Businesses urge Feds to continue pandemic aid programs
#HardestHit @CAFreeland @hotelassoc #smallbiz
Businesses from the sectors hit hardest by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic are calling on the federal government to continue pandemic aid programs for the rest of the year.
In an open letter addressed to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and released today, the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses asks Freeland to extend the federal wage and rent subsidies beyond the current deadline of June 5 through to the end of the year.
New government data released on Wednesday underscores the colossal toll that COVID-19 restrictions took on Canadian businesses early in the pandemic, with more than 100,000 businesses going bankrupt in April 2020 alone.
A survey released on Wednesday by the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses, a group representing industries such as restaurants, hotels tourism and others, found that 60 per cent of respondents would go out of business if key support programs are not extended.
The group is calling on Ottawa to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) until the end of the year, or nearly seven months beyond its current deadline of early June. The study surveyed 1,700 respondents from across Canada.
“The challenges we expect to encounter through 2021 are not the result of individual business decisions; they are entirely pandemic-related and have devastated an otherwise healthy and thriving industry,” the letter says.
“We have every confidence that travel will resume once all barriers are lifted, but unfortunately, we are months away from a world in which borders (provincial and international) are open, mass gathering bans are removed and Canadians are encouraged to travel, rather than stay at home.
“Until this day comes, our industry will need additional government support to get to the other side.”