Small business owners received some positive news in today’s federal budget with movement on several of the top recommendations from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“Overall, this is a good budget for small business,” said CFIB president and CEO Dan Kelly. “Minister Flaherty has done a solid job by remaining on course to eliminate the deficit while announcing some important measures for Canada’s entrepreneurs.”

The federal budget delivered on several top issues for small firms, including:

Renewing and expanding by 50 per cent the Employment Insurance Hiring Credit;

Enhancing the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption to $800,000 and indexing it to inflation;

Remaining focused on eliminating the deficit by 2015;

Extending the accelerated capital cost allowance for machinery and equipment for two years;

Making progress on red tape – particularly at the Canada Revenue Agency; and,

Announcing plans to address unfair sick leave provisions for civil servants and unaffordable crown corporation pensions.

“We’re particularly pleased the government publicly acknowledged taking some of these measures – such as the expansion of the EI Hiring Credit – at the recommendation of CFIB’s 109,000 members,” Kelly added. “In fact, the planned changes to sick leave follow a recent CFIB report that found civil servants take nearly double the leave days of employees in small firms.”

Given that half of Canadian small firms are concerned with the shortage of qualified labour, CFIB is pleased the budget includes renewed focus on skills training. “CFIB will be lobbying to ensure the new Job Grant recognizes informal, on-the-job training and those elements of current training programs that are working well,” said Kelly.

While complimenting many of the budget measures, CFIB noted concern over the planned change to the dividend tax credit. “It will be important for us at CFIB to gauge the reaction of small firms to this technical tax change in the context of the other important wins for our members and the commitment to reviewing small business taxes once the deficit is eliminated,” Kelly concluded.