COVID-19: Canadian SMEs and restaurants request government assistance

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In a joint letter to heads of government, CFIB and Restaurants of Canada about the importance of preparing financial assistance, specifying that new federal support programs are too limited in scope. (Photo: The Canadian Press)

TORONTO – Two groups representing Canadian small and medium-sized businesses and restaurant establishments are urging the country’s prime ministers to provide financial support in the face of new mandatory closures and business losses from stricter sanitation measures linked to the explosion of COVID-19 cases.

In a joint letter to heads of government published on Tuesday, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and Restaurants Canada First notes that the strong fear that has settled among the population means that many consumers are already staying at home. and cancel event bookings and online shopping.

The text stresses the importance of establishing financial assistance. The two organizations say the new federal support programs are too limited in scope, with the CFIB estimating that 80% of small businesses needing help will not qualify.

CFIB and Restaurants Canada are calling on the Government of Canada to reinstate wage subsidy and rent assistance so that it is available to all businesses, regardless of their low income, up to a maximum of 75%.

The letter also asks the federal government to amend its confinement support measures so that they are more accessible to small and medium-sized businesses that have had to significantly reduce their activities or their reception capacity.

The signatories also want Ottawa to provide additional loans and increase the portion that can be converted into a grant to 50%. They are also demanding that new businesses launched after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic be eligible for all assistance programs.

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CFIB has 95,000 members across all industries and regions in Canada.

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