Toronto, February 9, 2022 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) welcomes today’s announcement from the federal government that it is extending the temporary expansion of the Local Lockdown Program until March 12. This measure allows any business facing a 50 per cent capacity restriction to access wage support at the same level as those fully locked down, reduces the revenue loss threshold to 25 per cent over the past month and provides a higher level of rent subsidy. This temporary expansion was announced as the country began to face Omicron and was set to expire this weekend.
CFIB called on Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland to extend this support as several provinces are only now replacing lockdowns with 50 per cent capacity restrictions. Currently, only 65 per cent of small businesses are fully open, only 42 per cent are fully staffed and just 30 per cent are back to their pre-pandemic sales levels. Today’s announcement gives many businesses the ability to plan for the weeks ahead as they await the lifting of restrictions.
While this change is a positive move, some businesses continue to slip through the cracks of existing federal supports. Many businesses who are impacted by ongoing restrictions in the events, tourism and hospitality industries have not been able to qualify for the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP). These businesses include thousands who supply or support restricted industries, including hotel soap makers, pet boarding services, ice sculptors and lighting contractors for events, among others.
CFIB urges the federal government to expand the THRP to include businesses who depend on tourism, hospitality or events. Other critical changes to the federal support programs include:
- Reintroducing the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan program, increasing the amount to $80,000 and the forgivable portion to 50 per cent.
- Returning the wage and rent subsidies to the levels used in spring 2021: available to all businesses on a sliding scale as a percentage of their revenue losses to a maximum of 75 per cent.
- Including new businesses that started after the pandemic began in all business support programs.
Many provinces are beginning to rapidly dismantle many of the COVID restrictions, including lockdowns, capacity restrictions and vaccine passport systems. This is welcome news, but the reality is that until public health officials and governments can encourage consumers to return to dining, theatre and travel, the COVID fear factor will be enough to keep many Canadians at home. Until then, businesses are going to need some degree of support.
Small business owners can add their voice to CFIB’s petition calling for changes to the federal support programs at cfib.ca/covidpetition.
- Dan Kelly, President, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)
For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 95,000 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 cfib.ca