For those small businesses who have not heard of the CFIB or those that are not sure if joining is worth the cost,this article is for you. The greater question to ask yourself - Can you afford not to join. If you are a business that has employees beside the business owner, not joining could end up costing your business greatly in the long run. The CFIB is the Canadian Federation of Independent Business which is an organization that lobbies and advocates on small business owner's behalf against the Federal, Provincial, and Municipal governments in Canada, as well as big business. In addition, they are a resource for you to understand as a business owner what the requirements are for your individual business no matter where you are located in Canada.
Legislation is put in place and changes constantly that affects small businesses. Unfortunately it is your responsibility as a small business owner to know what is required and comply. Telling the government that you just did not know is not an option. Many small business owners uncover requirements at the time they are off sides and are audited. At this point, they are receiving a fine and it is too late. One fine from the government will be more than the annual membership to join CFIB. Even if you are a sole proprietor today, it is important if you plan to grow your business to understand the legislation that applies to your business as you increase in size. In many cases, the legislation can differ by industry and geographic location. Many small business clients we have worked with lately were not aware of the requirement for a Violence and Harassment Policy in compliance of Bill 168. If you have employees that work for you, you are required to have a policy that addresses how you plan to handle violence and harassment in the workplace. Non-compliance can cost individuals up to $25K and corporations up to $500K. One violation or pleading ignorance of compliance could end up putting you out of business. Other business requirements that are legislated include accessibility, WSIB requirements, payroll taxes, CPP, and much more. It is important to your business to be in the know.
The CFIB is a national organization, so they look at issues that affect small businesses on a national level as well as regionally and provincially. In Ontario, they are our voice at Queen's Park as well as Ottawa. We have recommended to small businesses that we work with that they join CFIB, so that they are informed of the requirements for their business. The benefit you receive more than covers the cost of membership. In addition to providing resources and lobbying for small business, a CFIB membership has reduced fees for many services such as banking, payment services, telecom, and insurance.
If you are starting a small business or a business who has been around awhile, joining CFIB can give you peace of mind in knowing there is an organization that is supporting you as a small business as well as helping you make sure you are in compliance and your business is protected. Our business is - do you know if yours is?
RK Fischer & Associates