Small Business – Lifeblood of Growth

When I am home from my duties in Ottawa, I always try to make some time to do some local shopping.  I always get that feeling of pride at how unique the downtown shopping experience is in our downtown core. The care that has been taken to preserve the rich heritage of our buildings and the friendly, personal interactions that you can only find in small town exchanges with shop-keepers are both qualities that I am proud to showcase whenever someone in Ottawa asks me about the communities I represent.  Hooper’s Jewellers or Roses Bistro & Flowers on King St. in Bowmanville; or Brock’s or The Wee Tartan Shop on Queen St. in Port Perry; or Rutledge Jewellers or Blue Heron Books on Brock St. in Uxbridge are all fine examples of small businesses who are the lifeblood of growth in our communities.

With Mrs. Laureen Harper; shopping in The Nutty Chocolatier in Port Perry last September.

With Mrs. Laureen Harper; shopping in The Nutty Chocolatier in Port Perry last September.

When I am asked by small business owners what our government is doing to enable small businesses to stay competitive, I am proud to say that we have introduced several initiatives in the last few years that enable entrepreneurs to focus on doing business. Most recently, Prime Minister Harper announced last week that changes  will be made to the Canada Small Business Financing Program, which will allow more small businesses to apply and will make larger loans available for small businesses to purchase or improve their land or buildings. The changes to the program will support business start-up and growth by increasing the maximum loan amount and the maximum term length for loans financing the purchase or improvement of land and buildings.

Read about: Canada Small Business Financing Program

Some other measures that we have enacted to help small business, include the introduction of the New Small Business Job Credit in 2014 which will lower small businesses’ Employment Insurance premiums.  This measure is expected to save small employers more than $550 million over 2015 and 2016.

Read about: New Small Business Job Credit

If you look at most changes on the consumer level – parity pricing is something that we have had the Competition Bureau look at most recently. A specific big win for small businesses is that we are working with Industry and the financial services industry to get the interchange fees down on credit card transactions. In talking with small business owners and our municipal-level Boards of Trade and Chambers of Commerce, this has been of primary concern because of how much of their margin small businesses were losing on these credit card fees.

See: Minister of Finance issues statement on voluntary Visa and MasterCard proposals

Our focus has been and will continue to be on job creation. Red tape is one clear area that slows growth in job creation so we committed to eliminating unnecessary red tape from Canada’s regulatory system, while maintaining high standards for safety and protection. We introduced the One-for-One Rule that controls the administrative burden on business. Under the Rule, regulators must remove a regulation each time they introduce a new regulation that imposes administrative burden on business.

Read: One-for-One Rule

We need to be comfortable failing and taking risks as that is how you learn and grow in business. As consumers, we need to be mindful of the positive impacts of supporting our small local businesses. They drive Canadian prosperity and represent nearly 50% of jobs in the private sector.  I am always open to speaking with small business owners in Durham and will continue to work with the Scugog Chamber of Commerce, Clarington Board of Trade and Uxbridge Chamber of Commerce to ensure that I can provide an open dialogue to bring forward the challenges that small business owners are faced with.

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