Minister Blair highlights investments for small and medium enterprises in Budget 2021

ST. CATHARINES, ON, - Budget 2021 is the Government of Canada's plan to finish the fight against COVID-19 and ensure a robust economic recovery that is inclusive of all Canadians.

Today, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Bill Blair, met with a small business based in St. Catharines Ontario, Little Chief & Co., to discuss investments for small and medium enterprises from Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience.

The COVID-19 recession is the steepest and fastest economic contraction since the Great Depression. It has disproportionately affected low-wage workers, young people, women, and racialized Canadians. For businesses, it has been a two-speed recession, with some finding ways to prosper and grow, but many businesses—especially small businesses—fighting to survive. Budget 2021 is an historic investment to address the specific wounds of the COVID-19 recession, put people first, create jobs, grow the middle class, set businesses on a track for long-term growth, and ensure that Canada's future will be healthier, more equitable, greener, and more prosperous.

Budget 2021 proposes to help small and medium enterprises numerous ways including:

• Extending the wage subsidy, the rent subsidy, and Lockdown Support until September 25, 2021. These are currently set to expire in June. The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy has helped more than 5.3 million Canadians keep their jobs, and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support have helped more than 154,000 organizations with rent, mortgage, and other expenses.

• Helping Small and Medium-sized Businesses Move into the Digital Age. To fuel the recovery, jobs, and growth, the government is launching the Canada Digital Adoption Program, which will create thousands of jobs for young Canadians and help as many as 160,000 small- and medium-sized businesses adopt new digital technologies.

• Lowering the Cost of Doing Business by Reducing Credit Card Transaction Fees. The government will engage with key stakeholders with a goal of lowering the average overall cost of interchange fees for merchants, and ensuring that small businesses benefit from pricing that is similar to large businesses, while protecting existing rewards points of consumers.

The Government of Canada's top priority remains protecting Canadians' health and safety, particularly during this third, aggressive wave of the virus and its variants. Vaccine rollout is underway across Canada, with federal government support in every province and territory. Budget 2021 invests in Canada's bio-manufacturing and life sciences sector to rebuild domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity, and has a plan to put in place national standards for long-term care and mental health services.

Budget 2021 is a plan to bridge Canadians and Canadian businesses through the crisis and towards a robust recovery. It is a plan to drive economic growth, a plan to secure women's place in the workforce, and a plan to offer each and every child in Canada the best start in life. This plan will aim to reduce fees for parents by 50 per cent on average by 2022, with a goal of reaching $10 per day on average by 2025-26 for all regulated child care spaces in Canada. It proposes to extend business and income support measures through to the fall and to make investments to create jobs and help businesses across the economy come roaring back. It will support almost 500,000 new training and work opportunities including 215,000 opportunities for youth; support businesses in our most affected sectors such as tourism and arts and culture; and accelerate investment and digital transformation at small and medium-sized businesses. Budget 2021 is a plan that puts Canada on track to meet its commitment to create 1 million jobs by the end of the year.

Canada entered the pandemic in a strong fiscal position. This allowed the government to take quick and decisive action, supporting people and businesses, and put it in the position to make historic investments in the recovery.