Merchant Blog

Blog Article: A Small Business Primer on the Canadian Federal Election

Though we don’t strive to be overly political or partisan here at the Merchant Advance blog, we would be remiss not to comment on the (seemingly interminable) run toward the next Canadian federal election, to be held in mid-October. In a landscape of changing economic conditions both domestically and internationally, Canadian small businesses and their owners are a major and highly vocal group reflecting the diverse needs of their communities. Small businesses represent close to 70 per cent of all private sector jobs and nearly eight million Canadians.


Major policy issues for small businesses include the direction of the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP), the rate of taxation for small and medium-sized firms, and the minimum wage standard – and, of course, general improvement to the well-being of the Canadian economy, which drives domestic and international interest in businesses and their products.

On a party-by-party basis, each of the major players in the coming election has taken a certain stand on the direction of many of these issues and others, including sustainability and technology development, that will be contributors to the small business landscape in Canada.

The Conservatives have pledged the following initiatives to support small business:

  • A round of Canada-wide consultations on the topic of reducing bureaucratic red tape
  • A 20 per cent reduction of the “red tape burden”
  • A simplification of the tax calculation process for citizens who work from a home office.

While it appears that the Liberal Party has not created a comprehensive small business platform, Justin Trudeau made a point of critiquing the Conservative Party’s small business tax credit.

The Liberals do, however, plan to introduce several measures to support sustainable business and technology such as:

  • Investing 200 million annually in sustainable technology and manufacturing in the natural resource sectors
  • Investing 100 million in clean technology producers
  • Working collaboratively with provinces, territories, universities and colleges to support new clean technology companies

The NDP’s Thomas Mulcair  “Small businesses created the majority of private-sector jobs over the last decade in Canada, and it’s time to make them a priority.” The NDP plan to introduce the following measures:

  • Implementing innovation tax to encourage investment in new equipment in the manufacturing sectors
  • Lowering the tax rate from 11 to 9 per cent for small businesses
  • Extending the capital cost allowance for machinery and manufacturing equipment.

The Greens, lead by Elizabeth May (who advocated for the technology sector in this month’s candidate debate), plan to:

  • Establish a federally-funded Green Venture Capital Fund to support viable local businesses
  • Reduce the paperwork burden on small businesses by eliminating red tape
  • Ensure that small businesses are exempt from any increases to the corporate tax rate

At the blog, our main point of view on this is that the election presents an invaluable chance to make your voice heard as a small business owner, and advocate for the principles and rights that you believe will strengthen your business and your community. Abstaining from participation in voting effectively stalls the progress that so many of us desire, regardless of the party under whose direction it may be carried out. So, go out there and vote!

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