Media Releases Jul 09, 2021

Bill C-208: Why has the government blocked Parliament’s new law?


(OTTAWA) – July 9, 2021 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Senior Director of Tax and Financial Policy, Patrick Gill, issued the following statement regarding the government’s decision to stall the implementation of Bill C-208.

“Parliament has spoken and made its desire clear to make the sale of a small business to family members as easy as a sale to an unrelated buyer. Bill C-208 addressed this discriminatory tax policy, only to see the new legislation’s implementation blocked. The decision to shelve the legislation of Bill C-208 is highly unusual and the government should reverse this decision immediately.

Small family businesses are not asking for special treatment, they are asking for the same treatment as everyone else. The shelving of Bill C-208 will effectively discriminate against small family businesses by taxing them at higher rates than if they sold to a complete stranger.

This unfair tax treatment is hindering many companies from selling or transferring their business to another family member. According to Statistics Canada, of the businesses planning to sell or transfer their operations in the next year, only 10% plan to sell to family members compared to 73% which plan to sell to external parties.

This legislation would make it easier for succession planning, but it has now become stuck in a legislative limbo that makes it impossible for small business owners to effectively plan.  This issue is so critical to Canadian small businesses that 97% of nearly 450 local chambers of commerce voted to make it a major policy focus. 

This uncertainty creates an unnecessary layer of confusion and complexity for small businesses after what has been a very difficult and challenging year. Small family-run businesses need clarity, support, and less regulatory burden.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce calls upon the government to immediately allow the legislation of Bill C-208 to come into effect.”

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.

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For more information, please contact:
Phil Taylor
ptaylor@chamber.ca