The Honourable Victor Fedeli is a lifelong entrepreneur, successful business person, and philanthropist, and serves the Ford government as Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
His business experience led his firm Fedeli Corporation to be ranked 34th in the Top 50 Best Places to Work in Canada in 1989. It also served him well, when he was elected to two terms as Mayor of North Bay from 2003 to 2010. As Mayor, Vic focused on fiscal prudence and economic development, restoring hope and restoring solvency to North Bay.
Vic served ten terms on the Board of the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce, served as Director with Global Vision, and has served on many agencies, boards, and commissions, often as Chair.
He is married to local humour writer Patty and is always seen in one of his trademark yellow ties.
1) What is your key advice to small business owners during these challenging times?
Our key piece of advice is to be willing to innovate and quickly adapt to this uncertain and constantly evolving economic environment. Since the beginning of this pandemic, Ontario’s small businesses have demonstrated incredible resilience and the true meaning of the Ontario Spirit. Right from the start, they stepped up to offer their ideas, solutions, and supplies to aid in the fight against COVID-19.
Our government is encouraging small business owners to continue sharing their experiences, feedback, and suggestions. Throughout the course of this pandemic, we have spoken to countless business owners, institutions and associations to learn more about their circumstances and understand how we can best support each other. It is integral that we continue to keep open lines of communication as we proceed further down the path to economic recovery.
We remain committed to creating a positive business environment with the right kinds of support so that our small; and medium-sized businesses can remain competitive. By working together, we can rebuild our economy and ensure that no industry and no region in our province is left behind.
As our economy recovers, we will continue to support and promote Ontario Made products and services, and remain more committed than ever to cutting red tape and eliminating regulatory burdens that hurt business growth.
We look forward to continuing speaking with small business owners and associations to hear about the impacts they are experiencing and how we may support them as part of the longer-term recovery.
2) And what steps is the government Of Ontario taking to keep small businesses afloat during the current crisis?
Since first learning of COVID-19, our government has taken significant steps to help businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. We launched Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. This is a $30 billion package with funding targeted to help families and businesses.
This plan includes the following:
- $7.3 billion in relief by temporarily deferring taxes for 100,000 Ontario businesses; and
- $1.9 billion to allow employers to defer Workplace Safety and Insurance Board payments.
- A $1.5 billion increase in electricity cost relief compared to the 2019 Budget to make electricity bills more affordable for eligible residential, farm and small business consumers.
We launched a website to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers. The Workplace PPE Supplier Directory has an up-to-date list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply personal protective equipment.
We also launched Ontario Together, a website that allows businesses and individuals to submit ideas to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak and redirect resources towards the production of essential equipment including ventilators, masks, swabs and eye protection.
We continue to work with our counterparts through our COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website to allow temporary changes to provincial rules and regulations in order to remove any barriers that are hindering business and negatively impacting Ontario’s supply chain.
We have worked with the federal government to develop the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank (BDC). This program will help businesses meet cash flow requirements through guaranteed loans.
Ontario has committed $241 million in partnership with the federal government to deliver more than $900 million in urgent relief to small businesses and their landlords through the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA). We also paused commercial evictions so landlords who have commercial tenants eligible for rent assistance through the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses can’t lock them out or seize their assets.
We have partnered with the federal government to help small businesses reach more customers through the Digital Main Street platform. This $57-million program will help up to 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence and generate jobs for more than 1,400 students.
We teamed up with the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters to launch the Ontario Made program. Consumers use their purchasing power to directly support local manufacturers and play a critical role in accelerating the province’s economic recovery.
I am confident that with these decisive actions, Ontario is well positioned to weather the challenges ahead.
For more information, please visit COVID-19: Support for businesses.