Liberals promise financial incentives, lower fees to help entrepreneurs

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is promising new incentives to help entrepreneurs launch new businesses, and lower fees he says would help small and medium-sized businesses thrive.

During an event in Trois Rivieres, Que., today, Trudeau said a re-elected Liberal government would give up to 2,000 entrepreneurs a year up to $50,000 each to build startups.

The incentive program would begin as a three-year pilot project administered through the Business Development Bank of Canada.

New businesses would also be eligible for a $250 subsidy to expand online services.

The Liberal also are offering to eliminate the so-called "swipe fee" on HST and GST that merchants must pay to credit card companies. The move would save businesses nearly $500 million a year in fees, the Liberals said, citing a calculation by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The Liberals also are promising to eliminate all fees from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Export Development Canada (EDC) and Farm Credit Canada for mentorship and training services, and cut the cost of federal incorporation by 75 per cent, to $50 from $200.

A Liberal news release says seven out of 10 Canadians now work for small and medium-sized businesses, making them Canada's largest employers and key drivers of the economy.

The Liberal Party says the initiatives would cost $129 million in 2020-21, which would increase to $163 million in 2023-24.