Update on the situation in Ukraine and announcing new Canada Digital Adoption Program
Today’s announcement will definitely make a huge difference for small and medium-sized businesses who want to grow and take advantage of new technologies.
But before I begin, I want to provide a brief update on Ukraine.
Over the past few days I have had various conversations with several world leaders, including Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Mackey Sall of Senegal and Naftali Bennett of Israel. We discussed the efforts being made to stop this illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Yesterday I also spoke again with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine. I applauded his leadership and the courage of Ukrainians. I told him that Canada would continue to be there for them.
This morning, Minister Anand announced that we will be supplying more military equipment to Ukraine, including M72 rocket launchers and grenades. This is in addition to what we’ve already committed and what we’ve already sent.
We’re also ready to welcome more Ukrainians to Canada. For Ukrainians who want to come to our country temporarily, we’ll create a Canada Ukraine authorization for emergency travel; this will eliminate many of the normal visa requirements and it will be the fastest and safest way to come to Canada. For Ukrainians with family members who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents, we’ll implement a special family reunification sponsorship pathway towards permanent residence.
Today Canada and other close partners are calling to suspend Russia from Interpol. We’re supporting this because we believe that international law enforcement cooperation depends on a collective commitment to the universal declaration of human rights and mutual respect between Interpol members.
In addition to what we’re doing to support Ukraine, we are also ensuring that Russia will be held to account for its actions. That is why we are imposing new sanctions on the heads of two Russian energy companies, Roseneft and Gazprom.
This morning Deputy Prime Minister Freeland also announced that Canada will be the first country to revoke the most favoured nation status of Russia and Belarus as trading partners. As a result, Canada will impose a 35% tariff on exports from these two countries. These sanctions are intended to put further pressure on Russia to stop its violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
While our government is there to support our partners and allies abroad, we’re also continuing our work to support and grow our economy here at home. That’s why I’m so happy to be here with you all at Bayview Yards with great news for small businesses.
Today we’re joined virtually by Sheena from Nova Scotia who co-founded her own business called Made with Local. Made with Local is a snack foods company that partners with social enterprises to employ and train Canadians with barriers to the mainstream work force. Like for many small other… small businesses, the past two years haven’t been easy, but despite the challenges, Sheena adapted and made the pivot to digital. Now with a greater online presence, her company is stronger than ever.
SMEs like Sheena’s are at the heart of our communities. During the pandemic, our government has been there to support them with programs like the wage subsidy, the Canada Emergency Business Account and lockdown support. As we continue building towards a strong economic recovery, it is important to ensure that Canadian small businesses have the tools they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world.
Sheena’s company benefited from the digital transformation. Today we want to help other businesses use technology to grow and expand. That’s why we’re launching the Canada Digital Adoption Program. This is a $4 billion investment that will accelerate the digital transformation of SMEs through grants and loans that meet their needs. For example, if you’re looking to grow your business online, you could get a grant that will help the costs of an eCommerce platform. If your business requires more advanced technologies, you could get a grant to develop a digital adoption plan. And if you need support to implement your digital transformation, you can also apply for a 0% interest loan up to $100,000 from the BDC. Applications for both loans and grants are now open.
If you’re an SME, today we’re launching the Canada Digital Adoption Program for you. We want to help you grow your business online and accelerate your digital transformation. Over the next four years, we will support up to 160,000 SMEs with grants, loans, and a network of digital advisors. The program will also create thousands of jobs, including jobs for young, tech-savvy digital experts. Small businesses are there for our communities, and our government will continue to be there for them.
Today’s announcement is all about empowering small businesses with digital tools so that they can reach their full potential. It’s also about building a strong recovery that brings our entrepreneurs and growing companies along. Small businesses are at the heart of our communities and when they do well, everybody wins.