Small business owners need the federal government to use the upcoming budget to lay a clear roadmap to recovery, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). This includes extending COVID-19 relief, keeping business costs down, reducing debt and red tape, and helping businesses hire back their workers.
"More than three quarters of small business owners say that 2020 was the most difficult year ever for their business. As many are still relying on federal aid to survive, the upcoming budget must extend and expand small business supports until such time as governments are able to recommend Canadians go back to their normal lives, including dining, shopping, travelling and entertainment," said Corinne Pohlmann, CFIB's senior vice-president of national affairs.
Last month, CFIB revealed that one in six small businesses is at risk of closing before the end of the pandemic, putting 2.4 million jobs at risk. To help small businesses survive the COVID-19 crisis and recover, CFIB presented Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and all Members of Parliament with a six-point plan, based on feedback from its small business members:
Extend and expand COVID-19 relief for small businesses until the entire economy can reopen (including Canada's borders) and small businesses can once again serve customers in person.
Put in place a moratorium on any new taxes and costs to small businesses.
Forgive more small business debt and allow longer repayment terms for loans.
Introduce significant hiring incentives to help reunite employees and employers, as well as offset the cost of CPP/QPP increases.
Make reducing red tape a priority, including eliminating unnecessary regulations.
Hold off on introducing consumer incentives until small businesses can fully open and benefit.
"The well-being of small businesses needs to be at the centre of any economic plans the government puts forward in the coming months and years," added CFIB president Dan Kelly. "A general consumer stimulus may be helpful at some stage, but if done too early, it will simply help Costco and Amazon, bypassing the hardest hit small businesses who are only beginning to reopen their doors. We need to help small firms get through the current crisis and transition from subsidies to sales, so our economies, our communities and our jobs can begin the long road to recovery."
Read CFIB's full pre-budget submission for more details.