Ottawa Journal (January 18 – January 22, 2021)
David Tilson, M.P. (Dufferin-Caledon)
Small businesses are the backbone of our country’s economy. In fact, they account for 99 per cent of all businesses in Canada. Their contributions are immense including job creation (over two million jobs were created between 1993 and 2003), as well as being responsible for over 20 per cent of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Our Government recognizes the important and invaluable role small businesses play in our country and as a result, our Government offers many programs and initiatives to support their growth and development.
One significant tool that our Government offers small business is Canada Business (www.canadabusiness.ca). This website offers a comprehensive directory of information on various government services, business information guides, programs, and regulations. Furthermore, for those interested in government grants, loans, and financing, there are useful tools to help find the most suitable forms of assistance for their specific business needs. Business owners can also perform customized searches, based on their location, industry, and demographic group.
Through Industry Canada, our Government delivers the Canada Small Business Financing Program (www.ic.gc.ca/csbfa), to help small businesses obtain term loans of up to a maximum of $500,000 for any one business, of which no more than $350,000 can be used for purchasing leasehold improvements or improving leased property and purchasing or improving new or used equipment. The program’s objectives are: to help new businesses get started and established firms make improvements and expand; to improve access to loans that would not otherwise be available to small businesses; and to stimulate economic growth and create jobs for Canadians. It is estimated that this program helps small businesses access an average of 10,000 loans worth more than $1 billion each year.
Another helpful resource for small businesses is the Business Development Bank of Canada, which is also known as the BDC (www.bdc.ca). The BDC offers flexible financing, venture capital, and affordable consulting services for every stage of growth for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Services are available across the country in more than 100 offices in each of the provinces and territories.
Our Government has also worked hard to reduce the paper burden felt by small businesses by introducing The Paperwork Burden Initiative (PBRI), which is a public-private sector partnership aimed at reducing the costs of paperwork and regulatory compliance for small businesses. The aim of the initiative is to make it easier for small businesses to do business in Canada and around the world.
In March 2009, the Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), announced that the Government of Canada had reached its goal of reducing the burden of paperwork required by Canadian small businesses by 20 per cent. One example of this achievement is the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It has reduced the frequency of required tax filings and remittances and the smallest businesses have now been excluded from having to complete Statistics Canada business surveys. Thirteen Federal departments and agencies worked together to achieve the 20 per cent reduction by streamlining regulations, eliminating duplicate requirements, getting rid of overlapping obligations, and reducing how often documents need to be filed. By reducing the amount of red tape small businesses encounter and streamlining processes, the government is supporting small business in allowing them to spend more time on developing their business, as well as saving money.
If you are a small business owner or thinking of becoming one, I encourage you to visit the various websites listed or to contact the various institutions and programs directly, to learn more on how our Government can help your business grow to its full potential.