July 23rd, 2020
MP ALISTAIR MACGREGOR CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO FIX CANADA EMERGENCY RENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
DUNCAN, BC – MP Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford) called on the federal government to show leadership in supporting small businesses.
In a letter to the Minister of Finance, and the Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, MP MacGregor shared the concerns of Canada’s small business owners, and the millions of Canadians who depend them for employment, and goods and services. The letter calls on the ministers to immediately fix the flawed Canada Emergency Rent Assistance Program (CERCA)
In the letter, MacGregor advocated, “help with commercial rent is crucial to keeping local economies running as we try to emerge from the COVID-19 shutdown. Despite this, many small business owners are reporting trouble in access to CECRA, either on the grounds that they don't meet the unnecessarily high qualification measures set out by the eligibility criteria or in light of the fact that their landlords just won't apply for the program.”
In addressing the growing concerns of Canada’s small business owners, MacGregor highlighted the low number of applications for CERCA to illustrate the ineffectiveness of the program, stating:
“As of early July, only around 24,500 entrepreneurs have received or applied for CECRA. Compared to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), which received over 630,000 applications, CECRA is simply failing to help Canadian businesses. The number of applications falls well below expectations and demonstrates how important it is to fix CECRA.”
In offering solutions to the program, MP MacGregor strongly recommends:
- allowing CECRA applicants to apply and move forward with the program without their landlord; and
- adjusting the excessively high (70% revenue loss) eligibility criteria to compensate for operating expenses beyond rental fees, and low profit margins.
"Small businesses need help with rent, but they can’t receive it if the program doesn’t have their interests in mind. An extension does nothing for them if they can’t access it in the first place. Small businesses are the heart of our communities, employing local residents and supporting local suppliers. Any help for small businesses, starting with the expansion of the CECRA, must be a priority for this government." -MP Alistair MacGregor