• Chamber calls on government to support business and pause tax: 3/18/2022

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    March 18, 2022
    The Fort Nelson Chamber has send the following letter to Federal and Provincial government. 
    To view a pdf of the letter click here

    March 15, 2022

    Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, MP, PC
    Prime Minister of Canada
    Honourable John Horgan, MLA
    Premier of British Columbia

    By email and hard copy
    RE: Support Business in Pandemic Recovery & Global Uncertainty
    The Fort Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce represents businesses in the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (NRRM).  Located at Mile 300 of the Alaska Highway in the NE corner of BC we are the provinces first and only regional municipality and service a land base of over 85,000 km2 or approximately 10% of the Province of British Columbia. 
    Businesses, organizations and individuals in British Columbia are calling on the Country and Province to pause and look critically at small business, to put meaningful supports in place to help SME’s survive and thrive as we move past the pandemic but continue to face pressure and challenges due to new global crisis, the tragic situation in Ukraine and uncertainty in moving forward from the pandemic.
    Without urgent action by government even more businesses will fail leaving people unemployed, families facing crisis and communities struggling to maintain local economies.
    The latest hit to small business is the spike in gasoline prices.  While we understand there is little government can do to impact the world price of gasoline there are things we can do here at home to support SME’s and families.
    We are calling on the federal government to:
    • Eliminate the GST on fuel or at a minimum make changes to move to a per litre tax to eliminate the current situation that results in consumers paying tax on tax.  In any situation GST calculations should not involve being applied to another tax. 
    • Work to attain natural resource self-sufficiency in Canada by actively promoting, working and building infrastructure to ensure Canadian resources are utilized across the country before importing, especially from countries with questionable environmental and worker practices.
    We are calling on the provincial government to:
    • Immediately pause taxes on fuel similar to the recent announcement in Alberta.  Rural and resource communities are feeling the impact of the Alberta decision, already at a disadvantage this further widens the competitive gap between BC business and Alberta business.  Let’s level the playing field to ensure BC businesses can thrive. 
    • Carbon Tax – be proactive in supporting BC business and consumers by pausing the planned increase to the carbon tax.  Given the ongoing world crisis and expectation of increasing economic hardship and uncertainty you have an opportunity to demonstrate your support and understanding of the challenges and struggles facing BC business and families.  With the planned increase and the change to eligibility for the BC carbon tax credit you are directly impacting our most vulnerable.  
    As the effects of the pandemic continue, the cost of living and the price of goods continue to escalate and the uncertainty of global supply and rising costs due to the invasion of Ukraine; government should be doing what they can to support businesses through reduced taxation.
    Rural and NE BC are impacted by taxation significantly more than other urban areas due to isolation, lack of infrastructure and climate.  The lack of transit, more extreme temperatures, vast distances and isolation make alternative energy options unavailable to business and consumers in rural and remote regions.  Businesses and consumers should be exempt from the carbon and fuel tax where other alternatives are unavailable.  
    In closing we urge your governments to be proactive, act quickly and meaningfully in supporting small and medium sized business.  They are the backbone of our provincial and national economies, and our largest driver of employment.    

    David Milner,                                                              Bev Vandersteen,
    President                                                                     Executive Director

    Cc:       Bob Zimmer, MP
    Dan Davies, MLA        
    Mayor Gary Foster & Council, Northern Rockies Regional Municipality
    Chief Sharleen Gale & Council, Fort Nelson First Nation
    Fiona Famulak, President and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce