March 30, 2020
How are you? I trust you and your family are well, and finding ways to enjoy the simplicity and routines of physical distancing, if working from - or staying - home. I’ve now passed virtually my entire past 16 days either at the downtown government office for Cabinet or Treasury Board business, in my house, or out for walks in my neighbourhood.
One key focus is working with my Ministry of Digital Government officials to support our government’s COVID-19 response. The rapid increases and complexity in IT and teleconferencing activity related to tele-working, policy changes, and delivering new benefits packages, have posed many challenges; I want to acknowledge the public servants at Shared Services Canada, the Chief Information Officer Branch of Treasury Board Secretariat, and the Canadian Digital Service for their dedication and service to front-line public servants at this critical time.
I’m also working closely with my MP office staff who are all working from home, and would like to recognize their commitment to responding to your needs, working many long days. I do appreciate your words of thanks to them, and also your patience when our best efforts can’t produce the solution you’d hoped for. My team has created a page on my website (www.joycemurray.ca/covid19-businesses) to put a range of pandemic updates and resources into one place for you to access.
The personal and business shocks of Canada’s COVID-19 response are virtually unprecedented, and being a former business owner myself, I can only imagine the tough choices and anxiety so many businesses and employees are experiencing. I’d like to update you once again on some new federal measures to help buffer the economic impact.
Many businesses have had to close down for now. For laid-off employees and others not able to work for a variety of reasons, last week’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit of $2,000 a month will be available soon. Other businesses are working hard to keep their employees working despite reduced revenues. Our Government is making up to $10 billion in credit support available through the Business Credit Availability Program. And we have now committed to providing a 75% wage subsidy (backdated to March 15) to help small and medium-sized businesses keep staff on their payroll.
The government is also launching the Canada Emergency Business Account through which banks will soon offer interest-free $40,000 loans, guaranteed by the government, to qualifying businesses. Under certain conditions, $10,000 will be forgivable. GST/HST, duties, and import taxes owing can be deferred until the end of June, to help businesses with their cash flow pressures.
As the situation continues to evolve, our government will respond further, and provide help to others in need. This past weekend for example, the Prime Minister announced tens of millions of dollars to help the most vulnerable Canadians including children, victims of domestic abuse and the elderly, with more to come.
We are fortunate to live in a country where adversity is uniting us. I feel very moved by accounts of people reaching out to help others, and thank you for supporting our local shops. Politicians of all parties cooperated on legislation to fully and quickly dedicate Canada’s talent and resources to helping those who need a hand.
Please do reach out to my office for help navigating the new resources during these difficult times.
Wishing you and your families all the best,