Conservative leader calls for changes to COVID-19 business support programs

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Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is calling for further changes to federal support programs to help businesses and workers survive the COVID-19 pandemic.O’Toole uses his party’s third opposition day in Parliament – days when opposition parties can set the agenda for the House of Commons – to introduce a motion calling on the government to suspend all audits small businesses that received the emergency wage subsidy until June. 2021 at the earliest.

The motion also calls for “additional flexibility” in commercial rent subsidies, wage subsidies and other support programs.

“We’re not talking about making business rich here,” O’Toole told reporters at a press conference this morning. “We want to make sure the requirements are relaxed so that companies can just stay open and their employees don’t lose their jobs. ”

The motion comes a day after Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland introduced a bill containing long-awaited changes to the commercial rent subsidy, after the government was widely criticized that the previous program was ill-conceived and insufficient. .

Changes made by Freeland include the introduction of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), which replaces the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA). It also includes new “lockdown support” to help businesses sentenced to shut down by public health order. The law also extends Canada’s emergency wage subsidy until June 2021.

The old rent assistance scheme, CECRA, covered up to six months of rent by providing forgiveness loans up to half the value of a company’s monthly rent, in exchange for acceptance by the landlord to reduce the rent.

The main complaint from businesses was that they could only access the benefit if owners chose to participate.

The new ESRB allows companies to request the benefit directly without having to go through the owners.

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