B.C. Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston. (Black Press files)

B.C. NDP names small business task force

Trio to tour province looking for economic growth input

B.C. Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston has appointed a three-member small business task force to tour B.C. and come up with recommendations to strengthen the sector.

New Westminster lawyer Micheal Hwang is chairing the task force. The other members are Cybele Negris, CEO of Vancouver-based Webnames.ca, and Shahraz Kassam, owner of Shamin Diamonds in Surrey.

The task force starts its provincial tour in Surrey June 6, visiting Nanaimo June 8, Terrace June 13, Prince George June 14, Richmond June 18, Cranbrook June 26 and Kelowna June 28. There will also be a website to take recommendations from around the province.

The task force is to “get a sense of how to enhance the prosperity of the small business sector,” Ralston said, introducing the members at a bakery in Surrey on Wednesday.

The new NDP government provided a tax break for small business last fall, matching a B.C. Liberal pledge to reduce the small business income tax from 2.5 per cent to two, retroactive to April 2017. But in the February budget, Finance Minister Carole James introduced a new health care payroll tax to take effect in January 2019. It applies to businesses with payrolls of $500,000 and up, to replace revenue from the government’s planned phase-out of Medical Services Plan premiums.

RELATED: Payroll tax cited in declining business confidence

The payroll tax and B.C.’s pipeline and trade dispute with Alberta were cited by small business owners for a decline in optimism in a spring survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Despite their concerns, the CFIB survey showed more than a quarter of B.C. companies were looking to hire in the short term, while nine per cent were expecting to cut back.

Just Posted

Agassiz Community Gardens hoping to find new home at old McCaffrey school

The society has been looking for a new location since its previous gardens were sold in October

Kent looking to replace Ferny Coombe pool with indoor facility

The facility being built is dependent on grant funding from the province and federal government

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Escape room brings ‘out of the box’ activity to Agassiz

AESS alumni and teacher developed the concept to bring teamwork-based entertainment to the town

Hatzic man charged with assaulting Chilliwack RCMP officers

Jason Roberto Vatcher was out on bail facing firearms charges

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Manure company causing ‘toxic’ stink at Abbotsford school seeks permit

Property across from King Traditional Elementary cannot operate manure facility without permit

Vancouver city council endorses free transit for youth

Mayor Kennedy Stewart will write a support letter to TransLink

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Most Read