Media Releases Oct 23, 2020

Canadian Chamber: Legislation for Support Programs Must Be Top Priority


(OTTAWA) — October 23, 2020 – Today, Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, released the following statement regarding the urgent need for legislation on CEWS, rent subsidy, and other important changes:

“Today marks two weeks since changes to CEWS, CEBA and a new rent subsidy program were announced, but legislation has yet to be introduced. While Deputy Prime Minister Freeland’s comments that this legislation is potentially coming next week are promising, businesses are growing more concerned with each passing day. Rent is due in nine days time, and businesses need certainty that funds will flow in time to make ends meet. The Canadian Chamber noted on October 9 that introducing legislation needs to be the top priority of government, and we are stressing this urgency once again today.

Businesses – particularly those in the hardest hit sectors like food services, hospitality, tourism and travel – are desperately awaiting these programs. These sectors saw revenue declines of 70% or more during the first lockdown. Evidence points to similar declines during this second wave as temperatures chill and outdoor spaces such as patios are no longer realistic sources of revenue for restaurants. Timing is critical, and every day that passes without these funds flowing means more evictions, layoffs, and permanent closures.

The October 9 announcement showed that government has been listening to businesses and are updating these programs to reflect the realities of a second wave. However, these programs are not perfect and conversations have been ongoing with government to ensure that further updates are made in time for legislation to be tabled as soon as possible.

These updates must include:

  1. Updating the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy program so it can be fairly accessed by all struggling businesses. This means ensuring that businesses with one location and those with several locations are able to access equitable subsidy rates – similar to the structure of the CEWS program – with no restrictive caps. Franchisees and corporate entities should not be unfairly punished or have to lay off staff because of this program oversight.
  2. Ensuring CEWS supports provided to businesses during this second lockdown are consistent with those provided during the first (subsidy rate increased to 75% and the qualifying remuneration based on pre-crisis pay with no requirement to top-up).

With significant parts of Quebec and Ontario in lockdown, and many businesses unable to operate due to restrictions, time is of the essence. We need to get these programs right, and we need to roll them out immediately. These programs are a lifeline for businesses, and they cannot survive further delay.”

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.

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For more information, please contact:

Phil Taylor
Canadian Chamber of Commerce
PTaylor@chamber.ca