Toronto, May 13, 2020 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) welcomes today’s announcement of funding for Canada’s six regional economic development agencies to help small businesses who find themselves slipping through the cracks of other federal support program.
There are many firms who find themselves too small or with unique circumstances, preventing them from accessing other forms of support. For others, including tourism and hospitality businesses, the COVID-19 challenges will be far reaching – particularly as tourism is expected to be very soft during the critical summer months. Having grants and loans that can fit some of these circumstances will be a relief to many. However, it will be crucial that these new support programs are developed and delivered quickly as we enter the third month of the shut-down of much of Canada’s small business community.
It is also important that today’s program does not reduce the urgent need to fix the major gaps in the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) and the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program.
CEBA has proven popular with small businesses that are facing a cash flow crisis, but the eligibility criteria leave out too many hard-hit businesses, including new businesses, those that pay dividends, employ contractors, or rent space to others (e.g. salons). CFIB has asked the government to expand the eligibility criteria for CEBA to allow those businesses that are left out to satisfy the payroll test in different ways. CFIB also recommends that the government increase the amount made available to business owners by $20,000 each month the emergency phase continues and expand the forgivable portion by 25 per cent each month.
CFIB has also already heard from many commercial tenants and landlords who say that CECRA will not work for them. The federal and provincial governments are urged to quickly make changes to the program before businesses in need of rent relief have to face a third month without assistance. This includes allowing tenants who qualify but whose landlord does not wish to participate to directly access the 50 per cent government portion of the relief and putting in place temporary eviction protection.
The government has already shown willingness to listen to the concerns of small businesses. Last week, it responded to one of CFIB’s top priorities by announcing plans to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy beyond the original June 6 deadline. We hope that, in addition to today’s announcement, it will make these important changes to the other federal programs as quickly as possible, to help hard-hit businesses weather the long road ahead.
- 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 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 cfib.ca.