Budget 2023: NB small business owners react

Estimated read time 3 min read

Marc Melanson is starting his peak brewing season.

The owner of Flying Boats Brewing in Dieppe, NB, is getting ready for the summer, but he’s also been keeping an eye on the federal budget.

He’s happy to see the increase in excise duties on beer being temporarily capped at two per cent starting April 1 instead of the 6.3 per cent increase which was originally planned by the federal government.

“These are little things that all incrementally help because we also have a lot of tax burden on the provincial side,” said Melanson. “We have a lot of increases among our suppliers. Minimum wage is going up next week, so all of these inputs really add up to a larger amount.”

Melanson thinks the federal government has gotten the message.

“They can not continuously increase all of these fees without knowledge of how it affects our businesses. Especially in the restaurant and hospitality industry which has been affected quite hard,” said Melanson.

John Wishart, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton, said there were a few wins for small business owners in the budget like credit card processing fees being lowered, but not enough for those still hurting from the pandemic.

“Just as they were getting back on their feet, they’re hit with high inflation and higher interest costs. So the one thing in the budget we were hoping for that we didn’t really see there was help in lowering the overall cost of doing business. That’s what’s really hurting the small business sector now,” Wishart said.

Chris Cormier opened Next Generation Hydroponics in Moncton a few months before the pandemic hit.

He wanted to see more grants for small business owners coming out of the budget because he’s having a difficult time surviving at the cost of just about everything going up.

“I think if something doesn’t give soon, yeah we’re going to have to close because it’s getting to the point where you’re working really hard just to pay your expenses at the end of the month and that’s it,” said Cormier. “You’re not even making a profit at the end of the month to pay anything.”

He has seen a rise in people growing their own vegetables in their homes to save money, but the overall business is still down for him.

The exterior of Next Generation Hydroponics in Moncton, NB, is pictured on March 29, 2023. (Derek Haggett/CTV)

So what would help, what would Melanson and Wishart like to have seen?

“We just need the ability of small businesses to operate with fewer fees, regulations, inter-provincial trade barriers should come down,” Wishart said. “The cost of doing any sort of business outside the province hurts.”

Melanson echoed that statement by saying he’d like to see more deregulation.

“More access to markets inter-provincially which is very difficult for us,” said Melanson. “It’s easier to export aboard than to go to our neighboring province.”

You May Also Like

More From Author