Op Ed: Supporting small business is key to our economic recovery

Terry Sheehan

From Terry Sheehan, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie

(Sault Ste. Marie-Oct. 11, 2020) In the lead up to Small Business Week I announced seven exciting projects, in support of the Sault’s economy and area businesses. This Fednor funding will help maintain 240 jobs and help create 171 jobs for a total of 411 full-time positions. That announcement is just one example of the many supports provided by the federal government to small businesses in Sault Ste. Marie and area.

As Minister Melanie Joly’s Parliamentary Secretary for Fednor, I am heartened by the government’s $49.5 million investment in Fednor’s Regional Relief Recovery Fund (RRRF) which has already supported 762 businesses and 3,300 jobs throughout our Northern Ontario economy. This month I announced $22 million in additional top-up funding for the RRRF to help even more local businesses that might not qualify for other government funding.

Choosing to go out on your own to start up and run a small business takes hard work at the best of times – doing so in a global pandemic is an unprecedented challenge.

Small business owners have demonstrated true resilience amid COVID-19, and that is especially true in the Riding of Sault Ste. Marie. Whether it’s innovating and adapting business models, taking advantage of our government’s emergency supports, or looking to new markets for opportunities for growth – businesses here and across the country have made incredible sacrifices over the past few months, and they continue to contribute to our communities every day.

This week is Small Business Week in Canada (Oct. 18 to Oct. 24, 2020). This year more than ever, we need to recognize and celebrate all the small businesses in Sault Ste. Marie and area.

Small businesses are at the heart of our communities. They are the lifeblood of our cities and towns across the country as they employ many in our community, and more than 8.5 million of our fellow Canadians.

Over the past few months, we’ve all seen the handwritten “Closed due to COVID” signs on local small businesses. The impact of this crisis on entrepreneurs and their staffs cannot be overstated as we recognize the sacrifices they’ve had to make, in many cases putting their livelihoods on hold to keep people safe and help contain this virus. Business owners know that behind those storefronts are stories of perseverance, resilience and resourcefulness.

To the entrepreneurs who run small businesses in Northern Ontario, your work has helped you raise your family, create good middle-class jobs, and make our community a better place to call home.

With the recent rise in cases in Ontario, many businesses are facing further restrictions and closures – and I want you to know that our government will continue to be there for you, every step of the way through this crisis.

From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our government has been fighting for you. And we are still fighting for you – every single day.

We heard you needed help paying your employees, so we launched the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy which has helped more than 3.7 million Canadians keep their jobs. And just last month, we announced that we will be extending this program until next summer.

You told us you needed help keeping up with your fixed costs and operating expenses, so we launched the Canada Emergency Business Account, which has provided more than 770,000 businesses with a $40,000 interest-free loan. And to help with the continuing challenges of this pandemic, we will increase this lending support by an additional $20,000.

Building on the Canada Emergency Rent Assistance program, we just launched a new rent program, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, which will provide simple and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support for the business owners who need it most.

All of these measures have been added to the dedicated supports for women entrepreneurs and Indigenous businesses owners, as well as businesses that export, and those in agrifood, hospitality, tourism, and more – so that our economic recovery is inclusive and sustainable.

Every small business in the Sault Ste. Marie area, and across the country has its own unique story.

These businesses are built on tenacity, sacrifice, and years of hard work. These are businesses that Canadians cherish, that make Sault Ste. Marie a more dynamic place to live, and that employ our friends and neighbours.

As small business owners, taking advantage of these emergency supports, will help put food on the table, get Canadians back to work, and help get our economy through this crisis.

You’ve heard this before, but it remains true – we are all in this together. And we’ll keep working together as Team Canada to build each other up and get through these extraordinary times.

To that end, I encourage everyone to download the COVID Alert app if you haven’t already, which is the best way to keep our community safe and prevent the spread of the virus – all while protecting your privacy.

To all small businesses in Sault Ste. Marie, and the thousands of people they employ – we will always have your back.

Together, we will get through this pandemic, and build a stronger, more resilient Canada for everyone.

For more information please contact the Sault Ste. Marie Community Development CorporationCLICK HERE


  1. I’ve noticed comments unsupportive of our currently federal government are being removed.
    Didn’t notice anything libelous about comments.
    Hopefully this isn’t censorship.

  2. Smoke and mirrors, there is NO help.
    Speaking as a small business owner.
    We had to fight for payment deferrals and fight with landlords while we were forced to close.
    Now that we’re open we’re looking at doubled payments because of deferrals, even though consumer spending is down significantly.
    To get through that we had to take out loans through the government to try and stay alive – sure some of it is forgivable but that’s a long shot. If consumer spending is down and we’re paying double payments due to deferral the LAST thing we need is more debt that we won’t be able to pay since consumer spending is down AND we’re under restrictions reducing our already reduced revenue, not to mention all the additional expenses related to those extra covid precautions. It’s a downward spiral from which we can’t escape (unless you’re a member of the local restaurant cult/clique).
    Guess that’s what you expect from a national government who has such an “admiration for dictatorships” and who openly believes “all small businesses are tax cheats”.
    Thanks for nothing Terry & Trudeau.

    • Guess that’s what you expect from a national government who has such an “admiration for dictatorships” and who openly believes “all small businesses are tax cheats”.

      Would you please provide your reputable sources to back up this comment.

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