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Small business seek changes to COVID relief programs in letter to Morneau

Last Updated Jun 19, 2020 at 8:50 am PDT

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau listens to a question during a news conference Friday May 1, 2020 in Ottawa. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is calling on Morneau to make a handful of changes to relief programs rolled out by the federal government.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

TORONTO — The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is calling on Finance Minister Bill Morneau to make a number of changes to relief programs rolled out by the federal government.

The organization representing 110,000 small and medium sized businesses in Canada wants tenants to be able to apply directly for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program and receive their cut without having to rely on their landlord to apply.

The CECRA currently requires property owners to agree to a 25 per cent reduction in rental income when they apply for rent support on behalf of their tenants.

It also argues that those who qualify for the program in April and May should automatically qualify for June and that the program be immediately extended through September.

The CFIB also wants a significantly lower benchmark for qualifying for rent assistance because many small businesses haven’t seen revenues drop by 70 per cent and workers are being offered a wage subsidy based on only a 30 per cent revenue drop. 

The CFIB says the government should simplify the program to eliminate the need to forecast revenue in order to qualify because it says small business owners are having difficulties predicting their revenues and are afraid to attest to a 70 per cent drop before the end of the month.

 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 19, 2020.

The Canadian Press