Taxes, rate hikes will force Iqaluit businesses to raise prices

“Less economic activity, less employment, less disposable income. Scary stuff”


I would like to apologize. I would like to apologize to our valued and valuable customers that we can no longer afford to offer our services at a rate that we already thought was substantial.

We have to put our prices up if I am going to pay our staff a living wage.

I am so frustrated and I know our customers are very frustrated with the continued escalation of costs. We are only a few days into 2015 and already we see that the steady march of higher prices is well underway.

This month, we learned that our Iqaluit property taxes are going up 21 per cent (and maybe 30 per cent); our fuel bills have risen 12 per cent; our gas is up by 19.7 per cent and airfares, already hefty, are up by another 8.8 per cent.

I would guess that by now everyone knows that the brand new Qulliq Energy Corp. offices in Iqaluit froze solid over the holidays. All three floors of it, burst sprinklers, ruined computers, soggy walls. It’s a mess.

And what will that bit of idiocy cost us when the needless repairs are all done? Power bills are already up 16.7 per cent over the year. Be prepared for more rises.

So, my customers, I’m sorry. My competitors and I are pricing ourselves out of the market. There will be a lot less work in the future because far fewer people will be able to hire us. Or they will do a lot less.

We are in the construction business and we and the industry have become a lot more safety conscious over the past several years. I would hazard a guess that accident claims at the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission have gone down.

But our WSCC rates went up 17 per cent in 2013 and another 10.9 per cent in 2014.

They have new offices and new staff, but don’t try to drop in. Their doors are locked and you need an appointment to talk to a safety officer. The inspectors have a difficult job, but do the commission staff have to hide behind steel barricades?

Prices can’t keep rising at the rate they have over the last two years. If they do, we are in for tough times — less economic activity, less employment, less disposable income. Scary stuff.

Steve Birrell

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