Kelowna Chamber of Commerce president Tom Dyas. — Image credit: Kelowna Chamber of Commerce

‘Red flag’ raised over federal tax reform

Kelowna Chamber of Commerce says proposed changes would hurt small business in Canada.

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce is “raising a red flag” following the release of a federal government consultation paper that proposes significant tax policy changes.

“We believe in the principle of having a fair tax system, but are concerned some of the proposed changes could have a negative impact on entrepreneurs and family owned small businesses,” said Tom Dyas, president of the Kelowna chamber . “We are reaching out to our local MPs to raise this issue with them.”

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau released the consultation paper that outlines the proposed changes and initiated a 75-day consultation process during which it will accept submissions on these proposals.

The chamber, along with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and other chambers across the country, are expressing concern over the changes called for in the consultation paper, several of which the chambers feel could have a significant negative impact on small businesses.

“We hope the federal government will listen to the concerns being expressed and re-examine the proposed changes,” said Dyas, adding while the changes may “sell well” to the general public because they are being framed as going after “rich” people, small business owners are the backbone of the Canadian economy and the changes could punish them and become a disincentive for others to take risks in running their own businesses.

He said many of those small business owners have risked a lot to start up and run their businesses.

The Kelowna chamber has expressed its concerns to Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr, and says it is pleased he is listening to those concerns. Further discussion with the local MP is expected as the chamber looks to raise the issues over the proposed tax reforms.

In a news release issued earlier this week, the chamber said it understands and supports the federal government’s desire to ensure tax fairness for Canada’s middle class, but wants to ensure the impact of any proposed changes are fully understood prior to implementation so as to avoid unintended consequences that could negatively impact the economy.

“The current proposed changes do not result in this desired tax fairness,” said the chamber.