Senator Donald Oliver
Nova Scotia's Senator
|Small Business Week|
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, I rise today to commemorate another successful edition of Small Business Week, which was held from October 15 to 19. I was scheduled to speak on this matter on October 18 but I was in Quebec City for 10 days with the IPU.
According to a new survey, more than half of Canadian boomers have either started or are considering launching a small business prior to their retirement. These new statistics make Small Business Week as important as ever.
This year marked the thirty-third year that the Business Development Bank of Canada organized this national celebration that pays tribute to the contributions that small- and medium-sized businesses make to the Canadian economy.
Throughout the week, the BDC hosted a series of conferences, seminars, information sessions, luncheons, trade fairs and more across the country. These events allowed entrepreneurs and business owners many opportunities to share and celebrate success stories, network with other business leaders and learn innovative ideas. This year's theme was: "Aim High! Invest in Your Future."
Honourable senators, in 2011 Canadian small businesses employed approximately 5 million people. It represented 48 per cent of the total labour force in the private sector and these businesses contributed slightly more than 30 per cent to Canada's GDP. The Government of Canada recognizes the fact that small businesses are an engine of job creation in Canada.
Last year, Budget 2011 announced a temporary hiring credit for small business of up to $1,000 per employer whose total Employment Insurance premiums were at or below $10,000 in 2010. This credit provided needed relief to all small businesses by helping to defray the costs of hiring new workers and allowing them to take advantage of emerging economic opportunities.
More recently, Economic Action Plan 2012 extended the temporary hiring credit for small business for one more year, and Canadian business owners are taking advantage of it. A recent Bank of Montreal survey shows that 24 per cent of Canadian businesses plan to increase the size of their workforce and to hire new employees in 2013.
Prime Minister Harper also marked Small Business Week. He said:
Our government is committed to ensuring that small business owners have the opportunities and tools they need to invest, innovate and grow in today's ever-changing global environment.
This is why our government is:
1) reducing taxes, regulations and red tape that inhibit growth;
2) putting in place digital and transportation networks to increase exports of goods and services; and
3) enhancing access to international markets through new free trade agreements.
In a press release the Canadian Bankers Association also highlighted how banks help SMEs thrive by providing financing to 1.6 million SMEs. As of June 2012, Canada's domestic banks authorized close to $88.5 billion in credit to these businesses, an increase of 11 per cent since the beginning of 2008.
In conclusion, honourable senators, SMEs with fewer than 100 employees represent 98 per cent of all Canadian businesses. As Prime Minister Harper said, they "truly are the backbone of the Canadian economy."