By Camille Aubin

This week is Small Business Week in Canada, an opportunity to recognize and support the many small and medium-sized businesses in our communities.

According to the Business Development Bank of Canada (BCDC), there are more than 1.2 million small and medium-sized businesses in our country, of which 15 per cent started here in B.C. Did you know that small and medium-sized businesses contribute 54 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product? Nine in 10 Canadians in the private sector work in small companies; that’s more than 10.9 million people!

The Columbia Valley communities wouldn’t be the same without their many small businesses. Businesses provide jobs. They’re where we go when we want to be entertained, eat great locally produced food, drink coffee and buy clothes. A small business is the person that jumps in early in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to sew face masks. It’s the new family-run business that recently pushed its dream into reality.

Spending your money in a small business in our region is investing in the future of our communities. Without jobs and services, who would remain here?

In a recent statement, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau said, “We recognize that the past year and a half have been difficult for small businesses, their owners, and their employees. Small businesses across the country were asked to make countless sacrifices to protect the health and safety of people and communities. Through it all, they have shown incredible courage and resilience, and an unprecedented ability to adapt and innovate. And while some businesses have now reopened their doors, many still need support as they continue to grapple with the impacts of the pandemic.”

The pandemic had, and still is having, an enormous impact on companies, but that’s not all. The current gas prices haven’t helped anyone recover from the crisis, and in fact, are hurting businesses small and large by driving up shipping and delivery costs. Many Canadian companies now face surging inflationary pressure at a time when they are still struggling to overcome the hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here at the Pioneer, your local newspaper, we also rely on local businesses to be able to share news and information with you as well as print our edition every week. No small businesses in the valley, no Pioneer.

So celebrate Small Business Week this week, but don’t stop there. Think of small businesses every time you make a purchase. The Christmas shopping season will be upon us soon enough, and the small businesses in our communities need our support more than ever. If you’re among the ultra early-bird Christmas shopper, shop locally and invest in the good of our communities.