CFIB statement on increased federal wage subsidy announcement

Toronto, March 27, 2020 – While details are scarce, CFIB thanks Prime Minister Trudeau and Finance Minister Morneau for responding to the calls from small business owners for a more significant wage subsidy package to help small businesses retain workers. The announcement today of a 75 per cent wage subsidy for SMEs affected by the COVID-19 crisis will not help every company or employee, but will help small firms retain hundreds of thousands of workers who would otherwise be laid off. There are thousands of employers who have been making decisions day by day, doing their best to continue to pay their workers with the full knowledge that their resources will soon run out.

It is especially encouraging to hear that the new wage subsidy will be backdated to March 15, which will allow some small businesses that have had to lay off staff to rehire them quickly. We have already heard from a few that will do just that. Ensuring as many workers as possible remain connected to and paid by their employers will reduce the financial and mental stress on workers and ensure that Canada’s economic recovery will begin the day after the health emergency phase ends. 

It is critical that small business owners get details on the program quickly. CFIB’s Business Helpline will be flooded with calls from small business owners asking important questions, including:

  • Who qualifies (sole proprietorships, partnerships, medium-sized firms)
  • Is there a cap per employee, per employer
  • Does it require the business to pay 100 per cent of regular wages, particularly on wages above any per employee cap

Further, the interest-free loans for small businesses through the Canada Emergency Business Account will be of assistance to firms struggling with ongoing fixed costs, particularly with the news that up to $10,000 will be forgivable. CFIB is also pleased the government accepted its recommendation to defer GST/HST to June as it will assist entrepreneurs with cash flow issues.
CFIB will review the details of these efforts as soon as they are available and post information to members and small business owners at The Federation will continue to lobby for other key COVID-19 relief efforts for small businesses, including postponing tax hikes, such as April’s federal carbon tax increase. Our attention will continue on additional measures to reduce the fixed costs on SMEs, including rent and property taxes.  

- Dan Kelly, President, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at