Ontario economy ‘depends on success of small business’

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New report kicks-off 2016 Small Business Week

TORONTO – On Monday, to mark the beginning of Small Business Week 2016, the OntarioChamber of Commerce (OCC) in partnership with MasterCard Canada, released the report Obstacles and Opportunities for Small Business in Ontario. The report highlights the contributions of small businesses to the provincial economy, while also identifying, and offering solutions to, the most pressing challenges that small business owners face.

The report’s recommendations are the result of over twenty five consultations with hundreds of small business owners hosted by chambers of commerce and boards of trade across Ontario as part of the OCC’s Small Business Too Big To Ignore campaign. The campaign revealed that the three major barriers that small businesses face are Business Education Tax (BET) rate reductions, a lack of access to the workers employers need and government funding alignment on infrastructure projects.

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“Small businesses in Ontario are being held back by a diverse set of challenges that need to be addressed by all three levels of government.” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the OCC. “We are encouraging the provincial government to implement our report’s recommendations so that we can ensure that our economy will have sustained economic growth for many years to come.”

28 % of provincial GDP

The report also highlights that businesses with fewer than 100 employees make up 98 percent of total Ontario businesses and two-thirds of private sector employment in Ontario. They contribute approximately 28 percent to the provincial GDP and created 87.7 percent of the new jobs nationally from 2005 to 2012. Given the significance of small businesses to the provincial economy, the OCC urges the government to take immediate action to implement the following three recommendations in the near term:

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(1) Continue the scheduled Business Education Tax (BET) rate reductions
(2) Develop a single access point for all government-funded workforce, training, and employment services.
(3) Have all three levels of government commit coordinated infrastructure dollars to connect all Ontario businesses to the 21st century global economy.

“The results of the report highlight the challenges and opportunities for small business in Ontario,” said Brian Lang, President of MasterCard Canada. “We commend the Ontario Chamber of Commerce for uncovering the common issues and support the changes needed to ensure growth for the millions of small businesses driving our economy.”

The OCC encourages the provincial government to work closely with the employer community to implement the recommendations in the report. These recommendations will feature prominently in the OCC’s work leading up to the 2018 provincial election. At that time, the advocacy organization will evaluate the political platforms of each party with a particular consideration as to how their campaign commitments align with the interests of small business owners in Ontario. – CNW

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