SMB Grant Programs Falling Behind

With a growing number of regions now in lockdown, provincial small business grant programs are falling behind the economic damage business owners are facing across Canada, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). It evaluated each of the main provincial grant programs across Canada and found massive gaps and a lack of support to address the third wave of COVID-19 restrictions. "After more than a year of lockdowns and restrictions, small businesses have amassed dizzying levels of debt and the relief provinces have provided doesn't even scratch the surface," says Dan Kelly, CFIB president. "In some cases, the programs have closed down, even as businesses are forced to shutter their doors once again, with no certainty of when they might reopen. It's a really unfair situation." It found small businesses in four provinces (Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador) no longer have access to a widely available unconditional grant program as they have closed their main program despite a growing number of COVID-19 cases and third-wave restrictions across the country. Several provinces provided very little grant money ($10,000 or less) to small firms hit by pandemic restrictions and many of the new businesses that began operations in 2020 have been unable to access any of the federal programs. While some provinces provide support to most businesses facing a major decline in revenues, several jurisdictions exclude those that were allowed to stay open, but faced a significant decline in sales due to government stay-at-home orders/advice.