Queen's Park, Ontario legislature, exterior

Small business owners in Ontario want the newly elected provincial government to put planned increases to Canada Pension Plan (CPP) premiums on hold or cancel them altogether, according to survey results published Wednesday from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

The proposed premium increases are planned to go ahead on Jan. 1, 2019.

“Small business owners are calling on Premier Ford and Finance Minister Fedeli to press pause on the previous government’s decision to raise payroll taxes on small employers,” saus Dan Kelly, CFIB president, says in a statement.

A total of 84% of Ontario business owners surveyed want their new government to delay CPP expansion pending a review of other options (52%) or withdraw its support entirely (32%).

In 2016, the federal government met the required level of provincial support to raise premiums by 20% and increase the maximum pensionable earnings to nearly $80,000. Changes to CPP require the support of two-thirds of the provinces representing two-thirds of the population, giving Ontario an effective veto as Canada’s largest province.

“We cannot forget that CPP expansion means every Canadian’s paycheque and employer’s payroll budget will be smaller every January 1 for the next five years,” Kelly adds.

A recent CFIB study, done through the University of Toronto’s Policy and Economic Analysis Program, found that the CPP hike will initially mean 64,000 fewer jobs, a loss 4.5 times greater than the federal government’s projection. CFIB’s analysis also shows that negative job impacts will last until the late 2020s, after which the impacts will transform into constrained wage growth and higher government deficits.

There are other, less harmful ways to improve retirement savings for employees, including PRPPs, the CFIB says in a news release.

It stands ready to work with the Ontario government to review its options, the association of small and medium-sized businesses says.

Results were pulled from a survey that received 2,065 responses from business owners located in Ontario collected between July 18 and 20.