Dear Minister Ng,
Winnipeg Centre is home to countless extraordinary small businesses. These spaces serve as our cultural meeting places, creative spaces, and community hubs. Small businesses are the heart and soul of Winnipeg Centre.
While the extension of the CERB will provide workers with some relief, it is far from adequate to keep businesses alive. This includes the many businesses that do not qualify. This needs to be addressed urgently to ensure small businesses do not close and workers will have a job to go back to. We are in a dire situation. Many of our small businesses in Winnipeg Centre are utilizing the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy. I am calling on this government to extend this program beyond the current end date in August.
In addition, as you are aware, the CECRA program has been riddled with issues. This program needs to be adjusted so that small business operators can access this program and not just landlords. It is unacceptable that small businesses ' survival depends on a landlord’s decision to accept the subsidy or not. Moreover, more flexibility is required to ensure that businesses that were forced to close for any duration of time should have the ability to access support whether it be a month or three months. Failing to do so will result in the closure of many Winnipeg Centre businesses. This is wrong. The 70% loss in revenue for eligibility is also unrealistic, as we know that even a small loss of income for small businesses can result in permanent closure.
With many small businesses already closed permanently in my riding, I am urging your government swiftly act to amend these programs. Businesses have done the right thing to follow Health Canada guidelines during COVID-19. It is time that your government follows suit.
Leah Gazan, MP