From January 21 to January 25, we celebrated Small Business Week in communities across Canada, and my parliamentary colleague, the Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, took the opportunity to visit Winnipeg. Minister Ng and I hosted a business roundtable with business owners and community leaders from Winnipeg South, and discussed how our federal government was making it easier to start and maintain successful small businesses. Winnipeg South has many local small businesses, restaurants, and services that employ hundreds of Winnipeggers and contribute to our local economy, and our new federal initiatives will make it easier for entrepreneurs to do business.
Minister Ng highlighted how our federal government is helping small businesses save money – up to $7,500 more per year – by lowering the Small Business Tax Rate from 11% to 9%. This means that small business owners can reinvest these savings in their businesses and create more jobs. This tax rate is the lowest among G7 countries, like France, Germany, and Japan. Our Canada Summer Jobs program is another way we provide small businesses with the funding to hire summer students who can gain valuable job training and skills. In Winnipeg South alone, we created over 300 jobs for students last summer, and many small businesses in our riding have benefited from this funding.
Minister Ng and I also talked to community leaders about how small business owners will now be able to access new, global markets. We know that companies that export products and services are more productive and pay higher wages. Our federal government is creating new trade opportunities for Canadians – through 14 signed free trade agreements, our country’s small business owners now have access to 1.5 billion customers around the world! The world wants more Canadian products and services, and south Winnipeg business owners have an excellent opportunity and the federal resources they need to make it easier to trade with countries around the globe.
Minister Ng wrapped up her evening in south Winnipeg with a traditional Chinese Lunar New Year feast and celebrations with the community at Dim Sum Garden on Pembina Highway, a small business started by a family from our Chinese-Canadian community. Starting a small enterprise takes courage and hard work, and I am proud that our federal government is committed to helping entrepreneurs succeed through our programs, funding, and tax cuts.