Message by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Small Business Week
October 18, 2020
This week, across Canada, we celebrate the lifeblood of our economy and the cornerstone of our communities – small businesses. They are the mom and pop corner store down the street, the day care that you drop your kids off at every morning, and the family-owned restaurant that knows your order by heart. They create good jobs, drive our national economy, and build strong communities. Small businesses helped build Canada.
But this year, these businesses, their owners, and their employees, are having a difficult time. COVID-19 has forced Canadians to stay home and businesses to shut down their operations. And that has left too many families without a paycheck and too many businesses without revenue.
That’s why, from the very beginning of the crisis, our government has been fighting for you. We immediately stepped up to offer direct support to Canadians and businesses. We introduced the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy so you could keep workers on the payroll – and that meant many Canadians had a job to return to when it was safe to do so. We deferred GST, HST, and custom duties payments so you could have a bit more breathing room to cover operating costs or keep your workers employed. And we made sure that you had the help you needed to pay your bills through the Canada Emergency Business Account, which provides interest-free loans.
And we didn’t stop there. We even stepped up to reduce rent by 75 percent for small businesses that experienced financial hardship. And as we continue to deal with the health impacts of the pandemic, and work towards rebuilding a more resilient economy – we will continue to be there.
That’s why I announced the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy to provide easy-to-access commercial rent support, which will go directly to tenants – not through landlords – and will provide an additional rent subsidy top-up of 25 per cent for businesses that have temporarily shut down due to public health orders. We will also expand the Canada Emergency Business Account, and extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until June 2021.
Dealing with the health crisis is the best thing we can do for our economy – and that means not allowing Canadians and businesses to carry the burden of debt that your government can better shoulder for you. We will support people and businesses through this crisis for as long as it lasts, doing whatever it takes to get everyone back on their feet. Because to build back better, we need to make sure that our small businesses and their employees have what they need so they can get back up and running.
On this Small Business Week, I want to say a special thank you to you – the small businesses and entrepreneurs across Canada. Your business has helped raise your family, created good middle-class jobs, and shaped your community. And your success will be key to getting millions of hardworking Canadians back to work right across our country. So I want you to know that we will always be there to support you, your businesses, and your workers. And together, we can – and we will – build a better Canada for everyone.