Imagine the following scenario.
You are a hardworking resident of BC, earning your livelihood by manufacturing, distributing, and selling fireplaces and woodstoves. You are one of the 3,000 people directly employed in the industry in BC, and part of a larger group of upwards of 7,000 residents whose livelihood is derived from the sector.
You and your colleagues across the 60 Small and Medium Businesses in BC are working relentlessly to adapt and adjust to the challenges created by inflation, supply chain issues, and increased raw material costs. Specifically, you have identified and communicated to government how shortages in electronic components are negatively impacting industry, and have asked for collaboration opportunities to mitigate the impact.
In this context, you were then informed by a public Ministry of Finance notice released near the end of February that an additional 5% sales tax on fireplaces will be imposed starting April 1st. You quickly realize the decision was made without consulting you, your colleagues, or any of the 3,000 people working in the industry.
From conception to implementation, all evidence points to a policy process lacking in transparency and due diligence. On top of no consultation during the policy development stage, which you would have willingly been a part of, industry was not given one phone call, email, or heads-up of any type. You were not given a single opportunity to provide input on a decision that directly impacts a vital BC industry, or even consulted on the implementation which itself is problematic and costly for BC’s Small and Medium Businesses.
Now ask yourself if this meets your responsibility to foster respectful, inclusive, and transparent public policy development. Was this policy process built on the principles of procedural fairness, proper notice, and amenability to discussion; so that even when a decision negatively impacts an industry there is time to consider how to mitigate these impacts?
Respectfully, the BC Hearth Industry