Ontario and Quebec: Unlocking an economic corridor for SMEs

With its first Quebec-Ontario report, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) will highlight the remarkable contributions of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to both provinces’ economies, and areas where governments can improve the economic environment. Quebec and Ontario are Canada’s economic engine. They share a rich history of cooperation, agreement, and strong relations across provincial borders. For example, it is a tradition that their premiers meet annually, and in September 2009, both provinces signed the Trade and Cooperation Agreement Between Ontario and Quebec, making their joint efforts and shared vision for improvements official.1

Small and medium-sized business owners in both provinces are facing issues that are deeply affecting their bottom lines. The rising cost of doing business and labour shortages are two examples of challenges that are limiting SMEs’ capacity to expand and grow. Government-level collaboration on tackling these challenges will create more paths to success in both provinces.

For both economies to reach their potential, there needs to be greater collaboration between the provincial governments to promote seamless business operations across borders by effectively reducing red tape barriers in areas of labour mobility and internal trade.

This report includes an overview of the current situation and policy recommendations to improve economic growth for both provinces. To learn about the perspectives of small and-medium sized businesses on collaboration between Quebec and Ontario, CFIB conducted a survey of business owners in November 2022.2

  1. https://www.ontario.ca/document/trade-and-cooperation-agreement-between-ontario-and-quebec/part-vii-final-provisions
  2. CFIB’s Your Voice – November 2022 survey was conducted from November 10 to November 28, 2022, and its findings are based on a sample of 1,684 small business owners in Ontario and Quebec. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of +/-2.4%, 19 times out of 20. The survey received 471 responses from small business owners in Quebec (margin of error of +/-4.5%, 19 times out of 20) and 1,213 responses from small business owners in Ontario (margin of error +/-2.8%, 19 times out of 20).
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