Ontario launches small businesses consultations

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Government of Ontario press release – Ontario is continuing to take action to build a more competitive business environment. On Wednesday, Mar. 11/2020, Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction joined by Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, and Parliamentary Assistant Donna Skelly, announced the next step in engaging with Ontarians by launching a new province-wide consultation to determine how the government can help small businesses grow, compete and succeed.

The announcement occurred following a roundtable held in Toronto with 25 female entrepreneurs to highlight the fact that only 17% of small- and medium-sized businesses are owned or led by women in Ontario today. The consultations will help provide the foundation for the development of Ontario’s Small Business Success Strategy.

“Ontario is fortunate to have a vibrant small business community with hardworking entrepreneurs across our province who are willing to take chances and build competitive businesses,” said Minister Sarkaria. “Building a business from the ground up and guiding its growth is no easy feat. We know our small businesses face unique challenges, and we’re determined to hear directly from them — to listen to their concerns and help them succeed in achieving their long-term goals. Their success is Ontario’s success.”

The consultations will focus on five key pillars:

  1. Lowering costs – reducing red tape and streamlining government interactions for small businesses so they can spend less time filling out government forms and more time focused on serving their customers and growing their business.
  2. Increasing exports – helping small businesses across the province access domestic and international markets.
  3. New technologies – helping small businesses across the province build an online presence, as well as develop, adopt, and commercialize new technology.
  4. Talent development – ensuring small businesses in all regions and sectors can access and retain the talent they need to help start and grow their businesses.
  5. Succession planning and supporting entrepreneurship – helping retiring business owners across the province plan and support the next generation of business leaders, and helping to address the unique challenges facing specific entrepreneurs, such as women, minorities and people with disabilities.

In the coming months, the government will be holding a series of provincewide small business roundtables — with participants ranging from manufacturers, agribusiness and professional service-providers, to tech and local community businesses. The government is also welcoming feedback from businesses online. Business owners can fill out an online survey and send in an email submission by September 1, 2020. Feedback received through the consultations will help shape the development of Ontario’s Small Business Success Strategy.

“Every business starts small, and our government has a plan to create a more competitive landscape where all businesses and job creators can flourish,” said Minister Fedeli. “These consultations will provide business owners with the opportunity to directly tell the government about what matters most to them, and what additional steps the government can take to help their businesses succeed.”

The consultations will support the government’s continued efforts to deliver on its core commitment to creating a more competitive business environment as part of its Plan to Build Ontario Together.

Quick Facts

  • To date, the government has taken over 200 actions to cut red tape for businesses, including exempting auto plants from being regulated as gas stations, to allowing restaurants to invite dogs onto patios, to combining emissions testing and safety inspections for trucks into a single inspection. These and other expected measures are saving businesses $338 million in costs.
  • Ontario’s small businesses will also save $2.3 billion this year through tax relief and other actions such as canceling the cap‐and‐trade carbon tax, keeping the minimum wage at $14 per hour and supporting a reduction in Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) premiums.
  • The government has launched a new Regional Development Program for eastern and southwestern Ontario. Businesses can get financial support through the Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) and the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) and guided access to a range of complementary services and supports.
  • Ontario will create the Premier’s Advisory Council on Competitiveness to work with business leaders and workers across the province to find ways to improve competitiveness and report back with actionable recommendations.

Additional Resources