Federal government leaves small firms in the cold during Small Business Week: Wage and rent subsidies expire Saturday

Toronto, October 20, 2021 – Instead of celebrating Small Business Week, small businesses are counting down to a grim deadline: the end of federal business support programs. The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) expire Saturday, with no extension in sight despite only four in 10 (40 per cent) businesses being back to normal sales, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). 

“Small Business Week is not just an opportunity for politicians to say nice words about small business owners. It needs to include concrete action to help them with their challenges – particularly at this time when concerns about COVID restrictions and passports are growing across Canada,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “The federal government needs to extend its crucial business support programs now, so business owners can have more certainty heading into the fall and winter months.”

Earlier this month, CFIB sent a letter to Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland urging government to immediately extend CEWS and CERS until November 20th as a first step. The federal government can further help businesses by:

  • Working with Parliament to further extend the Canada Recovery Hiring Program, CEWS and CERS, to March 31, 2022.
  • Returning the maximum wage and rent subsidies to 75 per cent for all sectors of the economy, as promised to the tourism sector by the Liberal party during the election.
  • Including new businesses that started after the pandemic began in all business support programs.
  • Offering additional funding through the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan and delay the repayment deadline to the end of 2024.
  • Changing the Canada Recovery Benefit to ensure it does not incentivize workers to stay at home rather than returning to the labour force.
  • Dedicating the $1 billion in funding promised to provincial governments to implement passport systems to small business owners required to implement these systems.

“It is important to keep in mind that the only businesses that receive any help from the wage and rent subsidies are those with significant losses in revenue,” added Kelly. “The government’s top priority has to be their survival and recovery.”

Small business owners can sign CFIB’s petition calling on the government to extend the federal support programs at cfib.ca/covidpetition.

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 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.