Small businesses are a part of our every day lives. Whether it’s your neighbourhood pub or favourite restaurant, a boutique that you love, your massage therapist, dentist, optometrist, physiotherapist, your hair salon, nail salon or lash studio, interior designer, daycare owner or the group that runs your kiddos’ fave day camp – these people are all members of our community that are struggling right now. These businesses employ our friends, family members and neighbours as well as marketing firms, graphic designers, social media influencers, advertisers, radio and television stations (for advertising) and countless other businesses.
What’s really scary is that the majority of these businesses do not qualify for the emergency subsidies and loans that our government is offering. I invite you to read this CBC News article with helpful infographics that explains this very well.
Don’t think your voice matters? I started my email and Twitter campaigns reaching out to media and government representatives two weeks ago and it looks like they’re starting to take notice! The CBC News article above came out this morning which made me feel like I wasn’t alone and needed to keep fighting to have our voices heard!
Why Your Voice Matters!
Democracy is more than voting every few years – it’s also about getting involved in the process, having your voice heard and trying to work with your representatives for impactful change in your community. What I’m offering here are some FREE ways that you can get involved to help your community in their greatest time of need. YOU can make a difference and it’s easier than you think.
You might not be a small business owner. You may be struggling yourself right now. You might not be sure how this has any impact on your life or why you should help. What I believe is that if we truly are in this together, then we need to speak up for one another and lend our support because if not now, then when? Sending an email to your government representatives and the media and reaching out to them through your Tweets (or Tweet Likes/Retweets) are just a couple of ways that you can lend a hand to spread awareness.
Not sure what to say?
Below I am publishing this email that I sent yesterday to Ministers Bill Morneau and Mary Ng in hopes that you will send a similar email to these Members of Parliament and to your own MPs, MLAs and Aldermen. Be sure to include your postal code in your email as messages from constituents are replied to with higher priority than others.
A Letter to Canadian Ministers
Hi Ms.Ng & Mr.Morneau,
I appreciate that this is a very, very difficult time and that you and your colleagues are trying to solve problems as quickly as possible and on an unprecedentedly large scale but many Canadians are falling through the cracks and I wanted to make you aware of who these people are in hopes that you can help.
I watched your press conference today and what stood out to me was how Ms.Ng, in particular, mentioned wanting to hear from Canadians about what is and isn’t working. In this spirit, I wanted to reach out on behalf of myself and many other small business owners in Canada.
Although the wage subsidy works for many traditional businesses, there are many businesses that this will not help at all. Many of these businesses are not eligible for loans, and even if they are, there are fears of going into additional debt if they are going to go bankrupt before the economy re-opens.
I encourage you to read this article from a Calgary News Outlet (+ watch the video inside) that shows where many businesses across Canada are close to losing everything and closing permanently. I have also included a snippet below from an email that one Calgary business owner sent to the Calgary media in hopes of getting some help for businesses like hers.
I believe that a piece of federal legislation that prevents businesses from being evicted during this time or having landlords seize their entire business would be really helpful and go a long way for small business in this country to help them to survive this crisis.
My other question is how do you plan on supporting businesses who do not have T4’d employees (i.e. contract workers) who do not qualify for the CERB or EI? These businesses do not have the revenue to continue to pay their staff. An example is a marketing firm whose client base is made up of dentists and physio therapy clinics – these clinics are now closed and not receiving any revenue, this asking their marketing company if they can defer payments. This trickles down to the marketing firm not being able to pay its contracted employees and those people not being able to support their families.
(Postal Code here)
Attached Note From Small Business Owner in Calgary:
I am one of the small businesses in Calgary who has been forced to close and lay off 20 members of my team. I am desperate to save my business but to date my landlord is pushing me into bankruptcy.
The current measures on the table do not deal with reality and some commercial landlords (not all) are actively damaging our opportunities to survive and get our teams back to work when this Pandemic situation comes to an end.
I have applied for a loan in an effort to keep up with certain bills that I cannot defer and I have no idea if I even qualify.
Let me be clear I am not in a position to take on more debt during this time just so that my landlord remains whole during this pandemic.
The below in RED is an excerpt from a landlord here in Calgary, this is just a small sample of how some commercial landlords are looking to actually profit off this Pandemic.
- Government Relief. If Tenant receives any economic incentives, subsidies or other relief from applicable governmental entities in connection with the Tenant’s obligations under Lease, then Tenant agrees that all benefits accruing to Tenant therefrom shall be assigned to Landlord for Landlord’s sole benefit and credit
This cannot be the intention of the federal or provincial governments, are we supposed to simply hand over any support we get to our landlords?
Deferrals and further debt is not the answer. The government is once again forgetting that 25% of small businesses have less than two week’s cash buffer and 50% have less than a month,75% have less than two months!
I am asking for help so that there is a voice for all small businesses who cannot simply hire lawyers or have the clout to fight back.
Not sure who your rep is?
Here are some ways to find out!
Who is my Member of the Legislative Assembly? (MLA – ALberta)
Who is my Member of Provincial Parliament? (MPP – Ontario only)
Who is my MLA, MP, MPP, Alderman, etc. is the perfect question to type into Google! All you need is a postal code!
Other Important Contacts:
Canadian Finance Minister, Bill Morneau: Bill.Morneau@parl.gc.ca
Canadian Minister of Small Business, Mary Ng: Mary.Ng@parl.gc.ca
Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science & Industry: Navdeep Bains: firstname.lastname@example.org