TORONTO — Small business owners and advocates say Ottawa should rethink the eligibility requirements for business subsidies after Monday’s federal budget failed to include companies launched shortly before or after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses President Dan Kelly says these companies don’t qualify because they haven’t been in operation long enough to show the year-over-year revenue declines the programs require.
Kelly hoped the budget would provide specific supports since many of these companies have been forced to temporarily shut, but they don’t have vast reserves of cash and haven’t received the same level of support as older businesses.
Laura-Lee Gambee opened a Collingwood, Ont. barbershop last year, but was in tears after the Canada Revenue Agency took back the rent subsidy she’d been granted because it was approved in error.
The shop she and two business partners co-own still pays about $6,000 a month in rent but can’t open, while older businesses ordered to close have the option of applying for subsidies.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office, which unveiled the new hiring subsidy and rent and wage program extensions in the budget, did not immediately comment on the question of eligibility requirements for small business aid.
The Canadian Press