Although the economy is slowly regaining strength, some small and medium businesses are not yet out of danger and are calling on Ottawa to maintain its assistance programs until the pandemic is behind us.
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The Federal Budget Implementation Act, passed last week, ensures that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CUS), the Canada Emergency Rent Grant (SUCL) and the containment support measure are extended through September 25.
But the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), which has called on Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, is asking the federal government to keep the aid programs beyond the end of the summer. The organization argues that these programs are necessary because 25% of small and medium-sized businesses are closed or operating in slow motion, and less than 40% have been able to return to their pre-pandemic sales.
Restaurants, hotels, cinemas and theaters are still in a precarious situation after months of crisis and reopening as part of measures that reduce their capacity. This is without taking into account the shortage of labor and the closure of borders.
“Tens of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses remain partially or completely closed due to containment measures, and the level of sales remains modest,” CFIB Vice President of National Affairs Yasmin Jenny said in a statement Thursday.
“Reopening businesses faces huge new costs associated with recruitment and sourcing,” he continued. It is too early to remove government aid as it risks hampering the recovery of small and medium businesses.”
In addition to maintaining the assistance programs, CFIB is calling for Ottawa to “return wage subsidies and rent subsidies to their original rates until the economy is fully reopened, including the Canadian border. And to allow new businesses access to federal assistance programs, including [Programme d’embauche pour la relance économique du Canada (PEREC)]. The federal government must continue to improve and expand its assistance programmes, which it has done many times since the start of the pandemic,” Mr. Genetti said.