Small businesses call for emergency debate in Alberta Legislature amid looming layoffs

Call for Emergency Debate about Economy; Amber Ruddy, Alberta Director, Canadian Federation of Independent Business
WATCH ABOVE: The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) calls for an emergency debate at the Alberta Legislature on the state of the province's economy

CALGARY – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is calling for the Alberta government to recall the legislature early for an emergency debate on the state of the province’s economy.  The group represents 10,000 members in Alberta made up of independent business owners.

CFIB Alberta Director Amber Ruddy said they conduct a business barometer to measure confidence levels for the future. Ruddy said the results have been dire.

“We are experiencing some of the all-time lows we’ve ever seen,” Ruddy said.  “We hope the government can readjust their plans.”

Ruddy points to low oil prices trickling down to small businesses.  She said that looming government polices, including the carbon tax and the minimum wage increase will hurt small businesses.

READ MORE: Alberta premier defends plan to raise minimum wage

During the last recession, Ruddy said big business took on cost-cutting measures, but small businesses were able hold on to employees longer.  This time around, Ruddy said small businesses are starting to lay off people in bigger numbers compared to 2008.

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“About a third are looking to reduce their full-time workforce in the next three months.”

Ruddy said the government needs to put a pause on polices to help businesses survive the extended downturn.

“We can’t make a bad situation worse. Let’s put a pause on those policies until we can figure out the implications.”

The Legislature is scheduled to resume on the second Tuesday in February.  The government can recall the house earlier than Feb, 9 to have an emergency debate on the economy.