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Posted: May 11, 2020

Small business will put us on path to post-pandemic prosperity

Letter to the Editor

Dear Business Owners,

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged residents and our business community in Kootenay-Columbia.  I can assure you we are not alone.  Every day, my colleagues report that other regions across the country are facing similar struggles.  On behalf of Canada’s Conservatives, my number one concern remains the health and safety of you, your family, and our entire community.

As we advance through to the end of this pandemic, Conservatives have used our strengthened Opposition to debate, discuss, question, and ultimately improve the Liberal government’s COVID-19 relief programs and initiatives for all Canadians.  However, I continue to hear from too many Kootenay-Columbian business owners who are anxious and unsure if they will make it to the other side of this crisis.  They are finding it impossible to qualify for and acquire federal support.

Rest assured, Conservatives are continuing to work collaboratively with the government to fix the gaps in financial support programs for small businesses and help you weather this storm.

We have had several successes so far.  It was thanks to the persistence of Conservatives and small businesses that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) was increased from 10% to 75%.  We worked with the government to expand eligibility for the $40,000 Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan to include lower and higher payroll thresholds.  We were also successful in expanding the eligibility of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to include Canadians who are still working with reduced hours.

There is still much more we can do, which is why Conservatives are pressing the Liberal government to:

  1. Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) – Remove the requirement of having a business account to qualify for the CEBA. And expand the eligibility criteria to include revenue decline, so even more businesses can qualify for the loan.
  2. Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – Make the CERB more generous and flexible, so that no one is worse off going back to work or picking up a shift (Earning more than $1,000 per month results in a worker losing their entire benefit.)
  3. Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) – Address the requirement that a business must lose 70% of its revenue to receive the benefit, when all other businesses that have not lost quite that amount get nothing.
  4. Program to Support Youth and Canada’s Food Chain Supply – Create a new program to match job-seeking students and youth with employment in Canada’s hard-hit agriculture and agri-food industries, including fish and seafood.
  5. Refund Collected and Remitted GST – Refund GST remittances made by small businesses over the last 12 months.

On the other side of this crisis, it will be the success of small, local businesses that will put Canada on the path to prosperity once again.  My thoughts are with all those who have had to make the difficult decision to close their doors and thank those of you who can remain safely open, persevere, and serve our community.

I urge you to contact my office if you have any comments or questions regarding the policies outlined in this letter, or any other federal COVID-19 relief programs.  I do not want one single hard-working Kootenay-Columbian business owner to feel as though they are falling through the cracks.

Your input is greatly valued as we continue to navigate through these uncharted waters together.  I hope you remain healthy and safe, and look forward to your response.

Rob Morrison,

Member of Parliament for Kootenay-Columbia


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