Hon. Amina Gerba: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.
The Business Development Bank of Canada recently published a study that makes a very worrisome observation.
Canada has 100,000 fewer entrepreneurs than it did 20 years ago.
Two decades ago, nearly three out of every 1,000 Canadians were becoming entrepreneurs. Now, we are down to one out of every 1,000 Canadians.
In 2021, small businesses employed eight million people in Canada, accounting for two-thirds of private sector jobs.
Senator Gold, obviously, there are not enough initiatives in place for entrepreneurs. What does the government intend to do to better support them?
Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question. The government is well aware that small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and play a critical role in Canada’s economy. They employ over 10 million hard-working people in all regions of the country.
Small Business Week just ended, and at that time, Minister Valdez announced new funding to support entrepreneurs and small businesses, including funds to help 2,000 women entrepreneurs across Canada to start a business and put their plans for growth into action. Funding for the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business will help to increase the tools and resources that small business owners and Indigenous entrepreneurs need to prosper.
The government will continue to support small businesses across the country, whether they are just getting started, growing or trying to expand into new markets.
Senator Gerba: Senator Gold, thank you for your response.
The Canada Emergency Business Account allowed small businesses to receive a loan that has to be repaid by January 18, 2024. The provincial and territorial premiers recently called for this deadline to be pushed back.
Does the government plan to grant their request?
Senator Gold: In terms of continued support for small business owners and their employees, as you point out, the government is already providing some flexibility. The deadline of January 18, 2024, to which you referred is already a one-year extension from the previous deadline. Businesses will also benefit from a partial rebate. In short, they will also be able to benefit from other measures, but I don’t have enough time to elaborate.