2024 Canada Federal Budget Submission

Strengthening Canada’s Main Street Businesses and
Non-Profits Through Real Estate Ownership

>> The Better Way Alliance proposes a new way to support Canada’s main streets.

With commercial rents on the rise businesses on main streets, strip malls, and industrial parks are uncertain about their futures.  Business owners need certainty to make the best decisions – our 2024 Federal budget proposal to make commercial property acquisition easier for qualified business owners accomplishes the goal of certainty in a volatile moment.

The Better Way Alliance (BWA) has submitted our recommendations for Canada’s 2024 budget, urging the federal government to introduce a program through the Business Development Bank of Canada to create greater access for small businesses to acquire property.

Many business owners express a desire to purchase their building or expand into larger space – but the lack of access mortgages makes this next impossible.  We believe now is the time to empower small business owners to invest in the longevity of their enterprises, employees and communities.

Why Now?

We believe that BDC’s recent aggressive stance toward risk appetite and weak small business performance are creating the perfect mix to pilot a local commercial property ownership program for Canada’s small business community.  Businesses that meet certain criteria will be able to apply for a commercial mortgage and have BDC act as a guarantor.

This will help beloved businesses stabilize, control their costs, create high quality jobs, and eventually expand with longevity in mind.  Stable main streets improve community safety, offer opportunities for women and marginalized communities to succeed, and help everyday Canadians create businesses that everyone in our country can be proud to support.

Proposed Action

Develop a pilot program through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), to assist qualified small brick and mortar businesses in purchasing commercial real estate.  Businesses that meet particular criteria such as time in business, consistency of rent payments, and other metrics (TBD) could apply to this pilot program.

This initiative could include:

  1. Low-end market-based mortgage rates
  2. BDC acting as a guarantor for qualified applicants

Developing data points and identifying key qualification criteria is critical for this project to ensure it is both low-risk but without major encumbrances on participating enterprises.

Policy Benefits

  • Stability and Long-term Viability: Ownership provides businesses control over operating costs, offering stability against recent (extreme) rental market fluctuations. This stability supports the maintenance of decent work practices, including safeguarding employee benefits and wages.  
  • Small Business Asset Building and Financial Health: Property ownership is a vital asset and would allow new entrants to the property marketplace.  This acts to bolster the financial health and sustainability of small businesses and greatly increases their chances of long-term success.  When businesses are able to project and build assets, they often invest further in their workforce and decent work standards.


  • Community Development and Revitalization: Encouraging ownership contributes to stable, invested local business communities. Business owners who are property owners are more inclined towards neighborhood development and revitalization, fostering community and belonging.  Business owners with a stake in the community help build additional resiliency in local economies.

The Better Way Alliance (BWA) is a coalition of Canadian business owners advocating for progressive economic policies and practices.

Focused on promoting sustainable business growth and ethical employment, BWA champions reforms that benefit businesses, workers, and local communities. Through collaboration, advocacy, and leadership, BWA aims to influence policy and inspire businesses to adopt fair work practices, believing that success should not come at the expense of employee well-being or societal welfare.

The BWA’s commitment to creating a fairer, more inclusive economy is a key voice in discussions on business responsibility and economic reform in Canada.