Supporting small business

Submit your creative ideas to help us support and grow small businesses in Ontario.

graph representing economic growth

The problem

Ontario’s economy is changing. These changes are presenting new challenges and opportunities for small businesses. For example:

  • the ability to get grants and loans
  • staying competitive
  • regulatory burdens

Small and medium-sized businesses play a vital role in our economy and communities. In December 2016, over 99% of businesses with employees were small and medium-sized businesses. This means that most people in Ontario are employed by these types of companies.

While we’re taking steps to reduce regulatory burdens for businesses (opens in a new window) and have created funds and grants to support small business, what new ideas or projects could help main street and small businesses grow?

Who we're trying to help

We want to help small businesses, with fewer than 100 employees, as well as the self-employed:

  • increase production of goods and services
  • adopt innovative technologies that help their businesses
  • go from a small business to a medium sized business
  • increase profits
  • move into new markets

What we're doing/have done

Business advice

We advise small businesses, through the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (opens in a new window) (which includes Small Business Enterprise Centres). These centres across the province provide local advice to help you start, finance a business, help young people get entrepreneurial skills and commercialize your ideas.

Money for small businesses

We’re helping small businesses access grants and loans through the:

We’ve also created the:

The Ministry of Finance also lowered the preferential small business corporate income tax (CIT) rate (opens in a new window) from 5.5% to 4.5% to help small businesses remain competitive.

Reducing regulatory burdens

In 2016, we launched the Red Tape Challenge (opens in a new window), a two-year, online consultation designed to help identify and fix regulations that are unclear, outdated, redundant or unnecessarily costly for business.

So far, we’ve identified 171 actions we can take to make it easier for businesses to operate in Ontario and are taking action on:


  • 41 regulations in the automotive parts manufacturing sector
  • 26 regulations in the food processing sector

We’re updating legislation

This fall, under the Burden Reduction Act, 2017 (opens in a new window), we are introducing changes to help build a smarter, more modern and more efficient regulatory framework. Some of the changes we’re proposing include:

  • requiring all government ministries to offset every dollar of new administrative costs to business by removing old and unnecessary costs

  • recognizing businesses that have a good compliance record and lowering their costs by reducing the requirements, such as the number of inspections, without compromising the environment health and safety, and other protections

  • giving businesses the option to electronically submit any required documentation to the Government of Ontario instead of more costly paper submissions


Develop and test solutions

In Winter 2017, we launched the Small Business Innovation Challenge (opens in a new window) which gives small to medium size businesses an opportunity to:

  • develop, test, and demonstrate their products to help solve a real-world challenge
  • sell their solution to other global markets
  • increase their competitiveness

Learn more

A number of government ministries are also working to help small businesses, including the:

  • Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, to help promote economic development in northern communities
  • Ministry of Energy, reducing hydro costs, which can be a challenge for small businesses
  • Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, which helps to make sure that people get the skills and training that companies need and provides on-the-ground support to companies and businesses when there are layoffs and closures
  • Ministry of Finance, lowering costs to business through property tax policies and legislation

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4 ideas submitted to Small business

Add your idea




Removing barriers to success: Affordable, open-access, ultra-high-speed fibre optic Internet access

The Government of Ontario could create a new fund that supports and grows small businesses by investing in the expansion and enhancement of affordable, open-access, ultra-high-speed fibre optic Internet access in Ontario’s rural and remote communi

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Created on October 17, 2017 by Tammy McQueen.

Make minimum wage a range instead of a flat rate

For minimum wage I think they should just move it up to $12/hr and then make it a range from $12-$15/hr then create a formula that sets the businesses starting wage in that range and base it on the profit that the business makes per quarter; so th

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Created on October 12, 2017 by bkwashby.  1 comment

Friends of Yonge St.

Taxes on Yonge St. are set to increase in Toronto jeopardizing small businesses. Ontario can provide a rebate to small businesses who apply for a rebate based on this tax increase.

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Updated on October 14, 2017 by JSugar.  1 comment

Silver Bullet

Help Students Succeed, reduce social isolation for seniors encourage and promote healthy living, support small/local businesses

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Created on October 12, 2017 by gogreen.