At the beginning of June, Minister Chagger’s office asked us for ideas on how to help Canada’s small “high impact” businesses scale up. Members of our SME and Taxation/Economic Policy committees provided suggestions at a roundtable with Minister Chagger’s Director of Policy, John Matheson.
We discussed some of the measures announced in the 2016 budget, particularly the access for 1,000 “high impact” firms (initially) to coordinated services from federal organizations (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, the Business Development Bank of Canada, Export Development Canada, the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), Global Affairs Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service and Regional Development Agencies) to assist them to grow their businesses. Members didn’t hold back and their comments got right to point of what SMEs need:
- More co-ordination amongst government departments/agencies focused on SMEs (e.g., Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development)
- Defining “high impact” firms
- Ensuring the firms that should qualify for additional federal services aren’t disqualified because of the region in which they’re located (Many programs’ allocations are relatively greater for urban areas putting firms in less-densely populated regions at a disadvantage.)
- Ensuring support allocated for Indigenous businesses is in keeping with their representation of Canadian SMEs
- Offering on-line tools (e.g., a portal) to connect entrepreneurs with potential investors and vice versa
- Reducing tax penalties for entrepreneurs wishing to transfer their businesses to family members
This meeting came a few days prior to the federal government’s June 14 launch of its Innovation Agenda consultation process. We are confident that their perspectives will be considered as the government moves forward and understand that we will have more opportunities to share views directly with the Minister and her staff.
Please contact Susanna Cluff-Clyburne, Director, Parliamentary Affairs, or Hendrik Brakel, Senior Director, Economic, Fiscal and Tax Policy, for more information.