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Dear Editor,

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged families, students, seniors, farmers, and businesses in Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound.

I have been hearing from many small business owners who are unsure if they will make it through this crisis. Many in rural Canada are finding it difficult to acquire federal support, which is why myself and my colleagues continue to put forward constructive solutions to fix gaps in the government’s financial support programs.

Thanks to the persistence of Conservatives and small businesses, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) was increased from 10% to 75%. We also pressed the government to expand the eligibility criteria for the $40,000 Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) so that more Canadians could qualify. I credit the government for listening and making these changes.

Myself and my Conservative colleagues continue to call for a new program to match students with jobs in Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industries. To help small businesses, we have proposed that the government refund GST remittances made over the last twelve months. We have also been calling on the government to make the CERB more generous and flexible so Canadians are not penalized for returning to work.

In the meantime, residents can help by supporting our local businesses while following the advice of health officials. Every Wednesday is Canada Takeout Day: I encourage everyone to support a local restaurant on Takeout Day if you are able.

Small businesses are the backbone of our rural communities, and on the other side of this crisis, it will be the success of small, local businesses that will put Canada on the path to prosperity once again. To all the small business owners in Bruce – Grey – Owen Sound, thank you for your contributions to the community and local economy, I will continue standing up and fighting for you.

Sincerely,

Alex Ruff, Member of Parliament for Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound


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