Small Business Advocacy and the Department of Business Development

Small business owners are the backbone of the Canadian economy. In 2019, small businesses employed 8.4 million individuals in Canada or 68.8 percent of the total private labor force.

Medicine Hat used to have a department of Business Development which was slowly replaced by what is now Invest Medicine Hat. Invest Medicine Hat is an agency that is designed to bring in business from outside of our city. Where is the local support for our small business owners? We need to help our business owners navigate a confusing system, while working to eliminate red tape and hurdles.

My vision is to bring back the Department of Business Development. A small group of dedicated people working in City Hall that are trained to help local business owners, or home-based business owners looking to go retail. Help people navigate the red tape the city and province have continued to pile on small business owners.

This department would coordinate with real estate agents and have information on local available retail spaces. They would be able to suggest retail spaces that accommodate each individual's vision of what their business would look like. They would have access and be able to coordinate with Planning and Development, to help people better understand how to work with building codes and permits. They would have access to all municipal, provincial, and federal grant information, and would be able to supply proper phone numbers, forms, and documentation, to aid people looking to open up a business. Help people better understand how to work within the system.

This department could have a local listing of any home based business owner that would be interested in going retail. That would give other people looking to go retail the ability to network with each other.

Coming from somebody who built a business off of his dining room table a decade ago, I can tell you that the city of Medicine Hat is falling short on support for small businesses. Helping low-income people, bring home based businesses into retail, can be one of the key solutions in letting low income people support themselves more effectively.

Affordable Housing

A house should be a home, not something to be bought and sold off at a higher value! Housing should be a human right! It is the responsibility of municipal governments to bring in developers who can build more economically friendly housing. Half a million dollar homes are completely unrealistic for most families to afford in the current economy. We need more affordable housing developments for first-time homeowners, as well as senior citizens. I've been working in a charity capacity now with people for almost a decade, you would be terrified if you knew how many of them we're just like you and had a couple months where they couldn't pay their rent or mortgage. The middle class are quickly becoming the poor. These housing prices are completely unacceptable.

Silver for Seniors

For the first time in my life, as I approach my 50s, I am looking towards retirement one day. The thought absolutely terrifies me after what I've seen over the last two years. How we have treated our older generations needs to change. The Covid 19 pandemic has shown us how poorly we have protected them. If you look at recorded covid deaths, Statistics Canada found that 52 per cent were individuals age 85 and older, 36 per cent were aged 65-84 and only 12 per cent were younger than 65. As a municipality we need to take better care of our senior citizens and advocate for them. Push the province of Alberta to put more funding towards assisted living and care homes, we need to making sure our seniors are safe! These are our parents and grandparents, they deserve better than they have received over the last 2 years. Our senior citizens should have never been isolated the way they were during covid, this alone caused deaths due to loneliness and lack of care from care homes that were short staffed without family there to help take care of them. More municipal employment programs to help senior citizens find jobs in our community are vitally important. They deserve the ability to support themselves after retirement. Its become almost impossible for many of our senior citizens to live on their fixed income they are provided after retirement. Facilities like the Veiner Center are vitally important to the mental health and well-being of our senior citizens. They should be one of our top priorities not one of our last. Just because somebody retires doesn't mean they have outlived their usefulness. With the proper supports they can remain an active part of our community.

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