June 18, 2020

Dear Minister Lebouthillier, On May 15, 2020, an extension was announced to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). This announcement was welcomed by many small business owners in our communities who are still recovering from the impact of COVID-19. It has now been over a month since this announcement, and still no information has been provided as to a timeline on the details of this extension and when it will be implemented.

Countless small businesses have written to us for answers which we cannot provide, as your government has not provided any clarity on the criteria or parameters of the CEWS extension. These local business owners, who create jobs for so many in our communities, were hoping to provide feedback to the government on the CEWS extension, but unfortunately the government’s feedback portal was not widely advertised and open for less than two weeks.

Businesses need time to plan their staffing levels, purchase orders, and other expenses. Without clarity, it makes planning for the short and medium term extremely difficult. Local business owners have written to us, fearful of being a single percentage point below the 30% revenue loss threshold, which would exclude them from much needed assistance if the extension follows similar criteria.

We write to you today to urge you to provide clear details on the CEWS extension for small business owners across Canada so they can plan for their future and ensure they can provide much needed jobs in our communities as Canadians try to rebound from the impact of COVID-19. They need answers from your government, and fast.