February 10, 2016 8:40 pm
Updated: February 12, 2016 6:18 am

Montreal’s small businesses to get more support

WATCH ABOVE: Many small companies on the island of Montreal are paying a high cost to stay open. As Global's Paola Samuel reports, some are taking their business to the surrounding suburbs.

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MONTREAL – Mayor Denis Coderre is on a mission to help small businesses in the city.

At a news conference on Wednesday, he said that last fall, the city was ranked the worst in Canada to start a business.

Coderre said one of his top priorities is to lower small business taxes.

“We have a plan of controlling expenses because we don’t want to raise taxes,” the mayor said.

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A work group has been put together to study the problem and determine the best ways to cut down bureaucracy and reduce the small business tax burden, which is four times higher than the residential tax rate.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) said it was not surprised that small businesses are struggling since there are mounds of red tape to cut through just to get started.

READ MORE: 450 booming: Suburbs overtake Montreal’s income

Alan Pearson, a gym owner in Pierrefonds, was drowning under hidden start-up costs when Global News first spoke to him last fall.

He had to pay $25,000 for permits before even paying a cent in business taxes.

“At least they are aware there is an issue,” Pearson said Wednesday.

“When you are dealing with the government, it always takes time. Some people struggling right now may not have the time.”

The group will present its results in June.

Coderre said he hopes to put its recommendations into the city’s new budget and offer businesses a more concrete plan of action.

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