Government of Canada

Government of Canada
Government of Ontario

Government of Ontario

February 03, 2010 15:59 ET

Governments of Canada and Ontario Support Small Businesses

Launch Single Toll-Free Number, Making It Easier For Businesses To Get Government Information

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 3, 2010) -

Editors Note: A photo for this release will be available on the CP picture wire via Marketwire.

To make it easier for business owners to get the information they need, the governments of Canada and Ontario have collaborated to create a telephone number with business information from both levels of government.

Callers can dial 1-888-745-8888 or TTY 1-800-268-7095 to get information on several topics including financing options, starting or growing a business, federal and provincial government programs, managing employees, regulations, taxes, permits and licences, importing and exporting requirements, and more.

The Honourable Rob Moore, federal Minister of State, Small Business and Tourism was joined by the Honourable Harinder S. Takhar, Ontario Minister of Government Services today, to officially launch the new toll-free Business Info Line.

The announcement was made at the Economic Developers Council of Ontario's 53rd annual conference and showcase.

This new toll-free telephone service is part of an ongoing partnership between Industry Canada and ServiceOntario to provide integrated services to businesses, through the Canada-Ontario Business Service Centre, and other services.


"Small and medium sized enterprises are the engine of the Canadian economy. Their success fuels economic growth and job creation. This new toll-free number makes it easier for businesses to find the assistance they need to make Canada more competitive, by reducing the burden on hard working Canadian entrepreneurs."

- Rob Moore, Minister of State, Small Business and Tourism

"Ontario is making it easier for businesses to work with government, grow and succeed. Creating an environment that will help attract investment is a key component of the government's plan to create jobs and grow the economy."

- Harinder S. Takhar, Minister of Government Services


- The Canada-Ontario Business Service Centre assists more than 1.6 million web users each year

- Each day, 50,000 users visit

- As of June 2009, there were 857,077 businesses in Ontario, or 37.4 per cent of all businesses in Canada


Read about Government of Canada services for business

Find out more about how Ontario is making it easier for businesses to work with government


Government of Canada: Providing Services for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Ontario

Business Info Line (1-888-745-8888)

The Business Info Line is a toll-free business information service that provides small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Ontario with reliable and useful business information from the federal and provincial governments, in one place, with one telephone number. Business owners and those considering starting a business can obtain information on topics such as financing options, employee management, regulations and tax programs, government programs and services, permits and licences, and importing and exporting requirements. This service is a collaboration between ServiceOntario and Industry Canada.

Collaborating to help entrepreneurs

Industry Canada is collaborating with ServiceOntario on the delivery and promotion of the Business Info Line. This collaboration is part of the ongoing partnership between ServiceOntario and Industry Canada to provide integrated services to businesses, whether in person, online or now over the telephone. This includes convenient services such as the Canada–Ontario Business Service Centre and BizPaL, which offers entrepreneurs and businesses simplified access to permit and licence information from multiple levels of government. These services are all examples of how the federal government is working with the Province of Ontario to best serve the Ontario business community.

Canada Business network

The Canada Business network is a long-standing national program that provides single-window access to government information and services for businesses. It currently offers information through a national website, a national toll-free telephone line and 13 regional service centres, one in each province and territory. The Ontario member of the Canada Business network is the Canada–Ontario Business Service Centre.

The Canada–Ontario Business Service Centre provides businesses in Ontario with up-to-date and relevant business information through the Business Info Line telephone service, online at and through arrangements with in-person centres across the province. It is jointly funded by Industry Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Government Services.

Canada's Economic Action Plan 

The Government of Canada supports SMEs, which are the backbone of the Canadian economy, as they account for 98 percent of all businesses in Canada. Canada's Economic Action Plan was designed to help stimulate the Canadian economy and help SMEs drive our country's economic success. Funding provided through Canada's Economic Action Plan is being used to provide business information services through the Canada Business network. In addition, the Government of Canada has introduced a number of initiatives to help businesses innovate, create jobs and generate wealth in every region across the country.

Under the Action Plan, the small business tax rate of 11 percent, which previously applied to the first $400 000 of income, now applies to the first $500 000 of income. This will allow businesses to reinvest and grow. To ensure credit-worthy businesses obtain the financing they need, the maximum loan amount under the Canada Small Business Financing Program was increased, providing some $300 million in additional financing. Also, to address the issue of access to financing, the Business Credit Availability Program was introduced, and more funding has been provided to the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada. The Government of Canada has also been working hard with both the public and private sectors to cut red tape for businesses. Last year, the government reached the goal of reducing the paperwork burden faced by businesses by 20 percent. Reduction initiatives will continue in 2010.


Industry Canada defines small businesses as having fewer than 100 employees, while medium-sized businesses consist of 100 to 499 employees. Canada has one of the highest rates of small businesses entering the marketplace among industrialized countries — approximately 130 000 new small businesses are created annually. SMEs created 70 000 jobs and employed 48 percent of the labour force (5 million employees) in 2008. In the same year, small business employees in Canada earned around $735 per week.

SMEs foster the expansion and prosperity of the Canadian economy and have helped secure a more stable position for Canada during the economic recession. These enterprises extend Canada's international trade, as they account for 34 percent (20 percent for small businesses and 14 percent for medium businesses) of the total value of Canadian exports.


Ministry of Government Services

New Toll-Free Business Information Line: Single Point Of Access

Through its Open for Business initiative, Ontario is making it easier for businesses to work with government, while creating an environment that supports innovation, helps attract new investment, and creates jobs.

Under this initiative, ServiceOntario is leading the implementation of the new toll-free business information line in collaboration with Industry Canada. This telephone service means entrepreneurs and business owners need to make only one call to access information and expertise from both levels of government.

Integrated Information Services

By calling a single toll-free business telephone number, businesses can now get the government information they need, for example:

  • Starting or growing a business
  • Financing options
  • Managing employees
  • Developing business plans
  • Government programs and services
  • Regulations and tax implications
  • Importing and exporting requirements

Businesses can also get business information online at:


Open for Business Initiative

Led by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Open for Business is Ontario's ongoing plan to create faster, smarter and streamlined government-to-business services and to establish a modern system of government. Working with all ministries across government, Open for Business is a key part of the Ontario Government's commitment to make Ontario more attractive to business, while protecting the public interest.


ServiceOntario is working collaboratively with other ministries, other governments and private sector partners to deliver government information and services that are customer-focused and results-based. Our vision is to be recognized for meeting or exceeding customer expectations with our service, solutions, leadership and people.

Disponible en francais

Contact Information

  • Minister’s Office
    Sarbjit Kaur
    Ciaran Ganley
    Communications Branch
    Industry Canada
    Media Relations