Chris Warkentin, Member of Parliament for Grande Prairie – Mackenzie, joined Conservatives in
proposing practical ways to help small businesses in the Peace Country and across Canada who
have seen their revenues collapse as a result of COVID-19. Many are days away from permanently
closing or declaring bankruptcy and laying off employees.
“Small businesses and their employees have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19
pandemic and the measures taken to stop the spread,” Warkentin said. “Small businesses with urgent
bill payments can’t afford to wait for weeks, they need help now.”
The government’s promised wage subsidy would cover 75% of salaries up to $847/employee per
week for businesses whose revenue has dropped 15% or more for March and 30% for following
months. Under the current plan, employers will need to wait as long as 6 weeks to even apply for the
wage subsidy and then will face a further delay before they get the cash.
“We need to make sure that businesses in the Peace Country survive so our neighbours in our
communities have jobs to return to following the COVID-19 crisis,” Warkentin said.
“Conservatives are calling on the government to:
1. Give small businesses back the GST they remitted to the government in the last year so that
they have the cash to pay their employees until the wage subsidy arrives.
2. Immediately set up the Canada Emergency Business Accounts so that small businesses have
access to up to $40,000 in interest-free loans.
3. Allow businesses to demonstrate their 30% revenue loss using other metrics such as loss of
earnings, subscriptions, and orders.
4. Temporarily allow owner-operators to become wage-earning employees instead of dividend
recipients so that they qualify for the wage subsidy.
“I’ve heard from hundreds of business owners and workers since the pandemic has begun who are
scared and anxious about the future.” Warkentin continued, “We need to take action now and
implement these necessary solutions that will save many businesses from closing their doors forever.”
“Conservatives will continue to put forward constructive solutions to ensure that no one falls through
the cracks and ensure that Canadians, workers and small businesses have the help they need during