Health Canada’s economic relief for the cannabis industry falls well short, says Canadian Chamber

(OTTAWA) – August 5, 2020 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s National Cannabis Working Group issued the following statement in response to the Order Amending the Cannabis Fees Order (Extension of Deadline for Payment of 2020-2021 Annual Fee) published in the Canada Gazette, Part II today:

“While we appreciate the flexibility provided by Health Canada’s amendment to defer the payment due date of the 2020-2021 annual licence fee it charges to cannabis companies, it fails to provide any meaningful help to the cannabis industry to cope with the negative consequences related to the Covid-19 global pandemic.

 The fee deferral does not distinguish that some companies have already paid the annual fee, which is due at the beginning of September. Furthermore, the deferral does not recognize that revenue generated in the last six months was severely restricted due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, nor will it really help publicly traded companies, as the amount for this fiscal year will still need to be accrued for payment next year.

Today’s decision ignores the advice and input received from the industry during the consultation on the deferral earlier this summer. It is extremely disappointing given this is the only emergency measure available for the cannabis industry. The Government of Canada’s additional programs have been particularly difficult to access for a regulated cannabis industry that contributed approximately $8 billion to Canada’s GDP in 2019. The message to cannabis businesses seems to be that the sector is on its own, a troubling omen for the long-term success of legalization.

The cannabis industry had asked Health Canada to waive the annual regulatory fee for this year. The industry also remains frustrated with the cost recovery program given that, after a year and a half, there are still no service standards associated with the program. To be clear, the industry recognizes the need for such a program but clear service standards must be attached to it, without such standards the program is simply another tax.”

About the National Cannabis Working Group

Since its launch in June 2019, the National Cannabis Working Group has grown to more than 70 organizations with a shared interested of improving the growth and competitiveness of the Canadian cannabis industry while helping governments achieve their health and safety objectives.

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.

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For more information, please contact:

Phil Taylor
[email protected]