The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and its partners have been working closely with government since the COVID-19 outbreak to mitigate the economic impact on businesses. As a result, many of our recommendations have already been implemented in the government’s initial response.  

We also continue to work closely with our members to listen to their recommendations, understand their needs, insights and challenges, and deliver that feedback to government so we can achieve practical solutions together that will carry us into recovery. Here is a snapshot of our progress on policy measures so far: 

Assessing The Canadian Chamber’s Policy Impact

Implemented

Partially implemented

No to little traction or uptake

The Canadian Chamber Has Recommended The Government of Canada Has Announced Advocacy Response
Defer tax deadlines, audits and payments (both for individuals and businesses)
– CRA will allow all businesses to defer, until after Aug. 31, the payment of any income tax amount that becomes owing from March 18 and Sept.
– CRA will not contact any SME to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or audit for the next four weeks
 
Provide direct support to employers to cover a significant percentage of wages paid to workers who would otherwise lose their jobs.
– A 10% wage subsidy with no qualification criteria
– A wage subsidy equal to 75% of remuneration paid per employee
– Extending EI Work Sharing Program
– A Canadian Emergency Response Benefit will provide workers with lost income $2,000 a month for four months
 
Help affected businesses, particularly SMEs, access emergency credit and capital swiftly and interest free
– Canada Emergency Business Account – $40,000 in interest-free loans ($10K of which potentially forgivable) for small businesses
– $10 billion Business Credit Availability Program supported by BDC and EDC
– $300 billion of additional lending capacity via financial institutions
– A proactive interest rate reduction by the Bank of Canada to 0.25%
– Changes to the Canada Account to support exporters deemed to be vital to national interest
– Note: Lending instruments must be implemented faster than they are
 
Accelerate government payments to private and non-profit vendors Directive issued by Treasury Board to all government departments to expedite supplier payments  
Postpone government consultations that are not germane to COVID-19 Extensions are inconsistently being announced  
Place a moratorium on the introduction of new regulations that are non-essential In progress  
Provide provisional extensions for temporary foreign workers already in Canada Extensions being allowed on ad-hoc basis (e.g. agricultural workers)  
Reduce tariffs for essential medical supplies Directive issued by Canada Border Services Agency for a reduction on tariffs for essential medical supplies  
Engage the Canadian manufactures to retool for medical supplies A government portal has been established for interested manufacturers  
Identify and support workers for essential goods and services In progress  
Help businesses, particularly SMEs, finance remote work options N/A  
Offer flexibility on remittance payments In progress  
Support for diminished sectors (e.g. energy, transportation, travel, tourism, cannabis, etc.) In progress  
Provide commercial rent relief – Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) available May 25  
In partnership with provincial and territorial chambers of commerce, we recommended provincial and territorial governments enact a moratorium on commercial evictions. – Several jurisdictions have now enacted moratoriums.  

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