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Celebrate National Small Business Week October 16-20, 2023!

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4 minute read

From Community Futures Central Alberta

National Small Business Week is an annual celebration of entrepreneurship that has been celebrated for over 40 years.

Did you know:

  • Canada has over 1 million small businesses currently in operation!
  • For statistical purposes, a small business has between 1-99 employees, but most have less than 10.
  • These small businesses employ over 8 million Canadians.
  • By comparison, only 2.5 million Canadians are employed in medium sized businesses (100-500 employees).
  • In 2019, Canadian small businesses contributed 36.7% of our gross domestic product (GDP).

*Statistics taken from Statistics Canada – Innovation, Science and Economic Development website.

Time is running out to apply for the
Catalyst Incubator!

Calling local entrepreneurs! The Catalyst Incubator, funded through the Central Alberta Innovation Network (CARIN) and provided by Community Futures Central Alberta, is nearing its registration deadline.

Both Fall and Winter registration dates for this unique, cohort-based program helping to foster new ideas, make critical connections, and help start-up businesses are now open. The Catalyst Incubator is 100% FREE and focuses on supporting start-ups in manufacturing, agriculture, technology, energy innovation, and more.

Learn more about how to register

Increase your business’ online presence with free help from the Digital Service Squad

The Digital Service Squad (DSS) is designed to help small businesses take their businesses online. This program, a partnership between Business Link, Community Futures and Digital Main Street, will help small businesses in Alberta undergo digital transformations and adopt eCommerce practices. DSS is open to home-based or commercial small businesses registered in Alberta with less than 50 employees.

Digital Service Squads guides businesses through digital transformation. Small businesses can apply to participate in the program, free of charge.

Book your free consultation today

Lending Spotlight: Flex Loans

In this edition of our Quarterly Update, we shine a spotlight on the Community Futures Central Alberta Flex Loan. Flex Loans are available to clients in all industries, including home-based and storefront. The loans can be used for equipment, inventory, renovations, marketing, working capital, etc.

According to CFCA Business Analyst Kelsey Krieger, “Flex loans offer our clients a lower interest rate and a lower barrier to entry to qualify for financial support for their small business or startup. This product allows clients to make near-term plans for purchasing needed equipment or doing important upgrades to their business.”

•    Qualification for unsecured (will still take GSA and personal guarantee) will be based on credit history and net worth.

Learn more about Flex Loans today – call us at 403.342.2055 and make an appointment!

CFCA introduces Tyler Harke as its new Community Economic Development Coordinator

Community Futures Central Alberta is pleased to welcome Tyler Harke as its newest staff member.

Tyler is a life-long Albertan who comes from a family of entrepreneurs. He is excited to serve in both the Community Economic Development role as well as part of the Digital Services Squad.

Tyler brings over 15 years of experience in marketing and communications roles and looks forward to playing a key role in helping small business thrive in this great region!

Contact Tyler and discuss your community’s involvement with CFCA

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Business

Trudeau gov’t set to introduce another internet regulation bill this week

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

While the Trudeau government claims its forthcoming ‘Online Harms’ bill is being created to protect kids, Conservative Party of Canada head Pierre Poilievre said that the federal government is just looking for clever ways to enact internet censorship laws.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is introducing its “online harms” legislation this week, spurring fears that this may mean the revival of parts of a lapsed bill from 2021 which looked to target free speech by banning certain legal internet content. 

The new bill, by Liberal Justice Minister Arif Virani, was posted on the House of Commons notice paper for February 26, 2024, and will soon be read in Parliament. 

The Online Harms Act will modify existing laws, amending the Criminal Code as well as the Canadian Human Rights Act, in what the Trudeau Liberals claim will target certain cases of internet content removal, notably those involving child sexual abuse and pornography.  

The new bill will also create an ombudsperson who will be charged with dealing with public complaints regarding online content, as well as put forth a regulatory function that will be charged with monitoring internet platform behaviors.  

While the Trudeau government claims the bill is being created to protect kids, Conservative Party of Canada head Pierre Poilievre said that the federal government is looking for clever ways to enact internet censorship laws.  

During a February 21 press conference, Poilievre said that Trudeau is looking to, in effect, criminalize speech he does not like. 

“What does Justin Trudeau mean when he says the word ‘hate speech?’ He means speech he hates,” said Poilievre. 

Virani had many times last year hinted that a new Online Harms Act bill would be forthcoming in 2024.  

Of important note is that the new Online Harms Act looks to amend Canada’s Human Rights Act, to put back in place a hate speech provision, specifically, Section 13 of the Act, which the previous Conservative government under Stephen Harper had repealed in 2013.  

It was feared that if passed, it would target bloggers and social media users for speaking their minds.  

Bill C-36 included text to amend Canada’s Criminal Code and Human Rights Act to define “hatred” as “the emotion that involves detestation or vilification and that is stronger than dislike or disdain (haine).”  

If passed, the bill would have theoretically allow a tribunal to judge anyone who has a complaint of online “hate” leveled against them, even if he has not committed a crime. If found guilty, the person would have been in violation of the new law and could have faced fines of up to $70,000 as well as house arrest.  

Two other Trudeau bills dealing with freedom as it relates to the internet have become law, the first being  Bill C-11, or the Online Streaming Act, which mandates that Canada’s broadcast regulator the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) oversee regulating online content on platforms such as YouTube and Netflix to ensure that such platforms are promoting content in accordance with a variety of its guidelines.  

Trudeau’s other internet censorship law, the Online News Act, was passed by the Senate in June of last year.    

The Online News Act  mandated that Big Tech companies pay to publish Canadian content on their platforms. As a result, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has blocked all access to news content in Canada.

Critics of Trudeau’s recent laws, such as tech mogul Elon Musk, have said it shows that “Trudeau is trying to crush free speech in Canada.”

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Alberta

Canadians in three provinces will spend roughly the same on debt interest as K-12 education

Published on

From the Fraser Institute

By Grady Munro and Jake Fuss

From 2008/09 to 2023/24, the federal government is projected to have run deficits every single year, with no interruptions. This has resulted in federal net debt (total debt minus financial assets) increasing by $603.6 billion (inflation-adjusted).

For more than a decade, Canadian governments have increasingly relied on borrowed money to fund their excessive spending habits. However, as debt has continued to pile up so have the costs associated with this debt—namely interest costs. A recent study shows that in some of the largest provinces, governments now spend nearly as much or more on debt interest costs than on K-12 education.

Since the 2008/09 financial crisis, governments across Canada have fallen into the habit of utilizing debt to fund their spending habits. For example, consider the federal government.

From 2008/09 to 2023/24, the federal government is projected to have run deficits every single year, with no interruptions. This has resulted in federal net debt (total debt minus financial assets) increasing by $603.6 billion (inflation-adjusted). Conversely, from 1996/97 to 2007/08, the federal government actually lowered its net debt by $348.1 billion (inflation-adjusted). Clearly, there’s been a shift in the government’s approach towards debt accumulation.

This is not simply a federal problem, as provinces have also seen their debt burdens rise as well. Cumulatively, provincial and federal net debt has increased by $1.0 trillion (inflation-adjusted) from 2007/08 to 2023/24.

Government debt carries costs, primarily in the form of the interest payments, which represent money that doesn’t go towards paying down the actual debt amount, nor does it go towards providing government services or tax relief. And since governments must utilize tax revenues to pay interest, taxpayers are ultimately on the hook for servicing government debt.

But how much do Canadians actually pay in debt interest costs?

Using data from the most recent fiscal updates, a new study compares combined (federal and provincial) debt interest costs for residents in three of the largest provinces (OntarioQuebec and Alberta) with what those provinces expect to spend on K-12 education in 2023/24. The study utilizes combined debt interest costs because Canadians are ultimately responsible for interest costs incurred by both the federal government and the province in which they live. The following chart summarizes the comparisons from the study.

As is clear from the chart, combined interest costs for residents in these provinces are nearly as much or more than their province expects to spend on K-12 education in 2023/24. Specifically, combined interest costs are $31.5 billion for Ontarians, which is only $3.2 billion less than the province will spend on K-12 education in 2023/24. Combined interest costs for Quebecers ($20.3 billion) will actually exceed the $19.9 billion the province will devote towards K-12 education. And combined interest costs for Albertans are only slightly lower than the $8.9 billion that will be spent on K-12 education.

In other words, taxpayers in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta are paying nearly as much or more to service federal and provincial government debt than they are paying to fund K-12 education in their province. This budget season, it’s important to remember the costs associated with growing government debt.

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