CFIB statement on adoption of new rent subsidy; Changes to all support programs still needed

Toronto, November 20, 2020 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is pleased by today’s announcement that applications for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) will begin to be accepted by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Monday. However, with new restrictions on business activity cropping up in many regions across the country, changes to all the federal support programs are urgently needed.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
Small businesses have waited eight long months for adequate rent relief, and with the rise of the second wave of COVID-19, this program will serve as an invaluable lifeline for many through the coming months, especially as it includes a top-up for businesses that have been shut down by public health orders.

It’s important to note that the new program does not provide retroactive rent support for businesses that previously qualified for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) but could not access the funds because their landlord chose not to participate. 

We have heard heartbreaking stories of beloved, longstanding businesses that have been evicted because they had no rent relief, or those buried under a mountain of debt and still facing an uncertain future and months of reduced sales. In fact, CFIB estimates that Canada may lose between 55,000 and 218,000 additional small businesses before the end of the pandemic. We call on the government to provide retroactive rent relief to businesses that were shut out of CECRA.

- Laura Jones, Executive Vice-President, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
Earlier this summer, small businesses were pleased by the extension of CEWS to 2021, but things have changed since then. Sales continue to lag, with only 28 per cent of businesses back to making normal revenues, and many now find themselves shut down just like in March, but the wage subsidy amount has dropped from its original 75 per cent to only 65 per cent. 

This sliding scale model made sense when things were looking up in the summer, but now the subsidy needs to go back up to 75 per cent at least. Government should also introduce a top-up for businesses that are closed by public health orders as it has for CERS.

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

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
Small businesses are also anxiously awaiting the announced expansion of the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans to $60,000 with an additional $10,000 forgivable portion. The program has been very helpful to cash-strapped businesses, but the long-lasting effects of the pandemic mean that many now need a top-up of their loans to get through the coming months.

We thank Minister Freeland and her team for their work on delivering a much-improved rent relief program and important fixes to the other federal support programs. We stand ready to work with the government to ensure the relief it delivers is as effective at keeping Canada’s businesses open as possible.

- 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