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

Smoky skies force flight cancellations

Air quality in West Kootenay also a health concern

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

Columbia River Treaty negotiators met in Nelson this week

Next session is in Portland in October

UPDATE: Fire forces closures and delays on Highway 3 at Kootenay Pass

Motorists should detour using Kootenay Lake ferry

Evacuation alert issued for City of Kimberley

Three hours after an evacuation order was issued for the St. Mary Valley, an evacuation alert was issued for the nearby community of Kimberley.

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada paid for study to understand Canadian attitudes

These are the highest-paid actresses of 2018

In its list released this week Forbes said all 10 earned a total of $186 million before tax

Safeway union urges prejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Fire chases B.C. crews out of their own camp

Crews in Burns Lake had to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

‘Disjointed’ system hinders British Columbia First Nations in wildfire fight

More than 550 wildfires were burning in B.C. and crews were bracing for wind and dry lightning

Most Read