South Okanagan - West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings is calling on the federal government to extend the deadline for small businesses to repay their COVID-19 loans.
Cannings, as NDP critic for Small Business and Tourism, carried the party’s call on Aug. 10 to the federal government to give people more time to repay their Canada Emergency Business Account loans.
“I am here today to press for government action on an issue critical for the survival of 250,000 small businesses in Canada,” said Cannings. “Those businesses are at risk of defaulting on loans from the Canada Emergency Business Account unless the deadline at the end of the year is extended.”
Cannings pointed to how businesses are still facing ongoing issues that haven’t been resolved yet after COVID-19, including labour shortages and housing shortages in many industries and communities, including Penticton where he spoke from.
Michael Magnusson, executive director of the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce, also spoke briefly, sharing the concerns about the many different factors impacting businesses in Penticton and across Canada.
“Just from what I see in my position, businesses are absolutely worried,” said Magnusson. “Higher inflation that continues to grow, we see the interest rates rise on loans that businesses took out just to stay alive, the cost of business is higher today than it’s been in some time.”
A letter signed by over 250 Canadian chambers of commerce and sent to the Minister of Finance said that 49 per cent of businesses are making below-normal revenue and half of Canadian food services are either operating at a loss or breaking even. That letter also said that 45 per cent of tourism businesses in Canada were are likely or somewhat likely to close within the next three years without government assistance.
Over 30,000 small businesses across the country signed a petition calling for an extension to the CEBA repayment deadline.
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