Feds ending support programs for businesses despite restrictions still in place in Brampton, Mississauga and across Canada

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Published July 8, 2021 at 3:54 pm

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Despite the fact many provinces still have strict restrictions still in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the federal government has begun phasing out support systems for businesses, many of which are still struggling.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) are in the process of being phased out, while the Canada Emergency Business Account has been halted entirely.

Currently, more than a quarter of small businesses are still fully or partially locked down, and fewer than 40 per cent have seen their sales levels return to what they were pre-pandemic.

In Ontario, gyms are still closed and have been for eight months now, and restaurants are still prohibited from offering indoor dining—something that will remain in effect for at least another two weeks.

Additionally, hotels, theatres, and event venues across the country remain empty, and still face major hurdles such as reduced capacities, smaller profit margins, rehiring staff, as well as complications associated with border closures and travel restrictions.

“We still have tens of thousands of businesses that are partially or entirely shut down by government orders, while others are just barely beginning to generate a trickle of sales revenue,” Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB), said in a news release.

“Businesses that are reopening also face major new costs in hiring and training workers, buying supplies and stocking up on PPE. Pulling back support too early will result in more business failures,” he continued.

Additionally, new businesses have been ignored by all the federal support programs, including the newly created Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP).

As a result, CFIB is urging the federal government to extend CEWS and CERS at their original subsidy rates until the economy is fully reopened, including Canada’s borders, and create a pathway for new businesses to access all of the federal support programs, including CRHP.

“The federal government has been willing to improve and extend the support programs throughout the pandemic. The finish line is in sight but we are just not there yet. Now is not the time to pull support out from under small businesses while they’re still finding their feet,” Kelly added.

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