MONTRÉAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Oct. 4, 2012) - Today, the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), highlighted the Harper Government's efforts to support entrepreneurs in Quebec and across Canada at the National SME (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) 2012 Expo and Conference.

"Entrepreneurs are the unsung heroes of the Canadian economy," said Minister of State Bernier. "Our government is committed to providing the best business environment possible by cutting red tape, keeping taxes low and increasing Canadian exports to new markets."

Before a large audience of Quebec's business community, the Minister of State highlighted the essential role entrepreneurs play in our communities to create jobs and wealth. The Minister of State also outlined how the Harper Government fosters entrepreneurship by taking decisive action to support small and medium-sized enterprises across the country.

Economic Action Plan 2012 outlined a number of measures to support small business including the recently announced Red Tape Reduction Action Plan aimed at cutting unnecessary red tape to save entrepreneurs time and money, a commitment to extend the temporary hiring credit for small business for one year to encourage new hires and a limit to Employment Insurance premium rate increases for employers.

In Canada, small businesses account for 98 percent of companies, employ 48 percent of working Canadians and contribute about 30 percent to our country's gross domestic product, proving to be an economic driver and an important source of job creation.

Contact Information:

Scott French
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Maxime Bernier
Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism)
613-943-6183

Media Relations
Industry Canada
613-943-2502