Posted on Apr 16, 2020
NDP CALLS ON UCP TO WORK WITH FEDS TO SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES
The NDP Official Opposition is renewing its call for small business support from the UCP government after Prime Minister Trudeau announced he will be working with the provinces to provide rent relief for businesses.
In his daily briefing on Thursday, Trudeau announced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program, but said Ottawa would have to collaborate with the provinces in order to set it up because rent issues fall under provincial jurisdiction. The support would be available for three months starting in April.
“I’m hearing from small businesses who are really struggling right now. Revenue has dried up, but the bills keep coming in for them. The biggest thing we can do to support these businesses and jobs is provide rent relief,” said Rod Loyola, MLA for Edmonton-Ellerslie, who helped develop the NDP Opposition’s plan to support small businesses.
“Premier Kenney and his UCP government had a chance to act and be a leader on this issue, but they failed. For the sake of the thousands of small businesses and Albertans they employ, I hope the UCP take this opportunity to reconsider their position.”
Last Thursday, the NDP unveiled their plan to support small businesses. The plan would apply to all small businesses, charities and non-profits and includes:
- An emergency rent subsidy up to a maximum of $10,000.
- A government backstop of up to $7,500 for landlords who agree to defer rent for three months for businesses during the pandemic. Businesses will have the ability to pay back the amount owing over the subsequent 18 months.
- Insurance premium freeze retroactive to March 18, 2020 and a 50 per cent reduction for insurance premiums until December 31, 2020.
- $5,000 to help small businesses adapt to the business environment created by the pandemic and introduce new technology to continue operating.
- A $10 million guarantee for festivals that support small businesses.
“The plan we have developed would support small business owners so they can keep their businesses afloat and reopen when conditions return to normal,” said Loyola. “This will protect jobs and keep our economy running. But we can’t afford to wait. We need the government to act now.”