Montreal thrives thanks to its diverse scene of small businesses. From independently-owned restaurants to startups to depanneurs, small-scale entrepreneurs make Montreal the vibrant city we know and love today.
Running a small business is anything but easy, as any owner will tell you. Thankfully, the Trudeau government is offering a minor respite to small business owners: a tax cut.
Announced this morning, the federal government is lowering the small business tax rate from 10.5% to 9%, reports CBC.
If you’re not too savvy on all-things tax-related, this basically means that small business owners won’t have to pay as much in taxes every year, thus saving money that can be better spent elsewhere.
So as hard as it is to run a small business in Montreal, or anywhere in Canada, things will get marginally easier thanks to the tax cut.
The taxation change comes amid a whirlwind of criticism for the Trudeau government’s original plan on tax reforms.
Previously, some changes the Trudeau government were going to make were seen as damaging to small business owners, the middle class Canadians the Prime Minister is always trying to help, or so he says.
Fortunately the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bill Morneau took the criticisms to heart and made some changes to their tax reform plans.
The small business tax cut is probably the biggest change all of us middle-class folk need to worry about. Other changes are going to target rich Canadians who have used incorporated small businesses to avoid higher taxes.
Getting funds from investors and venture capitalists won’t be affected, either, reports CBC, meaning startups won’t be negatively impacted by any reforms.
So while this isn't going to entirely "save" Montreal, the tax breaks will do a lot for citizens of the city. The government can always do more to help small business owners, but this, at least, is a helping hand rather than a hinderance.
Saving money is never a bad thing and hopefully the rest of the federal governments economic alterations will similarly help small businesses in the long run.
The CRSB provides support to people who are employed and self-employed who are unable to work at least 50% of their scheduled work week because they've become sick with COVID-19 or have to isolate.
If you have an underlying health condition that puts you at greater risk of getting COVID-19, you may also apply for this benefit, which is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Attention Workers! \n\nYou could get up to 6 weeks of #CRSB income support if you: \n\n- are sick with or may have #Covid19 \n\n- are more susceptible to #Covid19, or \n\n- must self-isolate \n\nSee if you\u2019re eligible http://ow.ly/TYwV50HqS9C\u00a0 \n\n#CdnPolipic.twitter.com/mlnqOKWEBy
— Employment and Social Development Canada (@Employment and Social Development Canada)
To apply, you must be at least 15 years old, be a resident of Canada, have a SIN number and not be collecting Employment Insurance or any other benefits related to COVID-19, as well as meet other eligibility criteria.
If you meet the criteria, you can get $500 per week ($450 after taxes withheld), up to a maximum of six weeks. But after every one-week period, you need to reapply. You can apply for up to six weeks until May 7, 2022.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canadians, "with the Omicron variant spreading rapidly and new restrictions coming into effect in several places across the country, the new year isn't starting the way any of us wanted - but I want you to know that we’ll continue to make sure you have the support you need."
Boucherie Slovenia, a boulevard Saint-Laurent institution for 50 years, will soon serve its last spicy sausage.
The iconic home of enormous Eastern European-style sandwiches — Slovenian sausage and towering cold-cuts were staples — will close its doors forever on January 29, said the owners, Lourdes Rodrigues and Jean Teixeira, in a Facebook post.
"Thank you to all our loyal customers, for the wonderful years," they said.
With a menu overflowing with huge, yet affordable, meat and mustard sandwiches — sauerkraut, pickles and Cherry Cokes were also standard — Boucherie Slovenia is the latest of the Main's iconic old-school institutions to close.
The beloved Moishes steakhouse announced its closure under the strain of the pandemic in the summer of 2020.
The Boucherie Slovenia Facebook post asks readers to share their memories of the restaurant and butcher shop, with many offering childhood stories of visiting for a pepperette sandwich or their "underrated" smoked meat, which is "the best in the city," according to one commenter.
Many apparent long-time customers said they wouldn't know where to go to find dishes comparable to Boucherie Slovenia's treasured menu items.
Others remarked on how yet another classic Montreal restaurant is closing its doors. "Nothing replaces these fantastic old shops," said one person. "It's a loss. The rich character of the boulevard is disappearing."
Montreal is certainly no stranger to a traffic jam, which makes taking public transit a more viable option to not only get around faster but do more good for the environment.
As Canadian cities take the initiative to improve their transit systems and reduce their carbon footprints, Montreal has become one of the country's greenest metropolitan areas when it comes to transport, according to one ranking.
A December report from Kijiji Autos analyzed green transport options in Canada's most populated cities, evaluating their use of electric cars, bikes, scooters, and the number of electric charging stations.
With its metro and bus systems, BIXI rentals, bike lanes, and availability of electric cars, Montreal found itself in third place among Canadian cities that offer the greenest transport with a score of 5.5/10.
Although Vancouver and Ottawa/Gatineau snagged the top two spots, Montreal takes the lead as the most bicycle-friendly city in all of North America, with a total of 2,163 bicycle paths, says the Copenhagenize Index.
Montreal's third-place ranking is encouraging news, said McGill University Assistant Professor of Geography, Grant McKenzie, who specifically boasted about Montreal's metro system, "especially compared to other Canadian cities," as well as its "substantial investment towards electric buses."
While McKenzie said "we can always do better" and bemoaned the city's ban on e-scooters, he called the popularity of the BIXI and the inclusion of electric bikes in its fleet an "excellent move in the right direction."
As for electric cars, Kijiji Autos looked at new registrations of electric vehicles in the first quarter of 2021, as well as total charging stations. Montreal landed second to Toronto with a total of 3,633 new registered electric cars, and 1,258 electric charging stations throughout the city.
Kijiji Autos also looked at the number of hybrids and electric vehicles for sale on their platform. Montreal led the way with 1,063 hybrid vehicles and 375 electric vehicles, states the report.
With the province of Quebec offering residents a rebate for the purchase or lease of electric cars, Quebec estimates that there will be 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030.
The borders may still be open, but both Canada and the United States are advising against travelling to the opposite country right now unless it's essential.
On the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S.' national public health agency, website, Americans are being told not to travel to Canada right now because of the "very high level of COVID-19" in the country.
If one must travel to Canada, the CDC reminds them to ensure they are fully vaccinated and warns that due to "the current situation in Canada, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants."
Canada is basically saying the same thing about travelling to the U.S. — or anywhere else in the world — right now.
On December 15, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced that the Canadian government was immediately advising Canadians to avoid all non-essential international travel outside of Canada.
"If you do not have to travel internationally, please do not," Duclos said.
A call to avoid international travel currently appears on the federal government website, citing "the risk of the Omicron variant that causes COVID-19."
However, this advisory only acts as a guide and individuals are still permitted to travel abroad at their own risk. The Government of Canada states that "The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad."