COVID-19 hit the small business community hard. Economies are finally reopening,  but many small Canadian businesses will continue to struggle—or shutter—without better relief from the federal government. 




COVID-19 continues to deeply affect my business. While many firms have been helped by the federal support programs, changes are needed to help small firms recover and ensure more businesses like mine are able to survive.

My priorities for your government are (rank from 1-4):


CECRA Letter
With the CECRA program coming to an end, we sent an open letter to government urging provincial and federal finance ministers to fix CECRA. The program is not providing the relief small businesses need. 

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Small business sales remain low
Recent data from a CFIB survey shows that consumer spending at small businesses remains perilously low. We continue our #SmallBusinessEveryDay campaign to encourage consumer spending. 

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Government announces new CEWS
After months of pressure, government finally announces an expanded wage subsidy that will provide some relief to every small business owner who has lost revenue due to COVID-19. 

"We are mostly a seasonal business and have now lost our complete 2020 season. We are trying to hang on until next spring. Will we make it?"

"Our business was on track to have a record-breaking year. Without further assistance from the government, we will not make it through the winter. Our income has been ripped from us and our business is still in its infancy. The stress and anxiety keep me up all night trying to figure out how we will get through this. "

"As a sole proprietor, it's frustrating seeing businesses like mine be excluded from accessing supports for seemingly arbitrary government requirements.  We are the ones who need the help most. Sole proprietors, many of them women entrepreneurs like myself, are falling through the cracks. "

"I operate in a tourist location. Without the assistance, I would not be able to operate.  The uncertainty we face is monumental.  We can ride this storm with help, otherwise we will close due to lack of revenue over the next year."


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Small firms struggle to recall employees
Using recent survey data, CFIB shows that few small firms have rehired laid-off staff, and more than a third face barriers to hiring or recalling staff. We implore government to make changes to the wage subsidy and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to bring back workers.

10 JUN
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CFIB requests support for farmers
With Canada’s food producers facing supply chain interruptions, labour shortages and mounting costs, CFIB pushes the federal government to immediately act to support farmers. 

22 MAY
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CFIB launches PPEs for SMEs
CFIB launches PPEs for SMEs, a Facebook group where business owners can buy or sell personal protective equipment (PPE). Managing social distancing, making customers feel safe and access to PPE top a list of practical small business concerns in our recent survey.

08 MAY
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75% wage subsidy introduced
CFIB thanks the federal government for responding to small business concerns by announcing a 75% wage subsidy. We reaffirm the importance of quickly implementing the program.

27 MAR
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CFIB pushes for a 75-90% wage subsidy
After reviewing the federal government’s announced 10% wage subsidy for small businesses affected by COVID-19, CFIB argues a much higher subsidy, closer to the 75-90% levels announced in many European countries, is needed here as well.

18 MAR
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11 MAR
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Initial funding plans announced
Government announces some funding to support small businesses amid the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join our push for broader support by signing the petition. We can make a difference together.


of business owners have sales well below normal levels


businesses could close without immediate help


CFIB has led the charge for critical changes to all of Canada’s major COVID-19 support programs for small business. This included raising the wage subsidy from 10 to 75%, expanding access to the wage subsidy to more firms and extending it until summer 2021, allowing more firms to participate in CEBA and pushing for support to cover commercial rent.

While these programs have provided help to hundreds of thousands of small firms, many more do not qualify. CFIB continues to call for changes to allow more firms to qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) as well as making sure tenants can get the rent relief they deserve.

CFIB is calling on government to:

Expand CEBA access to more firms, including those with less than $40,000 in non-deferrable expenses and new businesses

Expand CEBA to $60,000 with 50 per cent of the loan forgiven upon repayment of the balance 

Allow tenants to access rent support directly, regardless of their landlord’s participation 

Provide a sliding scale of rent support for those with various levels of revenue losses over the months ahead, as has happened with CEWS 

Simplify the wage subsidy rules and allow business owners and family members earning dividends to have a limited portion covered

CEBA is expanded to firms without payroll
After significant pressure from CFIB, government agrees to expand CEBA to firms who do not have a payroll and agrees to work on future changes for new firms and those who use personal bank accounts.

19 MAY
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CEBA expansion and CECRA plans announced
After much pressure from CFIB, government agrees to expand access to the CEBA loan program to firms with payrolls between $20,000 and $1.5 million. The Federal government also announces its intention to work with provinces on a commercial rent assistance program (CECRA).

16 APR
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Do not make temporary EI measures permanent (i.e. requiring 120 hours to be EI eligible for payment of $400/week for at least 26 weeks) and do not make any major changes without extensive consultation and debate with employers and employees


EDC opens CEBA call centre
EDC responds to business owner concerns by opening a call centre to answer questions about the status of CEBA applications. 

26 AUG
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Flawed CECRA gets extension
Government pushes CEBA application deadline to the end of October and expands the program to include businesses with personal banking accounts. We expect this will help many more businesses access much needed support.

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CEBA gets extended
Government pushes CEBA application deadline to the end of October and expands the program to include businesses with personal banking accounts. We expect this will help many more businesses access much needed support.

31 AUG
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