Mario Toneguzzi is a Troy Media reporter based in CalgaryMore than nine in 10 Canadians say that small businesses are vital to their communities, according to a public opinion poll released on Wednesday by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)

“Canadians value entrepreneurs and the contributions they make to their communities. One in two are even considering starting a business one day,” said Corinne Pohlmann, CFIB’s senior vice-president of national affairs, in a statement.

“We should be supporting small business owners and encouraging those who are thinking of making the leap. Eight out of 10 Canadians say that governments undervalue the contributions of entrepreneurs. As they prepare their agenda for the new Parliament, the incoming government needs to recognize that most Canadians stand firmly behind small businesses and see them as vital to their communities.”

The survey also found:

  • the top ways small businesses are seen as contributing to their communities include employing locally (84 per cent), increasing their economic vibrancy (66 per cent) and providing great places to shop (56 per cent);
  • 86 per cent of respondents disagreed with the idea that it’s easy to start or run a small business;
  • 88 per cent of respondents say that small businesses should pay a lower tax rate than larger businesses.

“The government has the opportunity to start fresh with the small business community and show them that they hear their concerns,” said Pohlmann. “We saw some great ideas come out of every party’s platform so we’re excited to work with all MPs to put in place policies that support small businesses.”

Meanwhile, a survey by FedEx found that 83 per cent of Canadian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) agree that increasing trade between Canada and other countries will improve the economy overall.

Despite a majority of SMEs (57 per cent) believing that increasing trade between Canada and other countries will help their business, only 37 per cent of Canadian SMEs sell goods online. In contrast, their American counterparts doing 44 per cent of their business online, said the report.

“These results are very clear when it comes to our country’s approach to trade,” said Lisa Lisson, president of FedEx Express Canada. “Put simply, it is vital that SMEs and their ability to compete on the global stage remains a priority in Canada, to contribute to economic growth. Looking at how we achieve this growth, we know there is a huge opportunity for Canadian SMEs to harness the digital economy – and they should absolutely be using it to their advantage.”

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