As Canadian small businesses continue to face unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada remains committed to continuing to listen to and support them through the economic recovery.
Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, toured British Columbia virtually to meet with local small businesses and hear directly from them about their challenges and opportunities amid the pandemic, particularly when it comes to exporting to international markets.
Minister Ng began her tour with a virtual meeting with members of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce in Coquitlam, B.C. They discussed new trade opportunities for local businesses and how exporting their made-in-Canada innovations to the global marketplace can accelerate their economic recovery from COVID-19.
Following this, Minister Ng virtually toured small businesses in Vancouver, including NZ Technologies Inc., an innovative medical technology company that has developed a touchless elevator system to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. They spoke about how the Trade Accelerator Program, as well as the government’s CanExport program, has helped their business grow and expand into the United States and Asia-Pacific markets.
Later in the day, Minister Ng had a virtual tour of 1QBit, an innovative Canadian business that created XrAI, which helps health care professionals identify lung abnormalities on chest radiographs. With support from Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster’s COVID-19 stream, this innovative business is helping Canadians diagnosed with COVID-19, and its XrAI tool will help clinicians optimize care for Canadians suffering from other respiratory conditions in the future.
At every opportunity, Minister Ng commended the resilience of business owners and entrepreneurs during these challenging times. The Minister was heartened to hear from B.C. business owners as they work hard to adapt to the new reality of COVID-19 and continue to innovate and explore new opportunities in the global marketplace.
Small businesses employ more than 1 million British Columbians, and their stories reaffirm how critical it is for the Government of Canada to continue to do everything possible in the weeks and months to come to help them in their recovery.
“From local medical manufacturers to innovative technology experts, it was encouraging to hear directly from B.C. businesses about how trade and export opportunities are helping them recover and rebuild for future success here in Canada and around the world. Helping Canadians amid COVID-19 has been a Team Canada effort from the start, and our government will continue to support businesses in British Columbia and across the country every step of the way through this crisis and into our economic recovery.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
“I am happy to welcome back Minister Ng to the Tri-Cities for a conversation on how our government is supporting businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. These conversations are essential as our country begins its incremental economic recovery. I look forward to discussing the role of the federal government in ensuring the strength and resilience of our supply chains with international trade partners, as well as the targeted measures we are taking to better position Canada as we navigate the challenges posed by COVID-19.”
– Ron McKinnon, Member of Parliament for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam
As of December 2019, there were 1.31 million employer businesses in Canada, of which 1.29 million (98%) were small, 23,027 (1.8%) were medium-sized and 2,984 (0.2%) were large.
To support Canadians and Canadian businesses as we fight COVID-19, the Government of Canada introduced the largest relief package in our country’s history, which includes the following major programs, among others:
- The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is providing businesses with up to $40,000 in interest-free loans through participating Canadian financial institutions. If repaid by December 31, 2022, up to $10,000 will be forgiven.
- The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is helping businesses by covering a portion of their payroll, retroactive to March 15, with support continuing into December.
- The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program is providing relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 by reducing their rent by at least 75%.
In addition to broad support programs, the government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan includes targeted measures to help tourism businesses, rural communities, artists and athletes, innovative high-growth businesses, Indigenous-owned businesses, women entrepreneurs, farmers and agri-food businesses, and more.
The national $962-million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is delivered through Canada’s regional development agencies and supports SMEs across Canada that have been unable to access existing relief measures. Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is delivering over $95 million in support through the RRRF to help more than 1,760 small businesses and protect more than 6,800 jobs across Western Canada.
CanExport SMEs offers funding between $15,000 and $75,000 to help small and medium-sized enterprises prepare for export opportunities in new international markets. Since 2016, the CanExport program has supported over 3,000 projects in more than 145 markets, resulting in over $376 million in new exports.
Office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade