Growing anger among Canadian small business owners

CFIB estimates 158,000 small firms (one in seven) may close

There’s a growing anger on the part of Canadian business owners that they are slipping through the many cracks of government support programs and they’ve launched an online petition demanding changes.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is leading the initiative.

“Small businesses have been battered by months of closures, reduced sales and new costs, and three quarters of entrepreneurs are still not making their normal levels of sales. As a result, CFIB estimates 158,000 small firms (one in seven) may close,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly.

“Government needs to understand that there is a growing anger on the part of business owners who are left out by these critical supports. The CECRA (Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance) 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 (Canada Emergency Business Account) loan program, despite a promise to expand the program from the Prime Minister in mid-May.” 

 “We urge all small business owners to visit and tell government what they need to help them recover in the months ahead.”

More than 7,000 business owners have already signed CFIB’s petition calling for changes, said the organization.

“So many small business owners continue to struggle as we move through a slow recovery phase. We urge government to take their concerns seriously and implement these critical changes immediately,” said Kelly. 

CFIB said it has asked government to make the following changes to current aid programs:

  • 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 per cent;
  • 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; and
  • 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.





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