Support Urgently Needed for Parc-Extension Independent Businesses in Light of Federal Fall Economic Statement

Support Urgently Needed for Parc-Extension Independent Businesses in Light of Federal Fall Economic Statement

Parc-Extension, is home to a diverse array of independent businesses, from cozy cafes to family-run shops. These small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been the backbone of our community, offering unique products and services while fostering a sense of connection. However, recent challenges have left many Parc-Extension SMEs struggling to keep their doors open.

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), the Federal Fall Economic Statement 2023 provides an opportunity for the government to announce measures aimed at supporting SMEs. Rising costs, driven by factors such as high-interest rates, pandemic-related debts, declining consumer demand, and labor shortages, have created an uncertain future for many Parc-Extension businesses. It is crucial that the government steps in to assist and protect these local enterprises, which have not seen normal sales for over three years.

Jasmin Guénette, Vice-President of National Affairs at CFIB, highlights the urgency of the situation. He states, “The government needs to do more to help and protect [SMEs].” Parc-Extension businesses are eagerly awaiting support measures that can alleviate their financial burden and help them weather these challenging times.

Key Measures Hoped for in the Fall Economic Statement 2023:

Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Loans: CFIB is advocating for an extension of the CEBA loan repayment deadline to December 31, 2024. This extension would allow businesses to keep the subsidy portion and provide much-needed relief. Guénette emphasizes that the recent 18-day extension announced by Ottawa is insufficient for SMEs, many of whom are still far from recovering their normal revenues.

Assisting SMEs with Rising Operating Costs: To support these businesses, CFIB proposes the cancellation of the planned increase in Employment Insurance (EI) premium rates in 2024 and a reduction in EI premiums for smaller businesses. Additionally, CFIB suggests postponing the gradual phase-out of accelerated depreciation deductions and making immediate expensing permanent. These measures would encourage Parc-Extension SMEs to invest in automation and cope with labor shortages.

Carbon Tax: CFIB recommends expanding the exemption for heating oil to all other types of heating fuels used by Canadian SMEs, including natural gas. Furthermore, they call for a freeze on all future carbon tax increases, including the one scheduled for April 1, 2024. Immediate reimbursement of funds promised to Parc-Extension SMEs that have paid the carbon tax since 2019 is also crucial. CFIB estimates that businesses in the neighborhood have received only a meager 0.17% of the revenues from the carbon tax, despite the initial promises.

Christina Santini, Director of National Affairs at CFIB, stresses the importance of these measures for SMEs, stating, “The federal carbon tax is unfair to SMEs. SMEs contribute a significant share of the revenues generated by the carbon tax but do not receive the same rebates as households. SME owners want the government to freeze future carbon tax increases and return the promised amounts to them.”