The federal government is giving $600 million to support small and medium-sized businesses to manage potential lockdowns in the midst of a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The financing — focused on sectors including tourism, manufacturing and technology — will be added to the $962 million previously put resources into the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund.
About $456 million of the new cash will be made accessible to help businesses battling to connect their accounts through another lockdown. It will be distributed through provincial development agencies.
Another $144 million will help provide capital and technical support to rural businesses and communities through the offices of Community Futures Canada, which provides small business services to rural communities.
Infection rates are rising in hot spots across the country, raising concerns of government-ordered shutdowns similar to those seen in the spring.
More lockdowns could be fatal for a very large number of businesses, says Jasmin Guénette, vice-president of national affairs at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
The CFIB estimates that 160,000 or 14 per cent of small- and medium-sized businesses in Canada are at risk of closing their doors for good due to COVID-19. The tourism, hotel and catering sectors are particularly threatened.
Several federal measures need a “new coat of paint,” said Guénette.
For example, the CFIB is calling for the commercial rent assistance program, which expired on Wednesday, to be renewed and made more accessible to small businesses.
The CFIB also wants to know more about the extension of the wage subsidy program for businesses into next summer, as was promised in the Trudeau government’s speech from the throne.
The minister of economic development indicated Thursday the government was preparing to provide more help.
Photo credit: Nam Y. Huh/The Associated Press
News source: CBC News