Small businesses are looking for next week’s Throne Speech to signal support through the recovery period, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
“Business owners have endured a lot over the past six months, from closures to devastatingly low sales and new costs, and now they’re facing a long and uncertain winter. They need to know the government is behind them with policies that will support their survival, not just in the short term, but long term as well,” said Laura Jones, executive vice president at CFIB.
According to CFIB’s latest survey, small business owners’ priorities for the Throne Speech include:
- Creating a more competitive tax environment (74%)
- A broad-based recovery plan that promotes economic growth across the economy (69%)
- Keeping government spending under control (65%)
- Reducing red tape (53%)
CFIB said in a release that some concrete steps government can take to create the conditions for small business success include delaying all planned federal tax increases (i.e. CPP and carbon tax), not making any temporary changes to Employment Insurance permanent before consulting small business owners, keeping non-COVID related government spending in check and ramping up a focus on red tape reduction.
“Small businesses understand the need to have larger than normal deficits to deal with COVID-19 but don’t want to see extra spending outside of that,” said Jones.
“They want a strong focus on economic recovery, which includes keeping today’s and tomorrow’s taxes reasonable. Now is not the time to put in place costly new programs that will result in tax hikes down the road.”
CFIB has estimated that one in seven businesses is currently at risk of permanent closure, on top of closures that have already happened.
To bridge more businesses back to recovery, CFIB said it has asked government to expand the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to $60,000, with a 50% forgivable portion, and overhaul rent assistance, making funds available directly to tenants, rather than relying on landlord participation.
“I can’t stress enough how difficult the fall will be for small firms who continue to face low revenues and worries about a second wave,” Jones said.
“A Throne Speech with a strong focus on small business priorities will give them some much needed reassurance that government will continue to be there to help.”