Supreme Court ruling on federal carbon tax does not address the unfairness it imposes on small business

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Yesterday’s ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada upholding the federal carbon tax is deeply disappointing for small businesses in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). The federal carbon tax, which is set to increase on April 1, places a disproportionately high financial burden on small firms, while it is said to give consumers bigger rebates than the amount they pay in.

“Small firms simply cannot afford a further increase in their overall tax burden, especially as many remain in full lockdown or subject to significant COVID-19 related restrictions,” said Dan Kelly, President at CFIB.

CFIB research has found that the federal carbon tax is deeply unfair to small businesses as they contribute almost 50 per cent of the carbon tax revenues, but get just 7 per cent back in the form of grants and rebates. Some of the small programs intended to support small firms reduce their carbon emissions have never been introduced. Consumers receive 90 per cent of the rebate payments. Four out of five businesses estimate they can pass on less than a quarter of the new costs to consumers and 78 per cent are not in a position to take on new costs to advance environmental initiatives at this time.

CFIB urges the federal government to delay any further increases in the federal carbon tax for the foreseeable future and change how the tax is redistributed so that small businesses are rebated an amount similar to what they have paid.

“Small businesses are swimming in COVID debt and less than a third are even back to making normal levels of sales. The last thing they need is a new cost,” concluded Kelly.