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Canadian Federation of Independent Business

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is a non-profit business organization representing the interests and concerns of over 109,000 Canadian owners of small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) to all three levels of government. Issues of concern to the Canadian SME community are identified by CFIB members through surveys, opinion polls and face-to-face visits. Members’ views and opinions are then delivered to all three levels of government in the form of research reports, meetings and testimony. These concerns are far ranging but typically include tax policy,[1] labour policies[2][3] and the reduction of regulatory paper burden.[4] CFIB describes itself as a non-partisan political advocacy organization working with all federal and provincial parties and reports that its sole source of funding is membership dues; it accepts no donations or government funds. The organization’s head office is located in Toronto and there is a regional office located in each province. In addition there is also a national office located in Ottawa.[clarification needed]

CFIB members are able to access a staff of business counsellors who answer business related questions and help troubleshoot a variety of business issues. Support is provided for a variety of business concerns, including questions about taxation, hiring and managing employees and business succession. CFIB’s Business Resource Counsellors handle over 25,000 inquiries annually.[citation needed] Further information and support is also provided through a website.


CFIB membership ranges from one person home-based businesses to firms employing hundreds of people. Their membership reflects the economic diversity of the country and ranges over all industries and economic sectors. While business size is not a criterion for membership, members must be Canadian-based privately owned companies. As publicly traded corporations cannot be members, CFIB describes itself as a representative of the “non-stock market economy.”


Born out of a 1969 tax protest, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business was officially founded in 1971 by John Bulloch, a small business owner and business professor at Ryerson. Bulloch had formed The Canadian Council for Fair Taxation in 1969 to fight the White Paper on Taxation proposed by the then Minister of Finance, Edgar Benson. Under the terms of the White Paper, Canadian small businesses faced the prospect of an increased tax rate of 50%. The White Paper was ultimately withdrawn and the CCFT was succeeded by the enduring CFIB.

Catherine Swift succeeded John Bulloch and has been Chairwoman, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) since 1999. Dan Kelly succeeded Catherine Swift as President and CEO as of 2012. Catherine Swift remains as Chair of the Board.


The CFIB is chaired by Catherine Swift; Dan Kelly serves as president and chief executive officer. There are two executive vice-presidents: Brien Gray and Laura Jones.

Influence on Canadian economic policy

In 2011 CFIB celebrated the 40th anniversary of its 1971 founding. Over the 40 plus years of its existence the organization has made its impact on the Canadian economy.[citation needed] They have promoted policy initiatives such as the initial implementation of a special federal small business corporate tax threshold and then its expansion to every province and subsequent increases to the current[when?] $500,000[citation needed]; increase of the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption to $750,000[citation needed]; and the defeat of the proposed mergers of four of Canada's chartered banks.[citation needed]


CFIB produces research on the Canadian small and medium-sized business sector, based on the views and experiences its members. One of CFIB’s regular reports is the "Business Barometer", a monthly research report detailing the economic expectations of Canada’s small businesses. CFIB also holds an annual “Red Tape Awareness Week” during which they release a number of research reports documenting the burden of government regulation the small business community. The CFIB was instrumental[citation needed] in establishing the federal government’s Red Tape Reduction Commission.


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