The Government of Ontario released its 2023 budget: Building a Strong Ontario on March 23. The budget is a strategy that seeks to help people and businesses handle the ongoing economic unpredictability of the world by taking a responsible, focused approach.
The Ontario budget plans on providing about 5,500 of Ontario’s small businesses with additional income tax relief from 2022-23 to 2025-26. An eligible corporation could receive over $36,000 in Ontario income tax relief each year.
Many small businesses all over Ontario are hoping the government’s plan will alleviate some of their stress. But not all business owners are optimistic about the measures that will be introduced.
According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’ chief economist, Simon Gaudreault, small businesses are struggling with all kinds of rising costs.
“Tax and regulatory costs are causing challenges for 54 per cent of small businesses,” he said in a press release. “Many small firms are slowly recovering from years of subpar business conditions. Now, they’re getting hit with rapidly increasing costs.”
Watch one small business owner react to the budget:
Riley Locke, a policy analyst for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said his organization is content with the new budget and the impacts it has on small businesses.
“The main thing that we are happy about would be the fact that the government is maintaining a ‘do no harm’ approach for small businesses, meaning there are no broad new costs, taxes, or burdens included in the budget,” Locke said in a phone interview. “We are also glad to see that the government is on a path towards balance in terms of the budget.”
Even so, Locke still said that the CFIB would have liked to see the provincial government relieving more stress from small businesses.
“For the most part the government hasn’t added any new costs, but we also haven’t seen the government reduce the burden, so there are some things we would like to see included that weren’t,” Locke said.
Pam Waikid, owner of the family-run restaurant Viet Thai Kitchen in East York, isn’t sure whether she will benefit from the Conservatives’ budget.
“As much as I love that the government is planning on supporting small businesses, I can’t say for sure that it will be helpful to me,” she said. “With all the budgets and programs that the government has provided businesses in the past many conditions have to be met.”
Waikid said there’s a chance her business won’t be able to receive anything. Even if she can, she said it will “only aid in sustaining” her business.
The restaurant was only two years old when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and is still struggling.