Penticton the best place in BC to do business

Move over, B.C. municipalities: Penticton is the best place to do business in the province, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’ latest study.

Penticton was also listed in the top 2 places to do business in Canada, only 0.3 points shy from frontrunner Calgary periphery - making it the best small city in Canada to do business. It’s a significant jump from last year’s ranking, which saw Penticton in the top three municipalities in B.C. to do business.

“We are ecstatic with the 2015 rankings that validate Council’s focus on fostering economic development and creating an environment for small business to flourish. Our future isn’t a new saw mill or fruit packaging plant, it is the entrepreneur that can compete and trade in the world market and still chooses to operate from Penticton because of our lifestyle, progressive policies and our competitive advantages,” said Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit. “Our City understands that small business is the engine of our economy, which is why we established economic investment zones and kept tax ratios competitive to help entrepreneurs on the path to prosperity. The City of Penticton is pleased that the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has recognized these efforts.”

In its eighth Canada’s Entrepreneurial Communities report, the CFIB studied municipalities with populations of 20,000 or more and ranked them based on 14 indicators.

The indicators are grouped into three main categories: presence, perspective and policy. Presence includes the representation of the scale and growth of business ownership, as well as industrial diversity, while perspective covers indicators associated with optimism and growth plans. Policy indictors reflect the actions local governments have taken with respect to business taxation and regulation.

The City of Penticton made a significant jump in the section of “policy.” This score relates to how local government balances tax rates, controls costs, removes regulations and understands what small business experiences. Penticton scored 32.3 out of a possible 40 points in this category.  All told, Penticton scored 72.7, just shy of Calgary periphery’s total of 73.

Penticton has committed to not only balancing tax rates for business, but having among the most competitive tax rates in Western Canada after approving a four-year plan to reduce the tax multipliers for commercial classes. Penticton already had one of the smallest “property tax gaps,” or the comparison between business and residential classes of tax rates, well below the CFIB-recommended of 2:1. This year, the City of Penticton committed a four-year plan to reduce the business tax multiplier down to 1.5.

The CFIB announced Monday that B.C. is home to eight of the top 30 cities in the annual rankings of Canada’s best places to start and grow a business.

“It’s great to see so many of the province’s cities be recognized as relatively good places to own and operate a business. Specifically, a tip of the hat goes to Penticton and Kelowna. On the policy side, however, there’s still work to do to make more BC communities small business friendly,” says Richard Truscott, Vice President, BC and Alberta.

Read the CFIB report here [PDF - 313 KB].