Media Releases Oct 09, 2020

Canadian Chamber: New Details for Business Support Programs Are Promising; Immediate Implementation Crucial

October 9, 2020 (OTTAWA) – Today, Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, released the following statement in response to the Government’s announcement on expanded business supports:

“Today’s program changes come at a critical time as case numbers are rising and provinces across Canada are reintroducing restrictions on businesses that depend on personal interactions. Implementation must be equally timely. This Thanksgiving weekend, hundreds of thousands of jobs are at risk.

The return of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to a fixed 65% subsidy rate until December is a strong start. However, it falls short of a return to the full amount that had been called for. Extending the program to June 2021 is similarly positive. However, it does not reflect the 12-18 month recovery timeline for some sectors, including restaurants, travel, and tourism.

Replacing the beleaguered CECRA program with a new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy with a dedicated 25% top-up for businesses shutdown by mandatory health orders is most welcome, as is the removal of revenue caps that limited participation in the program. The new program will help businesses of all sizes in the hardest hit sectors receive the critical support they need and is in line with the changes the Canadian Chamber advocated for.

Finally, today’s expansion of the CEBA loan with a $20,000 top-up for small businesses is an important step to help improve liquidity for small businesses. We look forward to seeing more details regarding the participation of businesses operating out of a private bank account in the CEBA program. However, businesses cannot continue to take on debt indefinitely. While up to $10,000 of this additional $20,000 is forgivable, businesses facing virtually no revenues cannot continue to responsibly participate in loan programs. Broader forgiveness needs to be discussed.

Following today’s announcements, the government’s focus needs to be on immediately implementing these changes. With Quebec in lockdown, and Ontario moving to introduce additional restrictions, businesses need these supports in their hands on an immediate basis to keep as many people on payrolls as possible. Transitioning to a business-led recovery will only be possible if we are able to ensure businesses can survive in the interim. Recovery for these sectors will likely occur over the next 12-18 months, and programs should reflect the timescale for these sectors, including food service, hospitality, travel, and tourism.

Today’s announcement reflects that the government has been listening to businesses, but more work needs to be done. We look forward to continuing to work with the government to help support businesses through the pandemic and into recovery.”

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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.

For more information, please contact:

Mitch Brule
Canadian Chamber of Commerce