A federation of small businesses is calling on the government to introduce pro-small business policies in Canada’s upcoming budget.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released a list of recommendations on Tuesday, asking the Government of Canada to introduce a range of changes in the March 28 budget to help small businesses thrive.

“Small businesses are doing everything they can to dig themselves out of the hole the pandemic put them in,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “The current economic challenges are not making that easy. [Small businesses] want the government to listen to their concerns and take action now.”

The group’s recommendations included that the government reduce small business taxes from 9% to 8%, reduce small business’ credit card fees, and create a pathway for unskilled foreign workers to earn permanent residency through labour.

The CFIB also asked that the government extend the repayment deadline for pandemic emergency relief funds. The request asked for an extension from December 2023 to as far as December 2025.

Small businesses need assistance, the federation said, because many economic pressures are out of their control.

“Many small firms are slowly recovering from years of subpar business conditions,” said chief economist Simon Gaudreault. “Now, they’re getting hit with rapidly increasing costs.”