Ottawa – In his daily press briefing from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday, March 27, several new measures aimed at keeping Canadian small business afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today, I want to speak directly to small businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Trudeau.
“I know that for many of you, the past few weeks have been heart breaking. You’ve had to slow down your operations. In some cases, you even had to close up shop for the foreseeable future.
“And because money isn’t coming in, you can’t afford to keep your employees on the payroll. These are really tough decisions.”
Last week, the feds announced a wage subsidy to cover 10 per cent of wages to qualifying businesses. Today, Trudeau announced that would be increased to 75 per cent, and would be back dated to Sunday, March 15. The goal is to keep the economy moving enough to see less struggle coming out of the pandemic in the months to come.
Additionally, small businesses will be able to apply for a Canada Emergency Business Account.
“Banks will soon offer $40,000 loans which will be guaranteed by the government to qualifying businesses,” said Trudeau. The loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and for those businesses which meet certain conditions, $10,000 of the loan will be forgivable.
The government will also offer $12.5 billion in assistance via Export Development Canada along with the Business Development Bank to assist small businesses with their operational cash flow needs. GST and HST payments can be deferred, and payments on taxes and duties owed on imports can be extended until June.
Trudeau stated the government hopes next week to provide the details surrounding where the funds for all these support programs will come from in an effort to offer transparency to the Canadian public.
Trudeau also addressed questions surrounding the length of time the current protocols like self-isolation and working from home will remain, and he said the projections hinge entirely “on the choices we make today.” Trudeau said he is “comforted” by the number of Canadians taking the pandemic seriously, and staying at home.
For all the details on COVID-19 and the national response, go to Canada.ca