Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new measures to help small and medium-sized businesses cope during the second wave of COVID-19.
At a press conference on Tuesday morning, Trudeau said that the CanExport program will be pivoting to provide new support to small and medium-sized businesses on e-commerce, online platforms, and virtual trade events.
There will also be additional resources provided to help businesses navigate changing trade rules and dedicated help for women and Indigenous entrepreneurs.
The Prime Minister said he’s been in contact with business owners across Canada and that while the virus is no match for their resilience and creativity, he has heard how worried they are about the second wave of the virus.
“Many businesses have been able to stay open because they moved online. We want to grow that potential,” Trudeau said.
“Not only is this a great way to make sure that local shops can keep serving their neighbours, it’s an opportunity to expand into global markets and rebuild a strong, resilient economy. The Canada brand is strong.”
Chrystia Freeland, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance announced further legislation that will put new support measures in place to help businesses get through the second wave.
The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy will provide direct rent and mortgage interest support to tenants and property owners until June 2021. Freeland said the new rent subsidy will support business, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop by providing support up to a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. The legislation allows for retroactive claims to September 27, 2020.
In addition, the government is also proposing new lockdown supports, she said.
This means that the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy can provide an additional 25% to qualifying businesses that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly restrict actives under public health orders.
Combined, these new measures will provide hard-hit businesses that are subject to a lockdown with rent support of up to 90%.
“As much of our country is fighting a second wave of the Coronavirus, this support is especially important now for our businesses and our economy,” said Freeland.
The government is also proposing that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy be extended until June 2021. This will continue to protect jobs by helping businesses keep employees on the payroll and allow them to rehire workers, said Freeland. The subsidy will remain at the current rate of up to 65% of eligible wages until December 19, 2020.
These support measures are designed to support the difficult work of public health officials and the decisions that they must make, said Freeland. If public health officials believe that lockdowns are the best way to fight coronavirus in Canada, the government will step in with business supports.
“This is to help communities do the right things and stay safe, and to help the affected business get through to the other side,” she said. “This is the right thing for us to do and it is the economically smart thing for us to do.”