B.C. small businesses prepare list of key concerns ahead of provincial election

A storefront for lease in downtown Vancouver. Global News

With a provincial election just months away, B.C.’s small business community is getting ready to put its demands to the province’s political class.

Business Improvement Areas of B.C. (BIABC) is in the process of surveying members about their biggest concerns, with the aim of challenging B.C.’s political parties about how they’ll solve them.

“What we are looking for from the parties is concrete, bold policy positions that are actually going to improve the economic viability of our small and medium-sized businesses,” BIABC president and CEO of the Downtown Victoria Business Association CEO Jeff Bray said.

“(They are) the largest employers, they are the heartbeats of our communities, and we want to see political parties and candidates focus on their wellbeing.”

Click to play video: 'Nanaimo thrift store closing due to social disorder'
Nanaimo thrift store closing due to social disorder

While the organization is still collecting answers from businesses in its 70 member districts, Bray said two clear themes have already emerged: crime and street disorder and rising costs and taxes.

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“Theft, broken windows, vandalism, that all hits the bottom lines for businesses — it’s discouraging,” Bray said, adding members say staff and customers have shared safety concerns.

Rising minimum wages, employer health tax, paid sick days and increasing property taxes are among the other major pressures Bray said he’s hearing about.

Data from the survey will inform a questionnaire the group puts to each of B.C.’s major political parties along with all-candidate events to make its case ahead of the Oct. 19 provincial election.

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