When I think of Ottawa Centre, I think about our awesome, thriving, and unique businesses. I think about Elgin Street where families can buy local bread from Brownloaf Bakery, get records from The Record Store in Hintonburg, and catch a show at the Mayfair Theatre on Bank. We rely on small businesses like these to make our lives simpler and more enjoyable. In fact, some days they seem like such fixtures of our community that we forget the immense contributions they make to Ottawa Centre and our economy.
Small businesses are job generators. They make up 98% of Canadian businesses and employ 8 million hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast, including right here in Ottawa Centre. More than this, they promote the industry around which thriving communities can grow. It is because of our community’s entrepreneurial small business owners that Canada’s economy is now among the fastest growing in the G7 countries and that the unemployment rate is at a historic low. In fact, the last time the national unemployment rate was lower than it is now, road signs in Canada were in miles per hour and Canada hosted its first Olympics in the summer of 1976.
People are working, wages are growing and more Canadians are buying goods and services. There is a renewed sense of confidence and potential in the air. To keep up this momentum, our government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Trudeau, is working hard to make it easier for small businesses. On January 1, we lowered the small business tax rate yet again, from 11% to 9%, giving Canada one of the lowest small business tax rates in the world and giving small business owners to up to $7,500 a year in savings.
We also worked with credit card companies to lower the fees they charge businesses. For some small businesses, this could mean thousands of dollars in savings. And because our government knows that it isn’t just about savings but also about opportunity, we have made unprecedented investments in helping small business owners start up, scale up and access new markets through programs that offer them access to capital, valuable advice or even paid interns.
Recently, our government announced the Fall Economic Statement. In it we proposed three immediate changes to Canada’s tax system that will make it easier for small businesses. The first will allow businesses to immediately write off the full cost of machinery and equipment used for the manufacturing and processing of goods. The second will allow businesses to immediately write off the full cost of certain clean technology equipment. And the third – a new Accelerated Investment Initiative – will allow businesses across all sectors of the economy to write off a larger share of the cost of newly acquired assets in the year the investment is made.
These are real actions that will make Canadian small businesses more productive, more innovative and more competitive. A big part of remaining competitive means rolling up sleeves and cutting red tape. That’s why, since 2015, our government has cut more than 450 federal rules that impose an administrative burden on business. Regulations are intended to help us by protecting Canadians, but over time, outdated rules and poor alignment with our trading partners can mean small businesses are held back.
That’s why our government is tackling regulatory irritants by harmonizing food regulations and inspections and facilitating greater trade of alcohol between provinces and territories, for example.
Whether it’s our easy-to-use innovation.canada.ca website that provides small businesses with the help they need, or BizPaL, which simplifies getting permits and licences, our government is working hard to make it easier for small businesses to do what they do best: grow amazing communities like Ottawa Centre
This weekend, when I visit Sunnyside Ave., I know I’ll be thanking local small businesses like Haven Books for their contributions to our community.