Jason Setnyk Big on Small Business in Cornwall Ontario – October 16, 2010

Cornwall ON – Small business owners are residents, they are business taxpayers, and they are the job creators of our community. Statistics show that the most jobs in Canada are created by small-and medium-sized business. I  have a four step plan to work with and help Small Businesses succeed and prosper in Cornwall Ontario.

(1) Small Businesses in Cornwall Ontario would benefit from BizPal

(2) Local Businesses in Cornwall Ontario should have a forum to speak

(3) Lowering the Tax Rate in the long term using bench-marking

(4) Advertising Local Businesses on the outskirts of the City and buying locally

I will now out line in greater detail these four important steps to ensure Cornwall Ontario is a great place to establish a business, and
to grow a business.

(1) Small Businesses in Cornwall Ontario would benefit from BizPal

We need to cut red tape and create an easy environment to do business in Cornwall Ontario. We do not need to re-invent the wheel though. We can follow the example of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, the cities of  Kitchener and Cambridge, and the Township of Wellesley, Ontario – who in 2009 all made starting and running a business in their respective cities easier thanks to a new online service that helps stream line and simplify the process.

According to Industry Canada:

“BizPaL, a new online business permit and license service that saves time spent on paperwork and helps entrepreneurs start up faster. BizPaL is an innovative service that provides entrepreneurs with simplified access to the information on permits and licenses they need to establish and run their businesses.  This unique partnership among federal, provincial, territorial, regional and local governments is designed to cut through the paperwork burden and red tape that small business owners encounter.”

BizPaL will save time and money by providing a single source for information; less time will be spent on searching and more time on
building the business. BizPaL generates a list of the permits and licenses that are needed – both provincial and municipal – in order to
grow or start up a business. BizPaL can be accessed by visiting www.bizpal.ca.

I want City Hall in Cornwall Ontario to work with the Provincial and Federal Governments to bring BizPal to our city, and create an easier and friendlier climate to do business here. If other municipalities can do this, so can Cornwall Ontario!

(2) Local Businesses in Cornwall Ontario should have a forum to speak

This could be a combination of surveys, written reports, and Town Hall style meetings.  I would like to create more forums for local businesses to give City Hall input. It could be a simple survey such as the following:

“How do you rate the local government where your business is situated
on the following issues”:

1. Overall awareness of small business sector
2. Reasonable property tax levels
3. Fairness of bylaws and regulations
4. Control of government wage levels
5. Value-for-money of public services

(Answer either: Good; Adequate; or Poor)

It could also be more detailed questionnaires and reports.

And/Or it could be Town Hall style meetings and discussions about what sort of difficulties local businesses face and brainstorming
solutions. If there is a re-occurring issue that many small businesses face, we can find solutions that are fair and make it easier to do
business here. I truly believe the best vision and planning comes from listening to what people have to say, identifying and researching a problem, and working together as a team to find the right solutions.

(3) Lowering the Tax Rate in the long term using bench-marking

I had a good discussion about using bench-marking to lower the tax rate with The Future Group based here in Cornwall. The long term goal is to lower the tax rate from 5.3% to 4%. This won’t happen over night, but it will happen with long term planning and growth. With growth and development of the Water Front and other parts of the city, there will be re-assessments and the tax rate will be lowered, but setting benchmarks and having follow up meetings every six months or so will help make sure that we stay the course.  A plan needs clear and reasonable bench-marks, transparency, and accountability.

(4) Advertising Local Businesses on the outskirts of the City and buying locally

The Buy Local campaign, Heart of the City, supporting the Down Town, and Le Village, are all important initiatives which I support, but I believe there is more City Hall can be doing to promote our City and its small businesses. With the upcoming boom of big box stores on the outskirts of our city, which will in turn draw highway traffic into our city, we have to make sure local businesses have the proper tools to advertise what the heart of Cornwall has to offer. A part of this advertising initiative could be to have billboard signs strategically placed to advertise small businesses on the outskirts of the city to draw people into our City. Restaurants like Moustache Joes and Schnitzels offer an experience that McDonalds or Burger King could never offer. Stores like Melody Music and Street Chic Apparel offer quality products that you won’t find at Walmart.

Drawing tourism to the heart of our City with proper advertising will be a huge boom to local businesses. I believe in the small businesses that we have here in Cornwall, now we need to create a climate where they can succeed despite the trend towards large box stores. The down town and Le Village might also benefit from a make-over to make the heart of our city look more beautiful and quaint. That is an image we can in turn sell to the outside world to draw people in our City!

Jason Setnyk


  1. Hi Jason,

    I own a local business and the problems facing the city of Cornwall and it’s building permits division don’t have anything to do with finding out what permits are needed! I think you need to do your homework before making statements such as this! It’s easy too find out what permit you need but it takes this division too long too get it done! Plus the customer service or attitudes are horrible!

    P.S. – The 5.4% property tax rate is for residents not commercial or industrial again please do your homework it scares me to think you might get into council and make serious mistakes like this!

  2. WOW! Jason you really are off the mark! I think you should rethink your position and stick to what you now becasue business is not one of your strong points! Actually you need to possibly review some basic business principals because building permits are such a small and easy part of starting a business you missed so many available points of business involved in the start-up phase and the marketing and operations phase that the few items you did mention seem like a High School News Article!

  3. Jason, what are talking about the commercial tax rate isn’t 5.3% and bringing it to 4% would almost double it!

    P.S. – BIZPAL will not solve what the other candidates are talking about and since you need help I suggest you call Mr.Bedard he understands it quite well or simply review the audit available on the Cornwall.ca web-site to find out what exactly everyone is talking about before making recommendations for change!

    Maybe give some reputable business a call that are in construction!

  4. Some of the problems at city hall it is reported are ethical. The terms of departure for some staff seem to be related to unauthorised “dispersal” of city property (ahem). It would be worth an editor’s time to find out why this area at City Hall is understaffed.

    And it might be worthwhile to discover if the city just shoos scoundrels out the door without getting their money back.

  5. The tax payer is the customer, and that is why we need to offer the best customer service possible – clear information and timely service. Other Government agencies are guided by sound principals to try and offer the best service possible. Making applications available online is one key part of this plan, and everyone would benefit by having the process streamlined. I understand customer service is a huge problem, my father-in-law faced that with his business, and a few of my friends have faced similar issues. That is why I suggested a public forum, to come up with some pragmatic solutions – I believe we should be concerned about customer satisfaction and listen to what business owners have to say! We can come up with our own solutions, or we can do what the City of Oshawa did, and hire a consulting company to develop a customer service strategy for us – so that service will be delivered in a fair and relatively fast manner. It’s not fair for any business to have to wait months and months for an inspection that takes minutes. Here is some information on Oshawa’s Strategy. “This document outlines a customer service road map with goals, objectives and related strategies to become a leader in customer-centric government”. You can read it here:

  6. @ Rick. I know the 5.4% property tax rate is for residents not commercial or industrial – thank you very much. But as I said in my very first sentence, small business owners are residents (well for the most part anyways). Some local business owners are going to put those savings from reduced property tax into their business! Other residents will use that savings to spend money (some of that money will be spent in the community), and that too will also help local businesses – from people spending more money at restaurants and stores to hiring locally for home renovation and repair.

  7. Jason people can read your mistakes pretty clearly but I applaud you for trying to rescue an otherwise drowning attempt at a professional solution.

    P.S. – I hope you didn’t go public with this proposal; besides this site!

  8. Please be advised that CONCERNED CITIZEN is another entity and is not the real Concerned Citizen.

  9. Jason, in the picture, are you wearing a backpack?

  10. I absolutely am wearing a backpack! I had canvassed about 200 homes before the Kilger rally, and I was heading out to drop off campaign flyers to 100 more homes. My backpack has assisted me as I have canvased and/or dropped off pamphlets to some 3000 homes.

  11. Jason
    Now that you have disrtributed so many fliers, will you also reclaim them and recycle? Or will you leave that up to the tax payer as well?

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