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ADVOCACY IN ACTION

Chambers Concerned that CECRA is Coming to an End too Soon

September 10, 2020

 

This week, the Government of Canada announced that Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses will be extended by one month to help eligible small businesses pay rent for September. This will be the final extension of this program as the government explores options to support small businesses as they face the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During last week’s BC Chamber network call, the Whistler Chamber raised the critical issue of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program coming to an end. We voiced our concerns on Whistler businesses behalf; while CECRA has been a lifeline for many businesses experiencing weaker demand than usual, many more businesses haven’t benefited because of program restrictions or disagreements with landlords. Whistler businesses need to know what comes next, and they need to know urgently. Solutions need to be easier to use for Whistler’s small businesses, and with more flexible options.

As a result of last week’s conversations, the BC & Canadian Chambers have urged the Government to reconsider extending the support, and include a delivery mechanism that is more direct to small business operators.

The BC Chamber wrote a letter to Minister Freeland requesting that the CECRA program is reviewed and improved.

READ THE LETTER

 

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Senior Director of Tax and Financial Policy, Patrick Gill, also issued the following statement in response the extension of the CECRA program:

“If CECRA is ending later this month, then main street businesses need to know what comes next, and they need to know now. Whatever comes next needs to be easier to use by Canada’s small businesses, and with more flexible options.

As patios close and foot traffic diminishes with cooler weather, businesses need to know what help will be available to get them through this period of reduced revenues amid continued government restrictions.

The federal government continues to demonstrate an openness to improving its emergency programs for Canadian businesses and their workers. While Canada’s main street stores and restaurants will benefit from the one month extension of CECRA, they are disappointed the program wasn’t made more flexible.

While CECRA has been a lifeline for many main street businesses continuing to experience weaker demand than usual, many more businesses haven’t benefited because of program restrictions or disagreements with landlords.

The government has an opportunity to make a real difference for Canada’s businesses that continue to suffer from continued restrictions amid COVID-19. Rent is one of the most significant fixed costs a main street business has, and it should be a focus for the federal government going forward.”

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