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Major concerns for small and medium-sized businesses Add to ...

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business polled its membership in January asking which of the following were major concerns. The survey had 967 respondents.

Fuel, energy costs

  • Identified by 64 per cent
  • Rising oil and electricity prices are the most significant cost concern. This measure has risen rapidly over the past year and is of chief concern in Ontario as a result of climbing electricity costs.

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Tax, regulatory costs

  • 63 per cent
  • Small businesses feel their total tax and regulatory burden is extremely high and worsened on Jan. 1, 2011, with an increase in employment insurance premiums.

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Insurance costs

  • 49 per cent
  • Small businesses have remained concerned about the cost of insurance for the last several years.

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Wage costs

  • 47 per cent
  • During the recovery, wage pressures have begun to build, fuelled in part by rising minimum wages in some provinces

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Bank account and processing fees

  • 43 per cent
  • This issue has gained prominence over the past two years as a result of rising merchant processing fees and the growing popularity of premium credit cards

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Product input costs

  • 23 per cent
  • The cost of various inputs including commodities has begun to rise in recent months, for items such as natural resources and components parts. The costs vary by business sector.

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Occupancy costs

  • 23 per cent
  • These reflect the cost to either lease or purchase a business premise. These real estate costs can vary widely by location and tend to be higher in large cities.

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Borrowing costs

  • 22 per cent
  • While interest rates have risen slightly in recent months, this remains a lower-level cost pressure for smaller businesses given that borrowing remains near historic lows

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Foreign currencies

  • 11 per cent
  • The rising Canadian dollar has made it less expensive for companies to purchase goods and services abroad

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Capital equipment, technology costs

  • 21 per cent
  • The high Canadian dollar and certain government incentives have helped keep this cost concern in check.

Source: CFIB

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