After over a year-and-a-half of lockdowns and sacrifice, Canadians are seeing the benefits of their efforts to stop COVID-19. The pandemic is not over, but we can now look beyond COVID to plan for our future. Now, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is writing “mandate letters” to members of the Cabinet with policy priorities that will support growth of the Canadian economy.
SMEs are job creators and economic drivers across the country. Canada needs to encourage the creation of new small businesses and the growth of existing ones. While the numerous support programs introduced during the pandemic helped small businesses survive, the federal government must do more to ensure that we are not simply returning to pre-pandemic levels of growth.
The Minister of Small Business should:
- Work with the Minister of Finance and Minister for Tourism to create a replacement program for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy programs through to Spring 2022 that focuses on the hardest hit sectors (tourism, travel, hospitality) at the 75% support rate.
- Work with the Minister of Finance and Minister for Tourism to extend the Canada Recovery Hiring Program to March 31, 2022 to ensure businesses have access to funds as they recover and begin to increase staffing.
- Work with the Minister of Finance and Minister for Tourism to introduce debt relief by extending repayment terms and forgiving interest payments on COVID-related government backed loans for SMEs in the hardest-hit sectors. This measure should apply to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) and the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP).
- Work with the Minister of National Revenue to form a Government of Canada Tax Working Group to further simplify Canada’s tax system, particularly for small businesses.
- Continue facilitating the secure digitalization of SMEs by making cybersecurity part of the recently launched Canada Digital Adoption Program and by championing the development of cybersecurity standards across the country.
- Introduce a new Canada investment tax credit to help spur the creation of new SMEs and growth of existing ones.
- Introduce grants and tax rebate programs on an ongoing basis for technology adoption and digitalization in businesses of all sizes and across all sectors to improve Canadian productivity. This should have a particular emphasis on supporting SMEs invest in secure digital technologies.
To see all 21 of our mandate letters to ministers, click here.