Conservative Shadow Finance Minister, Pierre Poilievre and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Sean Fraser spoke earlier today to discuss COVID-19 measures for small business owners.
Poilievre raised the following concerns on behalf of small business owners:
1. Small businesses are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) unless they experience a 70% revenue drop from their pre-COVID-19 revenue. Many small businesses are down 50-60% as a result of COVID-19. With these revenue declines they can’t afford their rent. In order to qualify for assistance, they must drive down their revenue further. Some will need to close altogether just to receive rental assistance.
Poilievre proposed a sliding scale of rental assistance, which provides more help to those with the biggest revenue loss and gradually less help for those with small revenue loss.
2. Small businesses are ineligible for rental assistance if their landlord does not have a mortgage. Poilievre expressed concern that there appears to be no rationale for this policy. (MP Fraser confirms this problem has been addressed)
3. Poilievre asked the government to allow small business owners that use chequing accounts to access the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan. Right now, only businesses with a “pre-existing business account” are eligible for the CEBA loan.
4. Poilievre encouraged the government to make the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) available to small business owners who pay themselves through equity in their business, but who have lost all income due to COVID-19. Right now, only business owners previously paid in dividends or wages qualify for CERB.