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

WATCH: Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 in Chilliwack trying to flee police

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Drugs and guns seized by Chilliwack Mounties in complex case

Drug trafficking investigations led to five arrests in three different locations across Chilliwack

Chilliwack RCMP trying to catch robbery suspect

Police hope someone will identify the person who appears in security camera footage

LETTER: Why is Jati Sidhu ashamed of his riding?

Lytton’s Christopher di Armani shares his dismay at the potential name change of the MP’s riding

Chilliwack churns out new generation of wildfire fighters

School district partners with B.C. Wildfire Service to prep Grade 12s for careers

Stolen Bentley spotted going wrong way down highway found in Summerland

The car has been recorded going the wrong way on the Coquihalla, found two days later

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

VIDEO: Vancouver fall to Seattle in Game 2 of the playoffs

Thunderbirds topple the Giants 4-1 in Langley, evening the Western Conference series one game each

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Vancouver-bound transit bus involved in fatal crash near Seattle

One man was killed and a woman injured in crash with bus purchased by TransLink

Most Read