provincial Sales Tax Still Looms


Seventy-four percent of entrepreneurs say it would be harmful to their business

CALGARY – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) warned the Alberta Government may still be considering introducing a provincial sales tax (PST), and released new survey data about the negative impact the tax would have on small business.

“We believe there is still a distinct possibility the Alberta government will introduce a new provincial sales tax in their upcoming budget.  It’s true the Premier has said it won’t happen.  But he has to say that.  If the government was indeed going to bring in a sales tax, they certainly wouldn’t telegraph it in advance”, remarked Richard Truscott, CFIB Vice President for Alberta and BC.

Business owners were asked in CFIB’s 2015 pre-budget survey: Do you agree or disagree with the following statements regarding the introduction of a new provincial sales tax?

A new provincial sales tax would be harmful to my business

  • 74 per cent agreed, 14 per cent disagreed, 12 per cent said don’t know

I trust government to spend the tax revenue wisely

  • 9 per cent agreed, 84 per cent disagreed, 7 per cent said don’t know

Future governments would increase the rate to make up for budgetary shortfalls

  • 69 per cent agreed, 13 per cent disagreed, 18 per cent said don’t know

Business owners were then asked: What impact would the introduction of a provincial sales tax have on your business?

  • 79 per cent said there would be added administration time and cost
  • 64 per cent indicated there would less investment back into the business
  • 63 per cent pointed to negative impact on sales
  • 32 per cent said a reduction in staffing (e.g. hours, number of employees)
  • 9 per cent mentioned other
  • 7 per cent stated they don’t know
  • Only 5 per cent said no impact

Truscott went on to challenge Premier Prentice to strengthen his committment not to bring in a PST.  “The Premier should unequivocally state that he will resign as provincial leader if he breaks his own promise and a PST is unveiled on budget day.  That simple statement would help calm the fears of many entrepreneurs that a sales tax is still under active consideration by the Alberta government.”

The CFIB pre-budget survey was conducted from January 26th to February 5th, 2015.  There were 880 respondents to the web-based, controlled access survey.

CFIB Feature Image logoAbout CFIB: As Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses, CFIB is Powered by Entrepreneurs™. Established in 1971, CFIB takes direction from more than 109,000 members in every sector nationwide, including 10,000 in Alberta, giving independent business a strong and influential voice at all levels of government and helping to grow the economy.