Calgary Chamber urges extension of federal pandemic support programs

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Concerned about the impending expiration of some federal pandemic support programs, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce is urging officials in Ottawa to allow them to continue.

The programs include the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) and Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), which chamber president and CEO Deborah Yedlin says "have provided vital stability for entrepreneurs, employees and businesses during the most difficult economic times in recent history."

“In a survey of the Calgary business community earlier this year, 70 per cent of businesses indicated they received at least one form of government support, with federal supports among the most accessed," she said.

"Though third-quarter statistics on economic recovery mark an improvement from the previous quarter, the outlook for the coming months indicates continued economic uncertainty. Rising costs and continued restrictions have led to businesses, particularly small and medium-sized operations, reporting expectations of decreased profitability along with concerns about prevailing financial constraints and inability to take on more debt."

The chamber has written to federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, urging an extension of the support programs.

“Government supports have enabled businesses to withstand the financial impact of lockdowns and changing restrictions. Families and businesses alike have faced major economic headwinds over the past 20 months and, given the ongoing severity of the pandemic and associated public health measures, they cannot absorb additional costs and uncertainty," said Yedlin.

"Ensuring people are able to maintain their employment helps accelerate our economic recovery; high workforce participation leads to higher spending and greater economic growth. The Chamber remains committed to working with the federal government and advocating for supports that meet current and ongoing needs of our business community so businesses can contribute to a successful economic recovery.”