Business owners call for changes to govt. support programs
More than 7,000 business owners have already signed CFIB's petition calling for changes
TORONTO — Small business owners are signing an online petition to call for changes to the federal government’s COVID-19 aid programs, said the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
“Small businesses have been battered by months of closures, reduced sales and new costs, and three quarters of entrepreneurs still not making their normal levels of sales,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly in a prepared statement. “As a result, CFIB estimates 158,000 small firms (one in seven) may close.”
While many small firms have been helped by the three major government support programs, tens of thousands remain ineligible—particularly for the CEBA loan program and the commercial rent subsidy (CECRA), according to CFIB.
“Government needs to understand that there is a growing anger on the part of business owners who are left out by these critical supports,” Kelly noted. “The CECRA program has created massive frustrations as even those businesses who are eligible for the subsidy are not getting it as landlords are required to apply on behalf of their commercial tenants. And there are huge gaps in coverage for the CEBA loan program, despite a promise to expand the program from the Prime Minister in mid-May.”
CFIB has asked government to make the following changes to current aid programs:
- Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): (a) extend the deadline for the program (b) immediately expand access to more firms (those using personal bank accounts, new firms and those with less than $40,000 in non-deferrable expenses), (c) provide clear reasons for rejection, and (d) increase the loan amount to $60,000 and the forgivable portion to 50%
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA): (a) allow tenants to access rent support directly, regardless of their landlord’s participation, (b) expand coverage to more firms with lower levels of business losses and (c) extend over the summer and fall
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): (a) extend CERB for those without work, but ensure benefits stop if an employee is offered their old job back (other than for sickness/family issues), and (b) allow recipients to earn more than $1,000/month without losing benefits
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS): (a) simplify the application process and (b) ensure business owners and their family members working in the business can have some of their dividend income covered
More than 7,000 business owners have already signed CFIB’s petition calling for changes.