What Trudeau is offering small businesses struggling amid COVID-19

Andrew Cummings
March 28, 2020

"With these new measures, out hope is that employers being pushed to laying off people due to COVID-19 will think again", Trudeau said.

But Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says this is unnecessary.

Trudeau says today he's told that to the Trump administration, and that he's still seeking clarity on American plans. Those loans will be interest-free for the first year and up to $10,000 could be waived for repayment.

Trudeau also announced the government would be deferring GST and HST payments, as well as taxes and duties on imports for small businesses, until June.

The House of Commons passed the emergency bill for Canada's $82 billion aid package for those affected by COVID-19 on Wednesday.

"We don't like steel coming through our border that's been dumped in Canada so they can avoid the tariffs".


The Business Council of Canada credited Trudeau for "dramatically" increasing the wage subsidy, while the Canadian Chamber of Commerce called it "exactly what the doctor ordered".

"That is the clincher", she said.

He says lowering the costs Canadians have to pay as they rely on borrowing to cover their expenses is another part of the effort.

He said that means making sure the World Health Organization and public health agencies have the funding they need.

"We've had some sleepovers", Delaney joked.

Friday's announcement was an increase from last week's initial 10% wage subsidy from the federal government.


While he said he's optimistic of the news Friday morning, the small business has gotten little help from previous relief packages announced so far, and he's waiting to see what the qualifications of this new application will look like. They are getting together with friends after being away for March break.

"I can assure you that the finance minister has had conversations directly with the banks about credit card interest rates", he said.

Navigating customer order refunds, event cancellations and low foot traffic have been hard to manage, and there are a lot of unknowns right now, Delaney said.

"It's not going to be days and weeks, it's going to be months", Njoo said.

As for immediate needs, 77 per cent of respondents identified understanding grants and financial assistance, while 69 per cent said balancing cash flow and operating expenses.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses said the subsidy will not help every company or employee, but will allow small firms retain hundreds of thousands of workers who would otherwise be laid off.


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