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The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has asked the federal government to hold Canada Pension Plan premiums at current levels next year when they’re scheduled to rise.

The national lobby group for small and mid-sized businesses says that higher CPP rates will be a financial burden to both employers and employees as they struggle with the pandemic.

The CFIB estimates that one-third of small businesses are currently losing money during the pandemic and higher payroll taxes will limit their ability to hire and pay employees.

CFIB says employees could see their take-home pay fall when their CPP premiums go up.

The CFIB has long opposed a federal and provincial agreement to gradually raise CPP premiums over several years to improve retirement benefits for employees over the long term.

CFIB President Dan Kelly says higher mandatory expenses like pension premiums are hard for small businesses any year and will be even harder in 2021 because of COVID-19.

“Let’s not forget that the premium hike hits employees too, ensuring that every working Canadian will see a drop in their take-home income unless their employer is able to give them a larger raise on Jan. 1,” Kelly said in a statement.