FREDERICTON (GNB) – Recognizing that small business is a vital part of New Brunswick’s economy and communities, the provincial government has taken a series of steps to help them succeed and is committed to ongoing efforts to address their concerns.

“The success of small business has contributed to the success of New Brunswick,” said Finance Minister Cathy Rogers. “It is something we want to nurture. That is why your government has lowered small business income taxes for the third consecutive year, resulting in an overall reduction of 33 per cent, so entrepreneurs can invest in their business and create jobs. It is why we are improving access to capital, for example, by increasing the Small Business Investor Tax Credit from 30 per cent to 50 per cent for investments made after April 1, 2015, and expanding eligibility to include community economic development funds.”

“The government is also helping small businesses create jobs through the Youth Employment Fund and the recently-enhanced Student Employment Experience Development program,” said Economic Development Minister Francine Landry, who is also minister responsible for Opportunities NB. “We know how hard small businesses work to serve their customers and we value the jobs they create in communities across the province. We are helping them to become more competitive and continuing to reduce red tape. It is our job to create conditions that will allow businesses to thrive and succeed.”

Landry said the government has already taken a number of measures to help small businesses, including:

- Bill 60, introduced March 28, reduced the small business income tax rate to three per cent effective April 1. This is the third cut to this rate since Jan. 1, 2015.

- To improve access to capital, the Small Business Investor Tax Credit was increased from 30 per cent to 50 per cent for investments made after April 1, 2015, and eligibility was expanded to include community economic development funds.

- The New Brunswick Jobs Board Secretariat launched the Agile Business Services initiative to identify which business services are working and which require improvement, and received strong feedback from small businesses around the province. Departments are now working to improve services to save small business time and money in their interactions with the government.

- New Brunswick has partnered with the other Atlantic provinces in the Joint Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness and has reduced small businesses costs by:

·       harmonizing payroll record-keeping requirements,

·       aligning the timing of minimum wage increases,

·       moving to common solicitation documents for procurement,

·       agreeing to mutual recognition of certain occupational health and safety standards,

·       establishing agreements with Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario to recognize training and certification of Long Combination Vehicle drivers,

·       harmonizing apprenticeship programs for four trades, with six more to be harmonized this year, and

·       working towards further regional harmonization efforts.

- Opportunities NB has hired a subject-matter expert to increase its focus in the area of entrepreneurial success.

- Opportunities NB has invested in a regional network of 44 staff across the province, working in five regional offices and seven satellite offices. Maintaining a strong regional presence allows the corporation to provide quicker turnaround time on client files.

 “Opportunities NB continues to work with small business owners to help guide them through the growth process by connecting them with export opportunities, linking them to a network of entrepreneurs and helping them access funding,” said Landry. “Your government is listening to the business sector, we are honouring our commitments, and by working together we will see economic growth and job creation.”

Consultations on issues which impact small business are ongoing. The government is committed to addressing areas of opportunity which includes improving:

·       motor vehicle registration and renewal services;

·       company incorporation and annual return processes;

·       tourism signage across the province;

·       access to capital; and

·       awareness of and access to labour programs.

The New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan is the provincial government’s plan to grow the economy and create job opportunities. It outlines how the government will mobilize to ensure there is a co-ordinated, complementary effort to improve New Brunswick’s economy and realize maximum benefits.

Opportunities NB is a Crown corporation that seeks to attract and support opportunities to grow the economy and create jobs. It provides support services for businesses across the province.