May 4th, 2020
Blaney calls on ministers to fix programs leaving local businesses behind
In a letter to the Minister responsible for small business and the Minister of Finance, MP Rachel Blaney states that many businesses in her riding of North Island-Powell River are not getting the support they need during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Especially in more rural and remote communities, local businesses as small as one person provide critical services and are really the heart and soul of our towns,” Said Blaney. “They can’t be left behind by government to struggle and go under while we take necessary steps to fight this virus.”
After gathering feedback and experiences from many local business owners, Blaney’s letter points out shortcomings in the government programs, and offers solutions “to ensure the greatest number of these businesses make it through the pandemic and are able to continue contributing to healthy local economies once this is over.”
Issues with eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) are ruling out many small businesses who rely mostly on contract labour, or whose proprietor is paid dividends rather than a wage. Some business owners are encountering additional barriers to the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) imposed by banks that were not part of the government requirements. The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) has a very high threshold of 70% revenue loss with no support for those with slightly less losses and no clarity for landlords who own the property outright. And the Regional Relief and Recovery Funds (RRRF) hasn’t yet been rolled out in many communities.
The letter implores the Ministers to “ensure that this funding is dispersed with a renewed sense of urgency. Many of the businesses, communities and people in my riding are depending on it.”
Link: Letter to Ministers