OTTAWA – With people and businesses across Canada facing harsh new measures to slow the spread of the Omicron variant, the Green Party today called on the federal government to reinstate pandemic relief by extending wage and rent subsidies until all pandemic restrictions are lifted.
“The latest wave comes at a time when many businesses, especially those in the tourism and hospitality sectors, were hoping to make up for the pandemic-related losses from earlier in the year,” said Green Party interim Leader Amita Kuttner. “The government must act immediately to restore sweeping supports to ensure that businesses and individuals are able to weather this latest emergency.”
Before the pandemic, small businesses (with less than 100 employees) accounted for 8.4 million jobs, or 68.8 percent of private sector employment. Through almost two years of the pandemic, many of these businesses have either closed or face significant debt burdens, and many people employed by small businesses have lost their jobs.
The new Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit only provides limited financial support to individuals losing their jobs resulting from lockdowns not restrictions. Current business support programs, primarily available to hospitality and tourism businesses, are difficult to access and do not provide the same level of financial support as earlier in the pandemic.
“Small businesses are the bedrock of our local economies and require ongoing financial support to make it through this next wave of the pandemic,” said Green Party innovation critic Karen Farley. “Business owners need support to cover their rents and pay their employees now. Limiting pandemic relief only to regions in lockdown will result in more businesses closing their doors and more people losing their jobs.”
The party calls upon the government to act now in reinstating pandemic relief by extending wage and rent subsidies until COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions are fully lifted.
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