B.C. Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston. (Black Press files)

B.C. NDP names small business task force

Trio to tour province looking for economic growth input

B.C. Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston has appointed a three-member small business task force to tour B.C. and come up with recommendations to strengthen the sector.

New Westminster lawyer Micheal Hwang is chairing the task force. The other members are Cybele Negris, CEO of Vancouver-based Webnames.ca, and Shahraz Kassam, owner of Shamin Diamonds in Surrey.

The task force starts its provincial tour in Surrey June 6, visiting Nanaimo June 8, Terrace June 13, Prince George June 14, Richmond June 18, Cranbrook June 26 and Kelowna June 28. There will also be a website to take recommendations from around the province.

The task force is to “get a sense of how to enhance the prosperity of the small business sector,” Ralston said, introducing the members at a bakery in Surrey on Wednesday.

The new NDP government provided a tax break for small business last fall, matching a B.C. Liberal pledge to reduce the small business income tax from 2.5 per cent to two, retroactive to April 2017. But in the February budget, Finance Minister Carole James introduced a new health care payroll tax to take effect in January 2019. It applies to businesses with payrolls of $500,000 and up, to replace revenue from the government’s planned phase-out of Medical Services Plan premiums.

RELATED: Payroll tax cited in declining business confidence

The payroll tax and B.C.’s pipeline and trade dispute with Alberta were cited by small business owners for a decline in optimism in a spring survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Despite their concerns, the CFIB survey showed more than a quarter of B.C. companies were looking to hire in the short term, while nine per cent were expecting to cut back.

Just Posted

Halloween fun in Agassiz Harrison: check out the local spooks and scares

Bridal Falls, Kilby Historic Site, Agricultural Hall host family events

Annie Silver voted new director of Sasquatch Country – Area-C

Silver to take over role of director for Hemlock Valley, Harrison Mills, Lake Errock

Leo Facio re-elected as Harrison’s mayor

Facio joined by three new councillors

VIDEO: Agassiz, Harrison voters on why they went to the polls

Spoiler alert: Most say voting is a civic duty

WWE star Roman Reigns announces he has leukemia

Grappler formerly played in CFL

China opens mega-bridge linking Hong Kong to mainland

The $20 billion bridge took almost a decade to build while incurring major delays and cost overruns

Dangerous Cat 4 Hurricane Willa closing in on Mexico coast

Officials said 7,000 to 8,000 people were being evacuated from low-lying areas, mostly in Sinaloa state

Excessive speed named as cause of Taiwan train derailment

18 people were killed and at least 170 more were injured

Ovechkin has 4 points as Caps rough up Canucks 5-2

WATCH: Defending champs pick up impressive win in Vancouver

Vancouver mayoral hopefuly admits defeat, congratulates winner Kennedy Stewart

Ken Sim of the Non-Partisan Association apologized for the time it took to acknowledge Stewart won

Mental fitness questioned of man charged in Chilliwack River Valley shooting

Peter Kampos told his lawyer ‘his dreams are being stolen and turned into drugs’ at Surrey Pre-trial

Fraser Valley mom stuck in Africa over adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran have been waiting four weeks to bring son home

Most Read