Dan Kelly, President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), discusses the current state of small business in Canada
Mediaplanet: How important are small businesses and continued entrepreneurship to the Canadian economy?

Dan Kelly: Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. In fact, small- and medium-sized enterprises constitute the majority of private sector employment in Canada. That’s a huge part of the economy that touches every sector and industry. Many people, myself included, started their careers in a small business. Without this valuable form of informal, on-the-job training for young and inexperienced workers, the entire economy would suffer. Small firms are also far more likely to continue to remain in their local communities, providing opportunities for workers right across Canada.

MP: What are some of the most pressing issues facing small businesses?

DK: Red tape is always an issue that concerns small business owners. They are stymied at many turns by inefficient, unnecessary, and needlessly complicated regulations that cost them both time and money to deal with. Uncertainty around trade, both internationally and between provinces, also makes it hard for many small businesses to plan, operate, and grow.

MP: What’s one challenge that small business owners often overlook?

DK: They often forget how difficult and time-consuming it is to stay on top of all of the changes and regulations that come their way. Small businesses often don’t have specialists in HR or compliance, so the regulatory burden they face is disproportionately high because they have to handle most of these responsibilities alone.

MP: What can small business owners and budding entrepreneurs do to keep up with the market and set themselves up for success?

DK: Staying informed is one of the most important things a small business owner can do. They must be aware of the current trends in the industry, how the market is performing, and what’s coming their way in terms of taxes and regulations. Joining forces with other small business owners through industry associations, like CFIB, can also be a powerful tool as it gives them a voice and a support network, so they can spend more time running their business and achieving success.