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Helpline available for small and medium-sized businesses in wake of COVID-19

'Some people are calling in tears asking how they can go about closing their businesses'

Small and medium-sized businesses affected by the COVID-19 health crisis can get some advice from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) helpline at 1-888-234-2232.

The association represents small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across Canada, and it is opening helpline services to non members, says press spokesperson Milena Stanoeva.

“Some people are calling in tears asking how they can go about closing their businesses, what is going to happen to their employees if they are laid off, how they themselves get paid because they are self-employed. They are pretty stressed right now,” she says.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is recalling Parliament to pass emergency measures to help the economy.

In a news release, CFIB president Dan Kelly said a quarter of small firms will not be able to survive for more than a month with a drop in business income of more than 50 per cent.

The CFIB also reports the sectors most negatively affected are hospitality, arts/recreation, retail and personal services. The average cost to those affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19 is about $66,000, 43 per cent of members have reduced hours for staff and 20 per cent have started temporary layoffs.

CFIB is asking governments “to step in and offer direct cash support to employees and the self-employed who are forced to self-isolate.”

CFIB members are calling the government to provide temporary tax relief on income, payroll and sales taxes; cancel planned tax increases such as CPP/QPP and carbon tax; delay tax filing deadlines and eliminate penalties for late payments and remittance; introduce wage subsidies for businesses to retain staff; and create incentives to boost consumer spending.

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has posted this information on its website regarding support for entrepreneurs impacted by the COVID-19.

“BDC stands ready to support companies through to a more stable period. As announced by the Minister of Finance, we will increase the amount of financing available as the situation develops with flexible and tailored solutions, BDC can help you with the right financing and advice.” 

These include small business loans up to $100,000 which can be obtained online, capital loans to bridge cash flow, and purchase order financing.

As well, advisory services are available to clients at 1-877-232-2269 or by email at Non clients can phone for information at 1-877-232-2269.