Harper announces expansion of the Canada Small Business Financing Program
With the Conservative Party now in full campaign mode, Prime Minister Harper arrived in St. Catharines on Jan. 22 to announce more funding for the Canada Small Business Financing Program.
Except for farming businesses, not-for-profit organizations, or charitable and religious groups, the program allows businesses with gross annual revenues of $5 million or less to borrow up to $500,000 to purchase or make improvements to property, buildings and equipment. Harper says his government will expand the program.
“When you put in an 18-hour day at your small business, you’d rather be putting money back into that business rather than giving it to the taxman,” he said.
The proposed changes include increasing the revenue threshold from $5 million to $10 million and increasing the maximum amount and term length of a loan.
“The changes to the program will make loans available to more firms by increasing the revenue threshold under which a small business can apply for the program, and will support business start-up and growth by increasing the maximum loan amount and the maximum term length for loans financing the purchase or improvement of land and buildings,” said the prime minister.
“This is one of several measures that our Government is taking to help small businesses across the country grow and prosper”.
Harper made the announcement at Framecraft Ltd., a manufacturer and wholesaler of custom picture frames, along with Rick Dykstra, St. Catharines Member of Parliament and Dean Allison, Member of Parliament for Niagara West-Glanbrook.
The program has been around for more than fifty years and since 1999 has given loans to more than 142,000 businesses across, totalling approximately $1 billion in loans each year. The program is administered by Industry Canada; however, private financial institutions are responsible for deciding whether or not a business is eligible for financing.
“The Canada Small Business Financing Program helps new businesses get started and helps established firms make improvements and expand; improves access to loans that would not otherwise be available to small businesses; and stimulates economic growth and creates jobs for Canadians,” said Harper.
Harper also discussed other pro-small business policies his government has adopted, including the the Red Tape Reduction Plan in 2012, the New Small Business Job Credit in 2014, the Business Innovation Access Program in 2014, and the recently signed free trade agreements with South Korea and the European Union.
The Harper government introduced the Red Tape Reduction Plan in 2012 to reduce regulatory burdens and that legislators be sensitive to the impact their policies and regulations will have on Canadian small businesses.
According to Harper, the plan has resulted in “over $22 million less in net administrative burden annually and businesses spend 290,000 fewer hours yearly dealing with regulatory red tape”.
“Under the Plan’s Small Business Lens, our Government has also helped save an estimated $75 million annually in administrative and compliance costs for over 5,000 small businesses,” said Harper.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the Canadian economy and face unique challenges when looking for financing.”
“The changes we are announcing today to the Canada Small Business Financing Program will help more small businesses across the country secure the loans they need to prosper, grow and create jobs,” said the prime minsiter. Amendments to the program will take effect following further consultation with small businesses and when changes to the supporting legislation and regulations are passed.
“Our Government is committed to creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians,” said Harper. A small group of a few dozen protesters from the Seafarers International Union and other independent protestors attended Harper’s announcement, demanding action on the environment and an investigation into missing aboriginal women.