Small business petition campaign urges federal government to halt phase out of wage and rent subsidies

Toronto, July 22, 2021 – The window is starting to close on the federal government’s crucial small business support programs, despite only 35 per cent of businesses being back to normal sales, warns the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). In addition to closing the critical Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan program last month, the government has already started the phasing out of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS). CFIB has launched a petition to halt these reductions.

“Small business owners are keen to replace subsidies with sales, but with only a third of business owners back to normal levels of sales, it is just way too soon to phase out the wage and rent subsidies. The government has already started to aggressively cut these important supports just as many are in the process of reopening their doors or facing ongoing capacity restrictions,” said CFIB President Dan Kelly. 

CFIB is hearing from many business owners, including tour operators, travel agents, events, arts and entertainments businesses, reporting they will not see their business revenues return until 2022.

Maximum Subsidy Amount

  Jun 6-Jul 3 Jul 4-Jul 31 Aug 1-Aug 28 Aug 29-Sep 25 After Sep 26
CEWS (wage) 75% 60% 40% 20% 0
CERS (rent) 75% 60% 40% 20% 0

CFIB is calling on the federal government to keep the subsidy programs at their June subsidy levels and extend them until the economy is fully open before the next planned decrease. CFIB is encouraging business owners to sign the petition or contact their MPs before August 1st (when applications for the July period open) and urge them to:

  • Extend CEWS and CERS until November (at minimum)
  • Maintain CEWS and CERS rates at June levels
  • Ensure all independent businesses, including new firms, have access to these supports

“While these programs are costly, it is important to keep in mind that businesses who no longer need support will not be eligible anyway as the subsidies are based on a sliding scale tied to their loss in revenue,” Kelly noted.

“After 16 long months of the pandemic, restrictions are finally being lifted, but for many small businesses it’s not over yet. It’s critical that we come together at this time, with a federal election looming, to ensure that the support programs are there to get us to the COVID finish line,” concluded Kelly.

For media inquiries 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