This is page numbers 4335 - 4360 of the Hansard for the 18th Assembly, 3rd Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was business.

Topics

Question 413-18(3): SEED Program Increased Funding
Oral Questions

Page 4346

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I have mentioned, there is only so much money that this government has. We have our processes and deliberations on how we want to spend that money, and everyone in this House is included. This is what I have been allocated, and I will continue to fight for more money for my department, but as the Member quite knows, there is not enough money to go around for everything this government wants to achieve. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 413-18(3): SEED Program Increased Funding
Oral Questions

Page 4346

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

It seems that, when we have an immediate need, we can find the money. We can find money for barges; $16 million conjured out of thin air. I wonder if the Minister can answer this question: does he think it is acceptable that available funding for entrepreneurs is running out within two to three months of the fiscal year?

Question 413-18(3): SEED Program Increased Funding
Oral Questions

Page 4346

Wally Schumann Hay River South

This money is to help entrepreneurship. It is not to support a business and keep them in business. This is to help support business. Let's make it quite clear. Businesses are an entrepreneurial-driven thing. The Government of the Northwest Territories is not in the business of being in business. Let's make that very clear.

I am one of the few people in this House who is a businessperson. My whole life, I have been a businessperson. I understand this file probably better than anyone in this House. Yes, some of these programs are stretched to their limit, but we only have so much money. What do you want me to do? Do you want me to just print money? I can't print money. If you want us to put more money into this program, I will need the support of committee; I need the support of Members on this side of the House and the residents of the Northwest Territories.

Question 413-18(3): SEED Program Increased Funding
Oral Questions

Page 4346

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

I would like to caution to the Members that the last question was asking the Minister's opinion. Be careful around that area. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Question 413-18(3): SEED Program Increased Funding
Oral Questions

Page 4346

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will be cautious around the Minister's opinions. The statements he is making around not having enough funding, I mean, he sounds more like a deputy minister than a Minister, but is the Minister prepared to make a submission to the Financial Management Board during the next round of budget deliberations to increase the available SEED funding?

Question 413-18(3): SEED Program Increased Funding
Oral Questions

Page 4346

Wally Schumann Hay River South

I can make that submission. That is not an issue. I have already brought up the issue around the shortfall of funding from our department. We will make our case, and I will continue to do that. When it comes time to deliberate the next budget and when I have a look at the data from the SEED program, I will certainly make that decision at that point.

Question 413-18(3): SEED Program Increased Funding
Oral Questions

Page 4346

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Question 413-18(3): SEED Program Increased Funding
Oral Questions

Page 4346

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The data is old news. We have all known that this program is oversubscribed. I know the Minister said he can make the submission; will he make that submission, based on the debate we are having right now, and based on what he already knows, that this program is oversubscribed? Will the Minister make that submission? Yes or no? Thank you.

Question 413-18(3): SEED Program Increased Funding
Oral Questions

Page 4346

Wally Schumann Hay River South

As I have said, I will have a look at the information when this comes up in the next budget session and make that decision going forward. I am going to have to have a hard look at this, and the Member has to have a look at this. If we are going to put more money into the SEED program, which would be great for myself, it has to come from somewhere within this House. Do you want to take it from Health? Do you want to take it from Social Services? Where do you want to take it from? Maybe the Member can give me that feedback back. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 413-18(3): SEED Program Increased Funding
Oral Questions

Page 4346

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Sahtu.

Question 414-18(3): Supporting Small Business in Sahtu
Oral Questions

October 18th, 2018

Page 4346

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I liked the Minister's earlier statement there: build it, and they will come. Mr. Speaker, this is Small Business Week, and I appreciate the Minister's words about small business in his statement today. I would, however, like to ask the Minister some questions about the government's support for small business in the Sahtu region. Can the Minister give me examples of how ITI is supporting businesses in the Sahtu? Thank you.

Question 414-18(3): Supporting Small Business in Sahtu
Oral Questions

Page 4346

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Question 414-18(3): Supporting Small Business in Sahtu
Oral Questions

Page 4346

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I highlighted in my statement today, we have spent $17.6 million with the government this last year to help support individuals and businesses and governments and groups across the economic sector.

In his particular riding, we have spent $1.6 million, but at the same time, we realized that there was a downturn with Line 21 being shut down and a lot of pressure on the small businesses in that Member's riding. We have worked very closely to realign those businesses and what they need to do. They have to target different products, services, and customers. As such, the department has worked very closely with them.

This coming week, I think it is this coming week, the Department of ITI is going out to communities outside the Member's riding of Norman Wells to all of his smaller communities, and we are going to have an information session about how to start a small business in his region. Staff is there to assist them. In particular, our department also takes great pride in small communities in how we support and strengthen the traditional economy. We want to meet with all eligible trappers and what type of assistance is available for them, as well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 414-18(3): Supporting Small Business in Sahtu
Oral Questions

Page 4347

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

That leads me to my next question. The Minister mentioned the SEED program, or the SEED policy. The government's mandate for the 18th Assembly commits to updating SEED programs to better align themselves with the needs of entrepreneurial and small business owners. Can the Minister provide an update on this work?

Question 414-18(3): Supporting Small Business in Sahtu
Oral Questions

Page 4347

Wally Schumann Hay River South

As I said earlier in my statements, we had a look at the SEED program and we realized that there were some pressures on it, and rising costs around some of these things. We got feedback from a number of NWT businesses, so we looked at changing this up. Our budget still is $3.86 million. That is what we talked about earlier already today, and that hasn't changed at all.

What has changed is individual applicants have increased for most of our programs, so one of the changes that we made is the individual contribution under the entrepreneurs stream. The entrepreneurs support stream has increased from $15,000 to $25,000. Individual contributions available under the business intelligent networking stream have increased from $3,000 to $4,000, and entrepreneurs capped out on their contribution under the micro-business stream are now eligible to reapply in three years instead of five years.

We are also piloting a strategic investment stream in 2017 that we have renewed for this year which allows one-time contributions up to $75,000 for individuals to meet criteria based on the mandate of increasing economic growth and diversity.