Toronto, September 8, 2020 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) welcomes today’s meetings between the Ontario and Quebec governments to discuss COVID-19 recovery and economic growth opportunities. Together, Ontario and Quebec generated about $1.3 trillion in GDP in 2018, representing over 58 per cent of the country’s economic activity that year.
“Small businesses are big players in the Ontario and Quebec economies: they represent 98 per cent of employers and employ two thirds of all total private sector employees in Ontario and Quebec. Today, we are pleased that the Quebec and Ontario governments are working closely on their economic recovery plans. We hope that SMEs will be at the heart of their discussions and proposals,” said François Vincent, CFIB’s vice-president, Québec.
“The pandemic has had a significant impact on small businesses in both provinces. To date, only 33 per cent of Quebec businesses and 26 per cent of Ontario businesses are making normal revenues. This indicates how long the road to recovery will be. It’s crucial that our governments work together to ensure that small businesses are in the best possible position to recover and succeed, “ added Ryan Mallough, Ontario director of provincial affairs.
A CFIB Quebec survey revealed that 85 per cent of SMEs are asking the government to keep taxes at an acceptable level and three quarters want government to reduce red tape. In Ontario, SMEs are also targeting red tape reduction as a recovery priority, in addition to keeping the tax environment competitive and improving internal and international trade conditions.
Ontario and Quebec are dedicated to reducing red tape and they have made strong commitments to reducing the regulatory burden. However, there is always room for improvement. According to the latest data from the Mercatus Center, Ontario and Quebec are both regulatory heavyweights in Canada, representing the top two most restricted jurisdictions in Canada with over 136,000 restrictions. In the context of the pandemic, reducing regulatory barriers is strategic: it is cost-free for government and can make a big difference for SMEs.
“The Summit agenda also mentions that reducing barriers to international trade will be discussed as an avenue to accelerate economic recovery and growth. We encourage Premiers Legault and Ford to focus equally on eliminating red tape and the barriers to cross-border trade between Quebec and Ontario. Increasing trade between the provinces will expand markets for locally produced goods and services, and create new small business opportunities in both provinces,” said Vincent.
CFIB also urges the premiers to continue to champion Quebec and Ontario’s small businesses at the federal level by pushing the federal government to extend the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program and get aid directly to commercial tenants; as well as expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program to $60,000, with up to 50 per cent forgivable to help with small business cash flow. In the meantime, CFIB continues to encourage both provinces to act on commercial eviction protection to ensure businesses can operate through the rest of the year.
“Since day one of the COVID-19 pandemic, CFIB was present to help SMEs face this historic crisis. We look forward to continuing to work with both governments to ensure a strong economic recovery. SMEs need all the support we can offer them, so they can get back on their feet and face the future with more confidence,” concluded Mallough and Vincent.
For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.