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Most Canadians believe that governments undervalue the contributions of small businesses, according to a new poll from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). 

The poll, which was conducted with a representative sample of Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum, found that 79% of respondents believe governments don’t place a high enough value on small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Respondents were also largely in favour of small businesses getting a break on their taxes, with 88% saying small businesses should be subject to a lower tax rate than larger businesses.

During the recent federal election, the CFIB offered several policy recommendations aimed at helping small businesses, a number of which were “adopted by every party,” the association said in a release.

These policy proposals included making it easier for small business owners to transfer their businesses to children, working with provinces to ensure free trade within Canada and addressing the impacts of credit card fees on small merchants.

“The government has the opportunity to start fresh with the small business community and show them that they hear their concerns,” Corinne Pohlmann, CFIB’s senior vice-president of national affairs, said in a statement. “We saw some great ideas come out of every party’s platform so we’re excited to work with all MPs to put in place policies that support small businesses.”

CFIB’s poll found that 96% of Canadians say small businesses are important to Canada’s future. Respondents said small businesses contribute to their communities by employing locals (84%), increasing economic vibrancy (66%) and providing great places to shop (56%). 

The poll also found that Canadians have more respect for farmers and small business owners than governments, unions and large companies. 

“As they prepare their agenda for the new Parliament, the incoming government needs to recognize that most Canadians stand firmly behind small businesses and see them as vital to their communities,” Pohlmann said. 

The public opinion survey was conducted by CFIB from Sept. 11 to 13, 2019 with an online sample of 1,510 Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum.