While small businesses are facing unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada will continue to be there to support them and the millions of Canadians they employ.
Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, visited small businesses in Atlantic Canada-her first virtual tour. This was Minister Ng’s fifth visit to the region, which is home to so many communities whose economies are powered by small businesses and entrepreneurs and the Canadians they employ.
Minister Ng began her tour by meeting with members of the Canadian Lobster Council to discuss the challenges facing the Canadian lobster industry during this pandemic. The lobster fishery supports more communities in Atlantic Canada than any other seafood fishery, and it supports thousands of jobs throughout the region.
Minister Ng, along with Mike Kelloway, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso, then had a virtual tour of small businesses in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, including Sweet Side of the Moon Bakery and Café, TALO Cafébar, and Collette’s Family Restaurant. She also had a virtual tour of Carroll’s Bakery in Miramichi, New Brunswick, with Pat Finnigan, Member of Parliament for Miramichi-Grand Lake. The Minister highlighted how government supports have helped these businesses keep their employees on the payroll and keep up with their operating expenses, and she commended their resilience in pivoting their operations in response to COVID-19 and helping their communities rebuild.
Minister Ng ended her virtual tour of Atlantic Canada by meeting with the Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island to discuss how the Government of Canada can continue to support small businesses in the tourism industry, which supports over 100,000 jobs at more than 8,000 businesses across PEI, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Minister was heartened to hear from business owners as they adapt to the new reality of COVID-19 and continue innovating and safely rebuilding. Their stories reaffirm how critical it is to support small businesses across the country, and the Government of Canada will continue to do everything it takes in the weeks and months to come to help them and their employees recover from the economic effects of the pandemic.
“This has been a Team Canada effort from the start, and our government will continue to support businesses in Atlantic Canada and the entire country every step of the way through this crisis. Whether it’s family-owned businesses in Miramichi, dynamic start-ups in St. John’s, tourism operators in Cavendish, or innovative women entrepreneurs in Glace Bay, we’re going to be there for Canadian business owners to help them rebuild in the months to come.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
As of December 2019, there were 1.23 million employer businesses in Canada, of which 1.20 million (97.9%) were small, 22,905 (1.9%) were medium-sized and 2,978 (0.2%) were large.
To support Canadians and Canadian businesses as we fight COVID-19, the Government of Canada introduced the largest relief package in our country’s history, which includes these major programs:
- The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is providing businesses with up to $40,000 in interest-free loans through participating Canadian financial institutions. If repaid by December 31, 2022, up to $10,000 will be forgiven.
- The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is helping businesses by covering a portion of their payroll, retroactive to March 15, with support continuing into December.
- The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program is providing relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Over the course of the program, property owners will reduce rent by at least 75% for the months of April, May, June and July for their small business tenants.
In addition to broad support programs, the government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan includes targeted measures to help tourism businesses, rural communities, artists and athletes, innovative high-growth businesses, Indigenous-owned businesses, women entrepreneurs, farmers and agri-food businesses, and more.
The national $962-million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund is delivered through Canada’s regional development agencies and supports SMEs across Canada that have been unable to access existing relief measures. In Atlantic Canada, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the Atlantic Association of Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs) are delivering $110 million to provide short-term financial relief and help businesses recover.
Office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade