Losing ground to the third wave, “no new costs” tops small business priority list for the upcoming federal budget, says CFIB
NEARLY NINE IN 10 (88 per cent) small business owners say they hope the upcoming federal budget does not bring new tax increases or additional costs, as they lose ground on economic recovery amid growing uncertainty and a third wave of the pandemic, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
Business owners also want to see the government articulate a plan for reopening the economy (72 per cent), payroll tax relief (65 per cent) and extended and expanded Covid-19 relief for small businesses (61 per cent).
The latest results on CFIB’s Small Business Recovery Dashboard show that:
• 56 per cent of small businesses are fully open (down from 62 per cent in March);
• 40 per cent are fully staffed (down from 44 per cent in March);
• Only 29 per cent are making normal sales (down from 31 per cent in March).
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“With recovery indicators trending in the wrong direction, it’s imperative for the federal government to redouble its efforts to support small businesses. In fact, 87 per cent say that government supports need to stay in place until all restrictions can be safely lifted,” says Corinne Pohlmann, CFIB’s senior vice-president of national affairs.
Last month, CFIB presented its recommendations on the federal budget. To get small businesses on the road to recovery, the government should:
• Extend and expand COVID-19 relief for small businesses until the entire economy can reopen (including Canada’s borders) and all small businesses can once again serve customers in person;
• Put in place a moratorium on any new taxes and costs to small businesses;
• Forgive more small business debt and allow longer repayment terms for loans;
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• Introduce significant hiring incentives to help reunite employees and employers, as well as offset the cost of CPP/QPP increases;
• Make reducing red tape a priority, including eliminating unnecessary regulations;
• Hold off on introducing consumer incentives until small businesses can fully open and benefit.
“Small businesses have been clear ― they cannot bear more costs while they are under Covid-19 restrictions,” adds Laura Jones, CFIB’s executive vice-president. “They desperately need some certainty and good news right now. The government should use next week’s budget to not only extend the existing federal support programs but set a clear plan for economic recovery.”