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Ottawa city budget should put small businesses first

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Ottawa, December 11, 2019 – As the councillors at the City of Ottawa hold their final vote on the city budget today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is urging municipal policy makers to put Ottawa small businesses front and centre by focusing on three key areas: property taxes, red tape and construction mitigation.  

“We know that Canadians see small businesses as vital to their communities, and this is no different in Ottawa. Our local businesses are what makes neighbourhoods like Elgin, the Glebe, Manotick, and Hintonburg unique,” said Emilie Hayes, Senior Policy Analyst with CFIB. “This is why we’re asking the city to put in place policies that ensure that they can continue to thrive, keeping money and jobs in the community.” 

CFIB recommends the city adopt the following policies that support small business:

  • Implementing a comprehensive construction mitigation strategy that includes:
    • Having a single designated point of contact for business owners that relays information between city staff and contractors.  
    • Doing a full evaluation after the work is complete with business owners to take forward any lessons learned.
    • Providing financial compensation for businesses in cases of significant disruption.
  • Addressing the most pressing red tape irritants for businesses, including moving permit applications online and simplifying signage by-laws.
  • Reducing the property tax gap between residents and businesses, who pay more but receive fewer municipal services. 

“Financial compensation for disruptions caused by construction could include reducing certain fees small business have to pay or allowing business owners more flexibility and time to pay property taxes,” said Jasmin Guenette, Vice President of National Affairs with CFIB. “Eventually, the province should allow cities like Ottawa to give direct financial compensation to small businesses heavily impacted by infrastructure work. This is already being done in Montreal and soon in Quebec City.” 

With Elgin Street about to reopen on December 16, many CFIB members have reported negative impacts on their business of the extended construction. These issues could have been managed better through a comprehensive construction policy. 

“Business owners feel like disruption can be minimized with better planning and execution of projects, which at the end of the day will also benefits residents and taxpayers,” concluded Hayes

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB
647-464-2814
[email protected] 

About 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.