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COVID-19 could kill 40% of small businesses: Survey

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Owners of a whopping 40% of Canadian small businesses are worried the pandemic will force the closure of their operations, a survey has found.

Only 18% of small business indicated they are now open, according to a survey of 10,500 small business owners by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“Ontario is facing both a health and an economic crisis, and governments need to tackle both emergencies together now,” said Julie Kwiecinski, CFIB director of provincial affairs for Ontario. “Main Street businesses are fighting to survive and need immediate and broad-based relief that goes beyond deferrals that still have to be paid later this year under current timelines.”

The federal government’s Canada Emergency Business Account — which will provide qualifying businesses with an interest-free $40,000 line of credit until Dec. 31, 2022 — will not be sufficient to ensure a large number of businesses survive the pandemic. It will be restricted to businesses with payroll between $50,000 and $1 million.

While 43% of respondents indicated they plan to use the offer, another 21% which wanted to access the program do not qualify.

The CFIB is seeking an elimination of the payroll test to qualify.

Under the program, $10,000 of the loan is considered forgivable. The CFIB is calling for Ottawa to transform this portion of the program into a straight grant.

The CFIB is also calling on the provincial government to increase their aid by immediately dropping commercial property taxes by at least 25%.

The organization also supports NDP leader Andrea Horwath’s proposal to give small businesses a break on their rent by providing a 75% subsidy up to $10,000 a month.

The results are considered accurate within .95%, 19 times out of 20.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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